Keeping your child’s favourite toy safe on holiday, with tips from Mothercare

New research from Mothercare has revealed that 69% of parents say their kid’s favourite cuddly toy is a must-pack holiday item.

For us, we can’t go anywhere overnight without taking Seahorse. He is Izzy’s favourite toy; she’s had him since she was 1 day old. He smells a bit funky, the pink fur has turned grey in places and the light up tummy isn’t as bright as it once was but she loves him regardless.

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He’s accompanied her on many a sleepover, weekend away and of course on our family holidays. He’s been to Portugal, Majorca and Disneyland, as well as many places in the UK.

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Having a favourite toy, something familiar, can provide such comfort when visiting new places. Holidays can often mean a disruption in routine, an unfamiliar environment and new experiences – which can be unsettling for young children.

It’s so important that Seahorse comes with us to provide that reassurance and comfort. It’s even more important to bring him safely back home!

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That’s why I’m sharing some top tips from Mothercare parenting expert Liz Day, to help parents keep their kids’ fluffy friends safe this summer.

Mothercare identifies parents’ bear-necessities for holiday packing

Liz Day, Parenting Consultant for Mothercare, comments: “As well as keeping children calm and entertained during the journey, home comforts such as a favourite cuddly toy can often help little ones settle better into new locations as parents unpack and start to relax. Here’s my advice on how to keep their favourite friend safe and make sure the bear makes the return journey home with you:”

1.      Tag your cuddly toy using the same safety ID bracelet or wristband as you use to keep your child safe – matching their favourite bear will encourage your little one to keep the tag on at all times. Include a return address and your phone number so your invaluable bear finds its way back to its little owner if it gets lost.

2.      Buy two of your child’s favourite cuddly toy and secretly pack one in your suitcase when you go away. If your tot’s toy does manage to escape, it’s really useful if it can miraculously reappear when you get back to your holiday accommodation.

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3.      When on the beach, tie a brightly coloured ribbon to your tot’s favourite fluffy friend so they don’t go missing in the sand.

4.      When travelling, keep bear safely in your hand luggage or pop them in an easily accessible bag so they are within reach to soothe and calm your tot if there are any upsets during the journey.

As well as you child’s favourite cuddly toy, the other top four items parents say are essential to pack for family holidays are:

o   Sunhat (84%)

o   Sunshade (66%)

o   Armbands/ pool floats (55%)

o   Travel cot (53%)

What are your holiday essentials? Do you have any tips on keeping those favourite toys safe?

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Our Weekly Roundup #20

It’s been another couple of busy weeks. We’ve packed quite a lot in with a trip to Manchester, visits to the aquarium and farm, swimming and a show.

2016-08-14 21.44.25We went to see In the Night Garden Live at Manchester. Clara was amazed from the very start, she barely took her eyes off the stage and was dancing and singing along. Izzy was one of the oldest children there, as most were pre-school age, but she loved it too. The show was a mix of puppets and life sized characters, and it followed the same format as the television show, making it very familiar for the children. Afterwards we waited to meet Upsy Daisy, although Clara wasn’t too keen on meeting her in person!

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We returned home from Manchester minus a child. Izzy stayed with her grandparents for a few days and enjoyed a trip to Cadbury’s World. She had a nice time and was well and truly spoilt but she was pleased to come home. I think she missed Clara most! It was nice for her to spend time with her grandparents but  it did feel quite strange without her in the house!

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Clara, however, probably enjoyed the peace and quiet. On the Thursday we went to pick Izzy up and there was a lot of hugging and tales of how late she stayed up and how many ice creams she had (there are no secrets!). There wasn’t much chance for her to relax though as the next day we went swimming. Her big cousin came with us too and they swam off playing mermaids while Clara doggy – paddled her way round the pool playing with her little friends.

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Saturday called for some fresh air so we headed up to a farm park. It succeeded in tiring the girls out as both fell asleep in the car on the way home! Izzy fed a goat and Clara was really brave and stroked a pony – a big step for a toddler who is scared of dogs and most other animals.

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On Sunday the Hubby was off playing cricket and eldest was giving it some attitude. She’s obsessed with Annie at the moment to the point where she’s started talking in an American accent and pretending she’s an orphan. The singing was cute to begin with. I learned to make it work to my advantage by issuing both girls with dusters and having them clean the skirting boards while singing it’s a hard knock life. But after a few hours of the constant fake accent and millions of questions about orphanages (plus the announcement that she wants to live in an orphanage) tensions were running high. So we packed up a picnic and headed to the local aquarium. Which aleviated matters for a couple of hours until I made the mistake of going to Asda and it descended into madness once again.

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However, Clara managed to ensure we ended the day on a high by doing a wee in her potty for the first time. It was super cute – mid nappy change she just took herself off to the bathroom, sat on her potty then announced “I did it”. Completely unexpected as while we have had a potty in the bathroom for a while and mention it now and again, we haven’t started trying to potty train.

We made a big fuss of her and gave her a little present as a reward – a Doc Mcstuffins watch that plays music. She’s so proud of herself and really pleased with her watch. Izzy even made her a certificate for being an awesome little sister. It’s amazing the things you get so proud of when you are a parent – bodily fluids being one of them!

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We’ve linked up to:

Twinkly Tuesday @mummascribbles 

Little Passports Review #3: Animals

Little Passports is a monthly subscription package which delivers adventure right to your door. We have been trying out the Early Explorers subscription for children aged 3-5, which we have kindly been gifted in return for an honest review.

We are also taking part in the Little Passports Affiliate programme, so if you click on any of the links in this post or on the advert on the sidebar, and go on to purchase a subscription, we will receive a small commission.

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Izzy always gets really excited when one of the Little Passports packages arrives in the post. She loves learning and is really interested in the world and different countries. This is a nice introduction to learning about the world, with each monthly package focusing on a different element. So far we have explored famous landmarks and music from different countries; this month it was time to learn about animals that are native to different parts of the world.

Each pack includes an activity passport, luggage tag, trading cards, stickers, a flash light adventure and a postcard all around the same theme. In addition, they each include a different souvenir or toy. In this pack, we received a set of animal finger puppets to make. This has been Izzy’s favourite one so far – she did love the music CD she received last month but she loves any kind of art and crafts, so she had loads of fun making up the puppets. She also enjoyed making different animal noises as she played with them, and trying to match up the animals with their home countries on the huge world map that arrived with the very first package.

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The activity passport includes colouring, spot the difference, simple quizzes and more – most activities were quite easy for Izzy and as we went though the content of the pack we talked about the different animals, which ones she already knew and which ones were new to her, and which ones she has seen in real life.

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The flash light adventure is a simple idea where you hold a piece of white card behind a piece of film so that you can see the different images that are printed on the film. Each month you get to ‘find’ different things on the film – so this month it was animals from around the world – and it also includes a clue to the next month’s package.

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Little Passports is a unique idea which can help introduce children to learning about the world, while having fun at the same time. You don’t get lots of information with each pack, but in a way that’s good as it’s bite-size bits of knowledge that young kids can take in, rather than overwhelming them with too much info.  There are also bonus activities sent by email – including extra facts and printable activities. Check out the Little Passports Facebook page too for fun facts, photos and lots of competitions!

Little Passports offer 3 different packages – the Early Explorers for children aged 3-5, World Edition for 6-12 year olds and the USA Edition. Find out more here: Give the gift of Adventure!

 

 

Friday night: Before and after kids

“Thank God its Friday” is an often uttered phrase, but now I have kids it has a completely different meaning from when I was in my child-free early twenties.

Then I used to desperately wish the week away and rush out of work on a Friday to spend a couple of hours getting ready, before heading out with my friends. Friday night out was usually followed by Saturday night out… and the weekend would be a blur of blue wkd and apple sourz. Then Monday would come and I’d start the countdown again.

Now when Friday rolls round, I’m thankful for very different reasons. Like no more school run for 2 days.

I’m thankful that my Hubby will be off work for the next couple of days. Then I might be able to wee in peace as there is another grown up to entertain the kids for a few minutes. If I’m really lucky, I might even get a lie in and a cup of tea in bed.

I’m thankful that I’m off work and we get to do stuff together as a family, even if it’s just going shopping or watching a family film, or chauffeuring the kids to various soft play parties.

I’m thankful that I don’t have to spend ages applying eyeliner or picking the perfect outfit, only to end up sweating and drenched in other people’s drinks with only a hangover to look forward to the next day.

Instead I’ll slip into some comfy pyjamas and watch a film. Maybe I’ll even have a glass of wine. Of course I’ll fall asleep on the sofa before I’ve finished it. That’s like the Mum law.

I’m thankful that now in my (early) thirties and as a mum to 2 young kids it’s perfectly acceptable to chose an uneventful evening in over a sticky dance floor and ridiculously impractical shoes.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good night out with friends, but it generally involves cocktails at a nice restaurant rather than shots and a takeaway kebab. When I do go ‘out’ out, with my mum tum tucked into a pair of trusty skinny jeans and my ‘sensible’ heels on, I usually end up feeling ancient and boring next to all the fashion – conscious inebriated teens.

And it’s not because I’m grown up, or in anyway too good for all of that. It’s simply because by the time the weekend rolls around I’m just too tired. Too tired to spend more than 20 minutes prepping to leave the house. Too tired to queue at packed bars or to dance for hours. Too tired to contemplate having to deal with being woken up at 6am after a 3am bed time – especially if the kids haven’t been sleeping well the rest of the week. And – thanks to my lack of practice over the past few years – I know that even a mild hangover will render me too tired to do anything of value for the next week.

Maybe I am just getting old. But tonight I’ll be quite content watching TV and maybe enjoying a glass of wine. Until I fall asleep on the sofa.

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This post is linked up with:

Twinkly Tuesday @mummascribbles 

Our Weekly Roundup #19

The first week of the Summer holidays got off to a busy – and wet – start.

  • Izzy had her first ever dance concert. She has done a couple of medal tests before but this was the first time she has done a group dance, in front of a packed audience. She sang out loud and looked like she was having a great time. After a dress rehearsal and 2 shows though she is now shattered and we can put away the leotards and ballet shoes for a while as she has no more dance classes over the summer.IMG_20160722_195943
  • I took the kids to a local play centre that has recently opened near us. They got to learn about some animals – Clara wouldn’t touch the bunny or the guinea pig but as soon as the hedgehog came out she whispered to me “I’m going to stroke that one.” She stroked an owl too, but her favourite animal was the the tortoise, and she couldn’t stop watching him.
  • The girls had their first play date of the summer, and Izzy loved catching up with her friend who she doesn’t get to see very often as they go to different schools. They have known each other since they were little babies and when they do get together they are like a little married couple. Making sure we fit in some playdates was one of the many things on our Summer holiday bucket list.img_20160720_170708.jpg
  • Also on the list was a visit to The Beacon, which is a local museum. Over summer they are hosting a Lego exhibition so the girls spent some time looking at models and building their own – which mainly ended in tears after Clara karate chopped Izzy’s tower that she was so proud of. It was so cute as we were about to leave Clara trotted over to the lady who was painting faces and asked her to paint hers – she sat so still and was really chuffed with the rainbow, although it didn’t last five minutes before it was smeared all over her face! IMG_20160724_155458img_20160727_222252.jpg
  • The girls also made some biscuits. I really had to try not to get involved and just let them go for it – and I love the way that Clara put Olaf’s mouth upside down, like he’s pulling a face. She was really proud of herself, though they could barely wait for the icing to set before tucking in – their favourite bit of baking! img_20160727_222616.jpg