Umberslade Farm Park, Warwickshire

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Boston Tea Party

The Grand Opening!

I was super excited to find out last year that Boston Tea Party was opening in my town, I was chuffed to be selected to attend the trial event before the opening day! I love this place, but was not always able to travel to Birmingham or Stratford.  The concept is great; so family friendly (and pet if that is your thing!) I love the menu and the ingredients are ethically sourced, tasty and fresh.

At the trial event I got to take someone with me. We both ordered off the all day breakfast menu. The scrambled egg was divine, and the food was cooked just right and both meals were really tasty. The service was great too!

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It is great that the cafes are committed to their core values, as well as sustainability, and work with local groups and charities in each community that they operate, which is part of their attraction; it is fab that they are banning plastic straws from June 2018 onwards.

Here is a link to their website: http://www.bostonteaparty.co.uk/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

Mother-to-child Paternity Pregnant Women Life

Baby essentials

Where do you start?

When you find out you are pregnant, its daunting, what do I buy? Lots of things are expensive and some items are unnecessary. What are the bare essentials that you cannot do without?

  • If you can afford it, buy a travel system. All of the pieces fit to the same buggy base so it is really handy.
  • An isofix, again expensive, but so easy to get the car seat in and out.
  • Muslins are a must have plenty as they can be used to mop up so much, and can be used instead of a bib. Will save you having so many clothes changes for you and baby.
  • Plenty of blankets to keep your baby warm when out and about.
  • A dehumidifier is great to help the temperature appropriate for baby and helps when is poorly with a blocked nose.
  • If you plan to bottle feed, a microwave steriliser is a must. You can take it with you on trips away, without having to buy a plug in one for the home too!
  • For bottle feeders, using powder formula, Tommy Tippee have some powder tubs so you can pre-measure the right amount of powder.
  • Purchase some nappy sacks, for the stinky nappies. Mamia (Aldi) are really cheap with a nice smell to tone down the odour! No need to buy a nappy dispenser!
  • Muchkin spoons are the best we have found, soft for baby's mouth, especially when teething.
  • Dentinox teething gel is a must, its only £1.50 too so cheap, and does the trick for poorly gums.
  • A bottle of Calpol is a must for any household with children.
  • Get some newborn nappies (a small pack in case you do not need them) and some size 1 nappies
  • Buy plenty of baby wipes (I like Mamia by Aldi, they are super cheap and good!)
  • Buy some soothers (dummies) just in case. We like the Tommy Tippee cherry dummies as they fit into small babies mouths, and they are really soft. They will help with your baby's teething.
  • Get the free packs from Emma's Diary; the freebies are useful!
  • Do not go mad and buy too many clothes or toys as people buy these for you, generally up to size 3 months. I felt bad if my baby did not wear everything that was bought so rather than waste money, wait to see what you are gifted! Buy a few plain baby grows to put under other outfits if it is winter as your baby will need the layers!
  • Gro egg thermometers are really useful, with the screen lighting up in red, amber, blue to quickly show you the perfect temperature
  • Sleep bags are excellent to keep your baby warm. Babies move a lot, so if your little one is prone to wriggling, they will stay warm throughout the night.
  • A car mirror is a must, you can easily see what your baby is up to for piece on mind.
  • A playmat is great for your baby's sensory learning such as grabbing, as well as giving them a safe and comfortable environment for playing and to practive their tummy time, rolling etc.

It can be so easy to go mad and buy a million things that you do not really need.

If you are on a budget. Try your local NCT, or baby and local sales websites for second hand.

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This post is entirely my own opinion, it has not been written in exchange for gifts by any brands mentioned in this article.

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Cruises are not just for old people!

What is a cruise all about?

Cruising these days is a excellent way to travel the world in style. The ships that you travel on are amazing and there are so many brilliant destinations to travel to. Cruises these days often have lots of families are on board, due to the excellent creche facilities and flexible eating arrangements. There are also quite a few hen parties and weddings on board too. If you did not know the captain marries you when you are out at sea! The sail-away parties are amazing!

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Cruise ships are amazing! How does something so large not sink!! I am amazed how they are maneuvered in small ports and narrow shipping lanes. Cruising into Venice was really tricky as the canals are quite shallow and the ship nearly touches the bottom, so no mean feat for the crew. Some of the largest ships can have 4,000 guests and 1,500 crew to tend to your every need. The rooms are tended to twice a day, and you receive daily news papers with details of where you are visiting, as well as information about what is happening on board, any deals or information. There are often dry cleaning and internet access offers, to take advantage of. With regards to dining, for breakfast and lunch there is casual buffet dining. In the evening there is the choice of casual dining, or a more formal dinner every evening, as well as specialist restaurants.

Some of the fab places I have visited

How else can you visit so many places in one go?

Caribbean

Starting in Barbados, the port is opposite the cricket ground. Such a lovely view when you board the ship. A lot of the Caribbean islands are quite poor, so you need to either be careful where you visit on your own or go on an tour organised by the cruise ship. There are some amazing islands to see such as Antigua, Barbados, Saint Martin, or Grenada. Tax free shopping is a must in the Caribbean. Make sure you fill your case (within the legal guidelines of course!)

 

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Central America

Again, similar to the Caribbean there are some poor places, however visiting Columbia, seeing the amazing site that is the Panama canal in action, and visiting the most beautiful beaches of Grand Cayman makes this an amazing trip.

Bruges

A trip to Bruges is short, just a couple of days from Southampton. Bruges is a lovely place to visit, some gorgeous buildings to see and of course beers and chocolates to taste!

Italy & Greece

Greece has so many wonderful islands to see, where do you start? We visited Crete, and Santorini which were amazing. In Italy we visited the amazing island of Capri, and the cruise was completed by sailing into Venice.

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On board there is so much to do, from swimming to sunbathing, from the gym to the sauna, and a running track. There is a casino, a nightclub, lots of bars, cafes & restaurants, shops and a gallery. Each ship always has a beautiful atrium as a central point. This is where the Captain's drinks are normally held one evening of the cruise. Other activities vary from cruise ship to cruise ship, some have bungee jumps, go-carts or sky rides.

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On board, it is five star luxury. Rooms vary from single/double inside cabins to suites with a view. If you are prone to sea sickness the lower cabins are better for you. The first couple of days are disorientating as the ships are so large with so many floors, and one wrong turn you can be walking for what seems like an eternity until you can find a lift or the stairs to get to where you need to. Thankfully you get a map!

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What is so great is that you get to do whatever you want as there is so much choice, and there are lots of opportunity to see so many places in a short space of time. That way you can choose whether you go back somewhere, or whether it is just a tick on the bucket list!

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The best trip so far!

My most favourite sailing experience was sailing from the sea up through the canal into Venice. What amazing views, and the best way to arrive in Venice by far!
The views are breathtaking! When you leave Venice by bus/car the views towards the airport are disappointing. I just wish we could have left the city the same way that we arrived.

By far the best ship I have been on was a Celebrity ship; it was amazing. I saw it one once while on another ship, and had ship envy!! I must admit that I enjoy the Britishness of P&O ships with a sail away waving Union Jacks.

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

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Why I am not a baby shower person

What are my thoughts on this?

I chose not to hold a baby shower before I had my little one, and I am also not a fan of attending other people's baby showers here are the reasons why:

  • The games are often really tacky, boring and repetitive, as there is only so much you can do, there is little variety
  • Pretty much 99% of the conversation is about babies, whuch can be so dull, especially if you do not have or do not want children. You attend to support a friend of family member but are bored rigid, thinking surely these people have more in their lives...
  • I am not convinced you should celebrate an impending life/lives until they are here safe and sound. Unfortunately, I know many people who have lost babies at full term, so why jinx this?
  • Everyone gets to drink alcohol to celebrate, but you cannot have any yet...
  • It gets a bit competitive with gift opening, not great if people are on a low budget, it can be quite awkward, even though every gift is thoughtful, it is not great when some gifts are extravagant
  • The whole thing is too American for me! I think they were are novelty that are dying out now, I have not heard of many mums-to-be of recent that are holding baby showers.

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Is there any fun to be had?

Yes, there is cake!!!

I did go to a baby shower once that was a bit different, there was a fab game with lots of nappies with melted chocolate in them. They all looked like pooey nappies! The game was to sniff each nappy and guess the chocolate. It was definitely much better than smelling poop!!

Some people choose to have a baby shower, which is of course personal choice. This blog is entirely made up of my own thoughts and opinions.

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Baby First Aid Course

Why baby first aid?

I was flicking through Facebook, and saw that Boston Tea Party in Solihull had links with Milk Cub. Milk Cub is run by a mum who is a pediatric doctor on maternity leave. I decided to follow these posts. Milk cub recently advertised baby first aid courses, which I thought would be really useful. It was something that I had been meaning to do, since I saw Jamelia on This Morning several weeks ago. Jamelia was running a story advising parents to take baby first aid classes, following an incident where her child had stopped breathing, and she had no idea what to do. This got me thinking that neither did I!
I looked around and saw that many courses were from £25 and thought wow quite pricey for parents who have lost income and have have extra expense with a new baby, and maternity/paternity pay being so low in many cases.
I came across Milk Cub which was only £7.75 for an hour long session. Great as you can learn pretty quickly! The session was not certified like some of the other courses, however that did not matter as that is not what I went for!

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What was the session like?

The group at the session was nice and small, so we got to sit around the tutor easily, it was also so fairly informal, we could ask questions at any time, and interact with each other, as well as bring our little ones, feed and play with them, while still learning. The tutor had a laptop and showed us some things that we needed to remember. The session was useful as it taught us the two main things that you need to know; resuscitation and choking. I was happy about this, as when I am overloaded with information I do not take it all away, so was great just to learn the main things that are needed. It was great to hear that actually what we learned is rarely needed, however it is great that we can feel better if something were to happen! We all got to practice on a doll too if we wanted. Actually doing resuscitation was much harder than I realised that it would be, and has definitely given me some thing to take away.

Here is the link to the webpage on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MilkCubConcept/?ref=br_rs

This post is entirely my own words and opinions.

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The Baby Show 2018

About our day

We went on the first day, and we decided to park at Resorts World as we wanted to eat after the show, that way we could park all day for £2 instead of £10 at the NEC.

When we got there we were pretty pleased to see the hall was pretty child friendly with many cafes with lots of space for buggies! There was a great feeding area sponsored by Tommee Tippee and a nappy changing area sponsored by Mamia (Aldi) with free nappies. Both of these areas were very spacious, and there were no queues to use them.

We spent all day up and down the aisles, collecting freebies, chatting to stallholders, and purchasing our course!

We got quite a stash of freebies!!

A few things were disappointing:

We struggled to entertain our babies at lunch. They love to roll or crawl around, and there was no soft play area, which was a shame. There was a fab tractor area for older kids (toddlers) but nothing for babies, which was odd considering it was a baby show.

I expected some bigger discounts at some of the stalls, to entice people to purchase items. I am also surprised that Aldi only had items to view and did not sell anything that they exhibited; I think that they missed a trick!

It was a little bit odd to see a cat protection stall and guide dogs, as much as these are good causes, I am not sure why they were at the show. I would rather have seen some baby charities such as Tommys, Bliss or Count the Kicks.

A bit of background...

My friend and I have a one year and 4 month old respectively, so we were not sure how much we woukd get out of the show. The tickets were a gift, so why not?! We would have a lovely day anyway with the kiddies, plus the show was 15 minutes from home at the NEC.

About the Baby Show

The show had a number of stands in one hall, that covered many aspects of what you need for your baby, these include; travel systems, nursery furniture, clothes, gifts, books, carriers & slings, childcare vouchers, nappies, bottles & feeding, maternity wear, hand & foot prints, so quite a variety! 

There were also plenty of shows and speakers, such as NCT classes and first aid classes, plus one to one sessions that you could pre-book.

Many stalls did show discounts, and special bundles.

The show is suitable for parents to be, and parents of babies up to around 18 months. Once they get to this age there is not that much apart from books, as the products are aged at younger babies.

It is also good that Emma's diary have a free shop & drop area that you can collect when you have finished at the show.

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Freebies!

Here is a look at the stash that we collected on the day! These included a bottle and soother, nappies, wipes, a bath toy, a range of convenient baby foods, nappy rash cream, disposable bibs and tea bags.
Some of the items were for smaller babies than mine, however I am going to give them to a good cause!

I am pretty happy with the stash! It always feels like you have won the lottery, when you get free stuff, even if it does not cost that much! The freebies were more than the value of the ticket for the day so all in all not a bad effort!

Was it worth it?

All in all it was a good day, we learned some things by speaking to various people at the event. Here is a picture of some of the bargains that we got on the day! I was really impressed that Milton steriliser fluid was sold at only £1 at the event, which is more than 50% off the normal RRP. Nuby was also great with 20% off!

We did not manage to get to any of the talks or lectures with little ones in toe, but not a bad day, and I got some great bargains!

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The final verdict!

All in all, we had a great day! There were some great stalls, it was well spread out so you can manoeuvre buggies around, and the cafes and eating areas were spacious.  I got more out of it than my friend, as there was more focus on products suitable for younger babies (under 1's) than the older babies. I was happy with my freebie stash, and my bargains, and we had a nice day out followed by dinner with our little ones!

It will be interesting to try the Baby to Toddler Show later in the year to see what they have to offer.

Links to the websites:

https://thebabyshow.co.uk/birmingham

https://www.babytotoddlerevents.co.uk/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

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BilinguaSing baby classes

About BilinguaSing

I am one of the most skeptical people when it comes to baby classes, however, I discovered BilinguaSing. I looked at their website, and saw that the concept was award winning, which is great! I really wanted to do a singing/music class with my little one, and I have always wanted to learn Spanish, so this is perfect! The purpose of the classes are that they combine singing with learning a language. The songs are very memorable, and you find yourself singing along to them all the time!! It is well known that babies and toddles that hear foreign speech, or speak foreign languages are more likely to have a higher IQ, as well as heightened creativity, better communication skills, wider vocabulary, enhanced memory and focus and multi-tasking skills‚Äč.

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In fact, speaking to someone recently, who undertakes child studies at Warwick uni, was pleased when I told him my five month old was attending these classes, and wanted us to join his studies, of course we signed up!

The BilinguaSing classes are for babies aged from 4 weeks up until children aged 11, these are as follows:
• Newborn babies
• Mobile babies
• Toddler and pre-school
• Nurseries and pre-schools
• Primary school

About our classes

Our class lead, Emma is really personable, and great with babies.  The classes are nice small groups, so plenty of interaction with Emma, they also vary each week, and it is great that the songs that we sing are different to all of the classic nursery rhymes. I like the variety of songs and the interations that the babies have with sensory items such as puppets and bubbles. In addition, each song is sung in English, and then in Spanish, such a great way for parents and babies to learn another language. Each class is 45 minutes long, with a drink and biscuit at the end, and chance to chat to the other mums.

Each we the babies are introduced to each other and we say bye too! This encourages social interaction between the children; which is great! The activity with each song varies, to make it a great learning experience, such as sensory, toys, massage, bubbles, stars. We really love the classes, and for £72 a term for 12 classes its pretty good value for money, as some play groups charge a £4 entrance fee.

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Additional Learning

You can also buy books and cds that support the learning process. We bought a starter pack with a book, crib sheet with pronunciations and a CD. The books are both in English and Spanish. The CD is great, we (I!) sing along in the car. The CD is great as the words come with the CD.

Here is a link to their website: https://bilinguasing.com/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

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Why do I keep receiving data protection emails?

What is GDPR?

This is legislation that is over and above the current Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), it strengthens the legislation for consumers giving more rights and protection than previously. Companies are making important updates to their privacy policies, and therefore sending emails to every user that are registered with them.

Why is this?

  • Due to new EU data protection laws, all EU countries require all businesses to update their Privacy Notices to clarify how personal data is collected, shared and retained
  • Companies now need new policies on how they use your data
  • From 25th May 2018 companies have to commit to new rules under the GDPR regulations, fines for non-compliance will be much larger
  • There are new safeguards when data is moved in a company across various the countries it operates in, particularly those outside the European Economic Area
  • You need to be informed how companies use your data to inform you about their products and services

What will this mean for me?

Everytime you sign up to something or somewhere you do business with already, such as your bank, the company organisation will collect a lot of personal data such name, date of birth, address, email.

You will find that many companies are sending you emails at the moment, advising one of two things:

  • Do you want to receive our emails? If so click further for more information to confirm to the company your requirements
  • We are updating our policies, and here is how we will treat your data

This means that it will your choice to agree to further direct marketing communications, such as ticking a box or agreeing over the phone. All companies will have to provide you with the opportunity to opt out of all future communications. It must be clear what you are signing up to when you sign up. Your positive opt-in should not then mean that later down the line your data is misused or that you are contacted for something that you did not sign up to.

What will happen to my data after Brexit?

    • If you process data about individuals in the context of selling goods or services to citizens in other EU countries then you will need to comply with the GDPR, irrespective as to whether or not you the UK retains the GDPR post-Brexit.
    • If your activities are limited to the UK, then the position (after the initial exit period) is much less clear. This is one to watch!
    • The UK Government's new data protection legislation, which will implement the vast majority of GDPR is currently working its way through debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords and is subject to amendments.
    • There is an expectation that the legislation will largely follow the GDPR, given the support of the regulation previously given by the UK Government. This will be necessary to continue to do business with other EU countries, so the UK will not be able to move too far from the GDPR guidelines

 

Then what next? Why should we care?

Businesses can be fined huge amounts of money for future misues of your data and data breaches, so it is important that everyone is aware of this legislation.

Once the legislation is in place, if you feel aggrieved about how your data is managed, you can complain to the company directly or contact the ICO at:

https://ico.org.uk/

This post is not sponsored and is for information purposes only.

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Why I did not attend antenatal classes

What are antenatal classes?

These are classes either run by your local health authority or NCT, and they run through the preparing for birth, giving birth, and what happens after birth. They are normally a number of sessions for you and your partner/friend to attend. There is a lot of detail around coping with the pain of birth, what your birth supports role is, different positions for labour, what happens in an emergency.

Why I decided that these classes were not for me!

I knew that I was having a ceasarian section for a long time during my pregnancy. When researching the content of the antenatal classes before booking and asking friends what they thought I decided to give them a wide berth. Why? I hear you ask!

• Some friends said that they did not meet anyone worth keeping in touch with, the courses are quite a few hours, often after work, when lets face it at 30 weeks you are too tired to go to classes after work that will teach you nothing

• The key for me was nothing, nothing about a c-section at all, but plenty about breathing and natural labour

• The classes mainly focus on naturals birthing, with breathing techniques, positions etc

• Some providers charge a lot of money for the classes

• I cannot understand why they do not teach you how to make a bottle (albeit taboo) or change a nappy?! I recently saw that NCT run some post natal classes which cover some of these aspects, however at which point you have learned anyway as you have no choice!

This is entirely my own thoughts, and in many cases people have felt that the classes are right for them.