Life is Peachy – Beachy Walks & House Drama

Welcome to a little round-up of everything we’ve been up to recently! It dawned on me over my blogging break at Christmas that the reason I started my blog was to keep a diary of our lives. I wanted it to be a space to capture my thoughts, memories and something to look back on over time. However, I seem to have drifted from this, writing about everything from parenting, food and travel – but forgetting the nitty gritty of our lives, which will be the bits I’d want to look back on the most! So, this post is introducing a new ‘Life is Peachy’ series, which you’ll be seeing lots more of on the blog as I’m aiming to write them fortnightly, so I hope you’ll enjoy!

ROBBIE’S NEW FRIEND

January started off slowly, we ate our way through the leftover Christmas food and hibernated from the bad weather. One thing I love about where we live is that we are so close to the sea, so even on the chilly days we wrapped up warm for a blustery walk along the seafront, which really helped to clear those cobwebs! Our friend joined us for a walk with his ‘adopted’ dog and Robbie’s new best friend, Toby. A gorgeous chocolate lab who is bouncy and full of energy as he’s much younger than Robbie who couldn’t keep up with him at all. Bless him. They had such a lovely time playing together so hopefully they’ll be having lots more walkies together soon!

THE SICK BUG

I think just about everyone I know is ill at the moment. There is so much going around. We were bound to catch something sooner rather than later. Violet lovingly brought back a sickness bug from a baby group. She was ill on the Wednesday and by the Thursday I was poorly – just as I thought V was home from work ready to ‘look after me’ – she was poorly too! Plus, she was worst affected that evening and all of Friday. It was a horrible, horrible week I don’t wish to relive any time soon! I really learned that when you are sick and you have a baby, you just have to get on with things, you can’t feel sorry for yourself for a moment. It was tough.

HOUSE DRAMA

Buying a house is such a rollercoaster isn’t it? I won’t bore you with all the details (as honestly, I could talk the hind legs off a donkey about this, but I won’t). We have really been through the mill this month as we put an offer in on a house quite close to where are living now which was a ‘project’ to say the least. Desperate for more space, we went for it knowing a lot of work would be required but with so much potential, we stuck with it. Anyway, cut a long story short – the survey came back and it was a disaster, the place needs just knocking down. When you see words like ‘wood boring beetle infestation’, ‘asbestos’, ‘damp’ and ‘a hole in the roof’ you know it’s time to pull out of the sale. We got a quote from a builder to fix all the issues which came out at £100,000! Obviously we just aren’t in a position to do all of that so we pulled out. I was so sad, I felt emotionally invested in the house, I let my mind run away with me, thinking of where I’d put furniture, which room would be ours, which would be Violets etc. Plus, we lost a fair amount of money in the process too, but it was not meant to be.

Roll on two weeks later when a Rightmove alert pops up for a BEAUTIFUL house in our village, it has everything we wanted and ticks every box. When we went for the viewing I think I fell a bit in love, I think it’s the one. I thanked my lucky stars we didn’t buy the building site house! Everything happens for a reason. Anyway, it’s early days in our journey to get our ‘dream’ house – but hopefully we will be able to secure it. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

NEW WHEELS

We’ve been busy out and about this month with our brand new travel system, which is the Ickle Bubba Stomp v4 which is my first review for the Netmums Star Reviewers Panel. It feels so stylish and chic, I’ve loved putting it through it’s paces and we’ve decided to swap full time to this one as Violet loves it so much too. I filmed a full video review of it so watch out for that in the next couple of weeks on the Netmums Youtube channel!  I really enjoyed filming again and wondered if I should do more Youtube videos. Possibly.

So, thats all our news for now. Hopefully we’ll have some more house news for the next instalment, we shall see! 

 

 

 

Can’t Think Straight? Inspiration’s A Treat

Whether you’re feeling overworked or simply overwhelmed by the monotony that repeats itself day after day, it’s time for a break. Working hard, especially if you work from home, is not the solution to get things done. Instead, you need to get out of your routine to find the inspiration you need. Whether you are a creative individual or you merely want to improve your days, there’s nothing as damaging as being stuck in a never-ending routine. Time to step out of your habits and grant yourself a little treat.

Everyday’s dullness

The tea break

According to British Law, the tea break has to be an official part of your job. Admittedly, this essential part of the day might fall behind if you’re working from home or if you’re in a hectic workplace. But it’s never too late to reclaim a little of me time with your favorite brew. Start with a quality drink – you can find excellent organic teas and coffees on Tea-and-Coffee.com. You can’t really use the break to recharge your batteries if you’re having one of those tea bags that barely touches the water before it gets in the bin… Or worse an instant coffee! You deserve a real brew. Take the time to make it, and to enjoy it. Where’s the pleasure in a quick cuppa you drink while finishing your emails?

Have a cuppa

Need a rush?

So, you’ve been working all morning on a difficult project, and it’s still not done. Don’t worry; everybody knows your frustration. But don’t force it. You won’t finish faster if you refuse yourself a short break. Take some time, sit down with your favourite magazine and a scrumptious sweet from Dum Dum Donut. As silly as it might sound, sugar can help you to refresh your mind and see new possibilities, especially in a creative job. It’s the little rush that excites the little grey cells, as Hercule Poirot would say.

The dull office is no more

How is your home office? For a lot of people, a corner of the kitchen table serves as a desk during the day. No wonder you’re running out of motivation if this is the case. You need an exciting decor to inspire you. As Homedit.com recommends, it doesn’t have to be a large room, you can easily convert a corner of the living into a desk and shelving unit station. Sparkle some colourful details, from a bright chair to a few frames on the walls. And tadaaa, a quick and trendy home office.

Working from home in PJs doesn’t work

You know the saying: dress to impress. But not to impress others, but to impress yourself. Spending all day in PJ’s isn’t going to motivate you to greatness. Instead, you need to wear comfortable clothes that make you feel confident about your work. If a pair of comfortable trousers with a warm jumper does the trick, then so be it. Ultimately what you wear impacts on how you feel. So make yourself feel successful!

In the end, treat yourself, and the rest will fall into place. From a decent brew to comfortable clothes, it’s all you need to catch the inspiration bug.

5 reasons to visit Belize

January always gets me thinking about the year ahead and our future plans for holidays. I know I seem babied-up to the max at the moment, but before Violet came along, travelling was my passion. We used to spend every penny on our long haul holidays and exploring the world. Even though I can’t see us booking a far-flung holiday as Violet is still a bit too small, I still dream of the places I want to visit as soon as we are able. We travelled quite a bit to South America in the pre-Violet years, holidays to Brazil and an amazing trip through Peru, but I’ve never really done much of Central America (yet!). So, one place that’s been firmly on my bucket list has got to be Belize. I have always dreamed of those golden sand beaches, rainforest adventures and the once-in-a-lifetime experience of diving with a whale shark!

My dream trip would involve staying right on the beach, I’d book a couple of Belize beach rentals along the coast so I could really experience different areas of Belize and in between dips in the pool and sunbathing, I’d explore rainforests, go diving and sample the local food. It just looks out of this world.

Belize is located in Central America, was formerly known as British Honduras. It’s actually one of the only English speaking countries in Central America. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea, making it an ideal holiday destination with warm weather, beautiful scenery and so much to see and do.

So, I wanted to write this post today to talk about my top five things I’d love to do when I visit Belize one day, here they are:

BEAUTIFUL BEACHES

I am a beach bum at heart, so a place with beautiful beaches is always a draw, especially if I am staying right on the beach with views of the ocean from our room. I mean, if you are going all that way you want it to be perfect – right? Belize doesn’t have huge beaches, but the beaches it does have are beautiful with golden sands and some of the best snorkelling in the world.

SWIM WITH WHALE SHARK

The Whale Shark is one of the largest fish in the world. What an experience it would be to swim alongside one! I’m sure I’d be terrified by their sheer size, but they are one of the most gentle and docile animals in the sea. They also only eat plankton so there is no worries about being their next meal either. The best time to catch a glimpse is during the months of March, April, May, and June – around the full moon.

MAYAN RUINS

I love to soak up the history when I travel, so visiting some of the many Mayan ruins in Belize would be a must. Belize was the epicentre of the Maya population between 300-900AD so boasts some of the most majestic ruins, with sites at Caracol, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, Altun Ha, and Lamanai being some of the most popular.

PERFECT WEATHER

Belize is one of the unique places in the world that has great weather all year round. The average yearly temperature is 29℃, the summer months are not overly hot and the winter not too cool – perfect! This is ideal for a family holiday as you know what to expect and won’t be too surprised by the weather!

JUNGLE ADVENTURE

Surrounded by lush tropical rainforests, there is so much exploring to be done! The Rainforest areas are the perfect place to hike or canoe, finding out the secrets of the rainforest, such as which plants are used for medicinal reasons. Ancient ruins hide within the jungles so you never know what is round the corner. There is also the worlds only Jaguar preserve, so you could come face-to-face with a big cat too.

So, thats my top list – hopefully you’ll agree that Belize sounds like an utterly amazing country and the perfect destination for a family holiday. We will get there one day, I’m sure! 😊

Baby Aboard – Top Tips For Cruising With Kids

If you have a young family yet fancy a fun holiday on the ocean waves, the logistics can seem overwhelming. However, if you plan well, you can find the perfect fit for both your child’s needs and the ship’s amenities, ensuring you “sea” your way to a brilliant break.

If you want to find out which facilities different ships offer for the babies on board, then talk first to a knowledgeable travel agent for advice on your ship as well as the destination, such as Fusion Orlando cruises.

You want to make sure to book as far in advance as you can. Doing this will help you secure your preferred early dinner seating and family cabins, extra-berth cabins and or cabins with extra space.

Consider a balcony cabin as regarding convenience; you can still get to sunbathe while your little one has his afternoon nap. This will stop you from feeling you are spending your time cooped up in your room.

Enquire about a cabin with a room-dividing curtain or even a wall. Some cabins have curtains that can be pulled to separate the sitting and sleeping portions of the room but even better would be a family cabin which might have sliding-door dividers or tiny second bedrooms. This is handy if your baby has already gone to sleep and you want to catch some telly or read a book.

Don’t bank on taking a bath. Unless you’re cruising in a suite, your cabin is likely to have a shower-only. If your little one doesn’t do showers, consider packing an inflatable bath.

Check for a ship with a 24-hour dining service as having a casual buffet alternative for your little one is super useful if your child doesn’t like to sit for long periods of time in a restaurant environment. The alternative, of course, is room service, but this can be messy, especially if recently weaned.

Don’t be tempted to bring your biggest pram or pushchair as it will be cumbersome and take up half of your space. A lightweight or travel stroller is good enough and will save you lots of frustration. It’s essential you remember the car seat if you intend on travelling around in a car or even taxi. Child safety laws in most countries can be quite strict on this, as well as your concerns for safety.

Bring an emergency kit. Baby-friendly items may not be available in the onboard shops. Of course, there will be a doctor aboard if necessary though it can cost a bomb, so stock up on your child’s over the counter medicine and make sure you carry a prescription with you for those you need to bring prescribed.

Use the onboard babysitting options. Whether it’s group playtime in a nursery or an in-cabin sitter, it’s worth the extra cash to ensure a night out. It’s your holiday as well remember. If you’re going with an in-cabin sitter, check the qualifications of the childcare provider but you do have to understand they are not always available, especially if your ship is already full to brimming with little ones. Some lines let you reserve babysitting times online in advance, and others have you sign up onboard with a first-come, first-served system. Check when you book.

You can have a fantastic time just preparing in advance and enjoying having baby on board!

Review: Water Babies Chapter 2

Water Babies is the HIGHLIGHT of our week, honestly – Violet just loves it. Well, she is a pisces so I knew she’d have an affinity for water, but I didn’t realise she would show it at such a young age! Chapter 2 is over now, so it’s time to look back on our Water babies journey so far.

So, firstly- if you are thinking of signing your little one up for baby swimming classes, read my review of Water Babies Chapter 1, as thats where you’ll start and that post has all the information you’ll need as an introduction to baby swimming.  We have also done the Water babies Underwater photo shoot, so here is our video on how the shoot is done and a peek at our photos!

So, onto Chapter 2! Excuse the slightly graining photo photos in this post, we took my Olympus Pen to take photos for the Chapter 1 review and the humidity in the pool actually stopped it working for a few days, luckily, it recovered but as you can imagine I didn’t want to risk it this time! 😊

I think the first thing I realised about Chapter 2 is just how quickly your little ones will start to progress with their learning. Chapter 1 was all about easing them into the water and getting them used to a few safety skills and little dips underwater. Chapter 2 feels like you’ve cranked the gears up a notch (or five!) so you need to prepare yourself for much more fast paced, in depth learning. I also found Violet was a bit older so was so much more aware of her surroundings and what we were doing than in Chapter 1 which made it so much more fun too!

Over the break between Chapters 1 and 2, she changed so much. She learned to splash her hands in the water, meaning every lesson I’d be trying to listen to the instructions with water being splashed in my face from beginning to end, plus she’d kick her arms and legs in excitement at the toys and activities –  after the first lesson the mascara had to go as I soon resembled a panda. Gone were the days of gentle movements round the pool, I learned this was going to be much more full on!

As the entire Water Babies journey is a continuous progressive way of learning, we  continued with the same format to the lessons as in Chapter 1 so it was really familiar for the little ones, with songs they’d recognise like Splish Splash, Humpty Dumpty and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but in between the ‘old classics’ we’d add in brand new safety skills and build upon them every week.

The new skills in Chapter 2 come thick and fast, but our teacher like always was excellent at watching to see if the little ones were keeping up and getting on well with each skill, I think that is what puts my mind at rest with Water Babies is that even though it’s a shared class, it still feels so personal and you get quite a bit of 1-on-1 time especially during brand new skills and underwaters to check all is going well for everyone.

Some of the new skills included in Chapter 2 were introduction the ‘Bubba’ float, which doubled up as an awesome surf board, which Violet loved gliding on through the waves on. We did a ‘Ring of Roses’ swim which involves going straight down under the water and also finished the term swimming through a hoop! We also built upon lots of safety skills like getting them to hold onto the side more independently and even an ’emergency’ underwater which in theory would be is they were to fall into the pool, they’d know to kick to the surface and turn to hold onto the rail. This is just some of the activities, there were lots of things like ‘chase the fishy’, blowing bubbles and more which Violet loved too.

All in all, we have loved Chapter 2 even more than Chapter one, Violet was just so more knowing and aware, her excitement when we reach the pool is a picture, there are smiles for the entire session, she is just in her element, plus I feel so much better about taking Violet near water after our lessons. It’s amazing really that at such a young age they can learn such important skills, but I’m so glad we are, should the worst (shudder) happen.

Roll on Chapter 3! 

We go to Water Babies lessons in Brighton & Hove which if you are local I’d highly recommend, to see their latest lesson schedule or to sign up, see their Facebook here! If you aren’t in Brighton, they do have lessons all round the country too!