Wooden book storage carts for toddlers

Wooden book storage carts for toddlers

*collaborative post*

My boys love books, they take after me in the fact that they are both little book worms. I adore how much they love reading and story time but it does mean our house is overflowing with books. There are two bookcases full of children’s books and an IKEA storage unit is crammed full of the works of the boys favourite authors: Julia Donaldson being Leo’s absolute favourite and Alex has a bit of an obsession with Spot the Dog. With Christmas around the corner, I am bracing myself for piles of new books coming into the house but I am stuck thinking, where the hell are they all going to go?! Book storage is something we can never have too much of in this house and I was thrilled when my lovely friend Sarah, blogger at From Day Dot, offered to let me review one of her handmade wooden storage carts. These mini storage carts are perfect for keeping a small pile of books in and are a fun solution to the ‘the bookcase is overflowing!‘ dilemma.  View Post

Autumn fashion for Mamas with J D Williams

Autumn fashion for Mamas with J D Williams

*collaborative post*

Brr, it’s starting to get cold out there now, isn’t it? I have well and truly declared the flip flops out of action and can often be found cursing myself these days for being optimistic about the weather and not bringing out a coat with me. I do love Autumn though and one of my favourite things about this time of year is the fashion. I am loving all the mustard and burnt orange clothes in the shops at the moment, all the chunky knits seriously appeal to my inner teddy bear and you can never go wrong with a good comfortable winter boot in my eyes. I was in need of a bit of an autumnal injection of clothes into my wardrobe so I was very happy when fashion website JD Williams offered to send me some bits to try. Here’s what I thought of them.. View Post

How to save money in the lead up to Christmas

How to save money in the lead up to Christmas

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As it’s November, we can now start talking about Christmas with no judgement, right? Who’s freaking out? I am! This morning we just  paid hundreds of pounds worth of bills and they couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. With two boys who will be writing pretty optimistic and extensive Christmas lists to Santa, now is not the time for a tumbleweed to be drifting through my bank account. My mission for November is to save money in the lead up to Christmas. I don’t usually start my Christmas shopping until December so I have a month to save every penny I can. Need to save some money before Christmas too? Here’s a list of simple ways you can save money before mission Christmas begins.  View Post

The catch 22 of ‘me time’ when you are a parent

The catch 22 of ‘me time’ when you are a parent

As I draft this post I am sitting in a bath with white fluffy bubbles up to my ears and a revitalising peel off mask painted over my face. I have a scented candle burning, my latest read waiting for me to get stuck into on the shelf next to me and all that’s missing is a nice glass of wine. What’s the big deal, you might be thinking? Well, it’s 5pm and as every parent out there knows, mamas don’t get to take a relaxing bath at 5pm. This time of day is usually reserved for complete and utter chaos, it’s the beginning of the witching hour(s) and you normally feel stress simmering throughout the house as the kids begin to feel tired and grumpy and hanger is in full swing as you stand by the oven desperately willing the kids food to be ready. Ain’t no time for bubbles and candles at 5pm on a regular Wednesday. This, however, my lovely readers, isn’t a regular Wednesday.  View Post

Pumpkin picking in Swansea – Penyfodau Fawr Farm pick your own fields

Pumpkin picking in Swansea – Penyfodau Fawr Farm pick your own fields

Yay, it’s October! Well, the end of October to be precise. I love this time of year, crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, chunky knits and the sun sits low in the sky making everything just look that little bit more beautiful and cosy. You know why else I love October? Halloween! Ever since I was 9 months pregnant back in October 2016 and obsessed with finding a pumpkin the same size as my ginormous baby bump, we have been venturing out to a pumpkin patch to pick our own pumpkins for carving. I was a bit worried this year as we have moved back to Wales and I didn’t know where we were going to be able top pick our own pumpkins in Swansea. Penyfodau Fawr Farm came to the rescue though and we headed out there on a sunny afternoon at the beginning of this week to select four pumpkins to carve and decorate ready for Halloween.  View Post

Everything I have learnt from a month off Instagram – has my mental health improved?

Everything I have learnt from a month off Instagram – has my mental health improved?

About a month ago I decided to stop using Instagram. There was a combination of different reasons why I decided the social media app was no longer for me, the biggest one was the impact it was having on my mental health. It might sound strange to those of you who have never suffered with mental health problems, but Instagram was really messing with my head. I felt invisible in the crowd of millions of other users, I felt like no one cared what I had to say and every picture posted that only received a handful of likes made me feel like no one liked me, not just that they disliked the picture. So, I posted a photo of myself and I told my 2000 followers that I’d had enough, that Instagram was making me feel lonely and miserable and for something that is classed a ‘social’ media platform, it was making me feel anything but connected to everyone else. Before I signed out for the last time, I was definitely an Insta addict, I was on my phone ALL.THE.TIME. So, how have I coped without Instagram for the last month? Would I recommend everyone take a social media detox to help improve their mental health? What have I learnt in my month off Instagram? Here are my thoughts.. View Post

How to avoid a mummy meltdown this Christmas

How to avoid a mummy meltdown this Christmas

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Yup, I said it. The ‘c’ word has been uttered and it’s only October. You can’t blame me though for chatting about Christmas already, The X Factor is on TV, big tubs of chocolates are for sale in the supermarkets and my local has already got their big Book Your Christmas Party Here! sign up. I love Christmas; the food, the family time, the cosiness, the traditions, the booze, the films – I love it all! I’m not going to lie to you though, I do get quite stressed out in the lead up as when it comes to Christmas, there is A LOT of organising that needs to be done. I have been partial to the odd Christmas related mummy meltdown in recent years and this year I am going to make it my mission to fully enjoy the festive period and not get overwhelmed by all the arrangements for the big day. Like the sound of a meltdown free Christmas? Read on to find out how I am planning to make preparing for Christmas stress free this year. View Post

Eating healthily as a one wage family – is it possible?

Eating healthily as a one wage family – is it possible?

So, something pretty embarrassing happened the other day. I was in Aldi doing the big weekly food shop, the trolley was bursting at the seems with fruit, veg, meat, snacks: all the essentials. I loaded everything up onto the checkout, I had everything crossed that Alex could make it through these last few minutes in the trolley without having a major meltdown. The checkout assistant scanned everything through at breakneck speeds and then it was time to pay. I was mortified when the lady said my card had been declined. ‘Can we try again?’ I asked, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment and growing stress. A second attempt and still no payment went through. I fumbled for my phone and checked my online banking. I had £65 in my account, the shopping came to £75. We spent a very painful five minutes finding £10 worth of shopping to void off my bill and to head back to the shelves. I would like to say the woman on the till was kind and helpful but really she was quite harsh and made me feel more embarrassed than I was already. £75 is a lot of money for our Aldi shop and I know exactly why this grocery haul cost so much, it was mostly healthy food. View Post

A moment in the dark – World Mental Health Day

A moment in the dark – World Mental Health Day

Tonight I slipped back into the darkness.

It was, in fact, more of a fall than a slip. I was like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland: falling, falling, falling, wondering if I would ever stop and what the world would look if I did. My toddler is ill and my five year old forgot how to use his quiet voice and his listening ears in bed this evening. The older one woke up the younger one; I moved them in to share a room at the beginning of the week, just another fuck up to hang from my ever expanding mummy mistakes belt. The five year old settled but the toddler was having none of it. He screamed, fidgeted and fought sleep with every ounce of his being. So I rocked him in my arms like a newborn, all 11kilos of baby chub and gorgeousness. He’s an Oscar winning actor in the making, he looked peaceful so I lay him in his cot, the second he was gently placed on the mattress he started screaming and was wide awake again. I picked him up, rocked and shushed him some more. View Post

3 places to buy your child’s birthday present (that aren’t shops on the High Street)

3 places to buy your child’s birthday present (that aren’t shops on the High Street)

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It’s Alex’s second birthday this month. Firstly, I’m freaking out about my baby turning two but I’m also in a bit of a stress about what to buy him for his birthday. Our house is overrun with toys and I really don’t want to add more to it, there’s going to be no avoiding the massive influx of toys that will be taking over our house come the 21st of this month though! I’m getting bored of always shopping in the same shops on the high street and I’m trying to think of other places I can go browsing for Alex’s present this year.  View Post

What if it’s more than just mama fatigue?

What if it’s more than just mama fatigue?

I’m so tired. Exhausted. Run down. Totally and utterly cream crackered. The bags under my eyes are more like overpacked suitcases, no amount of concealer can hide them away. I feel like I have felt this way forever, well, for the last five years anyway. Sleeping has always been one of my strongest skills, I am a head-hits-the-pillow-and-I’m-out kind of sleeper. If I’m sleepy I can fall asleep pretty easily, be that curled up in bed or on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon. The thing is, lately I am more than just a bit tired. I am not sleep deprived, my boys go for twelve hours every single night. I get atleast, atleast, 8 hours of shut eye each night. So why am I so tired? Why do I feel like I have the get up and go of a sloth and the energy of a zombified snail? Is it just the day to day demands of motherhood finally catching up with me after five long years in the parent club? Am I still recovering from those first years of the boys lives, those hazy times where I was grabbing sleep in two hour doses whenever the babies gave me the opportunity to rest? Is it just mama fatigue, or is it something more? View Post

Preparing for your first family holiday abroad – the ultimate checklist for parents

Preparing for your first family holiday abroad – the ultimate checklist for parents

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Hey, who remembers the heat wave? Oh how I miss that big hot summer sun shining down every day, it’s only the end of September and I’m already wrapping up in woolly jumpers and switching the heating on more than I probably should. With summer now gone for another year, the best way to get through the impending colder months is by planning your next holiday abroad, right? When you have kids, the thought of traveling to a different country can be terrifying, I mean, think of all the things you have to pack for the kids when you’re just going on a day trip! In the five years I’ve been a mum, we have travelled abroad with the kids three times and had lots of UK based holidays too, I feel like I’ve learnt a thing or two about traveling as a family in this time. If the end of summer has got you thinking about preparing for your first family holiday abroad, here is my checklist for all the things you need to remember before you jet off on your holibobs (I’ll be referring back to this before our holiday to Cyprus next Easter!).

Preparing for your first family holiday abroad – the ultimate checklist for parents.

1. Choose a family friendly destination – While backpacking around Asia or doing a road trip through America may have been perfect holiday destinations before kids came along, when you become a parent things like family friendly entertainment and a pool with slides rank higher than how many nightclubs there are for you to drink in along the strip. Holidays with kids are totally different to holidays without them and this is worth keeping in mind when choosing your destination. Think less Ibiza or Magaluf and more Disney Land Paris or all inclusive hotels with a kids club.

2. Decide your accommodation – I will always recommend self catering accommodation when traveling with kids. In a villa, apartment or holiday home you have the benefits of more space than a hotel room, something that you will be grateful for when the kids go to bed at 7pm and you want to stay up later, sitting on the balcony drinking and playing cards or just curling up and relaxing on the sofa. Hotel holidays have their advantages too so it is worth really thinking about what you want from your family holiday before you choose where to stay. Want a home away from home in a sunnier climate? Go for a self catered holiday. Looking for children’s entertainers, all you can eat food and the opportunity to make new friends at a kids club? An all inclusive hotel holiday is probably the best option for you.

3. Get the kids passports – When I was a kid in the 90s I didn’t have my own passport, my mum just had all my details on hers. Things are totally different now and every member of the family will need a passport of their own. Check the expiry date on your own passport and apply for one for your children well in advance of your holiday. There are lots of tips online on getting a suitable passport photo of your baby and GOV.UK offers details on how to apply for your child’s passport. Unfortunately passports don’t come cheap so keep this expense in mind when saving for your holiday.

first family holiday

4. Purchase travel insurance– Don’t risk travelling without proper travel insurance for you and your family. When someone gets ill or something bad happens at home it can be really stressful, this stress is multiplied by a million when you are abroad and something goes wrong. Search around, use comparison websites or choose reputable companies like Bupa Global for a travel insurance quote. Don’t risk travelling without proper travel insurance for the whole family, it’s just not worth it.

5. Pack – It can be easy to over pack when going on holiday with kids but it’s important to not over do it, you don’t want to end up having to pay charges for going over your luggage allowance. Think of all the things you really need and pack them first, does your toddler really need a fresh pair of shorts every day for a week? Do you really need to take ten dresses for a seven night holiday? Mums on the move has a fantastic packing checklist for you to follow when packing for your first family holiday.

There are a few important things that can be easily forgotten in the chaos of packing for a whole family , make sure you remember to pack
– travel adapter
– high factor suncream
– after sun
– any inhalers/medicines your child needs
– passports
– flight tickets
– travel insurance documents
– a separate changing bag for the flight
– a few home comforts for the kids

6. Get your EU health insurance card – To easily access healthcare and necessary medical treatment in the EU you will need a valid EU health insurance card. These can easily be applied for online and all members of the family will need one.

7. Book your flights – You can save money on flights by booking early, being flexible with dates and where you are willing to fly from.

8. Preparing for the flight – When flying with a baby, many airlines will allow you to bring them right up to the gate in their buggy and many also allow families to board first. Remember to check how many liquids you can bring in your hand luggage too. With babies and toddlers you are likely to need things like nappy rash cream, bottles of milk and pouches of baby food etc, be sure to check the airport/airlines policy on this before you travel (you can find useful information about what to pack when travelling with a baby from Baby Centre here). I would also recommend bringing a sling and babywearing in the airport, having your baby in a carrier makes navigating busy spaces much easier and can help to keep them calm in an unfamiliar environment.
Here is a useful resource from Tots To Travel about baby items you can bring on a flight with you –

first family holiday

Finally, here’s some tips for your first flight with kids…
A long flight with a toddler or baby can be daunting and the duration of your travel is something you should consider before you book your holiday. The furthest we have flown since having kids was to Italy, the flight was just under three hours long and both boys (then 3 and 5months) managed to stay fairly calm for the whole journey.

I would say pack lots of story books, a sticker book or colouring book, download lots of CBeebies onto your phone/tablet and have a familiar comforter with you, like their favourite teddy or blanket. Sucking on a dummy or drinking from a bottle can help ease any pain in your baby’s ears during take off and landing and if you are lucky they might just sleep the whole way!

first family holiday

Phew, there is quite a lot to plan and organise when you are preparing for your first family holiday abroad but before you know it the hard part will be over and you’ll be off on your first even holiday as a family, making loads of wonderful memories. Enjoy!

If you have found this post useful, I’d love for you to share it with anyone you know who’s considering travelling abroad with their children for the first time. If you are an expert at traveling with kids, what’s your top tip for new parents? It would be great if you could share your advice in the comments.

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Preapring for your first family holiday abroad

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read..
The advantages and disadvantages of a self catering holiday
Our first family holiday in Majorca
Our camping holiday in Somerset
A trip to Centre Parcs

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Bupa Global.

I write for you – a poem

I write for you – a poem

People blog for loads of different reasons. You have the bloggers who do it for the money, the bloggers who want to raise awareness, the bloggers who just love to talk and the bloggers who want to share their opinions and beliefs in a space online that they have carved out as their own. Recently I have been questioning why I blog, why do I spend hours of my life tapping away at this computer, crafting posts that I hope will you all read and enjoy. The answer has changed over the three and a half years I have been writing Naptime Natter, it started as a diary, then a place to create an income of my own and has evolved into a home of completely unfiltered honesty about motherhood and family life. Since I began blogging about post natal depression and the loneliness and challenges of motherhood, I have received several comments, emails and private messages from other parents thanking me for my words, from other parents who have felt just the same as me. Today I wanted to do something a little bit different, I have written a poem for all those people who have struggled, whether with their mental health or the day to day challenges that we experience as parents. To all of you who have related to the stories I have shared on this blog, I write for you. View Post

Working from home – what’s it really like?

Working from home – what’s it really like?

Kids before career? Kids after career? Kids or career? Kids and career? Jeez, making life plans is hard when you’re a woman! It’s 2018 and while we would love to believe that by this point in history we can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to working as a parent, unfortunately that still isn’t the case for many of us.  Articles in the media and online are rife about working (or not) mothers, everyone has an opinion and so often I read about mums and work and we always seem to be placed in to one of two camps: the stay at home mum who feels unfilled and unappreciated, or the working mum who feels guilty and miserable because they don’t get enough time with their kids. Ask a mum about her experience of the working world and I bet she has a story to share, maybe she wanted to go back to work part time but her boss wouldn’t cut her hours, maybe she’s desperate to work but can’t afford the childcare, maybe she is one of the rare lucky ones who has found the mythical balance between her work and home life. The climb up the career ladder can become extremely difficult once our little bundles of joy arrive, that’s for sure. The modern online world would have you believe that your escape route out of the 9-5 and childcare juggle can be accessed with just a laptop and a good internet connection. The development of technology, smart phones and WiFi pretty much everywhere has made working for yourself a viable option; if you are struggling with the pressure of keeping the work and family plates spinning, now, perhaps, there is a way to do it all. Working from home seems at first a great option for those who can’t or don’t want to go back to the work place but is this style of career really the best option for parents? Here is my experience as a self employed mum working from home, I hope it helps you make up your mind whether this is the career path for you too. View Post

Super stretchy 2 ingredient slime using Elmer’s Magical Liquid

Super stretchy 2 ingredient slime using Elmer’s Magical Liquid
Do you know what’s a really fun but also pretty gross craft activity to do with the kids? Making slime! For reasons unknown, slime seems to be the big thing at the minute, Leo got a few pots of it for his birthday and there seems to be a lot of slime making going on around the messy play and toddler group circuit too. Leo likes all things icky so he decided he wanted in on the slime making action. Oli and I have each made our own attempts at slime but no matter what ingredients we used (fairy liquid, baking soda, contact lenses solution) we could never create anything that looked remotely like the photos on Pinterest. In my quest to find the perfect slime recipe, I asked a woman who was running a slime and craft session in town and she revealed the secret to me. If you want to make stretchy, fun and Pinterest worthy slime on your first attempt, here is the two ingredient method that works every single time.

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