Just What Kind of Mother Are You? #weektoview

DSC02263Hope you had an amazing Easter break? Ours was great, although a huge challenge to juggle work and children. I really enjoyed just hanging out in Nottingham with the kids for once. It was a chance to reconnect, to recharge some flagging batteries and to rethink. Having worked hard on some travel blogging press trips as a family we kept our days out low key, and the photos too. Although we did go to one blogging event, Next’s Summer 14 for Kids day, more on that in another post. hello Continue reading

Leappad Ultra reviewed

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Seven year old Miss L was lucky enough to get a Leappad Ultra to try out this Christmas. I will admit I was dubious about them. Many people had said to me, just buy a tablet. But saying that I think there are problems with giving kids tablets too.  I have friends who rave about the Leappad, particularly those who are  less tech-savvy themselves. So if you are thinking about investing here are the pros and cons as I see them: Continue reading

Lewis Hamilton does the school run

Have you seen this yet? If you have ever driven kids in a car you really must. I just love the absolute look of bemusement on Lewis’s face when faced with two primary age passengers, and all their non stop antics.

What do you reckon?  How distracting do you find your kids when driving? The film was made by Allianz to raise awareness of road safety. I think having Lewis in the driving seat, as an accomplished driver, really reinforces the challenges of driving with children in the car, and how important it is to stay focussed. Continue reading

Do you remember the first time you realised you were a family?

Do you remember how you felt the moment you were left alone with your baby? the moment you left hospital or the midwives said goodbye? The moment you opened the door with a baby or the moment the midwives closed your door?

I don’t think I will ever forget it, the bustle, the practicalities, the reorganising. Mr A and I trying to be brave and confident for the other. It came later, lying there in the darkness, it nestled in the stillness of a sleeping baby. The moment we realised we were a family. Continue reading

Tots and technology: The best devices in moderation

Educational Postcard: "Children are living in a different space..."

Today’s guest post looks at the line between technology helping and hindering children’s progress.

From labour saving gadgets to gaming and general entertainment, we barely think twice before turning on tools of modern technology. The relative merits of the impact of technology on modern society are much discussed and perhaps even more so when children are introduced into the mix. Continue reading

What do I need to pack for a Cruise?

It is isn’t long until we head off round the Med with Carnival Cruise Lines on our first voyage as their ambassador family. This is a completely new experience for us, and I’m starting to panic think about what to pack.

Scrapbooks Mine is my blog, but it has always been family tradition to make a holiday scrapbook. You can’t beat a place to stick tickets, postcards, beer mats, flowers and even stray mosquitoes. So a big scrapbook, pens, pencils, glue and sellotape are a must. Beware they can come back to haunt you, here is my Dad embarrassing me from the ‘family scrapbook of Sweden’ in his father of the bride speech at my wedding:

People keep telling me I need some smart dresses for dinner.  I think Carnival Sunshine will have a relaxed and family friendly vibe, it’s not about dinner jackets and ball gowns. But I can see it would be nice to look respectable of an evening, especially for those evenings when the kids are in the Kids’ club. All our summer clothes are pretty worn after a fab summer, time to hit the sales perhaps?

Exercise gear – all inclusive food of this quality definitely requires working out, and although holidays are about relaxation, having a gym and a running track and classes on board makes it really easy.

Travel guides – each stop in port is only a day, so it is important to have an idea what you plan to do. The kids are really enjoying learning about our destinations from the Atlas my Dad gave them. The boat will sail without you if you are late, so I think for some stops we will make the most of Carnival’s excursions. Mr A wants to see the Colosseum in Rome, I want to see the Acropolis in Greece. It will be nice to just potter by the coast in some of the stops I think.

Toys and Games there is absolutely loads to enjoy and do on board for children, we’ll be going to the theatre, making the most of kids club, swimming, watching films and taking on the arcades. But you can’t beat a bit of familiar play stuff for little kids, especially at mealtimes and chilling out times. I’d like us to enjoy whiling away the days at sea together, and taking siestas.

We love Dobble and Storyonics as portable games families can play easily together. Lego is the perfect transportable miniature playworld. Activity books, pen and paper.  A tablet with apps and favourite cartoons too.

Essentials Obviously passports, money, cards, E111 cards and travel insurance. If you are looking for insurance, Debenhams have a kids go free offer: Family Travel Insurance from Debenhams Personal Finance

Any other suggestions gratefully received!

Little Legacy: The Legend and Story of Mum

Legend, from I’m a Mum and a…

Today I am curating the Story of Mum online tour. The idea is, as a curator, you choose something from the Story of Mum Gallery, and contribute something yourself. I chose Legend as an image (above), from the I’m a Mum and a...exhibition, because it jumped out of the gallery at me, it had such power. Continue reading

We came, we saw, we conquered, Camp Bestival 2013

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This was our second year at Camp Bestival and we still found loads of new things to keep us busy. I think it took us longer to get into the festival mood this year, Mr A and I had less time to switch off from work, and the kids being older, wiser and more used to the site, had very strong ideas about what they wanted to do which caused some frictions. (TIP: On Friday everyone is fresh faced and wants to do everything, so there are more queues and people, so try to save some things for other days!)

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No I will not wait ’til Sunday when it is quieter to make slime in the Science tent Mummy!

But I always think festivals are a winding down, transformative kind of ritual, and by Sunday breakfast, Camp Bestival’s magical work on us was complete, look: Continue reading

We’re so excited!

Excitement is really mounting, rather like this 10 second snippet of L’s happy dance at last year’s Camp Bestival. Only a few sleeps to go and we’ve been lying on her bed tonight talking about all the things we want to do together while we are there.

I am now especially excited about the sing along Jungle Book screening and the paper plane world record breaking launch to celebrate Disney’s Planes. The prospect of sneaking some cocktails with some fellow bloggers in the Bollywood Bar is also very appealing. I can’t wait to see Ash and The Levellers. And that’s just me… Continue reading

My definitive #CampBestival Packing list

I think this year I might have cracked it. My definitive Camp Bestival Packing List. Last year I had lots of help and advice, which I have added on to last year’s list. It will keep growing I know, so keep hitting me with what I missed in the comments!

I’ve just reviewed  kattoos temporary phone number tattoos and ear defenders, the giveaway on those two has closed, but I have a fab melamine camping set to giveaway still. I’ve also just reviewed a Coleman cool box on wheels and double sleeping bag. I’m loving the Olpro range of tents, sleeping bags, windbreaks and melamine dinner set, for bringing a splash of colour and coordination to camp. We’ve also played with festival tents you can paint from Outwell.

Here’s my account of Camp Bestival last year which gives more background on some of the things on the list as well as our fab experience! If you’d rather see it there’s also a video here. Even queuing for the toilets is fun, not that we ever had to queue for long at all, in fact the toilets were pretty impressive. So, on to the Camp Bestival Packing List!
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Two tales of Legoland…30 years and 30 minutes #maddayout

That’s my Dad in Miniland at Legoland Windsor, Father’s Day 2013.

That’s my Dad in Miniland, Denmark c1984.

My photography skills improved a little, or maybe it’s just technology.

It meant a lot to take my Dad to Legoland, nearly 30 years on. To take my kids, just a little bit younger than I was when I went. To take a glimpse into my own childhood, to remember and be reminded how it felt to be a child and to see being a parent in a whole new light.  Continue reading

Battle Boxes – Great British Adventure Kits

There’s a knock on the caravan door…

Have you got a sheet? asks a small child

Another Knock

Have you got a tent pole? asks another small child

Another knock

We just need something, you know, to make a keep out sign says my daughter

Another knock

We need snacks for us to eat in our den and a rucksack and a flag and another blanket says my son, all in one breath. Continue reading