Baby W’s first pair of shoes from Clarks

As you know, Baby W has been walking properly for about 6 weeks now. Since he started moving around (crawling and pulling himself up) I never put any shoes or booties on him so that they didn’t get in the way of his development but now he’d been walking for a while it really was time to get him shoes… as walking outside in socks is a little dangerous ;)

So on my week off last week I had the chance to take him to Clarks… where else would you go for that special first pair?! They have such a good reputation for baby and children’s shoes – I remember going there for all my school shoes when I was a little girl.

First shoes from Clarks

First shoes from Clarks

The experience itself was a bit underwhelming – I was expecting all the sales assistants to be as excited as me about getting his first, proper, pair of shoes… but of course they deal with this day in, day out – it must get a bit boring ;)

But I was still excited…. he got measured while he sat in his pushchair.. and he’s a 4F!

Now, I hadn’t anticipated how expensive baby shoes were, but thankfully Clarks had a sale on… I picked the only pair of 4F’s they had in the sale which worked out well as I love them! And they were down from £26 to £8!

Baby W's first shoes from Clarks

Baby W’s first shoes from Clarks

I put them on him straight away…. and straight away he learnt how to take them off. I didn’t think this was going to go well at all, but I took him straight up to the park so he could run around in them… and run around he did :) It didn’t take him long to get used to them at all, they didn’t hinder his walking at all…

Toddling around Aberystwyth castle in his first shoes!

Toddling around Aberystwyth castle in his first shoes!

A week on and he still wears them when we’re out and about. Bonus points for being able to actually hear him walk about now – stomp, stomp, stomp! And he still tries to take them off when he’s sat in his pushchair or car seat!

As the sale was such a bargain, I got a couple of pairs in the next size up (4 1/2 F) – I don’t love these as much as his first pair but they are still cute…..

Bargains from the Clarks sale - £16 down to £10

Bargains from the Clarks sale – £16 down to £10

Clarks sale shoes - £18 down to £9

Clarks sale shoes – £18 down to £9

Not sure when he’ll wear those – it’s recommended they get measured around every 8-10 weeks. Hopefully the next shoe shop will co-incide with another sale – I do love a bargain!

My little baby is growing up fast!

Do you remember your baby’s first shoes?!

Small print: I wasn’t paid to, or asked to, write this by Clarks – just wanted to share our special first pair of shoes with you :)

Posted in haul, parenting | 2 Comments

Taking a one-year-old baby abroad – including flying – tips and checklists!

Travelling abroad for a week with a one-year-old….

I’m a laid-back ex-backpacker. I used to travel light and ‘wing it’. I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed as I was in the run-up to baby W’s first foreign holiday a month ago… so I thought I’d try and share everything with you, to hopefully ease your pain and stress!!

The ultimate guide to holidaying abroad with a one year old

Deciding where to go

Ok, you’ve agreed you *need* a week abroad – well, what next? Here’s how we decided on our destination:

  • We wanted to fly (not drive to Europe)- we were happy to fly from Cardiff, Bristol or Birmingham
  • We didn’t want the flight to be longer than 2 hours-ish
  • This also meant the temperature should be ok – mid-20’s
  • The flight times had to try and work within baby W’s schedule – we didn’t want any evening/late night/ridiculous early morning flights
  • These options basically led to mainland Spain or the Balearic islands (Majorca/Menorca/Ibiza)
  • Then we had to decide whether we wanted a hotel (various board types) or self-catering (‘aparthotels’ or villas) – think about what your evenings will be like – do you need more than 1 room? (we did ok with ours but an extra room would have been nice!)
  • We didn’t want the accommodation to be on its own, in the middle of nowhere – we wanted a beach within walking distance and ideally a couple of bars/restaurants/shops – but we didn’t really want to be in a big, busy resort
  • Transfer times – if you’re flying, how far is the accommodation from the airport?
  • Can you see yet why I was getting stressed?!
  • After looking at various flight-only options vs package holidays, we decided we wanted a hotel…. obviously you will have an overall budget that you need to work to
  • then we decided we needed a hotel with a crèche so that mummy and daddy could have a few hours off!
  • we decided the best value holiday for us was an all-inclusive week in Menorca with Thomson – in the Victoria Playa hotel – read all about our week here

So with the holiday booked a month before we were going… what was our…

Pre-holiday checklist

  • Make sure your passports are up-to-date and make sure baby has his/her own!
  • Make sure everyone has a free EHIC card – this entitles you to free healthcare within Europe – the official link is here, avoid any sites trying to charge you!
  • Even if you have an EHIC card, make sure you have travel insurance – in case your holiday gets cancelled, or they lose your luggage etc – I have a family policy free with my bank account but you can get it cheap enough from sites like Confused.com
  • If you need to, organise your airport parking – always cheaper to do it in advance. We went out of our way to fly from Birmingham as it was cheaper and the flight times were better – the money we saved meant we could spend a night up there before we flew- read about the Novotel stay and park deal  – remember that you will have a baby and extra luggage with you – we realised convenience of things like parking were more important to us than before, so you could even plump for a ‘meet and greet’ service?!
  • If you have pets like we do, don’t forget to organise a pet sitter 
  • Oh and don’t forget to give your nursery/childminder enough notice so that they don’t charge you ;)

Packing checklist for your baby’s foreign holiday!

So I went a bit overboard here – I envisaged us being so busy that baby W would need 2 or 3 change of clothes a day and lots more nappies than usual. In the end we took way too much (because he slept so much – we’ll come on to that!) but in a nutshell I packed for him:

  • 2 outfits a day (t-shirts and shorts)
  • about 9 babygros/vests
  • 9 sleepsuits (we didn’t end up using any of these as it was too hot at night for him!)
  • a pack of day nappies (I think there’s 31 in a pack)
  • 10 night nappies
  • 14 swim nappies (we used about 3 of these!)
  • Nappy bags
  • 2 baby bath towels
  • 4 packs of wet wipes
  • his teething essentials – Calpol, Nurofen, Anbesol
  • a handful of bibs and socks
  • his Tommee tippee bottles and sippy cups
  • washing-up liquid (in a travel size bottle, so no leakage!), tea towel and bottle brush
  • his bathing essentials – bubble bath, shampoo, bath toys, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • baby powder – I’d never used this but heard it was good for getting sand off babies – it’s true!!
  • 3 x swim costumes (all UV50 protection)
  • 1 swim towel
  • 2 x sleeping bags (1.5 tog but we could have done with a 0.5 tog)
  • his bedtime essentials – comforter, sheepskin, couple of favourite blankets
  • Black-out blind (didn’t need it)
  • a buggy (ended up having to borrow one from the hotel as we’d forgotten the sun visor thing)
  • Snooze-shade – absolutely great product to safely cover your baby so he can nap in the buggy out of sun’s harm!
  • Baby carrier (Baby bjorn)
  • SPF50 – some quick-dry stuff
  • Sunglasses and sun hats (even though I knew he wouldn’t wear them – just pulls them off!)
half-packed suitcase for our baby!

half-packed suitcase for our baby!

Here’s a link to his holiday wardrobe –  I bought a lot of new (but generally cheap) stuff (I needed to stock up on his next size up anyway) to take with us as I couldn’t bear the thought of needing to do laundry on our first day back lol, and it meant I could start packing early.

Nemo swimsuit from Tesco (£10)

Part of his holiday wardrobe!

I think I only forgot two thing which would have been quite handy:

  • his thermometer
  • some muslin sheets which we could have soaked and used them to cool him down

In the end, like I said, I took way too much – but I had heard things like ‘they don’t sell pampers in Spain’ – I was even worried that they wouldn’t sell normal cow’s milk!!! As it worked out, the supermarket opposite our hotel sold Pampers, Ella’s kitchen food sachets – the works – but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry?!

Hand luggage

Neither me or my other half had anything in our hand luggage for ourselves (apart from money, passports etc!) – it was all stuff to keep him busy on the journey (and when we got there) so we had:

  • Bottles (for milk and water)
  • Snacks – raisins, baby crisps, bananas
  • Books – his favourite 2 plus  new ones I’d borrowed from the library
  • Wet wipes
  • Couple of nappies and nappy bags
  • His comforter an favourite blanket
  • Couple of small toys e.g. his toy tablet
  • A few change of clothes (for all temperatures – I didn’t know if he’d get cold on the plane! He didn’t!)

We both used soft bags, so we could stuff them underneath the seats in front – easier than needing something from the overhead compartment when the seatbelt sign is on!

And we split everything between the bags e.g. pack of wet wipes one, just in case one of us wandered off with a bag!

The airport – some tips

So I was dreading this part – our flight was at 7am so we needed to be there about 4.30am – even though we were staying right opposite and figured we’d be early, there was already a huge queue!

  • So, we paid about £10 each to go ‘priority’ – this meant we could jump the check-in queue, security queue and our luggage would be first off – money well spent for us!
  • we checked our buggy in at check-in and carried him in the carrier – but you can take the buggy with you right up to the gate (so have a think about logistics, what if they fall asleep in the buggy etc?)
  • Now, I knew at security that they would let you take formula milk through – but I had no idea about cow’s milk?! Well they do let you take baby bottles full of the stuff, so we filled ours up at the security desk (so now you know, you can do it in advance)
  • Don’t forget your bottle insulators to keep the milk fresh for a couple of hours!
  • After security we headed straight to the comfort of the airport lounge – another perk that I have with a bank account. I’m not sure how much these cost as a ‘day pass’ but if I were you I’d seriously consider it – you’re guaranteed somewhere comfy to sit and you help yourselves to hot/cold/alcoholic drinks and snacks (bacon rolls in our case!) – so when you add up how much you might spend at an airport it could be a good deal?

We started giving baby W his milk in the lounge, hoping he’d fall asleep but he was still wide awake when we got on to the plane, which is what I was dreading the most!…..

The flight – with a one-year-old!

Lots of people had said that giving your baby a bottle for take-off/landing was a good idea as it helps with their ears popping. This seemed to work a treat for baby W, plus he eventually entered his usual milk coma not long after take-off and slept on his dad’s lap for a good hour (so half of the flight). The other half was taken up with a walk up and down the aisle, and using all the toys and treats from the hand luggage to keep him entertained.

He wasn’t happy about sitting still for landing, but at least it’s only about 10 minutes of moaning ;)

PS I really enjoyed reading/watching this blog post and video from Knott bump and us about navigating airports and flights with a baby (similar age to baby W) – worth a watch!

Transfer to your accommodation

We had transfers included in our package holiday but we could see from the website that it could take up to 90 minutes (because of all the drop-offs etc) so we figured we’d speak to a rep when we arrived and pay for a taxi (30 euros, 30 minutes) if it was really going to take 90 minutes.

Well, we had a lovely surprise on arrival – because our holiday was with Thomson but our flights were with Thomas Cook, we were in a minority and so the Thomson rep gave us a taxi slip and we got a free taxi to our hotel, instead of getting a bus :)

The taxi ride ended up being the hardest part of the day – baby W having to sit on our lap for 25-30 minutes. It was hot. He’d had a nap but hadn’t slept as long as usual, so he was grouchy and basically wanted to be on the move – he’d sat down for way too long by this point! So he cried and moaned most of the way and nothing would distract him but we got there in the end!

So have a think about how long your transfer might be on a bus etc. Our luggage came off early (as we’d paid for priority) but in hindsight, it might have done baby W some good to run around and burn some energy in the airport before we jumped into the cab….

On holiday – our new routine

We expected the weather to be about 20-25 degrees, but we arrived during a heatwave and for the whole week the temperature was 30-32 degrees! This was tough and basically baby W was not himself for the week, which I think was a combination of the heat but also teething (his back teeth were coming through). It wasn’t too bad, he was ok and did have some fun, he just wasn’t his usual, happy self.

Within a day we’d fallen into a new routine, we all know how much babies/toddlers love a routine – I’ve shared ours below, but you will of course find your own routine – I guess the point is, that your baby/toddler might be very different on holiday to at home so be prepared for that in case you were hoping to do excursions, go out at night etc!

6am – wake-up!

6.30am – 8am – play-time (softplay/wendy house area) or one morning we went to the beach (the swimming pool didn’t open til 9ish I think)

baby W loved his car in Victoria Playa!

baby W early morning play

8am – breakfast

8.30-10 – walk and a nap – we’d have a lovely walk along the sea, and after a while we’d zip up the snoozeshade (turned out to be a holiday essential!) and baby W would have a 30-45 minute nap

10-12 – baby W went into crèche 3 mornings, played with us the other 3 mornings. As I said in the post about the hotel, the crèche was brilliant and meant we had a little break from him (and most importantly, he loved it!)

12-1 soft-play!

1 – lunch

1.30 – 3.30/4 – nap time. Before holidays he’d cut right down on his afternoon nap but the teething/heat combo meant he basically slept all afternoon, every afternoon! This worked out great as daddy caught up with sleep and mummy caught up with sunbathing and reading books!

4-6 playtime – swimming/softplay

6.15 – dinner!

6.45-7 bath, bottle, bed for baby W – we tried to stick to him home routine as much as possible here.

One night we tried taking him out, asleep, in the pushchair, so we could enjoy a sunset drink, but he stirred too much for our liking, so every night we’d just sit on the balcony with beers and books instead! A couple of nights my other half went to watch the footie, which was fine with me – we’d be in bed for 9.30-10 anyway!

Read more about our week in the hotel here

Coming back – and home, sweet home!

Our flight home was at 1pm, so it was a nice time to travel. The taxi transfer was less stressful this time, but baby W was a bit grouchy in the airport and we had to queue a fair bit – we didn’t have the cash for priority queue-jumping here, and there was no airport lounge in menorca airport!

A bit of milk on the plane, and baby W then slept for most of the flight this time! Picked up our luggage, a trolley is a must as of course you have an extra suitcase, transfer bus to the car park and eventually home sweet home!

Summary

Holidaying with a 13 month old is great fun, but does need a bit more planning and preparation than usual! If you choose the right place for you and settle into a new routine, you can all have rest and some fun :)

I hope I thought of everything, and hope you found this useful – if you did, I’d love it if you could share it with your friends and peers on Facebook/Twitter! (And if you want to follow me, I’m @yummyblogger on Twitter) and if I missed anything, please do leave a comment!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Posted in parenting, travel | 2 Comments

REVIEW: Hotel Victoria Playa, a Thomson family hotel, in Santo Tomas, Menorca

We recently had our first holiday abroad with our 13 month old baby W and apart from him suffering from the heat and teething, we had an absolutely great time! This hotel has mixed reviews, so I thought I’d give our take on it….

Rooms

The rooms are as described on the Thomson website – pretty basic but very clean and functional. A few reviews said that there isn’t much storage room and I would agree with that – but we had a set of bunk beds in there which we used for storage! There was a travel cot ready for us in the room (on wheels so we put towels around ours to stop it moving!) and we rented a fridge for baby W’s milk at the cost of about 2 euros per day.

We were in room 209, we had amazing views over the sea and saw some cracking sunsets. This side of the hotel gets the sun in the afternoon so when the boys were napping in the afternoon I could sit on the balcony catching some rays :)

View from our room in Victoria Playa

View from our room in Victoria Playa

One downside of this side of the hotel is that in the evening you can hear the entertainment from outside the hotel next door – but it’s not too bad and always finishes by 11pm.

Balcony #selfie - hat bought in San Tomas :)

Balcony #selfie – hat bought in San Tomas :)

Restaurant, bar and lobby areas

I have to mention the lobby – only because – at the Thomson rep desk, they have a crate where people leave their unwanted goods – I thought this was a great idea, and we left books and our inflatable toys there, I saw everything from clothes to swim nappies in there!

They seem to be half way through doing this hotel up – so the main bar area looks a little bit dated, but it’s still absolutely fine and I love how you just help yourself to soft drinks/lager/wine without having to be served – oh and help yourself to free tubs of ice cream! Next to the main bar, there is another bar (cocktail bar?) which has been renovated – it’s clean, modern and very-well air conditioned – this area was always really quiet and a lovely respite from the heat!

Our view from the new bar in Victoria Playa, Menorca

Our view from the new bar in Victoria Playa, Menorca

I hadn’t realised til we got home (otherwise I would have taken photos) that the restaurant photos on the website are out-of-date – the restaurant is in the style of this bar – airy, clean, modern – really nice. They have an area for families with highchairs at the table ready – much fun watching baby W babbling to the other babies in the vicinity!

Food 

We absolutely loved the food and couldn’t work out why the food would ever get bad reviews – we’ve stayed at a few posher all-inclusives than this one but this food was excellent – always a fish of the day, always meat, always pasta (baby W’s fave!), always something child-friendly like chicken nuggets, always an amazing choice of salads and a few desserts. My favourite meals of the week were their paella, local meatballs and their chicken fajitas… oh and I had nutella pancakes for breakfast every day – yum!

Because of the huge choice of food, there was always plenty for baby W to eat – from cheese slices to his watermelon! The staff there were lovely – giving baby W lots of attention (and we left them a nice tip at the end of the week as they’d spent so much time helping us clean up after him ;))

My only bugbear about the restaurant was that it didn’t open for lunch til 1pm – noon would have been better for us as we’re up so early with baby W! But you can free toasties/sarnies in the bar between 11 and 1 so I couldn’t really complain!

The pool areas, grassy area and beach

As you might be able to see from the photo from our room, there are 3 pools – a play pool with little slides etc, a small baby/toddler pool and the main adult pool – all good!! The reps do dancing and games every afternoon – you’d never catch me getting involved but it was fun to watch ;)

Loved these posters at the bar/pool area

Loved these posters at the bar/pool area

I’ve seen a few reviews moaning about not being able to get a lounger – by the end of our week we struggled too but we just put our towels down on the huge grassy area instead – which was perfectly fine :) As well as the pool-side loungers and grassed area, the gorgeous sandy beach is just a minute or so away! We didn’t spend long down here but it was lovely, and you can hire loungers here too.

Creche

On of the reasons we chose this hotel is because it has a creche. We thought we’d put baby W in for 4 out of the maximum 6 hours a day (!!) but because of his teething etc, we only put him in for 3 mornings but he loved it! The 2 girls working there, Terri and Ashleigh, were absolutely great – warm, calming and put you at ease right away – we all loved them!

We had pre-booked our sessions before we went and just sorted out the times when we got there, but you can do it all when you get there and they’re pretty flexible if you need to switch etc. They only take a max of 6 babies/toddlers per session but when we were there it was never full.

Softplay

One of Baby W’s highlights of the holiday was the softplay area between the pool and bar. The photo doesn’t really do it justice – it’s quite small but perfect size for babies/toddlers of baby W’s age – a ball pool, and some big foam things to move around – ace!!

Softplay at Victoria Playa, Menorca

Softplay at Victoria Playa, Menorca

Play areas

So for older toddlers/kids, there seems to be 2 x kids clubs (I’ve no idea what the difference between them is) and 2 little park/play areas. For baby W there was a hidden bonus – by one of the kids club was a little area which 2 x wendy houses and a car – he loved it!! And a part of it was always in the shade – as baby W had just started walking before the hols, this area was perfect for him and kept him entertained.

Outside one of the kids clubs, Victoria Playa

Outside one of the kids clubs, Victoria Playa

baby W loved his car in Victoria Playa!

baby W loved his car in Victoria Playa!

Other baby-friendly facilities

Next to the creche (on the first floor, near the restaurant) there is a baby room which has a steriliser, microwave, kettle…. cot…. little ball pool, books and some toys, and a changing area. This was great for us, before or after dinner baby W would love playing in the ball pool – oh and there’s a TV/DVD player in there so he loved playing with the remote control too!

The other baby-friendly thing I must mention is that you can hire a buggy from the hotel. We had taken our brand new Chicco lite stroller with us but stupidly forgot the sun canopy and quickly realised we’d be buggered without it, so we hired one from the hotel (they have a room full you can choose from including a double buggy!) and I think it was only 2-3 euros per day which I thought was a bargain!

The resort – San Tomas

So we couldn’t really fault the hotel – and we LOVED the location! Santo Tomas is a tiny little resort so don’t there if you’re looking for ‘action!’ – it only has about 5 restaurants/bars and a handful of shops but we loved it – our highlight was our twice-a-day walk down the promenade, the sea on one side and lovely hotels and houses on the other. I think the resort has a mix of hotels and self-catering accommodation so as well as lots of other young British families we also saw backpackers, and older European travellers – I always like a good mix of people!

image image

image image

While I remember, the hotel is right opposite a supermarket, pharmacy and doctors surgery… and a bus stop  – great location!

Me and a sangria in San Tomas, Menorca

Me and a sangria in San Tomas, Menorca

In the opposite direction to the prom, there is a cliffside walk over the next resort – we walked about half of it while baby W was in creche this morning – was lovely (there’s me on the rocks there!) and would have been ace to have the time to do the full walk!

Must also mention that a few minutes from the hotel is a softplay you can pay 3euros for – baby W was a bit small for it really but it would be great for older children, and they also had a trampoline etc.

Checking out the softplay competition in San Tomas Menorca

Checking out the softplay competition in San Tomas Menorca

Overall summary

Because of the mixed reviews we’d read, our expectations were exceeded of Hotel Victoria Playa – we loved:

  • the food
  • the softplay and other play area
  • the creche – Terri and Ashleigh were ace
  • the baby room and being able to hire a buggy
  • overall a very baby-friendly hotel
  • friendly staff
  • our view overlooking the sea
  • the location – San Tomas was a real nice surprise for us, we loved the seaside prom – the whole place was so chilled and clean, lovely, quiet atmosphere
  • hotel has free WIFI – I didn’t use it, enjoyed an internet break!

The only real downsides I can think of:

  • the rooms are a bit small and basic but they look exactly as described, so I’m not really complaining!
  •  would love to have lunch at 12, and dinner before 6.15 (baby W normally eats at 5.30pm at home) but we got by fine!
  • it didn’t bother us, but it’s quite a bustling hotel and obviously with it being a ‘family’ hotel, the majority of guests are young families – as you might expect, the clientele is a right mix which is fine for us – if you’re going there for peace and quiet you might struggle ;)

Hope you found this useful, if you’d like to know anything else about the hotel/area, leave a question in the comments and I’ll get back to you :)

Small print: I wasn’t asked to write this and I certainly didn’t get a free holiday (or any form of payment!) for this, I just wanted to share our experience with you!

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REVIEW: Novotel Birmingham airport (stay and park and fly)

We stayed here a couple of weeks ago before going away with 13 month old baby W for the first time- so the logistics were very different to our usual holiday arrangements.

I’d usually look for the cheapest hotel/parking airport deal, and end up in a random car park miles from the airport but now for us it’s all about convenience and ease…. and this is why this Novotel must be the closest hotel to an airport ever – you literally cross a road to get to the terminal – awesome!

Here’s a  quick summary:

Check-in process – I’d had an email before arrival asking if I wanted to check-in before arriving, I did this so when we got there we were just handed the key without any forms to fill in – lovely!

Parking logistics etc – as we’d bought the parking package, we were able to pull up right outside the hotel for 15 minutes, unload all of our luggage before moving the car to car park 5 in the airport and then we were able to walk back to the hotel – just a 5-1o minute walk but shuttle buses are also available. When we arrived back from our holiday when we left the car park, we just had to give the Novotel booking reference and they opened the barrier for us and off we went – very straightforward!

Rooms – the photos on their website are very accurate – clean, simple, modern rooms – comfy bed, fridge, TV, kettle etc. We requested a cot and had one, lovely bathroom – all in all, very good! Bearing in mind it’s so close to the airport, we couldn’t hear any aeroplanes – the soundproofing is excellent, as are the blinds – nice and dark!

Bar/restaurant – they have both a bar serving food, and a restaurant. The bar area is lovely – again, modern, spacious, comfortable with TV’s and newspapers there too. As we were having an early dinner, we chose to eat in the bar and the food was ok – nothing special – I had a curry which was tasty but a bit watery. I’m sure the restaurant quality would be a bit better but also as you’re just a minute away from the airport you could stroll over to eat in All bar one or Frankie & Benny’s there.

The only photo I have of Novotel Birmingham airport- baby W tottering around the bar area - he had just started walking!

The only photo I have of Novotel Birmingham airport- baby W tottering around the bar area – he had just started walking!

Other facilities – the other thing I wanted to mention as we were travelling with a little one, is that tucked away around the corner from reception, they have a little play area! There’s a table with interactive games built in, a toy chest and book corner – I thought this was a really nice idea, and lovely touch – not sure if I’ve ever noticed anything like this in a hotel before (not that we’ve stayed in many with Baby W)

Location – as already said, it’s a 1 minute walk from the airport hotel – I don’t think you could get any closer to an airport!

Value for money – I think our package cost about £150 – I think a room only is about £60-£70. Having paid for numerous airport hotels, and parking deals – often separately, I think this deal represents good value for money – overall it’s a really lovely hotel and the location of both the hotel and the car park being on the airport makes life so much easier.

So thank you Novotel for a very family-friendly, good quality and value stay – we will be back!! (PS Readers – sorry for the lack of photos, writing this review was a bit of an after-thought!)

Small print – please note I wasn’t asked to write this review, and certainly didn’t get a free stay – just wanted to share our experience with you!

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Baby W and mummy’s 13 month update

I have 2 dilemmas – now that baby W is over a year old, should I be calling him toddler W?! It doesn’t have the same ring to it…. the other dilemma, well I was wondering whether to carry on with these monthly updates after a year but he’s developed loads in the last month so yes I will carry on haha!

New developments

  • So I told you the day after his birthday, he took a few steps – well a month later and he is proper walking, a lot! The last week has been so much fun watching him, we all get so excited!!!
  • He’s tries to use his fork and spoon now – I haven’t been trying to teach him this so not sure if he’s got it from copying me, or whether it’s something he’s picked up from the childminder… either way, it’s very cute and grown-up but it does mean he’s eating less food as not much food is making it on the full journey from table to cutlery to mouth!
  • He brushes his own teeth now! (with a little help from mummy/daddy)
  • I should have stuck with baby signing – I hardly do any with him now but the one baby sign he has learnt over the last month or so is ‘all gone’ – so he loves dropping things (especially food) and then looking at me with his big eyes and opens hands to an ‘all gone’ gesture! the cheeky little monkey ;)
  • He knows which buttons to press on the remote control to turn the TV on!!
  • If I’m in the room with him and the TV isn’t on, he hands me the remote for me to switch it on (both signs that we watch way too much background TV!!)
  • A few days ago he pointed at me through the window and said ‘mama‘ – melted my heart!
  • Blows on hot food with a ‘frrrr‘ sound, again copying what I do!
  • He can climb up to, and get on, the sofa – eek!
Watching TV while walking!

Watching TV while walking!

So yeah it’s been a busy month!

Jabs, health, routine etc

Baby W had his 1 year jabs and then a week later seemed to suffer from side-effects including a rash – but it co-incided with teething with his first canine (tooth #9) trying to come through – so we all had a tough few days, poor thing!

Other than that, all good – still not had him weighed.  He’s outgrowing most of his 9-12 month clothes, but everything 12-18 months seems massive on him!

He’s still on milk first thing and last thing every day, and we’ve got into a bad habit at home of giving him milk with his naps.

It’s funny, he’s dropped his afternoon naps at the childminders, and yet on the Fridays he’s at home with me, he has 2 really long naps – I think she tires him out and then Friday is his chill-out day!

Apart from the teething, still a trooper at sleeping through from about 6pm to 6am (sometimes a bit earlier, but can’t really complain!)

Making a right mess in the library!

Making a right mess in the library!

Other news

This momma was fortunate enough to go on a fab hen weekend a few weeks ago, 18 girls in one HUGE house called New Yatt farm in Oxfordshire – check it out here, it was amazing! 2 nights in with good friends, lots of booze… and a hunk in trunks.. and we went punting and disco dancing, it was ace – just what the doctor ordered although I was absolutely drained the week before and after – really need our holiday now!

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In other news we need to find a new childminder as ours is moving out of the area – gutted :(

Thanks for calling by, see you same time next month! xx

Posted in my regular updates, parenting | 2 Comments

Baby W’s holiday wardrobe

I am very excited… we are taking baby W for his first foreign holiday soon…. and as if that wasn’t exciting enough, I went a bit mad buying a whole new wardrobe for him for the occasion… I know you love my haul posts so here we go…. starting with Tesco where the T-shirts were all £3-£4 (some of these are now in the sale!)

T-shirt and shorts from Tesco

T-shirt and long shorts from Tesco (£8 for a 2-pack)

Tesco t-shirt, pack of 3 shorts from Mothercare (£8)

Tesco t-shirt, pack of 3 shorts from Mothercare (£8)

Tesco t-shirt and shorts

Tesco t-shirt and shorts

Tesco t-shirt and shorts (shorts were £5 for a 2-pack)

Tesco t-shirt and shorts (shorts were £5 for a 2-pack)

Tesco swimming shorts (£8 for 2-pack)

Tesco swimming shorts (£8 for 2-pack)

Love these from Tesco – the hooded towel was £7, the pirate swimsuit was £10…

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I found some unworn shorts that either came from hand-me-downs or an NCT sale, they’re a bit snug on him but might come in handy… his daddy has very similar combat ones so I want to see them wearing them the same day ;)

holiday shorts

holiday shorts

As I started packing (never had to start packing so early, but needs must with a baby to pack for!!) I realised we had plenty of shorts (2 pairs per day!) but I needed some more T-shirts, so picked these up in Asda…

Asda t-shirts £3-£4

Asda t-shirts £3-£4

And treated him to some t-shirts from Next too…. these were £6 each but worth it ;)

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£10 for 2 t-shirt pack at Next

£10 for 2 t-shirt pack at Next

I was back in Tesco today and they have a sale on so I couldn’t resist this bargain for £1.50…

£1.50 T-shirt from Tesco!

And you’ll know from my last haul that I’m in love with the Jools Oliver Littlebird range at Mothercare so I *had* to get this T-shirt…

little bird t-shirt

little bird t-shirt (shorts from mothercare)

And Little bird brings me on to my 2 favourite items… I can not wait to dress him in these!!…

Little bird towelling romper (£10)

Little bird towelling romper (£10)

Nemo swimsuit from Tesco (£10)

Nemo swimsuit from Tesco (£10)

I’ve also bought him new packs of vests and sleepsuits, I’m sure I’ll write a post when we’re back on what we packed vs what you actually need to take! Hope you liked seeing his holiday clothes :)

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9 things you can do with outgrown baby clothes

What did you do with your baby’s clothes once they’d grown out of them? Here’s some ideas in case you don’t know what to do with them!

what to do with outgrown baby clothes...

what to do with outgrown baby clothes…

1. Keep them for baby no.2 and/or sentimental reasons – I’ve kept a few bags of my favourite items for baby no.2 – and if we don’t have baby no.2 then I will probably keep most of them for sentimental purposes – will be funny to look at them in a few years time when baby W is all grown-up! I haven’t kept all of baby W’s clothes as we don’t have the space, and some were so cheap we will just top-up for baby no.2

2. Turn your favourite items into a keepsake – we haven’t done this yet but we will at some point as I love the idea- you can turn their favourite babygrows into a keepsake – like a lion or elephant! They cost  £25 and the same lady also does blankets (from £60) and cushions (£35)

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Check them out for yourself: http://www.babythreadskeepsakes.co.uk/ (Photos are taken from their website)

I’ve also seen yummy crafty mummies change babygrows into bunting – I love this idea too but I am not crafty so luckily – I’m sure you could pay someone to do it for you :)

3. Pass them on to family/friends – we were lucky to benefit from lots of hand-me-downs, I haven’t really had anyone to pass mine on to apart from a couple of nice items I’ve given to colleagues…. if you have anyone to pass yours on to, you’ll be saving them a potential small fortune :)

4. Donate them to your local maternity ward – when I was wondering what to do with the load of newborn/0-3 month babygrows and hats we had, colleague and fellow blogger Emily suggested this idea to me. As her twins had spent some time in special care, she’d unfortunately seen other babies who didn’t have anything to wear :( I’ve also heard that, in special care, the hospital supplies the clothes (maybe due to infection risk??), either way when I donated a couple of bags worth, they were delighted to receive them :)

5. Donate them to a ‘mother and baby’ hostel – another way I tried to help mummies in need in the area was by donating a load of our 3-9 month old clothes to a local hostel, along with some of my clothes and some nappies we’d grown out of. Again, they were really thankful as a lot of these women are young mums who have had really tough lives…. so maybe see if there’s one in your local area you can donate to?

6. Donate them to schemes like NCT – some NCT groups run a ‘baby bundle’ scheme where they give mums in need a pack of baby clothes made up from donations. High street store JoJo MamanLeBeBe were doing something similar with Barnado’s but I think that scheme is finished now.

7. Donate them to a charity shop – if numbers 4-6 are too much hassle but you still want to pass them on to someone who’s more in need then you, then dropping them off at a charity shop makes for an easy option! Some will even pick them up from your house (watch out for bogus charities doing that though!) Again, I’m sure charities will be very thankful for your donations, but I preferred doing 4/5/6 so I knew they were going directly to someone in need, whereas a lot of charity shop goodies are snaffled up by pro-eBay sellers and sold on. (Still great for the charity of course!)

8. Sell them! Now, I haven’t tried this – way too much effort for me as most of the stuff that could have raised a few quid I’ve saved (see #1) but obviously if you want to make some money (or recoup the money you spent!!) then there are loads of ways of doing this like selling them individually or in bundles on eBay, local Facebook buying and selling groups, NCT nearly new sales, car boot sales etc.

One of my favourite bloggers, Tinyfootsteps, wrote some tips for selling baby clothes that you might find handy :)

9. Exchange them for H&M vouchers! Apart from all the charitable donations, this has to be my favourite tip… if you take a shopping bag’s worth of clothes into H&M, they will give you a £5 voucher to spend in-store! If you read my tips for new parents, you’ll know that rain gets out stains – but for the ripped/stained/bobbly-beyond repair stuff that would be no good for tips 1-8 above, then take them to H&M!

They don’t check what’s in the bag, and even if they did I don’t think they’d care – whatever can’t be donated or re-used is recycled – read more about it here – I think it’s an excellent scheme as I hate the thought of any clothes (especially baby clothes!) ending up in landfill!

And I guess that was the aim of this post – I hate the thought of this stuff going to landfill, especially when there are probably some women in your area who would really appreciate your help! I hope this has inspired you to make a difference – if you found it useful, please share it on Facebook/Twitter, thanks!

Posted in parenting | 6 Comments