The Summer So Far…

Good afternoon and happy new week!  Today I wanted to share some of the things we got up to in the first two weeks of the Summer holidays with the boys.  Hopefully this can help give you some inspiration and ideas for days out and things to do.

Chatham Historical Dockyards

We were incredibly luck to be contacted but the people at Chatham Dockyards and invited for a visit.  They have just opened a new Lego exhibit and had seen we were big fans and asked if we would like to come and have a look around.

Unfortunately earlier that week Ste was admitted to hospital with an infection.  Although he was feeling much better, because he needed a two week course of IV antibiotics he was forced to stay in.  My friend Dan came with me to pick up the boys on the Friday following their last day at school and we headed over to Kent.  The boys did not know about any of what I had planned so were super surprised to see us pull into a hotel rather than heading home!  As Kent is only a half hour drive from Essex, I booked a hotel there for the night rather than driving back to Derby.

The following morning after breakfast we headed over too the Dockyards.  The day out did not disappoint and we had a fantastic time.  The boys Dad used to in the Navy so getting to explore one of the ships was brilliant.

We also booked on to the tour of the Ropery and the submarine which was simple and easy to do when we arrived.  The boys were ‘roped’ in to helping demonstrate how rope used to be made and had lots of fun and a good deal of exercise doing it!  The submarine tour was also brilliant and definitely makes you appreciate our armed forces even more – some sailors spend months on these underwater helping to protect our country!

Unfortunately on the day we visited, the Dockyards had to shut early due to an incident which happened.  The staff handled it really well and were lovely and helpful.  This meant we didn’t get to have a look around the Lego exhibition but we have been invited back which we hope to do.

The on site restaurant was good and offered a selection of lunch options which were reasonably priced.  The gift shop was also lovely and had lots of choice to suit all budgets.

Disabled Access

The site is large so anyone with trouble walking long distances may struggle.  However, there are plenty of places to sit along the way round.  Access to the submarine would not be possible with a wheelchair but the Dockyards informed me that there is a virtual tour that people can take.  Both the submarine and ship have steps to descend/ascend.  The ship is accessed by a ramp so you can explore the deck area, even if you are unable to explore the rest of the ship. The Ropery is on two levels but their is a lift for people unable to manage stairs.  There are good toilet facilities around the site.  The disabled toilets were spacious and clean.

If You Want To Visit

docks

Visit the website

For the Summer school holidays, kids can get in for £1 with every full paying adult – bargain!

Buy tickets online

To see more of our visit to the Dockyards please check out our YouTube video here

Swimming

Swimming with an ostomy can be nerve wracking but I have two water babies so it had to be on our Summer to-do list!

I won’t go into too much detail about the swimming with an ostomy stuff here, as I am writing a post for TalkHealth all about it at the moment, which should be live soon.

Check out my TalkHealth page

We had a great time in the pool and it was brilliant to see how far the boys have come.  They have been having swimming lessons both privately and with school and they are doing fantastically well.

Bounce Revolution

The boys broke up earlier than the schools in Derby which meant that for the first week they were off, places were really quiet!  We took advantage of this as much as we could, including a visit here.  I had two tickets from our previous visit giving us entry for £5.  The boys absolutely love it and had the place to themselves for half an hour, with only one other family joining them for the following hour they were in there!  The staff are friendly and were great wrth the boys.  They were also brilliant when Leo managed to hurt his knee and provided first aid and an ice pack etc.  The boys loved running round, jumping, playing basketball and football and I was able to sit and watch with a cuppa!

To book your visit see the website

Thackray Medical Museum

This museum is on the site of St James Hospital in Leeds.  The entrance fee covers your visits for a whole year so you can return as many times as you wish.

Visit the website here

As Ste was in St James’s we thought instead of him missing out on more Summer holiday fun, we would pay him a visit and have a day out at the same time!

The museum was fantastic.  For the first part you travel back in time to Leeds in the 1800’s.  The boys thought this was brilliant.  The museum was made to look like a real Victorian street with all the sights, sounds and smells of the period!  You are also invited to pick a character at the beginning of the walk through.  You get an information card with some facts about your character and then you follow the route, finding out more information about them, what they had wrong with them and how this was treated back then.

The boys really enjoyed this part and me and Ste both thought it was excellent too.  We loved finding out lots of new things and the interactive element of so much of the displays was great.

A quick look around the gift shop afterwards and we couldn’t resist a selfie with the poo heads!  There was a pocket money section as well as more expensive bits so good for all budgets.  The toilets were down a few stairs and I am not sure if there was a lift for those in wheelchairs but assume there would be one somewhere, or an accessible toilet.  There was also a cafe although we did not use that on our visit.

All in all a fab day out which we all enjoyed.  Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby!

Cooking With Kids

You all know I am a big fan of cooking and enjoying sharing my recipes with you.  During the time the boys were here we made one of their favourite teas – pizza!  I bought the simple cheese and tomato pizzas from Aldi and then the boys added on their favourite toppings.  They were able to practise their cutting skills with their own safe,  cutting knife.  They then decorated their pizzas before I popped them in the oven.  They both really enjoyed them and every bit was polished off!

This is great for using up leftovers and for a simple tea which I know they will enjoy.  I love encouraging them to cook and Leo especially, really enjoys it and is becoming so much more independent in the kitchen now.

The Ragley Boat Stop

We went out for lunch with Grandma and decided to drive out to this pub as I haven’t been here in a while.  The food was lovely as always – Riley polished off a big bowl of spag bol and Leo really enjoyed his burger!  We took them down to the canal and they enjoyed having a look at the barges that were alongside.  Riley was desperate to get on one but we explained that they were people’s houses and he wasn’t allowed to get in!  The boys also enjoyed learning about the lavender plant from Grandma.

New Car

The boys were so excited to be here when I went to pick up the new car!  They were really well behaved while I sorted out the paperwork too.  I will be doing some more posts about this soon so keep an eye out!

Buxton International Festival

Me and the boys were lucky enough to be invited along to the festival in Buxton this year.  It ran for two weeks and there were lots of different shows and demonstrations on.  We had hoped to attend the African Drumming Workshop when we visited on the Saturday, but were unable to find the right tent!

Regardless, we spent a fab afternoon at the Buxton Pavilion Gardens where it was held.  The park is stunning and there are lots of fab reasons to visit even without the festival being on!  The boys loved crossing the bridges and the miniature train that we took a ride on.

We had a lovely picnic and the boys enjoyed a play on the park, especially the double seated swing!  My arms weren’t too sure after a while pushing them though!

We also enjoyed hearing the band playing in the beautiful band stand, watching the Morris dancers and having a go on the inflatable slide which were all part of the festival.  Was a really lovely afternoon which we enjoyed greatly!

Manor Heath Park & Jungle Experience

Me and the boys spent a lovely morning over at Manor Heath park in Halifax.  We were over there for 9am and this meant we had a lot of time to ourselves before it got really busy around  lunchtime when we left.

The boys enjoyed some time in the splash pool, followed by a run around of the play park.  We then headed over tot he Jungle Experience which is just £1 each for entry.  The boys loved trying to spot all the butterflies and birds.

Their favourite part by far was the turtles!  Seeing them all lined up on the bridge was fab.  The boys stroked them gently and sat watching them for ages.  We even saw a couple walk off the edge of the bridge and splash into the pool below!

This is a fab park with the playground, large open spaces and the water splash bit too.  The Jungle Experience greenhouses rounded off a fab morning which we all enjoyed!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the things we got up to in the first couple of weeks of the school holidays.  We definitely made the most of our time together and had a lot of fun!  I hope you will consider visiting some of the places yourselves if nearby, we really have had some fun times!

What have you been up to so far this Summer?  Do you have any places you would recommend a visit to?  Please let me know in the comments below!

nat

Baby Led Weaning VS Puree Weaning

Happy Wednesday!  It is the middle of the week and I thought I would do a bit of a parenting post for you.  This one is about my experience with weaning.  Please note, this post is written entirely based on my own experiences.  I am not an expert but after doing this a couple of times, I thought I would share what I found with the whole process.

Guidelines

The WHO guidelines suggest solely breast/bottle milk for the first 6 months of a baby’s life.  The weaning process can then begin.  Some common signs that your little one is ready for weaning can include

  • chewing their fists
  • being able to sit well unaided
  • waking in the night when previously sleeping through
  • drinking increased amounts of milk

These are not necessarily present in all babies and can also indicate other things, but will give you an idea of things to look out for.  Your health visitor will be able to advise you on your baby as they are all so different, especially if you think you may need to wean early.

Puree Weaning

I started weaning Leo at around 5.5 months and chose to use a mixture of purees and finger foods.  His first meal was a couple of teaspoons of baby rice which he loved!  I would make up my own fruit and vegetable purees and started off with simple, one item purees so he got used to different tastes.

I would generally cook a load of extra vegetables on a Sunday when I made the roast dinner, and then puree them all down in a bit of a marathon mash up!  I would then put them into large ice cube trays to freeze, which would then be popped out and placed in freezer bags to save space.  This made the whole process really easy as I had homemade purees, ready and to hand.  I could also choose a single puree, or as he got older choose two or three different fruits/veggies to mix together.

When I started to give him breakfast, Leo would generally have weetabix, baby rice or baby porridge and I would also sometimes mix in some fruit.

I would give finger foods as a type of pudding or for snacks.  These started off as very soft and mushy items, generally getting more complex as he got older.  I would always give Leo his own spoon and encourage him to dip it in and feed himself from an early age.  Around the age of 7 months, I started to introduce small bits of meat into his diet and by ten months he was eating our meals, well chopped.  His favourite at this age was my chicken enchiladas -although not super spicy, don’t be worrying about introducing a little spice to their palate.

This method of combining the two worked really well.  Leo was always content, he got a wide range of different fruits, veggies and flavours and as a result is a very good eater.  If I were to have another one this is definitely the approach I would take again.  I have tried to round up the weaning process in a timeline below but please comment or pop me a message with any questions.

6 months

Baby Led Weaning

This approach became more and more popular since I had Leo and with a recommendation from my health visitor, I decided to give it a go with Riley.  We started off with soft veg sticks when he had just turned 5 month old.  I think the fact he had to be weaned slightly early may have meant this was not the most suitable way to do it, but hindsight gives you all the information too late.

Riley was a hungry baby which was why he needed weaning a little early, and unfortunately, he could not feed himself fast enough so it just got terribly frustrating for us all.  Just before he turned one I had finally had enough and took a little step back and started mashing his food and feeding him with a spoon.  It felt like a from of regression but we had to almost begin again to get it right for him.  He was nowhere near as adept at feeding himself and using a spoon and fork, even though, like Leo, he had always been given them.

I am in no way ‘bashing’ baby-led weaning – I have friends who have done it very successfully – it just did not work for us!  I also think it depends on your child, and what works best for them.  This infographic shows you my top 5 purchases if you are going to attempt baby-led weaning to get you prepared!

5

I hope you have enjoyed my little round up.  I can definitely go into more detail if anyone is interested, on either of the methods.  Feel free to comment below or message me with any questions.  I would also love to hear your success stories and how you coped with the weaning process?  Let me know below!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Top Five Tips For Getting Through Chicken Pox

It is that time of year again and chicken pox is running rife!  My five year old niece has just gone down with it, just in time for the school Easter holidays.  My boys picked it up in April 2013 and I am pretty sure they got it from the swimming pool at the Havens Holiday Park we had been at a fortnight before.  Leo was four and Riley was one.  I thought I would share my top tips on how I managed to keep them comfortable and scar free for those of you who haven’t been through it yet.

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Medication

Chicken pox, unless the child is a lot older, doesn’t generally cause them to be too ill.  Mine were a bit grotty for a couple of days and nights so having some children’s paracetamol on hand is good.  Ibuprofen should NOT be given to a child with chicken pox, it can be extremely dangerous so please take care with what pain relief you choose and make sure it is paracetamol based.

I also gave the boys antihistamines (eg. Piriton) to help with the itchiness.  This can make them a little drowsy so is especially beneficial at night time.

You do not need to take your child to a doctor with chicken pox unless they look like they are becoming infected, or like me, when I took Leo as he had them in his mouth and throat and was struggling to eat.  Be sure to make the reception staff aware you think your child has chicken pox so they can give you an alternative place to wait, other than the main waiting room.  The phone in 111 service or your local pharmacy can also be very helpful in answering questions rather than taking your child into the doctor’s surgery.

Bicarb Baths

Twice a day I would give the boys a lukewarm bath with a heap of bicarbonate of soda in.  The bicarb in the bath will help dry out the spots quicker and the lukewarm bathwater (as opposed to too warm/cold) will help ease their skin.  After each bath I would gently pat them dry using clean towels.

Calamine Lotion

There are so many new things out on the market these days, most of which cost a small fortune.  My pharmacist told me to stick to good old calamine as it would be a waste of money to use anything else and that is what I did.  After each bath, I would dab calamine over all the spots (we would try and make it fun by counting the spots) with a cotton wall ball.  Leo thought it was funny seeing all the white blobs all over him!

Clothing

As Riley was a year old he still had lots of plain cotton sleep suits to wear.  The onesie had also made its fashionable entrance by then so Leo had some to wear too.  I chose the thin, cotton ones so they wouldn’t get too warm but it meant they couldn’t scratch as easily.  Pyjama days always make you feel better too!

Quarantine

It isn’t easy but this is particularly important to me.  I kept the kids inside for two weeks, until they were considered well enough to go back to nursery.  Chicken pox is highly contagious and almost seen as a right of passage for young children in the UK.  However, there are many adults and children who have compromised immune systems and catching chicken pox can make them extremely ill or even worse.  Please take these people into account when you are getting cabin fever and think one little trip out won’t hurt…it really could.  Chicken pox is contagious for up to two weeks before the spots come out (which nobody can help knowing about) and then until every spot has dried out.  This can take up to two weeks, so prepare for the long haul – plenty of movies, craft activities and Lego building will keep your little ones entertained.

I hope you found these tips helpful and will remember them for when you may need them.  Everyone remembers when they had chicken pox, how old were you?  Let me know in the comments below!