The ultimate summer holidays bucket list for kids under 5

The ultimate summer holidays bucket list for kids under 5

The summer holidays are almost here, who’s freaking out? I’m feeling quite relaxed about the whole thing, which is surprising! Having two kids at home is never easy so that’s why I’m planning on getting out of the house with Leo and Alex as much as possible. 6 weeks is a long time and it can be hard to come up with enough fun ideas to keep the kids entertained. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking there is nothing more frustrating than hearing your child say ‘I’m bored!’ about a billion times a day. This year I have decided that preparation is key and you can’t get more organised than a list. If you are wondering how to keep your little ones entertained this summer too, here is my summer holiday bucket list for kids under 5, there’s an activity for every day. I hope it helps to eliminate your summer holiday ‘I’m bored’ fears and that you and the kids have a lovely summer break making magical memories. View Post

Izmi toddler carrier review

Izmi toddler carrier review

*collaborative post*

Using a sling was one of the best parenting decisions I ever made. Life with a newborn is so much easier when you babywear and there is no way I could have coped without one after I had my second baby. Babywearing isn’t just for babies though and slings and baby carriers are a great tool to have in your parenting arsenal even when your child grows into a toddler. Alex grew out of his baby size buckle carrier when he was about 18 months old, I have desperately been searching for a new sling and was so happy to be asked to review the Izmi toddler carrier. If you are planning on toddlerwearing and are looking for a suitable toddler carrier, here is my review of the Izmi – I hope it helps! View Post

Career advice – what makes a good counsellor

Career advice – what makes a good counsellor

*sponsored guest content*

I have reached a point in my motherhood journey now where I am starting to think about what career I want to have when Alex starts pre school. It is hard to know what to do when I have never had a career before. If you are in a similar position or are thinking of a career change, perhaps you will be interested in learning what it takes to become a counsellor. Today I have a guest post from Chrysalis Courses about what skills you need to be a good counsellor. Also, if you are struggling and feel you may need to see a counsellor, this post will help you know what traits and skills your counsellor should have to be of a real benefit to you and your mental wellbeing. View Post

#BlogCrush – week 73

#BlogCrush – week 73

Welcome back to #BlogCrush! How is everyone? I am EXHAUSTED, loving the heat but chasing around the kids in the burning hot sun has been a challenge. Have you had time between soaking up the sunshine to write any blog posts? I hope so, I can’t wait to relax on the beach and read all your wonderful words.

Have a happy linky, lovelies.

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Help, my baby stole my boobs – what no one tells you about post breastfeeding boobs

Help, my baby stole my boobs – what no one tells you about post breastfeeding boobs

Summer is here. The shops are full of gorgeous floaty dresses, pretty little tops, strappy sandals and the rails are jam packed with the summer wardrobe staple we all love to hate – the bikini. I have always felt a bit selfconscious in a bikini but never enough to consider not wearing one. I am naturally small and although I have some body hang ups, I have never despised my body. Since having kids, my body confidence has understandably taken a knock but every time we visited the beach last summer, my belly didn’t flip with nerves when I took my beach dress off and stood on the sand in just a bikini. Thanks to exercising regularly after the birth of my second baby and having a pretty awesome cleavage thanks to breastfeeding, last summer I felt the best I have ever felt about my body. I wish I could say the same about it as the summer holidays approach this year. You see, my body confidence has plummeted and it is not because my thighs are a bit squishier than they once were, or because I have a permanent ‘look who had a big lunch’ pot belly, I am not feeling as confident in my skin this summer because my babies stole my boobs. Yup, you read that correctly, my babies STOLE MY BOOBS! View Post

How I got my four year old dry at night

How I got my four year old dry at night

Potty training, we all dread it don’t we? The thought of puddles of wee on the carpet or a smelly poo hiding amongst the toys on the floor, it’s enough to make even the most hardcore parent squirm as they reach for the anti bac and pull on the rubber gloves. We get through it though and whether it’s with or without some mess and stress along the way, at some point our toddlers start doing their business in the toilet and we are free from nappy changing duties at long last.

Except we’re not.

After taking a very relaxed approach to potty training, from about 2 years 9 months Leo was dry in the day but still wore a nappy at bedtime. In August last year Leo turned 4 and we ditched the bedtime nappies once and for all. There have been a few accidents since we said bye bye to the pull ups but at last I can confidently say Leo is 99.9% dry at night now – yay! View Post

The importance of raising mental health awareness

The importance of raising mental health awareness

*sponsored guest content*

If you are a regular reader of Naptime Natter you will know that I am very passionate about raising awareness when it comes to mental health, especially the mental wellbeing of mothers. Today I have a guest post for you from the National Counselling Society, covering the main things we should all know about mental illnesses and what we can do to help society change its attitude towards mental health. I hope you find it useful. View Post

5 podcasts to binge on the beach this summer

5 podcasts to binge on the beach this summer

Podcasts are my new favourite thing, they are the most perfect form of entertainment for busy mums like me. I love that I can be getting on with the housework and be listening to a podcast. Or, instead of my brain dissolving through sheer boredom from watching another episode of Peppa Pig, I can sneakily have one of my headphones in, listen to something interesting but still be cuddled up next to the kids (who are totally clueless that I’m not as invested in Peppa’s first ever sleepover as they are!). On long car journeys, when the boys are asleep, instead of listening to the radio, Oli and I listen to podcasts that make us laugh, make us think and inspire us – soo much better than radio 1! If you are off on holiday this summer, with the kids or without, and need a breather from your summer read, why not pop a podcast on? Holidays are of course for making memories with your kids and being present but you deserve a break too and if your break takes the form of half an hour, lying back in the sun with your headphones in, here are some of my top podcast recommendations for you to listen to on the beach. View Post

Wilde Like Me – book review

Wilde Like Me – book review

Have you ever been sat reading a book and wished you could climb inside the pages, say hello to all the characters and live out their story with them? That’s exactly how I felt reading Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland. View Post

Does my four year old hate me?

Does my four year old hate me?

Do you ever think you’re doing something lovely for the kids and it just ends being the total opposite? After school today, Oli and I had a few boring jobs to do in town and obviously we had to drag the boys along too. It was coming up to 5 o clock and everyone was getting a bit hangry so I suggested we grab some food from the shop and go to the park for a picnic and a play. Won’t this be a lovely treat for the boys, I thought. Is there a more perfect way to end a Monday than sitting on a blanket, munching yummy food in the glorious sunshine and then spending the evening playing on the slide and swings, I mused to myself as we filled our basket full of goodies in the shop. As it turns out, we should have just gone home, had tea at the table, watched the bedtime hour and done the bath, book, bed routine like normal. What happened to the perfect picnic in the park you ask? Well, it all went wrong and has left me feeling like my four year old hates me. View Post

5 tasks made easier by babywearing

5 tasks made easier by babywearing

I love babywearing, well, I guess I should call it toddlerwearing now as Alex is definitely not a baby anymore. I was ignorant to how useful wearing your baby in a sling is when I had my first child, I was part of the naïve ‘you’ll make a rod for your own back’ camp. I know, I was stupid. Babywearing does the complete opposite, your life as a mum isn’t hindered by carrying your baby in a sling, it all becomes so much easier! Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a list of five things that are so much easier thanks to babywearing. View Post

Tips to help you talk to your child about race

Tips to help you talk to your child about race

Something happened this afternoon that made me stop and question how well I am actually doing at teaching my four year old about life. I am always trying to educate and encourage good morals and values in my children, I want them to grow up into kind and respectful adults and I know it’s mine and their dads job to make that happen. I’ve fallen short though, completely unintentionally, I have failed to educate my child about race.

This afternoon Leo was watching Go Jetters after school (that Cbeebies programme with the theme tune that gets stuck in your head for days) and he made a comment about one of the characters. This is how our conversation unfolded –

Leo: Mummy, Grand Master Glitch is brown.

Me: Yup, he is. What do you think about that?

Leo: I think it makes him weird.

Me: (slightly horrified) Why?! Why would the colour of his skin make him weird?

Leo: Because he looks different and that’s weird.

Me: (despairing to myself) Different doesn’t mean weird. You have blonde hair and mine is brown, does that mean I’m weird?

Leo: No.

Me: Our eyes are blue but some people’s are green, does that make them weird?

Leo: No.

Me: So, the little boy in your class who has brown skin, what do you think of him?

Leo: He’s weird.

Me: Why?

Leo: Because he looks weird.

Ahh! It’s safe to say by the end of the conversation I was trying to calm down the voice in my head that was telling me I am raising a racist child. Obviously this isn’t the case, Leo is only four and just starting to really get a grasp of the world and all the people that live in it but I can’t help but wonder where this assumption that people who look different are weird has come from? I have certainly never said anything like that, neither has his Dad or any of our friends and family as far as I am aware. Has he heard something at school or is it just him starting to notice these sort of differences and just assuming different means something negative?

I have to admit, my friendship group isn’t very diverse. I can count on one hand the amount of friends I have who are not white and British, that’s not because I have any issue with those who aren’t, it’s just how it is. My family are all white and British, as are Oli’s and Leo has never really been around anyone from a different ethnic background before. We don’t really have conversations about race and that isn’t because I have been avoiding the topic, it is just up until recently I haven’t really had any reason to bring it up. I hope what I am about to say doesn’t get misconstrued or offend anyone but race is such a non issue for me, I mean that in the nicest way possible. I will treat everyone the same, I like or dislike you because of your personality, the colour of your skin does not play even the smallest role in how I form an opinion of someone. I have been foolish though, just because I see everyone on this earth as ‘human’ and not white/black/Asian etc doesn’t mean I don’t still need to teach my children to share this same outlook.

I’ve not been burying my head in the sand about this somewhat hard to explain life lesson, I have just been ignorant to how important it is to have these conversations even with very young children. I would be absolutely mortified if I picked Leo up from school tomorrow and his teacher told me he had called one of his classmates weird, purely because their skin is a different colour to his. I told Leo he is never to be nasty to someone just because they look different and he says he understands but it just worries me that those thoughts that different skin = weird were even there in the first place.

Trying to navigate the often highly emotive and easily misconstrued conversations around race can be really difficult, even when you are trying to talk about it with other adults. so trying to teach a four year old about it isn’t always as easy as using an analogy about different hair and eye colours. I turned to the blogging world for advice on how to talk to your children about race and here is a list of their really useful tips.

How to talk to your child about race.

Hold you arm up next to your child’s and point out that no skin tones are the same colour, some are darker some are fairer but everyone is beautiful and worthy of respect.  – A Slummy Mummy 

Print off images of different faces and make up stories with 2 or 3 at a time where the people are saving / helping / educating him. Magical etc. So he learns to see and value the person and not just the face. – Our altered life

Read lots of books with a range of people ages/abilities/ethnicities, sexual orientation etc and in so doing show your child the huge beautiful diversity of the people who populate our world. – Simple parenting

I would encourage kids programmes or videos where there is a mix of different races in one family or group of friends – My bump2baby

I have had a chat with my eldest about this in the past. I have explained that people come in all different shapes, sizes and colours, but underneath it we are all human, & it’s personality that counts. I am trying to reinforce this in relation to awareness of any physical difference so that my kids understand that it’s not about what you look like, but who you are and how you behave. The Mum Conundrum 

We’ve been reading the Oliver Jeffers book ‘Here We Are’ its a beautiful book with a beautifully simple message about how everyone looks different and sounds different but we are all people living on one tiny planet so we need look after each other and the planet. – Sinead Latham

My son shouted out ‘look at that black man’ on the train when he was 3. I had a big chat with him about how he wouldn’t feel comfortable with being made to feel different by him pointing out something that doesn’t need to be pointed out. Skin colour is just that and it makes people no different to us so that we have to point them out as different. He hasn’t done it since and when he talks about his coloured friends now he honestly sees them as no different to him. I stress that we must treat everyone as an equal no matter what their colour and that their race and colour doesn’t make them different as we are all human beings. – Our bucket list lives

Its really tricky to get the terminology right as what is and isn’t acceptable changes all the time. I have used the term mixed race to explain how HE (my three year old) can describe someone if he is talking about them to me and I make a big point of making sure we talk about similarities– lots of things we have the same as well as things that are different. – Arthur Wears

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There are so many really good tips here, I am definitely going to start having more conversations about race with Leo and I would love for him to get to the point where he sees each and everyone of us as human and deserving of the same love, respect and treatment as people who have white skin like him. Go Jetters may be a seriously annoying TV show but it has helped me see that I need to start talking about the big issues with my little one and, for that reason, I will always be thankful to Grand Master Glitch.

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Do you have conversations with your children about race? Got any advice you would like to share for parents like me whose children have started to notice that we don’t all look the same? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Exploring Swansea with kids – Rhossili

Exploring Swansea with kids – Rhossili

Last year Rhossili bay was voted as the best beach in Europe and my family and I are lucky to have this gorgeous sandy beach right on our doorstep (well, almost). Since moving back to Swansea we have spent loads of time at the seaside and exploring the Gower peninsula, this is where you can find the idyllic Rhossili bay. It may be breathtakingly beautiful, but is Rhossili family friendly? In this first post in my ‘Exploring Swansea with kids‘ series, I am going to share all my local knowledge of different places we have visited in and around Swansea so if you are planning a family holiday here, you will know where to take the little ones for a day of fun. View Post

#BlogCrush – week 68

#BlogCrush – week 68

I’m back! It feels like forever since I last hosted the #BlogCrush blogger link up, I have moved house and things have been CRAZY!

Alice and Lucy have done an amazing job (as always) as hosts and I am very sad to report that Alice will no longer be co hosting the linky. Lucy is on the look out for a new co host but I am still going to be here, reading, commenting and sharing all your posts once a month.

I hope you are all well and I am looking forward to seeing all the blogs you have been enjoying recently and reading your fabulous content.
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Child free couples, STOP taking these things for granted

Child free couples, STOP taking these things for granted

Today, I have to decided to write a post not for my usual demographic. This post is not here to offer advice and solidarity to other parents as is the norm here at Naptime Natter. Child free parents, I am speaking to you. Have you got babies on the brain? Maybe you are trying to conceive or are already expecting your first ever little bundle of joy, I am here to offer you a friendly reminder to start appreciating what you now probably consider ‘the little things’. Once your gorgeous baby comes along, all these day to day activities will suddenly not be as simple as they once were and when you hear parents say things like ‘going to Tesco on my own feels like a spa day’, they are not being dramatic, it’s the truth. Don’t think of this post as a mum moaning about life with kids, think of it more as a bucket list of things to enjoy now while you still have the chance. I love my kids but, I am not going to lie to you, it would be nice to not have to use the toilet with my little ones either watching or sat on my knee. View Post