That moment was yesterday.
I visited The Baby Show yesterday for what felt like the hundredth time since becoming a parent eight years ago. Only it felt different, I felt out of place, like I was no longer part of this club which I’ve been a member of for so long that I cannot remember what life was like before it. It didn’t help that I was attending my youngest who’s now 3, she’s no baby now, and we didn’t even take her pushchair along with us. I don’t think I’ve been to a baby show before without one of my children being in a pram or baby carrier of their own.
For a while, I’ve known the baby days were well and truly over but it was only yesterday that it did hit me, there are no more babies being housed in this body or this house. It will probably be the last time we will attend The Baby Show unless that day comes where one of my closest friends (yeah I’m looking at you two) becomes pregnant.
You see The Baby Show IS the place to go while pregnant or even after the baby is born, it is the perfect place to see everything you need under one roof, to compare it at the same time and even maybe grab it at a lower price. There are samples to be had and experts on hand to explain to you terminology such as ISOFIX and rear-facing.
When I was walking around, I had this inner urge to shout at all the new parents what would be best to buy and what not to bother wasting their money on. But then that makes me one of *those* people; you know the ones that give you that unwanted advice. Out of habit, I went to my favourite exhibitors, those who’s products have been in our parenting lives since the start and have continued to wow us over the years with new products.
The Baby Show is currently happening at the NEC Birmingham until the 21st May 2017 and then can be found at Olympia in London on the 20th – 22nd October 2017 and ExCel in London 2nd – 4th march 2018.
I feel like we’ve just been in a car crash.
Watching the event unfold in front of my eyes and the way I feel right now after it has happened is the way I felt when we witnessed a horrific accident several years ago and when a car went into the back of us last year. I’m angry, sad and feeling so emotions that I’m already on my second cup of tea and seventh cry this morning.
It was a rainy school run today; it was wellies for the little ones and raincoats all around. When it rains I get the pleasure of Dylan walking, the one day we get to leave the pram at home. I love walking with Dylan in one hand and Charlotte in the other, Oli will walk along near us, and we spend that 10-minute walk chatting. It’s one of my favourite times of the day.
Only today was not one of my favourite days, half way through our school run just as we walked alongside the supermarket and through a well-used entry and exit to this supermarket, a cyclist came speeding down the path and crashed into my family, catching Oli. Her back wheel went up in the air, obviously from braking, and she came off. It was just like a car crash, and the result could have been just as bad as if a car came on the path into my children.
She apologised, but I couldn’t look her in the eyes after my initial look at her. I was too busy trying to calm down my children and find out if Oli was OK. He was distraught and took some calming down. She went off and knew obviously how in the wrong she was as she went on to the road if only she had previously done that. Oli was ok to walk on, and I made sure he was checked over by a first aider when he arrived at school, he had escaped with just a scrap to the ankle. It could have been so much worse. School promised to contact me if anything changed.
I then went on to drop Charlotte at pre-school, Dylan had already been dropped off as I knew he wouldn’t understand why we needed to go into Oli’s school. She couldn’t stop talking about it, she’s three so, of course, it was confusing to her what had happened. We reassured her Oli was OK but she was telling people ‘Oli is hurt’ so I had to explain to her teachers what had happened.
I hate how someone’s stupid mistake can affect people’s lives, we all make mistakes but when it comes to people’s lives and wellbeing that’s when you need to think. She shouldn’t have been on that path; she should have been on the road, and her shouldn’t have been going so fast in this wet weather. I am very angry at her but yet I’m now wondering if she had hurt herself, guess that’s the Christian inside of me.
Most of us like receiving fun things in the post but receiving wine in the post beats receiving bills that’s for sure. The Decanting Club offered me the chance to explore some wine with them, a glass at a time and I happily accepted this offer. Wine in the post? Genius idea!
It came with my standard mail (so yeah alongside the bills and various unsolicited post) in a white envelope addressed to me. Inside it contained two sachets of wine for us to try out along with some postcards which included some information about the wine we received.
The sachets were labelled with which wine it held; we received the Te Awa, Left Field from Hawke’s Bay and the Valle Reale from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. We got a glass of white wine and a glass of red white to try out which suited the husband and me as I’m a white wine drinker and he’s rather fond of the red. What you’ll get upon signing up is the same but with one 150ml glass of wine for you to swirl, sniff and taste.
The postcard contained everything we needed to know from the year to the region where it was produced. The other side of the postcard goes into more detail about the wine as well as giving you some handy information about to serve it as well as recommendations on what food to match it with. It will vary each week between red and white with the occasional glass of rose wine chosen by the Decanting Club wine expert.
A glass of wine during the week is perfect for busy Mums and Dads like me and the Man who want a midweek treat without the temptation (and hangover) which could come with a full bottle of wine. We did like the handy suggestion of what food to team it with, and we took the recommendation on the Valle Reale postcard and had our wine alongside some Spaghetti Carbonara. It was also brilliant having the recommended serving temperature listed, that right temperature really does make a difference to the taste.
Being a member of the Decanting Club means that you get a discount on wine purchased by the case. You simply add the wines that you’re tried and like and you can receive a mixed case. If there’s one wine in particular that you like, then you can purchase a complete case for immediate delivery.
We think it’s a brilliant service which would make a unique gift for someone if you wasn’t interested in becoming a member yourself. Quite often we pick up a bottle of wine as a thank you/birthday gift, but I like how quirky it would be to give a month’s worth of weekly wine as a gift instead allowing the recipient to try out new wines and be surprised as they receive wine through their letterbox.
I’m pretty sure my children make our babysitters broody as we’ve just waved goodbye to our second babysitter as she now has her own child to look after. That’s two babysitters who have gone on to raise their own families and understandably with a newborn they have had to say goodbye to being our babysitters. Thanks to sitters, the best place to find a babysitter we do not have to say goodbye to our childless date nights.
Over seven years babysitters have been one of the most valuable parenting tools we could have in our family life. It allows us to have a break from parenting and do things that only us adults can do. I thought I would put together some useful tips if you’re booking a babysitter for the very first time.
Do the children have any allergies or medical conditions that are vital for the babysitter to know? Important for them to know and it may be one of the first questions a paramedic may ask if they had to attend for any reason. One of the very first discussions we have with our babysitters is about Dylan and the fact he has Autism.
Does your child have a comforter that they cannot sleep without? If you child wakes up crying, then it’s always nice for the babysitter to know what may be the cause and how he/she can help get the child back to sleep happily. Especially if it has some weird name so if the child cries out for it, the babysitter knows exactly what they are looking for.
Tell them or leave a list of how things work; this is where our handy prewritten list for housesitters come in handy. We have everything listed including the remote and how to operate the oven, we’ve put it into a handy file along with the manuals. If you’re leaving a baby at home then make sure they understand how the baby monitor operates along with any soothing device baby may have to help them to sleep.
If your child has a schedule leave the babysitter with bottle and meal instructions, nap times, where the nappies are kept and anything else which is in the child’s daily/nightly routine.
Always leave your contact information even if you’re just popped down the road, make sure they have your current phone number and if possible the contact information of where you are going that. If you are going out with someone else be it a friend or partner leave their contact details as well in case the babysitter can not get hold of you.
Discuss what they should do in an emergency, basically tell them what you would do in an emergency situation. Leave a spare key with the babysitter in case for any reason they need to leave the house.
What the babysitter can have
We often say to the babysitter to help themselves when it comes to food and drink, but obviously, this does not work for everyone. Let them know if there’s anything specific they can and cannot have.
If the children are in bed then why not share the WIFI password with them so they can use it on their devices. I know personally that I have a whole list of programmes to catch up on.
How to entertain the child/children
If the kids are awake when the babysitter arrives then point them in the direction of what kind of toys and activities will keep the children entertained. You could even put together a basket of toys for them. If the babysitter is feeling rather creative than you could always suggest face painting which is alway a hit with older kids.
This is a collaborated post
I was ten was Bob The Builder came on to our TV screens so I remember it well especially as I had younger brothers who would watch it. Fast forward 18 years and now I have a daughter who LOVES watching Bob The Builder with her brothers. She is a huge fan and a Bob The Builder workbench takes pride of place in her bedroom.
She was excitedly sent a Bob The Builder Switch & Fix Bob to review from Fisher Price. She approached her review just like Bob would approach any job he was given, with a hard hat and sheer determination.
We took Bob out the box and fixed on his welding mask and popped the jackhammer, saw, and auger tool on to his rotating tool belt.
Charlotte then followed my instructions of pressing down on Bob’s head to quick draw the tool that was just under his right hand on his tool belt. Pressing down again detaches it and pops it back into his tool belt, you can then rotate the belt for Bob to pick up another tool.
Charlotte thought it was brilliant and squealed in delight as he magically picked up these tools and put them back down again. When she pressed Bob’s head, it activates lights and phrases with Bob’s familiar phrases and song. Charlotte enjoyed singing along with him and making up her own phrases as she played with it. I’ve added some video to the bottom of the post so you can see for yourself exactly how Bob’s rotating toolbelt works.
We think it’s a brilliant toy and has been something different to the many toys her and her brothers have played with over the years. It’s quirky the way it can pick up the tool and reattached it just by pressing down on the helmet. All 3 of the children have enjoyed exploring playing with Bob and his rotating tool belt, for 4-year-old Dylan with a love of all things sensory he liked the LED which lit up every time Bob got his tool.
I love holiday parks! They have absolutely everything you need in one place without you having to leave the park unless of course, you want to explore the local area. We thought we would take advantage of the Man having the weekend off to book a stay at a UK holiday park. Our frugal hunting and Oli’s request to go back to South Wales saw us booking a 3-night stay at Trecco Bay Holiday Park with Parkdean Holidays for £149. We could only stay the Friday & Saturday night as the kids had school on Monday but this meant we could check out late on Sunday and that price is still lower than a hotel for two nights for five people.
It was brilliant to be exploring a new part of the UK coast, and just a short walk from our caravan was this spectacular view. Our first walk to Trecco Bay the tide was in, but on our returning visit it was out, and it left us with some pretty amazing rock pools. Oli was in rock pool heaven and enjoyed hunting for crabs and other sea creatures with other children. The rock pools are the very reason we plan on returning to Trecco Bay with crabbing nets to hand.
Just a short drive away which is also within walking distance is the town of Porthcawl. We parked up and had a walk up the hill towards The Grand Pavillion and then back down towards Coney Beach Amusement Park taking in all the seaside favourites on our way. It was a beautiful day, and we were very lucky to have some sunny weather considering it was the start of April.
The Holiday Park
Trecco Bay Holiday Park was probably one of the biggest holiday parks we’ve stayed at, and I can imagine it being even busier during the Summer, but I like to think we came at the right time of year which allowed us to enjoy a quieter break. Friday traffic meant we arrived gone six so after a pizza & chips tea in the caravan we headed to the Show Dome for the evening’s entertainment.
We introduced Charlotte to the delights of the 2p slots, and this kept her and Oli entertained until we had run out of pound coins to convert into all those 2ps. The live music act was fantastic, and I love the fact the kids had live music to dance to for their disco. They danced their little hearts out and even got me up dancing with them.
The onsite kid’s playpark was a delight for all the kids; it was friendly for all their ages and in good condition. I had the pleasure of introducing Charlotte to the zip wire, and my little thrill seeker had lots of fun whizzing at speed. Just next door to it was an outdoor splash park which the kids agreed looked like lots of fun, that will definitely be added to our to-do list next time we visit.
The adventure golf was an attractive feature to this holiday park when we asked Oli where he fancied going; it’s a new pastime of his and one he enjoys doing with his Dad. I enjoyed watching them with a coffee to hand and being able to capture precious moments like our autistic son Dylan getting out of his pushchair to join in with the boys. When we played, the price was £3 with the option of paying £10 for 4 of us to play.
There are plenty of places to grab food and drink from onsite including the shop and a chippy. We didn’t eat out choosing to self-cater in our caravan instead, but we were tempted by the breakfast we saw in the Coast restaurant while grabbing my Costa coffee, it looked delicious and great value for its low price.
Probably worth me noting that there is a Co-op and Greggs just around the corner from the holiday park. We grabbed some sausage rolls and gingerbread men on our last day to eat on the Trecco Bay beach.
When I said that holiday parks had everything you needed it really was true, Trecco Bay had lots of arcades for the kids to spend their pocket money, fairground rides like dodgems, soft play, bowling lanes and a splashland. Funtasia had it all including another place tp eat – Legends Diner which is a rock and roll themed diner and situated next to the bowling. Bowling and a burger is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night with the kids.
The splashland was one of the best swimming pools we’ve been to which ticked all our boxes. The water was warm, and there was a pirate ship which was lots of fun for the little ones, Charlotte adored that little curly water slide. Visiting the pool is free as it’s included in your free entertainment passes.
No worries if you forgot the buckets and spades as there also gift shops on site selling everything you could need for a trip to the beach.
On top of all the above, they have kids clubs during the day with activities likes arts & crafts and talent shows for the older children. We didn’t take part in any of this, but it’s good to know it’s there if we wanted to join in proving, even more, value for our money.
We stayed in the Newtown Caravan which has three bedrooms and sleeps 6-8 with the additional sleeping in the lounge. It wasn’t the best of caravans we have stayed in; there was a funny stale smell when we walked in which was obviously from previous people smoking in it. It wasn’t very child-friendly in the way that the windows could very easily be opened by small hands, the gas fire had the wire front hanging off and there was no was of locking the door from inside with a key. I did take photos of these niggles, but I’ve decided not to bode on them, we have a child with special needs, so obviously, anything like this is a risk for us.
I didn’t get a photo of the kid’s rooms before they have dived right into them to make them home for the next couple of nights. In each room two single beds which we put together to make them more small people friendly. Oli & Dylan shared a room while Charlotte had a room to herself. Linen is included in the price as well as gas and electricity. Our room was a spacious double, and that bed was super comfy, could have happily bought that mattress home with us.
The living area had sufficient seating for us including a table with a couple of stools for us to sit and eat at. There was plenty of storage for us to hide away the toys when they weren’t being played with.
The kitchen had everything we needed, but you do need to bring your own washing up stuff and tea towels.
The bathroom had a shower and one toilet, there was one toilet roll supplied but it like us you have children that go through it quickly, pack a couple more rolls. You also need to bring your own towels. At the end of the day we just like having somewhere, we can sleep and use as a base to explore the world outside that caravan door.
We had an early start to our first day in New York as we had a special tour of the American Museum Of Natural History booked. Before we had left, we used the internet to find possible autism friendly events which would be suitable for Dylan and struck gold when we found the ‘The Discovery Squad’, and you can read about everything we got up to that morning right here.
Having to be at the museum at 9 am and not wanting to experience the subway just yet we grabbed an uber cab which I had downloaded the app for a while in NYC. I like the idea of looking at the route, price and being able to grab a taxi which would fit us all in at the touch of a button. He dropped us outside the museum, and that’s when we felt like we were in New York City. There was a food cart on the corner and at the edges of the pavements where the remains of snow from the week previous still was.
After the discovery squad tour, we explored the museum and started our hunt for all the things we remembered from the Night At The Museum film. There were excited squeals from all of us when we came across Dum Dum (Easter Island Head) and posed for photos with it. You’ll see all those and more in our American Museum Of Natural History post (due to arrive on the blog very soon – will update this post with a link asap)
When we left, we came straight out the exit to see Central Park right opposite us so excitedly we headed off to explore some of the park. Central Park, was probably one of the places we were most looking forward to visiting while in New York, it’s just so famous and so especially amazing that there is this big huge green space in the middle of the city.
It did look overwhelming though, and we didn’t know where, to begin with exploring Central Park, so we stuck to the side where the museum was and didn’t go in too deep. Day 2 we had a Heart of The Park Tour planned for the morning which would give us that Central Park experience we were wanting.
Walking out of the park we came across Trump International Hotel And Tower, and it was one of those places we frowned at, but naturally, as tourists, we stopped to look and take photos. It was the president’s hotel, even if we didn’t like the idea of him being president and we thought it rather cool.
We then experienced our first Subway ride as we wanted to get back towards our hotel and our feet we were already aching. There was a subway which had a lift down to the platform where the ticket machines greeted us, I will admit to being overwhelmed by this experience which by the end of our two weeks was one which was second nature to us. I found the New York Subway easier than the London Underground to us. We managed to find our way from where we were to Times Square which was where out hotel was based. Also by the end of the fortnight, I realised we could have walked it just as quickly as taking the subway, that’s hindsight for you.
We came out of the subway station and found ourselves outside Midtown Comics which was pretty epic for this family of comic book lovers. Charlotte at two already has a big love of comics, so I have her the lead on hunting out our favourite comics. A place to add to your list if like us you’re a total geek.
It felt so surreal to be in Times Square after seeing this scene in so many of our favourite films. I remember the scene below with New York Police Dept being in The Amazing Spiderman Film.
We went to explore what Times Square had on offer and instantly discovered M&M World. Chocolate paradise and this huge M&M peanut fan was in heaven! Just like the one in London, there was so much to see, and the kids enjoyed looking around and taking it all in. One of those free to visit places where you could easily spend an hour exploring the three floors.
Another chocolate paradise just around the corner was Hershey’s Chocolate World. Now I’m not a big Hershey’s fan and I cannot stand that Reese’s peanut butter stuff, I hear you gasp, but I am a Hershey’s cookies & creme fan and must have had 20 odd bars of the stuff whilst in New York and did bring a fair few bars back home with me. The staff were incredibly friendly, and we got free hats and free chocolate.
By the time we had explored some of Times Square (lots of shops) we were starving so prompted by a flyer we got given which offered a free drink with food, we headed to Guy’s All American Food for our dinner.
The man had this very delicious mac & cheese bacon burger while I had some equally delicious pulled pork sliders with an extra side of garlic fries. Guy’s had the exact food we had been missing after our California holiday; we are yet to have a burger in England which match the quality of the burgers we have consumed while over in the US.
We saw some people with LEGO shopping bags which had us wanting to hunt out the LEGO store so headed in that direction. On our way, we saw Radio City and the home of NBC.
Then we came across the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck, and we thought that would be a good time to put our CityPASS to use for the first time. So saving our LEGO store visit for another day, we headed up the lift and was blown away by this view. Perfect end to our first day in New York.