Monday Monday afternoon we set off to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. On arrival at our lodge we were greeted by Squirrels and Geese. All to which Mole and Frankie found…
Monday afternoon we set off to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. On arrival at our lodge we were greeted by Squirrels and Geese. All to which Mole and Frankie found to be very amusing.
We stayed in a beautiful 3 bedroom cabin that included a living room space, kitchen, dining area, patio and my favourite the outdoor sauna. Two of the bedrooms had a double bed and the third bedroom came with two single beds. Frankie has never slept in a bed before so he used the cot. If you plan to do this to make sure you bring your own cot linen.
I have never been so excited to wake up and see a difference in scenery. Oh it is beautiful there. You literally feel like you are camping right in the middle of the woods.
The first full day Mole had a horse ride booked. It was the first 15 minutes of her life where she has been completely silent haha. Mole took me by surprise actually. I was expecting her to be shy but she jumped straight on the horse with a smile like a cheshire cat.
Our cabin was a 45 minute walk away from the main shops. Obviously if it were just me and Jay it would be half of that time. We struggled to carry Frankie there and back after refusing to walk so off we went to get bikes.
Unfortunately, they were sold out of bikes for children and they gave us a double pram to use instead. This situation damped the mood a little as if you have been before you will know how much bikes are an essential. To cheer us all up we treated the kids in the gift shop with two teddies Mole has named “Suzie and Aquacabatic”.
Today was Frankie’s turn to have all the fun. We had a messy play activity booked in early morning. Unusual for us, we were too early. We filled in the time by taking part in a pottery painting activity. We were so lucky to get on to. I have to say pottery painting was my personal favourite.
Mole was able to join in with messy play too. The whole morning was spent covered in paint and spaghetti and it could not have been any better.
I forgot to mention we did end up getting bikes in the end. We had to keep checking at the bike reception and finally got 2 with a trailer on the back. Wednesday weather was beautiful. We decided to make the most of it by going on a family bike ride and heading down to the nature park.
The afternoon was spent at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Mole and Frankie had the best time swimming. Their confidence in water since starting swimming lessons has completely changed.
The weather took a turn but a little wind and rain did not stop us heading down to the beach, to build sandcastles and hire a paddle boat. Poor Jay was at the back of the paddle boat pushing us all around. We treated Mole and Frankie to pancakes at the Pancake House but the weather dropped in temperature and we were all absolutely freezing.
It was so cosy to go back to the lodge and have cuddles next to the fire. I even felt a little guilty when I had to leave for my spa appointment.
Jay treated me to a lovely full body exfoliation treatment and an Indian head massage. The perfect end to our trip.
Our original plan was to hand around still after checking out and dine out. However, we were all content with setting off back home. We had such a special time together it was important to all leave on a good note.
Have you ever been to Center Parcs before? What was your experience like?
I was always under the impression that because we were not eligible for the 30 hours free childcare, that would simply be it. Wrong. You can still get 15 hours…
I was always under the impression that because we were not eligible for the 30 hours free childcare, that would simply be it.
You can still get 15 hours free childcare.
All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks.
What are the requirements?
You must be with an approved childcare provider.
What is an approved childcare provider?
Registered nursery, childminder, playscheme, club or a nanny.
A home care worker for a registered home care agency
A childminder or nanny with a registered childminder agency or childcare agency.
childminder or nanny with a registered childminder agency or childcare agency
If you are unsure your childcare provider is registered search through Ofstead.
Childcare that is provided by relatives can still qualify if they are a registered childminder and care for your child outside your home. So basically, if your child’s grandparent looks after them casually on a Friday, you can not claim for free childcare hours.
This also goes for if your partner stays at home looking after your child. You can not claim for free childcare hours. And foster parents can not claim unless they are registered childcare.
How do you pay the childcare provider?
If you are eligible for free childcare hours, you can pay the childcare provider using:
When does the free childcare hours start?
As soon as your child reaches three years old, you can get the free hours after the term from their birthday. Simply ask their childcare provider for the form if they have not already asked you yet.
When does the free childcare hours stop?
When your child reaches compulsory school age the free hours will stop. For most children this will be when they first start reception.
Over the past years, screen time for children has increased massively. I’m sure during lockdown we all have been guilty of allowing our children to have more screen time too….
Over the past years, screen time for children has increased massively. I’m sure during lockdown we all have been guilty of allowing our children to have more screen time too. I know I have.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a massive advocate for children and screen time. Tech has saved many tantrums for me and my career background is all based around tech. It is a part of me. And I want technology to be a huge part of Mole and Frankie too.
However, giving our children a creative outlet or an educational project is extremely important for not only their mental health, but their overall wellness. Our children are still developing. Activities like the ones i’m about to share, will help to give them skills that can’t just be gained from watching tv.
Sometimes, when it comes to activities with Mole and Frankie, I get stuck in a rut on what to do. When I find myself researching fun activities for toddlers, many of them seem complicated or time consuming even costly!
I’m going to share 5 of our regular activities for you to do too!
Whenever we visit a place together as a family I always check the gift shop to see if they sell postcards. I buy quite a few and when we get home, Mole and Frankie go wild with crayons all over them. It’s a lovely activity to end the whole day on a positive note and keeps them busy when you’re getting the evening meal prepared. You could add stickers, make your own, go as creative as you want!
Even if your children are old enough to write, this is a great activity to practice their writing skills.
Mole loves sticking on the stamps and then we all take a trip to the postbox the next day. It’s such a simple activity that they love to do.
I send the postcards out to family members and long distance family friends as a nice way to keep in touch. I know that they enjoy receiving them too.
Toddlers love getting messy. We took a trip to Homebase or B&Q and went just to look at the flowers. I call it the flower shop. Mole (Frankie is still a little too young) picks the flowers and head back home. Mole is bossy, so having her in control of the decision making makes the process very fun for her.
In the garden, I have pots where Mole loves to clean with the hosepipe, adds the compost in and then helps with the flowers or seeds.
The whole activity took as all morning the other day. We all had the best time and the biggest bonus is that the garden looks pretty!
I’m sure this is already an activity you have tried with your toddler. So for this point, I making it a reminder to bake again!
Toddlers love it. You could switch it up and do cupcake decorating, have them choose items out of your fridge and see if you can challenge yourself with them to create something or even make something like bird feed or a potion.
Invest in a step up stool and encourage them to clean the pots afterwards. Add lot’s of fairy liquid and your toddler will think washing up is fun!
4. Throw a party
This activity really gets Mole excited. Whilst your doing your food shop buy a packet of balloons and some simple party food. You can even create party invitations with your little ones. Get some music on, let them wear party clothes and have fun in your living room! Toddlers love a party. Mole invites all of her teddies too.
Whenever I feel like dinners and tea’s are struggling to go down well with my kids, I plan for a picnic. For some reason, whenever we go on a picnic they eat ANYTHING.
Even if we just go down the road to our local park, it is refreshing to get outdoors and feel the wind on our skin. Picnics have helped to make what turns into a stressful time of day for me (when they refuse to eat) into an enjoyable couple of hours. They are always shattered when we come back too, so I even get a coffee in peace.
Not necessary but I purchased a toy wooden camera, Mole loves to take it along with us and take photos of the picnic.
Please share your favourite activity to do with your toddler!
Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers…
Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers dream.
You are not the only parent that has probably tried to put off transitioning your toddler from a cot to a toddler bed for as long as possible. Now that time has come, I have a few helpful tips that will make the transition easier.
Mole was in her cot whilst Frankie was under 6 months old sleeping in the Snuz Pod next to me in our room. It suited us just fine as we were managing to get sleep and stick to the working bedtime routine. Our plan was to transition Mole when I felt like she was ready however, Frankie had other plans.
Frankie, as you know, is such a big boy. He out grew the Snuz Pod quickly. Our only realistic option was to move Frankie into the cot Mole was currently in, and invest in a toddler bed for Mole. (Rather than buying another cot, that would not be needed in a years time.)
Ideally it is best to transition your toddler from around 18months of age up to around 3 1/2 years old. The timing is different for every child. If your toddler is trying to climb out of their cot or asking for a big bed then its probably time to make the change.
A big move
Transitioning your toddler from a cot into a toddler bed is a big move for them. We were currently potty training Mole at the time and doing both of these milestones together was wrong as it would have been too much for her. Not forgetting that she was also adjusting to life as a big sister.
As the bed transition was our main priority, we put potty training on hold for a couple of months. I can now tell you, that break from potty training, to focus on her new sleeping routine, was the best decision ever. We started potty training again and made faster progress than before and Mole is now nappy free.
Change their room
I truly believe that changing their room from baby to toddler decor helps. We were lucky enough to be in a position to give the room a full make over from scratch, as her room was a spare (dumping) room.
I got her some fun artwork with big bright animals above the bed that she instantly got excited about. The walls were painted in bright colours opposite to neutral walls Mole had before. The reason was to make the room look noticeably different to her. All decorations were a mix between adult decor and children’s.
The bed we picked was perfect for her height to hop on and off with ease.
The duvet set was purposely chosen as a bold Peppa Pig print that caught her eye immediately and was inviting for her to sleep in the bed rather than having an insta-perfect bedding set.
All of this added together built up Mole’s excitement and made the change positive for her. Once she saw the complete room, Mole started asking to sleep in the “big girl bed”.
I have seen parents simply change their toddlers cot into a cot bed and begin the transition, however, I would really recommend adding a few new touches to their “big girl/boy” room to make it feel more grown up to them.
Reference big girl/boy
Every now and again, I’d use the term big girl when describing something to her. This could be drinking from a big girl cup or sleeping in the big girl bed. It helped because Mole started to understand that the cot was now for babies and she wanted to sleep in the big girl bed.
Stick to the same routine that worked for you before. The same bath time and bedtime story to bring familiarity to them in a big change.
Don’t be alarmed when your toddler decides to wonder around after 10 minutes of putting them to bed. That is normal and can be stopped with other methods that I will discuss later on, rather than changing their bedtime routine around.
Give them credit
I can guarantee your toddler will adapt to change.? We should have given Mole a little bit more credit for how well she took on the transition. I can’t believe I doubted doing it for so long. We started putting Mole down for a nap in her big girl bed first. She looked so grown up, it didn’t feel right when I saw her back in her cot for bedtime. Mole looked older (or more her age) and everything felt right to move her into the bed full time during the night.
Jumping out of bed
Mole was an angel for the first few weeks in her toddler bed then something changed. As soon as I put her to bed and started walking down stairs, I would see her bedroom door handle move and next minute she was running around the landing.
Do not give into giving them attention for doing this. We would say one word. “BED”. Take Mole back to bed, give her a kiss and then leave the room.
Some night I would be doing this till 11:00pm.
We even tried a stair gate on her bedroom door but that made her very upset and she was screaming “Molly stuck”.
If the one word “bed” would not work. I’d take Mole back to bed and tell her, “Molly stay in bed now, no open door.” and usually her reply would be that she isn’t tired. Which would be a lie as the time would be 9:00pm. Id simply then tell her that all of the animals, are in bed now, sun in bed, Frankie in bed and she would get the idea and stay in bed.
Wow. 5:00am mornings are not for me. We are still working on this. My current alarm clock is Mole running in asking to watch Hey Duggee as 5:00am. i’ll keep you updated if I find a working miracle.
All I can say is, be prepared for the early starts.
Transition them at a weekend when you don’t have to be getting up early for work after getting a stressful night of keeping them in bed.
I hope you found this blog post useful.
Please share below any advice you have for other parents.
It is usually advised to start potty training your child when they are between 18 months to three years old. This is when they are more emotionally and physically ready…
It is usually advised to start potty training your child when they are between 18 months to three years old. This is when they are more emotionally and physically ready for it.
As a first time mum, I had no experience on potty training before and my first perception of it was a task that could be done within a week. While this is possible for some children, it certainly wasn’t the case for Mole. With researching potty training, there were actually a few things we needed to do before we officially started.
You need to make sure your child is actually ready themselves for potty training. The signs below will give you an idea if you’re child is ready. Please note, your child does not have to do all of these signs, but by showing they can do a good few will make potty training easier in the long run.
Signs your child is ready to be potty trained
Pulling on their nappy
Say when they have a wet nappy or show signs of being uncomfortable
Taking an interest in you going to the toilet
Can say the words wee wee or poo poo or something similar.
They hide to do a poo or stop to do a wee
Can go a few hours with a dry nappy
Go to do a poo at regular times
Wants to be more independent
Enjoys praise and will do activities for praise
Understands your question of “do you need a wee?”
What to do before you start potty training
Before you go ahead with the potty training, there are actually a few tips you can do first. This will help to ease you and your toddler into it.
Take you toddler to the toilet with you every time you go. Explain to them exactly everything you are doing, from pulling your pants down, flushing and washing your hands. This will help them to become familiar with the routine.
Let your toddler choose their big girl or boy pants. Make it fun for them. They don’t have to wear fashionable ones, just let them be in control.
Buy toddler friendly potty training books. I got Mole this one from Amazon: Princess Potty Book. It’s surprising how much they learn from a book and again making the process seem fun for them.
Invest in a sticker praise chart. Explaining how to get the sticker praise first will make them see a reason to start. Using stickers is a healthier alternative to sweet treat praise too.
Invest in a potty. We first got a potty and Mole was too small for it. So before you start try out different potty’s until you find the right one for your child.
Get a new toy or find new videos on your phone or tablet. This is a distraction technique to help them stay sat on the potty. Getting together new toys or videos will be more intriguing for them.
Have a word with yourself. Be prepared. The first few days will be messy so ask yourself is this the right time to do it before you start? It is best to stay in the house too, so ask yourself if you can handle that for a few days.
I hope you found this useful and remember, if you or your child is not ready there is no pressure. Start again when you both are.
Travelling with a one year old is not going to be easy. If your one year old is anything like my little Mole, they will not entertain being strapped in…
Travelling with a one year old is not going to be easy. If your one year old is anything like my little Mole, they will not entertain being strapped in for a long period of time. So whether you are travelling by a car or by a plane you have a challenge on your hands.
What can you do?
Firstly, really have a think about your current one year olds development. All toddlers develop at different rates so one thing that works for one may not work for another.
How do you keep a one year old entertained on a flight?
I had a good think about what Mole currently loves to do. Reading, stickers, dancing and playing with my things like sunglasses. I focused her toys for around that, rather than something like stacking cups or teddies which she is not fully into just yet.
Toys and Books
I went shopping before the trip so specifically to find her some new activity books and toys. Although not cost friendly, this was great as she was fully interested in what the new toy did.
We also had a cheap pair of baby sunglasses for her to play with putting them on and off and I wasn’t worried if they got broke (which they did) but so worth it to pass the time.
Downloading TV Programmes
One piece of advice I was told time and time again was to download something for her to watch. We did, but this did not answer our prayers when she was playing up. Mole only watched something for around 6 minutes and then she lost interest. Which to be fair, is exactly what she does when she is watching something at home too. It was great to have the option readily available.
We also entertained her with the “Peppa Pig App”. There is a painting section where you can swipe your fingers all over the phone screen to create pictures. (Easier on a tablet/iPad). This was far more suited for Mole as she was busy moving her hands.
Snacks are another great way to pass the time. Although not the healthiest option, Mole had crisps. I cant actually believe how well they entertained her. She loved trying to take one out of the packet. We did the same with raisins. Basically any snacks that take a while to eat. Avoid chocolate, chocolate gets very messy on a warm plane.
Tips for a child who does not like staying still?
This is Mole all over. On the first flight I felt like I had to be strict with her, making sure she was sat still on my knee, constantly occupied with one of her toys or books. It did not work. In fact, fighting against her wanting to move around just made matters worse. The tantrums were next level and being pregnant with a one year old having a full blown tantrum on my knee was no fun. Here is what I did instead:
For the flight home, we travelled early evening instead of mid day. The day of the flight, I let her crawl/walk everywhere. We were in the hotel lobby for some time watching her crawl around. I then made sure she had a nappy. Just a short one to prevent her being over tired. Then I did the same thing at the airport, let her crawl around everywhere (where it was safe and easy to do so). She was absolutely filthy but worn out.
On the flight, she would stand on my knees and peek her head over the top of the chairs to get attention off the other passengers. I let her do it for the sake of three easy hours of no tantrums.
I even let her sit on my seat whilst I sat in the footwell just so she did not feel as restricted.
Being calmer myself, seemed to have a big impact on her. I didn’t fuss over her once like I did going out. I didn’t keep handing her a toy until she really wanted it and the same for her snacks. I think toddlers can play up on your emotions.
What to do for the take off?
I packed a bottle of milk to help reassure her and to help with her ears popping. She actually got really excited when the plane was taking off, turning around and giving the biggest smile ever like she was on the ride of her life.
When the air pressure changed, I tried to give her a dummy but she wasn’t interested so we just stuck with the bottle of milk.
What did you pack in your hand luggage?
I had one hand luggage for the plane which was my straw beach bag. I had nothing for myself except for my phone. Everything was for Mole, her lunchbox with snacks, water cup, milk, Calpol, 3 books (picture, touch and feel, and a sticker book) and any other toys. I also packed her favourite blanket but it was so hot on both flights we didn’t bother getting it out.
You can take as liquid for your child as you need to. At security I just placed all her liquids in a tray and that was that.
I highly recommend it! Very easy to put up and down, all one piece and light weight. No issues at all using it the whole holiday.
The reason I got a stroller is because our current pram was very expensive, heavy and not as easy to manoeuvre as a stroller. We did take this pram with us on holiday when Mole was a newborn and it was better suited.
What did you do about a car seat travelling abroad?
We mainly used the car seat for the taxi in the UK. I wanted to decrease the time Mole spent on my knee when I knew she was going to be on my knee for three hours on the plane.
In Portugal, they had their own safety regulations with car seats and our private transfer wanted to use their own. Some transfers stated that you need to bring a car seat or you can not travel with them
On the shuttle bus to the beach Mole sat on my knee.
What clothes did you take for your toddler on holiday?
I recorded a YouTube Video showing you all the clothes I took for my toddler.
I would recommend planning outfits for day time and evening on each day with a few spares so you know not to over or under pack.
What did you do about taking swim nappies, nappies and formula?
Mole is on whole cows milk. As I was unsure when the next time I would be able to pick up a fresh bottle, I opted to pack a couple of these ready made formula bottles.
This was super easy for when we arrived as I felt like I didn’t have to race out to find a shop for milk.
When Mole turned one I stopped sterilising her bottles. You can now buy portable sterilisers if you need one.
The duration of our holiday was 7 days. I packed 18 nappies and ran out pretty quickly as she hated wearing a wet swim nappy and the first few days being in a wet swim nappy was making her sore.
If you can pack more in your suitcase or order them to be delivered from Boots in the airport. We ended up having to buy a pack of nappies out there for $25.00 and they may as well have been made out of tissue paper.
My final advice will be you can not control to an extent what is going to happen so please do not stress about it. On the flight out Mole was horrendous. She screamed the whole time and she has toys, snacks, Calpol, milk…everything.
You will never see the people on your flight again so if they turn around and give you evils (which we had a lot of) do not care. At the end of the day you can only do your best and toddlers are very strong willed.
The flight home was the opposite. Mole was a dream, giggling the whole way. I was dreading that flight to the point where I was feeling so sick, as the first flight was so bad and now I think back and it was all over nothing as she was fine.
Give yourself plenty of time in getting there and try to take turns with your partner if you can.
Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will…
Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will then be wondering how you can encourage your one year old to talk.
One of the biggest questions is: will your baby say ?mama? or ?dada? first?
In a few more months, around 15 months old, your baby will use simple consonant sounds such as ?up? and ?more?. When your baby reaches 18 months old, there will be no stopping them as they will begin to pick up several new words a day.
One year olds understand a lot more words than you probably think. To encourage them, use gestures such as pointing or waving can really help them. When your one year old points at an object respond with ?do you want your cup? Or ?Yes, that is a light.? Especially if they are waving, it is easy to incorporate, ?Hello?, or ?Bye Bye?.
It is very easy to use words that your one year old can say such as ?ba ba?. But, you need to focus on using real words to help their speech. As a parent you need to stay one step ahead of your toddler and not talk down at them. The end result will be helping your toddler expand his/her vocabulary.
Take your time
Admittedly I have been here myself, when I have been trying to read Mole a bedtime story, and I rush through the book as quick as possible before she becomes over tired. Change your reading time and take your time with reading to them. Let your one-year-old point as the different pictures in the book and respond to them with what they are pointing at. Pronounce a key word to them several times to let them practice pronouncing it.
When your child can say one word and understand that word well, you can introduce the piggybacking technique. This is where you will expand their one word into two words like this: instead of ?dolly? you can say ?baby dolly? or instead of ?brush? you can say ?hair brush?. Doing this will again help them to expand their vocabulary, without overwhelming them with too many new words.
You may already do this without realising. Changing your tone of voice when speaking to your toddler really helps to keep them interested. Mole was very curious of our pet turtle. So for a good 10 minutes whilst we were playing with him, the only word I used was ?turtle? but in many different voices. In the end, Mole was able to say ?turtle? and understand that was our pet.
If your little one shows interest in something, spend time with them talking about that object. You can show them what it does and repeat what it is called. That way, if they already have an interest in the object, you have already grasped their attention to start learning.
I had a good think back at what was said to me during pregnancy and after pregnancy and had a chuckle at some of the things I was asked or…
I had a good think back at what was said to me during pregnancy and after pregnancy and had a chuckle at some of the things I was asked or told. Admittedly, i’ve even said some of these to new mums and had an unwelcoming response.
Let’s see if you have ever received any of these comments!
Do not ever say to a new mum that you “feel tired“. I can tell you now, no matter how tired you are from an unusual late night or early start will be nothing compared to the tiredness that a new mum feels. Believe me, they are thinking in their head all of the reasons why you should not feel tired and they do.
“What is your babies routine?” I was asked this one so many time whilst Mole was a new born. I don’t mind the question so much now, but as a new mum, I felt it added a lot of pressure on to me to be perfect. It was also impossible to get Mole into a good routine with her reflux being so bad.
“What’s his/her name?” The majority of the time, Mole was always referred to as a boy. To be honest, I didn’t mind so much as it was an easy mistake to make. Babies all look the same when they are newborn. Mole wore unisex clothes and had no hair. However, I can see how other mums can take offence. There has even been times when Mole has been dressed head to toe in pink and still has been referred to as a “he”. I’m going to stick to questions like “What’s baby’s name?” or “What’s your name?” looking at the baby in future.
“Have you tried feeding her?” when your baby is crying. Oh my word. Am I the only one who has been asked this question? Of course I have tried feeding my baby! What do you think I have been doing all night! This was so annoying when Mole’s reflux was really bad. She would cry so much and I felt like I was being given an abundance of advice that I really didn’t need.
“It’s just the hormones.” Blaming my hormones on my right now is not exactly what I need as a new mum. I remember just thinking, “I don’t care if its the hormones, I need a hug and a little help around the house.”
So do any of those comments sound familiar? I think it is super easy to forget how intense being a new mum is. I’m 12 months on now, and due to me being pregnant with baby number 2, I’ve only just started to remember things.
This Blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Intu Potteries (AD) Deciding on what to do for the day as a family can be challenging. We don’t exactly…
This Blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Intu Potteries (AD)
Deciding on what to do for the day as a family can be challenging. We don’t exactly live in a country that is blessed for good weather and we are not all made of money. It can be a challenge finding a day out for the whole family that does not cost an arm and a leg and all family members can have fun.
Intu Potteries have hit the nail on the head when it comes to fun, free, family activities
Intu Potteries have hit the nail on the head when it comes to fun, free, family activities. I thought my shopping days were long gone since becoming a mum. I tend to have a browse online when I get a quick 10 minutes. No way did I think I could take my toddler around a shopping centre for the day without a few tantrums.
Why is Intu Potteries different?
Apart from over 80 shops, 6 restaurants and a 9 screen cinema, Intu Potteries understand exactly what I need as a mum:
Parent and Baby room
Parent and Baby parking
Fixed ?1.50 Parking rate on Sundays
Affordable lunch locations with Kids Meal Deals
Fun buggy rides
Safe Hands scheme
Soft play in the middle of the mall is a perfect place to let Mole out of the pram and let her stretch her legs before hitting the shops again. Giving us both the perfect reset.
You can see by the look on her face and the sound of her cheerful laughter that she is having the best time. It is always nice to see other mums there too, as you can have a good natter whilst watching the children.
Soft play has been purpose built. It is a free 30 metre square play area, with room to jump, move equipment around and play games. You can also see your child where ever they crawl or run off to inside the play area, giving you peace of mind.
Fun Buggy Ride
You can hire a fun buggy from as little as ?2 at the customer service desk on the upper floor. There are plenty to choose from but I am sure your child will choose for you like ours did.
Honestly, at first I was a little hesitant to put Mole in the buggy. I thought she would try and climb out. She hates the pram too and I assumed that she would behave the same way. I was wrong. Both Mole and Oscar were as good as gold in the buggy. There was a real sweetheart moment from Oscar when he had his arm around Mole whilst cruising and tooting their squeaky horn!
From a Mums perspective, they were actually really easy to control and drive around. I found that Intu Potteries had plenty of room in the shops for fun buggies, pushchairs and wheelchairs.
There was a real sweetheart moment from Oscar when he had his arm around Mole whilst cruising and tooting their squeaky horn!
I love a good cafe lunch when out with my family or friends. Debenhams Restaurant was affordable with hot meals at around ?5 and it had a fantastic kids meal deal where you could choose 5 products. (As a mum, this is heaven).
You will know that having 5 different options of food for your child to have a good munch on not only keeps them entertained whilst you dine, but also, if they are in a fussy eating mood, you have other options to fall back on.)
Parent and Baby Room
Not to exaggerate here, my first thought when entering the parent and baby room was “oh wow!”.
Clean, calm, spacious. I have never been in a parent and baby room before where they would be my 3 words to describe it.
My first thought when entering the parent and baby room was “oh wow!”
I loved the fact that Jay could come in the changing room with me to give me a helping hand and he even said he would feel comfortable and confident enough to change her in there himself. A God-send really because usually I have to do it as changing facilities are usually squashed in the female toilets.
In the baby room, there was a fully equipped station to feed your baby, nappy dispenser (we have all been there i’m sure when we accidentally forget a spare nappy!) and a private nursing room complete with a super comfy nursing chair.
I can not actually wait to take Mole to Intu Potteries again. We have had a lovely day out on a friendly budget. If you are in the Staffordshire area, I would highly recommend you check Intu Potteries out for a great, affordable, family day out.
Considering I have been pregnant before, I assumed that the first trimester of pregnancy would have been similar to that experience. I was wrong… First Trimester with Mole My first…
Considering I have been pregnant before, I assumed that the first trimester of pregnancy would have been similar to that experience. I was wrong…
First Trimester with Mole
My first trimester with Mole seemed to drag on for ages! I found out when I was 4 weeks pregnant and I went for a scan at 6 weeks and saw my little Mole Bean on the screen. I waited to tell my family after 12 weeks and to my that felt like half a year.
My symptoms were mainly fatigue. I had never felt tiredness like it. To the point where standing up in a shower was too much.
Everything else was a breeze. I had gone shopping and got cute baby items and took bump photos every single day. I would wear tight clothes in the hope of being able to show off my pregnancy bloat as if I was 30 weeks pregnant haha.
First Trimester with Baby Number 2
My experience this time has been different. I found out when I was 9 weeks pregnant by taking a test, then I went for a private scan at 10 weeks. Even this experience was new to me. I actually was surprised by a little baby waving and somersaulting around on the screen and feeling shocked that the little baby was in my belly. I never got that feeling with Mole as she was scanned to early and we went for private scans nearly every week, so we could she her gradually develop. That’s when this pregnancy really hit me it was real.
That’s when this pregnancy really hit me it was real
The symptoms this time around have been very hard. The nausea was almost unbearable. And a completely different story having a baby turning one to look after. All I wanted to do was lie down as any movement made me feel like throwing up.
I don’t think this time around I have allowed myself to be tired and take a break. Having a one year old is hard work. Mole wants to be constantly entertained and in between all of that, she has to be changed and fed. As soon as she would go for her nap, I wouldn’t be able to relax as the house looks like it has been tipped upside down. Once I switch the hoover on thats it, i’m still cleaning an hour later.? Thanks Mrs Hinch.
I don’t think this time around my boyfriend has had a full understanding of my tiredness either. As I don’t work it can be seen as if I literally get to sit around watching TV all day which could not be further from the truth. Sometimes I feel I could catch more of a break if I was back at work!
I received bad news at one of my scans which was I had a haemorrhage, where the placenta had started to come away from the wall. I was told to be on bed rest for a few weeks so they could monitor if the bleed has gone down rather than got bigger. Obviously bed rest with a one year old was not going to happen. I did try to stay in as much as possible with Mole and it was as if she knew at times because she was so good for me. The best thing for Mole whilst I have been in my first trimester is her baby classes. There is so much for her to do at them, I can see how happy she is and by the time her classes have finished she is ready for a nap. So there has been less pressure on myself entertaining her for the full day.
As most of you know, one of my biggest hobbies is the gym. The gym for me is “my time”. Hearing I was to be on bed rest did not feel great. I had to take some time off but then was back at it after the good news. This pregnancy is different as I’m not loving my tummy getting bigger. I have probably only taken 2 photos so far and I am 16 weeks. It feels a little strange to get my head into this new chapter as I was well into my post-partum fitness goals.
This time, I have been SO HUNGRY! Omg, I just do not feel full. Ever. Poor Mole, I even start to pick at her food whilst she is taking so long to eat it. I am out of control. My last pregnancy, one of my biggest symptoms was having no appetite. I couldn’t look at any type of food and feel hungry. This time wow, even broccoli or salad gets my tastebuds going.
Wow 16 weeks already. Time is flying! To the point where I can’t keep up with it. Every time I go for an appointment or scan, I feel like it was only just yesterday since being there. Im super lucky to have Mole in nursery because appointments can happen at the shortest of notice sometimes and I have family here who could baby sit her whilst i’m gone.
My life with Mole is so good now. I feel very blessed. I get a little anxious that I may change how good things are between us in a negative way. I hope she enjoys being a big sister. When I go out shopping, I can’t bring myself to buy anything for the second baby as I get guilty not buying anything for Mole.
I have a private scan booked this week to hopefully find out the gender of the baby. I feel like this time around it’s going to be a boy. Once I have found out, I know i’ll be on the baby train looking at nursery decor and clothes.