The best bedtime routine for kids of all ages – Bath, Book, Bed

The best bedtime routine for kids of all ages – Bath, Book, Bed

*collaborative post*

If there is one thing all parents are obsessed with, it is getting our kids to go to sleep. My main concern when I had Leo 4 years ago was how on earth was I going to get my baby to have a good nights sleep so we could both get some much needed rest. Struggling to get your little ones off to the land of nod and then actually getting a decent stretch of sleep once they finally drop off is one of the biggest challenges faced by parents and is something we are all keen to find a solution for. Well, I have two kids now and I have been using a very simple routine at bedtime ever since Leo was 6 weeks old and, I am pleased to report, it really works. The bedtime routine we use with our toddler and four year old is bath, book, bed. Jo Frost and Book Trust have teamed up together for the third year running to share tips and advice on the best bedtime routine with their successful Beth, Book, Bed campaign. A good bedtime routine really is the key to a successful nights sleep, here are my tips along with some great information from the Bath, Book, Bed campaign to help you are your little ones have a happy bedtime and a peaceful nights sleep. View Post

20 easy ways to save money on the weekly food shop

20 easy ways to save money on the weekly food shop

*sponsored post*

My family have been living off one pay packet a month for over 2 years now and over that time I have had to learn a thing or two about living frugally. Life is expensive and I love finding ways to ease the financial pinch, no one likes that scary moment in the shops when you don’t know if your card is going to be declined or not. One of the best and simplest ways we have been able to keep to our strict monthly budget is by saving a big chunk of money on our weekly food shop. There are so many ways you can cut the cost of your food shopping: buying supermarket own brands, making your own bread in a bread maker (you can even make your own cakes and treats in certain bread makers!) and swapping certain foods for cheaper alternatives, to name but just a few.

Today I am sharing all my tips and tricks on how to slash not just pennies but serious cash off your family food shop. I see some people spending hundreds of pounds on food each week and, if you shop smart, it really doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune to feed your family healthy and nutritious food every day.

Here is my full list of 20 tried and tested easy ways you can save money on the weekly food shop, leaving you with more cash to do some of the things you love (or pay the boring bills with!). View Post

Easy ways to save money and make extra cash

Easy ways to save money and make extra cash

Collaborative post.

Are you feeling the pinch? Do you hold your breath when you check your bank balance at the ATM? With Christmas only a few months away, are you panicking about how you are going to get through the holidays without going completely bankrupt?

Raising a family is a seriously expensive business and we could all benefit from saving a few extra pennies where we can. If you are looking for ways to save money and make a little bit of extra dollar too then I hope you find this post helpful. I have put together a list of 5 ways to save money and 5 ways to make a bit of extra money too. So, get reading and start planning what you’re going to do with all that extra cash. View Post

Starting primary school – the mummy bloggers guide

Starting primary school – the mummy bloggers guide

Waa, Leo is starting primary school in less than 3 weeks time and I am so not ready to be sending my baby off to the classroom 5 days a week. I am feeling emotional about this massive step, obviously, and if I am being completely honest I am feeling really overwhelmed too. Leo is my firstborn, I have not had to navigate the chaos of the school run and the world of playground politics before; when it comes to starting school and getting organised I am clueless. To help me feel a little less terrified about the new school year and to give me a lesson or two on how to ease my child into reception year, I have enlisted the help of some fellow mummy bloggers. I asked 10 of my lovely blogging buddies, all mums of children already in school, to share with me their top tips, survival hacks and pearls of wisdom on how to prepare and ease your child (and yourself) into school life. If you have a little one donning a school uniform for the first time this September too then I am sure you will find this post useful and will be bossing your new life as a school run mum before the first half term is over.  View Post

How to breastfeed in public with confidence

How to breastfeed in public with confidence

I always knew that if I ever had a baby I would breastfeed, I have no problem with mothers who bottle feed but I knew that wasn’t the feeding method for me. Before I had my babies, one of the things that worried me about breastfeeding was how I would feel when it came to feeding my baby out of the house. Unfortunately, breastfeeding in public is still seen as a bit controversial and is a bit of a taboo subject, I have no idea why as women have been doing it forever. Because of this often negative view of breastfeeding in public places, nursing mums can often feel self conscious and nervous when feeding out and about. I know from my experience as a first time Mum at 22 how stressed and anxious I felt feeding Leo out of the house in those early weeks.

Now, I’m almost 3 months into feeding my second baby and I will seriously feed him anywhere. If he is hungry then I’m going to feed him whether that’s at home, in a coffee shop or on platform 3 at the train station. When it comes to breastfeeding in public I have learnt not to be self conscious and I am so much more confident now than I was as a first time breastfeeding mummy. If you are pregnant or a new mummy who is nervous about feeding your baby out of the house, here is my quick guide to breastfeeding in public with confidence. View Post

Preparing your pet to meet your new baby – Top Tips from Odd Hog

Preparing your pet to meet your new baby – Top Tips from Odd Hog

I will always remember the day we brought Leo home as a newborn. Our life as we knew it was over and this was also the case for our lovely cat, Blue. No longer would he have all our attention and love, he was always our fur baby but we now we had an actual human being to look after too. Blue was always pretty indifferent towards Leo, their first meeting consisted of a quick sniff from the cat, Leo’s newborn baby smell obviously melted Blue’s heart too because we never had any problems. However, not all pets take to a new member of the family so easily. For anyone who is worried about introducing their beloved pet to their newborn baby, lovely Kim who blogs over at Odd Hogg has some great tips on how to prepare your pet for the family’s new addition. Over to you Kim.. View Post

Working with brands part 2 – 10 lessons I’ve learnt so far

Working with brands part 2 – 10 lessons I’ve learnt so far

Welcome back to my Working with brands mini series. If you missed part 1 – My top tips for new bloggers – please go and have a read, especially if you are a new blogger interested in making money from your writing. I was so overwhelmed by all the positive comments I received on this post, so many new bloggers genuinely grateful for my advice and thanking me for sharing my experience of working with brands as a small blogger. This week I thought I would share with you 10 lessons I have learnt since I began making money from my blog, the list includes positive things I have discovered as well as some hard lessons that I have learnt along the way. I suggest popping the kettle on, grabbing a coffee and making yourself comfortable, this is quite a read but I think (hope!) it is worth it. Enjoy. View Post

Thomas Land, a fab day out for toddlers

Thomas Land, a fab day out for toddlers

On the weekend Oli, Leo and I were up in Leicester visiting our lovely friends for their little boys 3rd birthday party. As we were up in that part of the country we decided to head on over to Thomas Land on the Sunday for some locomotive, tooting good fun. We have previously visited Thomas Land in December on one of their magical Christmas days, Leo loved it and I couldn’t wait to take him back to meet his favourite engines all over again. If you have a toddler who loves trains and is also a Thomas fan, I can’t recommend Thomas Land enough. I have decided to write about our day to convince any parents out there that a trip to Thomas Land is always a good idea. I hope you enjoy reading about our fun filled day and I have also chucked in a few tips to help make your day as fun as possible too. View Post

5 easy ways to enjoy me time at home

5 easy ways to enjoy me time at home

Ahh the elusive ‘me time’, something all us parents crave but rarely get the opportunity to enjoy. Being a mum to an almost 3 year old I am always searching for a spare 5 (or 10) minutes I can grab for myself, away from the toddler chaos and all the other demands of the stay at home parent life.

In reality, I feel like I need more than 10 minutes. I feel like a whole week at a spa retreat, doing yoga and having daily massages would just about give me the energy boost I seriously need after 3 years of parenting. Unfortunately, with a family and house to look after and with barely enough money to fund a weekend of camping in a field, a week at a spa just isn’t feasible right now.

If you are in the same situation as me then fear not, yes a week of relaxing bliss may be out of the question but there are still ways you can grab some precious me time at home. Here are some examples of how you can unwind and relax after a hectic day of changing nappies, chasing toddlers around, washing 50 loads of clothes, cleaning the floor under the high chair, toddler group hell..do I need to go on? View Post

How to work with brands as a new blogger – tips on how to start making money from your blog

How to work with brands as a new blogger – tips on how to start making money from your blog

It is not very often you will find posts about blogging here on Naptime Natter. It is not that I don’t enjoy writing about my favourite hobby ever, it is just that I feel there are so many more experienced bloggers out there who can offer you much more valuable advice and tips than I ever could. You see, when it comes to stats and all that stuff, my blog is still pretty small. Although I may be a very small fish in the overflowing pond of parent bloggers, this hasn’t stopped me from working with brands. View Post

How to save money when shopping for a new baby

How to save money when shopping for a new baby

Having a new baby is an exciting time for every parent, be it first time around, second time or if you are expecting your tenth baby. As most of you know by now, I am expecting my second little boy and I can’t wait for us to become a family of four in October. I am very unprepared though and with just 14weeks to go it is about time I started doing some shopping for baby. Bringing a new little life in to the world can be quite an expensive business, babies just need so much stuff.  If you are looking to bring the cost of shopping for a new baby down, here are my tips on how to save yourself some money. View Post

5 easy ways to be healthy

5 easy ways to be healthy

I don’t know about you but I am always looking for new ways to keep myself and my family healthy. Since becoming a parent I worry about my health more than ever, I want to make sure I am always eating a balanced diet and I try my best to get Oli and Leo to do the same. With a busy job and hectic family life, it can be hard for Oli to make sure he is eating a balanced diet and looking after himself. For men like my husband, the clever team over at Nuts.com have come up with 5 easy tips for men to follow to help keep themselves as healthy as possible, these tips are great because they can be applied to the whole family too.

So with out further a due , let me hand you over to Nuts.com with their 5 easy ways to be healthy..

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5 quick and easy workouts for busy Mums

5 quick and easy workouts for busy Mums

So January is pretty much over and, still, I can tell I ate too much over Christmas. I haven’t been dieting this month as I don’t need to lose any weight really, I just need to tone up. I want to get the muscles back that I had in November time, the ones that were whisked away by mince pies and one too many After Eights during the festive period.

I have started exercising again. I am not a fitness guru or a lover of exercise and I don’t have a gym membership but I do know the importance of keeping your body fit and healthy and just eating salad every day isn’t going to give me a toned stomach, is it? I also know that as a Mum, there are very few opportunities in the day I have to exercise, so when I do workout I need to be doing something that is quick yet effective.

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Driving home for Christmas – road safety tips this winter

Last weekend my little family and I loaded the car up with Christmas presents and drove the 4 hour journey north to visit our parents in Mid Wales. Yes, I know it is still only November but we live so far away now, we probably won’t have another chance before Christmas to see them and deliver all our gifts. I miss living in Swansea and only being an hour and half away, a 4 hour drive for me is a big deal. You see, I have not always been the most confident of drivers, it took me a fair few attempts to pass my test and I have, unfortunately, had a few bumps and scrapes along the way. In more recent years I have been steadily getting more comfortable driving on motorways and driving on roads I don’t know. However, this confidence is always significantly knocked when there has been an accident on route, like there was this weekend….


After a lovely couple days with the family we jumped in the car around 5 on Sunday to start our long journey home. We made it down to the M4 in really good time and stopped at a service station for some coffee and to change Leo into his pyjamas. We were back on the road in no time and the drive was going well until, all of a sudden, a sea of red brake lights lit up the motorway. There is only one reason traffic would be this bad on a Sunday night. A quick browse from Oli on the AA website confirmed our fears, there had been a multi car accident on the M4, queues and delays were to be expected.

Initially Oli and I were frustrated, we just wanted to get home. The journey is long enough without having to be stuck in traffic because of an accident. Once the irrational annoyance subsided I began to think about the accident, hoping everyone was OK and how, if we hadn’t stopped, we could have potentially witnessed it or even been involved ourselves. 
I don’t know what caused the accident as when we eventually drove past everything, thankfully, had been cleaned up. However, over 1200 road accidents in the UK every year are caused because of problems with car tyres. I don’t know if defective tyres caused this accident or if someone was driving too fast or whatever but, now knowing this statistic, I know for sure I will be checking my tyres from now on – just to be on the safe side.
Safe and sound snoozing away.

Becoming a parent makes us worry about all sorts of things, doesn’t it? Is the house baby proofed? Is my child getting all of their 5 a day? Even when it comes to car travel, us parents up our safety game, We spend ages selecting the best car seat for our child and we always make sure it is fastened securely before we set off on our journey, always.  But, do you always check your tyres? I know I don’t. When I was asked to get involved in a campaign to raise awareness of tyre safety I was very happy to participate. As Christmas is just around the corner and lots of you will be travelling all over in the next month or so to visit family, now is the perfect time to make sure your tyres are safe. All is needed is a quick check before you head off on your journey, it is especially important to do these checks if you are planning on driving a long distance. 

Here are 3 tyre safety tips you should always remember..
1. Keep correct tyre pressure – check tyres are not deflated but do not over inflate either (correct pressure can be fond in your cars handbook)
2. Examine tyres regularly – check for stones and any other objects that may have got stuck.
3. Check your tread – the minimum legal tread for tyres in the U.K is 1.6mm
I know most of the time we are always in a rush to get places and we have a million and one other things to remember, but if we can find just 2 extra minutes to give the car tyres a once over, you never know, a car accident waiting to happen could easily be avoided. To make things even easier, the lovely people at Tyre Safe have created a short video, showing you exactly what you need to do…
If you have just watched this video, checked your tyres and realised, oh no, your tyres are not safe for the road then don’t panic, go get them fixed/replaced now while you remember! I have recently moved and am yet to figure out what local garage to take my beloved Fiesta to, I have been stung a few times in the past, been over charged by some money hungry mechanic and ended up with more problems than when I took the car in. If, like me, you are new to an area or fancy trying someone new, Point S are a leading supplier of tyres in the UK with over 40 years experience. They have over 200 centres across the country, all of which can easily be found on their website and by simply typing in your car reg their website tells you exactly what tyres you need. Appointments can easily be booked online and you can see how much everything is going to cost before you have committed to anything.
With all the little jobs we have to do before we head off in the car anyway – change baby’s nappy, wrestle shoes on to toddler, chuck pram into the boot – what’s one more? Tyre safety is so important and wouldn’t you  rather be the family caught up in the queue of cars on the motorway than be the family involved in the crash causing those very queues? Also, if the police catch you driving around with defective tyres that’s a fine of over £2000, no one wants that and especially not a month before Christmas, right?
Do you regularly check your tyres? If not, do you think you will start now? If you are travelling to see friends and family this month I hope you all have a wonderful time.

 *Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Point S. All words and opinions are my own.*

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A Cornish Mum

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My Random Musings

6 things to do on your blogging break

Blogging, we all love it right? Our own little space on the internet to share our thoughts, embrace our passion for writing and to meet new people. Starting this blog earlier this year was definitely one of my smarter ideas, it has helped me improve my writing, inspired my creative side as well as making me a more confident person in general. Blogging is not always easy though, it can be very time consuming and the endless social networking that goes with it can be very demanding. No matter how much we love our blogs, sometimes it is good to step back and take a break.

In September I was very busy moving house and decided to completely abandon my blog for a month. I needed the time to focus on packing and I also felt like my blog was suffering due to distractions from my personal life. Instead of spending a month churning out half hearted, uninspiring, potentially badly written posts, I chose to sign out of Blogger, ignore the whole blogging world and enjoy a month away from it all.

Along side completely relocating with my family, I managed to do lots of things on my blog break and I found it really beneficial.

If you decide to take some time away from your blog, here are 6 things you should do on your blog break…

1. Read that book – you know the one I mean? The one that has been sat on your bedside table, untouched for the last few months. Reading blogs is great but there is only so much reading you can fit into one day. Use this new spare time to pay that book some attention, you bought it because it looked interesting after all.

2. Tweet – Once you become a blogger your Twitter account suddenly becomes home to endless blog promotion, retweets from other bloggers and everything else blog related. Instead of tweeting a link to your latest post, use this time to share a bit more about yourself with your followers, things they might not have known before. Lets be honest, everyone prefers a witty or heart warming tweet to yet another blog promo anyway.

3. Embrace parenthood – Now, I am not saying we don’t all do this every single day anyway. However, when you are on your phone reading comments, sending tweets or updating your blog that is time taken away from having fun with your child. Although I try to only blog when Leo is asleep, with the amount of work that coincides with blogging it is inevitable that sometimes various tasks leak into our time together. It’s time to get those hands off the keyboard and use them to give your toddler a good old tickle and have some fun.

4. Enjoy other hobbies – Whether you blog for a living or it is just for fun, sometimes the things you enjoyed before blogging can get a bit neglected. If your writing time has taken over the hours where you used to watch films, sew, swim, paint, read or whatever then use this break to get back into your favourite past times. Between packing boxes and cleaning, I managed to finish a whole book and get some serious knitting done, it’s amazing what you can do when you’re not glued to a screen.

5. Reflect on your blog – Now I know you are on a blogging break but now is a good time to address any issues you may have with your blog. You can use this time to give your blog a make over, tart up your side bar or update your about me page. Without the stress of deadlines or all the post promotion, you will be shocked at how inspired and creative you will start to feel. Even though you are having time away from your blog, post ideas will keep popping up in that clever brain of yours so make sure you write them down. I came back from my blog break with a pretty new layout and a much more focussed mind.

and most importantly..

6. Relax – Yes, you’re stats are going to suffer. How could they not? It is not the end of the world though, when you are ready to come back your readers will be back too.  Just enjoy some time with your family without your blog getting in the way. Be it a week, a month, a year just make sure you enjoy your blogging break and you get everything you want from it.

Have you ever taken a break from your blog? Did you find it beneficial? I would love to know what you got up to.

You Baby Me Mummy

15 things to prepare yourself for when spending a night on the children’s ward

I am sure every single one of you will agree, there is nothing worse than seeing your child sick and in pain. It is a horrible thing to endure and goes against everything us parents want to do. We want to protect our children from anything that can hurt them, make them happy and keep them healthy. The latter is unfortunately not always something we can control, no matter how much we try. I have spoke on this blog several times in the past about how Leo suffers with regular ear and upper respiratory problems. He has been on antibiotics at least four times in the last year, as well as needing steroids on a couple of occasions.
At the beginning of last month Leo got ill again, he was so bad that instead of treating him at home our extremely concerned GP admitted him to hospital. It was a horrible scary time. We rode in the ambulance and attempted to give Leo oxygen through a mask – this is impossible! After an hour or so in the hospital we were told Leo would need to stay in over night to have regular inhalers and there was only enough room for one parent to stay and of course that parent was me. That night was long, tiring and stressful and I was not the only parent on the ward to think so!
So if, unfortunately, you have to spend a night on the children’s ward here are 15 things you should prepare for…
1. You will have to sleep on a camp bed on the floor while your baby towers above you in their cot.
2. Your child will not want to sleep knowing that you are on the floor next to them.
3. It will take you ages to get your baby to sleep as hospitals are not the quietest of places.
4. Approximately 20 minutes after getting your child to sleep the baby opposite will start crying and wake yours up again.
5. Your babies crying will wake up someone else’s child.
6. You will give up all hope of sleep and let your toddler watch films on your phone while you attempt to cling on to sanity.
7. Hearing other peoples children in pain is nearly as bad as hearing your own.
8. There may be a point where you feel like crying.
9. Other parents will be crying and this will make you feel less alone.
10. When you do manage to get to sleep a nurse will appear to give your child their medicine, starting the crying cycle off again.
11. There will be times in the night you will wake up with a nurse stood next to the bed.
12. In the morning you don’t get breakfast or a cup of tea.
13. Parents across the ward will all give each other an apologetic/understanding smile the next day – what a night eh?!
14. Oh and when you wake up after whatever little sleep you had you will resemble someone from The Walking Dead..
15. You will spend your whole night thinking up ways to treat your little one once you are discharged..we went for ice cream and watched lots of films.
This is what I look like after 2 hours sleep..zzz!
My brave boy.
Have you had to spend a night in hospital with your little one? Was your experience similar to mine?
Mums' Days

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Top tips for coping with a poorly toddler

The last 5 days have been so stressful, they have really challenged me and put my parenting skills to the test. My lovely Leo has yet again got an ear infection but to make matters worse his chest is also infected.

On Monday he was not himself at all and his temperature was running pretty high. Stupidly I put it all down to teething as his right back molar is cutting through. When he woke up burning hot at 5am on Tuesday I knew a visit to the doctor was in order.

Poorly Leo 🙁

The lovely doctor diagnosed Leo with a chest and ear infection and prescribed a course of antibiotics.  That was on Tuesday and now it is Friday Leo is almost back to his happy self. We are now almost out the other side of this horrible infection and I thought I would share how we managed to make it through this horrible week in one piece.

Tips for coping when your toddler gets ill …

Don’t stress if they don’t eat.
Leo has hardly touched his food all week. He’s had the odd bowl of cereal and a couple bits of toast and banana but as far as actual meals go, he has eaten nothing. This would normally stress me out loads but as he’s poorly I’m letting it slide. Sometimes when you are poorly food just is not appealing at all. As long as your little one is drinking then try not to worry, they will eat once they are better.

Even funny face food wasn’t good enough!

Be prepared for lots of sofa cuddles.
I have been glued to the sofa most of the week. Leo has not wanted to do anything other than cuddle up and watch cartoons. My friend and her daughter came to visit on Wednesday, we went to the park and Leo would not play at all. I would suggest you get your most cwtchy blanket, have a drink and snacks handy and get settled on the sofa for some serious cuddles and lots of Peppa Pig (if you can’t stand kids tv, have your phone handy and make the most of this quiet time to catch up on blog stuff).

Remind yourself how to do things one handed.
Leo is not a clingy child but this week I haven’t been able to go in the kitchen without him chasing after me, arms up and shouting ‘mummy cuddle’. I have had to reacquaint myself with the art of making toast and tea with one hand while holding Leo in the other, it’s not as easy as I remember!

Don’t feel evil when giving them medicine.
Oh wow, Leo hates his antibiotics. Like, he seriously hates it. He screams the house down and I have to pretty much restrain him to get any in his mouth. It is a traumatic ordeal for the both of us and has to happen 3 times a day, after each admission I am almost in tears myself. My only advice would be to just remind yourself even though they hate it, the medicine will make them better and is what’s best in the long run.

Everything else can wait.
No one makes a better nurse than your mum, we all know this from our own childhoods. The pile of laundry can wait and the dishes can pile up a bit if need be. Right now your baby needs you more than ever and all those other trivial things can just wait.  Don’t feel guilty about neglecting the housework, making your little one happy and comfortable is all that matters.

Enjoy some ‘me’ time.
Looking after a poorly toddler can be exhausting and some days you won’t get a single second to yourself. Once your patient is tucked up in bed spend some time relaxing and do something you enjoy. Luckily I haven’t had to work this week so once Leo is in bed I have just been crashing on the sofa with Jessy and Oli, I have been too tired to do anything else! On Wednesday we got my nan to babysit and once Leo was asleep we went to watch Avenue Q at the theatre where I work, it was nice to be out the house! A nice bubble bath with a good book sounds like heaven right now though…

Cuddles with Jessy after a busy day.

What do you think of my tips? Have you got any more ways of coping when your little one is ill?

Mums' Days