UK Days Out With the Kids

Now that we have finally welcomed in March, it gives us an opportunity to spend a bit more time outside with Little G-Man and enjoy the (hopefully) warmer weather. Following on from my previous post about our day out at Liverpool Luminous Laterns, I have decided to put together a list of places that are perfect to take your little boy or girl for a fun-filled day out so of which we plan to do in the coming months.

It is worth remembering that days out with your little one don’t have to be fully family-focussed, so you can attempt to maintain some kind of balance and ensure that you aren’t pulling your hair out by the end of it.

If your kids are little bit older than my little G man, then it is worth remembering that the Easter holidays are quickly approaching, so what better way to make sure that you don’t have to put up with the endless complaints of boredom?

Turbary Woods

Turbary Woods Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is located just outside of Preston and is perfect if you and your little one are fans of wildlife and the great outdoors. Turbary Woods offers a unique collection of over 90 birds of prey, including eagles, hawks and owls. The birds are housed in large, open aviaries in sheltered woodland settings, and you can even see Falcons flying.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Luckily, the centre is open all year round and there are flying displays on offer every day of the week; it is worth remembering that these commence at 12:00pm on weekdays, and at 1:00pm on weekends and school holidays. It is possible to take the whole family (2 adults and 2 children) for only £13, an absolute bargain, if you ask me!

Fishers Adventure Farm Park

This one is a little bit too far afield for me, but was strongly recommended to me by a friend whose son goes to a nursery in Hove and heard through the grapevine that this is a must visit place. After having heard such positive comments, I felt it was worth including for those of you who are located in the south of the country.

Lamb Friends

Lamb Friends

This Adventure Farm Park has won numerous awards and is packed full of indoor and outdoor activities for all of the family. There are a wide range of animals including: Shetland ponies, ducks, sheep, cows and even reptiles! In addition to this there are a huge selection of adventure play areas, soft play-zones with drop slides and even a climbing wall!

If you are visiting during the summer months, then there is also Splash Attack to cool things down and professional magicians performing in the theatre every day during the school holidays.

Rufford Old Hall

While this one is more appropriate if your children are a little bit older, the mix of history, garden games, house trails and den building will surely provide hours of entertainment for both adults and children alike; it is also an excellent way of making sure that your youngsters get a bit of culture and it is certainly a worthwhile day out if they are going to be studying the Tudor period at school in the near or distant future.

Rufford Old Hall

Rufford Old Hall

You can make the day all that more fun with the garden games that are offered, and you and the little ones are free to explore the garden and see how many bugs you can spot and tick off the list! If you would prefer to stay indoors, then there is a free trail on offer as you enter the house that encourages children to discover fun facts about the estate.

Rufforld Old Hall will also captivate the adults amongst you as well; the beautiful dark oak panelling, rich velvet fabrics and the stunning four-poster beds will take you back to the Tudor era and you will experience their interior design first-hand.

It can be somewhat expensive to enter a National Trust property as a family, but it is possible to sign up for membership on the day. This can prove to be a shrewd investment if your kids enjoy themselves as you will have free entry to over 500 National Trust properties in the UK.

We used our National Trust membership to visit, with Little G-Man, Dunham Massey towards the end of 2015. Dunham Massey was used as a hospital during the First World War Military and the National Trust brought it back to life to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1.

York Maze

This is one of those days out that never fails to please and it is not difficult to see why when you consider that York maze has been created by from over one million live maize plants. As you can probably guess, this is the largest maze in the UK and has won plenty of awards in recognition for the fun-filled day on offer to both adults and children alike.

York Maze

York Maze

Luckily for those of us who live in north, the maze is easily accessible, especially to those living in Yorkshire. However, I would like to make it absolutely clear that York Maze is only open in the summer months; this year the maze will open from Saturday 16th July and close on Monday 5th September. While it can be something of an expensive day out, it is well worth the investment, a family of four can get a family ticket for under £50 when bought online.

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#MilkMoments & our Weaning Adventure – Month 1 of our Weaning Journey

Following the HiPP weaning guide that was included in our #WeanTeam pack, we started our weaning journey with a few spoonfuls of solids at lunchtime, just letting Little G-Man get used to the whole concept and feel for solids.

He pulled the expected gurning faces but by the end of the first week he was more than happy to try anything and everything put in front of him so we decided to ramp it up.

Breakfast

After spending a week of building up the amount Little G-Man could take onboard, we decided to slowly introduce an additional meal, this time breakfast.

Initially he was hesitant to most new foods, however the HiPP Organic Banana & Peach Breakfast proved a real success as he devoured it in minutes and it was easy on his tummy.

My First Sunday Dinner

My First Sunday Dinner

Tea Time

By the beginning of Week 4 of our weaning journey, we introduced Little G-Man to Tea Time. Now despite everything we’d read, and we’re sure it is just coincidence, but after he’d got used to Tea over the course of a few days, we noticed that Little G-Man started to sleep longer at night #Result

You soon learn which foods to use at what times to help with sleep and digestions – its almost like using magic potions for babys.

Puddings Rock

As with most babies (and parents), Little G-Man loves his puddings so it was always important for us to give a savoury pot before his desert. When checking the temperature, its always good to have a quick taste and Little G-Man watches in disbelief at the number of times I “have to check” 😉

There has also been the occasion when we’ve used the Simply Pears or Pear & Apple combo to mix in with his otherwise tasteless home-steamed vegetables making them a little more palatable.

Both the pouches and the jars are resealable which means storing them in the fridge is a breeze and unlikely to cause any sticky spills. We noticed that although most jars lasted 24 hours in the fridge once opened, some such as Simply Pears, lasted longer making it handy when needing to mix them with new vegetables.

Weaning Milestones

So far, Little G hasn’t turned his nose up at anything put in front of him. He has had moments where he was unsure, but overall it’s been a relative straight forward introduction. His favourite by far is HiPPs Scrumptious Sunday Dinner which provided him with his first taste of Turkey.

Next Weaning Steps

As we continue with breast feeding we’re complimenting it with a HiPP meal being “served” anything between 30-60 mins later as he’s still not yet reached the age where we can drop milk feeds.

Hipp Organic follow on milk (3 - from 6 months onwards)

Hipp Organic follow on milk

We’ve now started to introduce Little G-Man to HiPP Organic Combiotic Follow On Milk after using the first infant milk since birth for dreamfeeds.

Initially Little G-Man had a bit of a #MilkMoments and turned his nose up at his Combiotic Follow On Milk. After 6 months of having first infant milk he wasn’t too keen on change, presumably due to a change in taste and texture. However, we persevered for 15 minutes and it paid off as he now drinks it with the same gusto as before.

HiPP Organics Follow-On-Milk includes the essential ingredients Little G-Man needs including iron for his cognitive development, vitamins A, C and D to help his immune system develop and probiotic to help his tummy.

We’ve also got a HiPP Organic reusable milk storage box, which has come in very handy. With a built in scoop its easy and quick to prepare his milk and the scoop leveller cleverly tucked away inside, means you’re never over doing it with the powder.

We also plan on introducing him to some finger food over the next few days, sticking mainly to toast, steamed carrot strips and cucumber. Hopefully this will help us prepare him for our holiday in the next few weeks where luckily, he’ll continue to be fed HiPP Organic as it’s one of the options provided by P&O Cruises.

EXPERT ADVICE FROM HELEN GARDINER at HiPP:
Follow on milks are designed to complement the weaning diet while your baby is getting used to a variety of different tastes and textures. They are higher in iron and vitamin D than standard infant formulas which can really be a help if baby is not eating many iron-containing foods and is therefore at greater risk of iron deficiency, and to help protect baby against becoming vitamin D deficient

MILKS DISCLAIMER:
The Department of Health recommends that you breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months of their life; at around six months you can start to wean them on to solids and start to combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding. HiPP Organic understands that all babies are different and some mums might want to transfer to bottle feeding earlier than others. HiPP Organic would always advise that you speak to your midwife or health visitor before changing your feeding method. For more information on milks, please visit the HiPP Organic Website

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Products featured on this blog have either been purchased by myself or provided to me in exchange for a review. This review is my own personal opinion on the product or company, given in good faith, has not be sponsored or endorsed and is not influenced in anyway.
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Review: Baby Dam Bathwater Barrier

What is the Baby Dam Bathwater Barrier?

The Baby Dam Bathwater Barrier is basically a small piece of plastic that when inserted in your bath, acts as a mini dam reducing the volume of water needed to fill a bath for your baby or child.

Designed by parents who got fed up of seeing puddles from using a portable bath, noticed their water bills rising and the time it took to fill the bath up the idea behind the BabyDam can’t be faulted.

The Good

The BabyDam is designed to fit all standard baths, both straight and keyhole styles meaning everyone should be able to reduce their water bills. We’ve worked out each time Little G-Man jumps in the bath with the Baby Dam fitted, we’re saving 15 litres or more of water.
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Products featured on this blog have either been purchased by myself or provided to me in exchange for a review. This review is my own personal opinion on the product or company, given in good faith, has not be sponsored or endorsed and is not influenced in anyway.
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Days Out: Liverpool Luminous Lanterns

This weekend saw us wrap up warm and head off to Liverpool for the Luminous Lanterns: Spring Festival of Light held at the Liverpool Festival Gardens, the former site of International Garden Festival in the 80’s.

Created by Liverpool Lantern Company, the same company who co-create the ever popular Chester Zoo Lantern Magic events over Christmas, they transformed the gardens and woodland areas into an extraordinary landscape or bugs, creatures and dinosaur fossils all illuminated using UV lights.

Liverpool Luminous Lanterns: Spring Festival of Light

Liverpool Luminous Lanterns: Spring Festival of Light

What is the Spring Lanterns Festival of Light?

The idea behind the event was to show what is usually hidden beneath the lake beds and woodland floors in a fun, almost magic, manner.

Things that usually creep, crawl and fly around at night were overblown in size and lit up against the night sky and woodland areas making it a delightful feast on your senses.

Some of attractions and creatures such as the army of ants and stick insects were static, while many others interacted with the visitors. Actors dressed as flamingos moved in a way that reminded me of a War Horse theatre production. Obviously the actors had studied their creatures behaviour and mimicked them so well you actually forgot they weren’t real.

Ribbitting Frog

Ribbitting Frog

An Owl cooing and wooing whilst flying amongst the woodland area, frogs ribbting in a pond and an army of ants crawling up a tree were just some of the other highlights of the self-paced walk, while brightly coloured giants roamed and mingled with the crowd to some unusual mystical music provided by a band in tow.

Strolling round the festival gardens at night with so many lights certainly caught Little G-Mans attention (for the 30 minutes he stayed awake) but the interaction between the animals (actors) and the older children was fun to watch. Wolves, bugs, giants and flamingos all moving in character as little ones looked on mesmerised.

Value for money

Considering it was only £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, the 2 or so hours we spent with friends walking round the festival gardens was fantastic value for money, something Little G-Man should enjoy and appreciate more next year when he’s a little older.

We’ll definitely be buying tickets should they repeat it next year, but I think they may also run a similar event at Festival Gardens over Halloween as well as the Chester Zoo Christmas Lantern Magic event in December every year.

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6 Baby Weaning Myths Busted

We, like most parents were excited to start Little G-Mans weaning journey especially after some stories we’d read and heard, many of which seemed to offer an easier life (sleep being the main one!).

Sadly, as it turns out, most of our expectations for the weaning journey haven’t quite come to fruition and it turns out many of them are actually baby weaning myths 🙁

Weaning Myth #1: Weaning helps your baby sleep through the night

Sadly this isn’t exactly true, but how many of us wish it was? Most babies are physically capable of sleeping through the night by the age of six months, but that bears little relation to whether they actually do and by weaning them doesn’t guarantee a good nights sleep.

All babies are different, some have a tiny appetite and sleep through, and have done so from an early age. Others have big appetites and continue to wake for one reason or another. Sometimes, like adults, babies will wake in the night feeling a little hungry, thirsty or are simply unsettled.

Weaning Myth #2: You should start weaning with bland food

Breastfed babies are already exposed to tastes and flavours via breast milk. Obviously avoid salt, however herbs, spices, garlic and pepper are all suitable flavourings.

Root vegetables such as sweet potato or carrot (Georges favourite) make ideal first foods when puréed due to their naturally sweet flavour and smooth texture. Combining fruit with savoury dishes is also a good idea.

Apples and pears are a great first weaning food with a low likelihood of intolerance and they contain pectin, which helps little bowels to start processing solids efficiently.

Weaning Myth #3: Only use fresh vegetables when making purées

It’s a known fact that most frozen vegetables are done so within hours of being picked, therefore locking in all the flavours and vital nutrients you find in fresh vegetables. In some cases, frozen vegetables are fresher than those bought from the fresh shelves in your local supermarket when you consider how long they’ve been in transit and on shelf before you actually eat them.

Normally once a food is frozen, it shouldn’t be defrosted and re-frozen, however, this doesn’t apply to all vegetables. So if, for instance, you make a purée from frozen peas, it can be re-frozen and used at a later date.

We’ve found that using Ice Cube Trays to store puréed food is a great way to cut down on waste. We simply pop a cube or two out each morning and let it defrost ready for his lunch.

Weaning Myth #4: Delayed weaning increases allergies

Another weaning myth that has been busted relates to allergies. It has been proven that delayed weaning has no impact on the development of allergies. Instead, it is more likely to make your life more difficult in the future as you try to encourage your baby to eat solid foods and experience new textures and tastes.

We introduce a new food to Little G-Man every 3 days. This gives us enough time to see if there’s any reaction to it and thus far, we’ve seen no issues.

Weaning Myth #5: Weaning helps weight gain

Not true. When you consider breast milk has around 70 Kcal per 100g and in comparison a typical sample of puréed carrots only contains have 27 Kcal per 100g, there is a significant difference.

Research has shown that by continuing with milk feeds while starting your weaning journey encourages your baby to reach their optimum weight, as initial foods are often low in energy.

Weaning Myth #6: You can stop Breast/Formula feeding

Milk’s still the main source of goodness. Fact.

Starting solids is not a cue to start dropping feeds sadly and for a considerable time to come (and at least until he’s established on three decent meals a day), Little G-Man will still need to get most of his daily nutrients and calories from breast or formula milk.

So there we go. Our initial thoughts of weaning being a straight forward process resulting in an easier life have been blown out of the water. Still, seeing Little G-Man pull some award winning gurning faces is well worth it.

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