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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5 things to do when you’re having a bad mental health day

5 things to do when you’re having a bad mental health day

This week, postnatal depression and anxiety support charity PANDAS Foundation are running an awareness week – #PNDA18. The theme of the week is Hope, stories and support will be shared all week to provide hope to all the mums struggling with their mental health that a happy life is something they can have again. I have written a piece for PANDAS that will be shared on their website tomorrow, until then, I thought I would share five little things we can all do on a bad mental health day. The cloud of depression can be heavy and all encompassing but there are ways to ease the pressure and make it out through the fog, if even just for a little while.
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#BlogCrush – week 77

#BlogCrush – week 77

Welcome back to #BlogCrush! This is a linky that is all about spreading the blog love. If you are a blogger, come share your posts here along with one from another blogger you love. If you are just someone on the lookout for some new reading material, I can guarantee you are going to find some amazing pieces of writing here.

Have a happy linky, lovelies.

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Recovering from post natal depression

Recovering from post natal depression

When Alex was a couple of months old and I felt like I was slowly losing my mind, I never thought I’d feel happy again.

When I was exhausted beyond measure and crying every day, I never thought I’d feel normal again.

When every decision I made was followed by crashing waves of Mum guilt and self doubt, when I had no time or desire to look after myself and when the only thoughts I had where anxiety fuelled and terrifying, I never thought I’d smile again.

There was a long time that I thought my brain was broken, that I couldn’t trust my own instincts and the majority of the thoughts that whizzed around my head scared me to my core. I had post natal depression brought on by really bad anxiety and for months I didn’t get the help I needed. Over 18months on, I no longer say I have post natal depression, I am no longer a giant ball of anxious energy. I’m happy now, the happiest I’ve ever been. If you are struggling, if you are trapped under that dark heavy cloud and feel like the storm will never pass, I’m here to tell you that you can get through it, you won’t always feel the way you do now. View Post

Looking back on Leo’s first year of school

Looking back on Leo’s first year of school

How has this happened? Leo has finished his first year of school. Reception year is over, done, finito! As with most stages of parenting, I feel like the time since his first day has just whizzed by. With today marking Leo’s very last day of reception, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on Leo’s first school year and to see how far he has come since September. View Post

Mums, have you found your happy place?

Mums, have you found your happy place?

Do you have a happy place? You know, a place you go to in your mind when you just can’t handle another second of the real world and you need to escape. It might be an abandoned beach, with just you on a deckchair with your favourite book for company. Perhaps it is a room full of your best girlfriends, you are all talking about anything and everything, laughing and drinking wine. A beautiful waterfall, a serene lake, the top of a snowy mountain watching snowflakes drift peacefully to the ground. Wherever your imagined happy place may be, when you need a minute to yourself, take yourself away from the stressful situation, close your eyes and go there. That’s what I do. View Post

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

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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

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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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