The importance of sunglasses for children

*This post is in collaboration with monkey monkey*

How often do you wear sunglasses?  I wear mine almost constantly through the summer months.  I invested in prescription sunglasses for the first time over six years ago after getting sick of having to stick my shades over my normal glasses when I was driving!  Since then I practically live in them – and actually not just in the height of summer, the low winter sun can be an absolute bind when you’re regularly driving across the top of the M62.  And yet, despite the fact I wear my sunglasses with such regularity, my children don’t seem to be so bothered with theirs.  Every summer I buy them new sunglasses and they wear them occasionally but often they can be found in the bottom of my bag or left in the car.  Since they were fairly small, I’ve always kept them a pair each in the car as there’s no escape when the sun is shining through the windows is there however my new car has tinted rear windows so nobody really complains about getting the sun in their eyes any more.

In truth, their sunglasses are more of a fashion accessory, something they wear because they look cool.  When it comes to keeping the sun out of his eyes Ben tends to prefer a peaked cap and the girls never really complain.

monkey monkey sunglasses for children

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The Big Feastival 2018 – Sort of!

The Big Feastival 2018 - We're going on an adventure

Right about now I should be dancing in the rain with Dave at The Big Feastival, enjoying a bit of old school hip hop from Sugarhill Gang (which Dave would have rapped incessantly throughout) and wondering what to eat for tea.  What I’m actually doing is sitting in my pyjamas catching up on Coronation Street after spending the day cleaning and tidying . . .

Friday lunch time we packed the car up and set off down to Alex James’ Farm in The Cotswolds for The Big Feastival (which is considerably further away than I had realised and thanks to some heavy traffic took over 4 hours to get to!)  We managed to get the tent pitched just before the heavens opened – it has to be said it’s considerably easier when it’s just the two of us!  Once we’d got ourselves set up we were able to take shelter from the worst of the rain before sticking on our raincoats heading into the festival for the evening.

We spent much of the evening pottering around and perusing the different food and drink vendors – picking out ones we’d like to re-visit over the weekend, Dave might have got a bit excited about some peanut butter brownies!  I was too cold to want to drink gin (I know, I know but ice . . . ) and decided to save that one for Saturday, preferring a steaming cup of hot chocolate from Neigh Coffee whilst Dave was all about the Birra Moretti (which wasn’t exactly cheap at £6.50 a pint but it’s his favourite so who am I to deny him!)

The Big Feastival 2018 - We're going on an adventure

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Turn your travel pictures into works of art

*Collaborative Post*

Those among us who grew up in the age before smartphones will remember that taking and sharing photographs used to be a very different proposition to today.  For one thing, we had cameras, but we didn’t have them with us at all times.  For another, we had film.  24 or 26 pictures per film was the standard, so we had to snap wisely.  And for a third, we didn’t really have the faintest idea what we had photographed, or whether we had remembered to remove the lens cap, until weeks later after we had arrived home and got the pictures developed.

Of course, it’s a very different story today.  We can take 100 pics, share them on Instagram and email them to the elderly relatives who are technically savvy enough to have a laptop but have not quite got to grips with social media.  It takes a matter of seconds and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Sunset photo through camera phone

Utopia? In some respects. But the new dynamic means we tend to take those pictures for granted, and in today’s instant gratification world, they are forgotten as quickly as they are shared.  Remember that excitement as you used to collect the photos from the developers, and then choose the very best to be enlarged or framed?  The thing is, today there are even more ways of creating wonderful and lasting artwork from our pictures, and with digital technology we have 100 times as many to choose from.  So let’s make the most of them – here are some ideas.

Canvas prints

Canvas prints have, in general, become increasingly popular over recent years as a form of wall art that fits well in a modern, contemporary setting. There are specialists who can help you keep memories forever by turning your best vacation snaps into square or rectangular canvases on sturdy wooden frames.

Engineer prints

These are the large-scale prints that are used by architects for technical drawings and diagrams. They are produced on thin paper and are typically black and white, although some specialists have started to supply colou versions, too. It’s not a style that will suit everyone – the images have an intentional “rough and ready” look and are usually unframed. However, if you like the industrial or shabby chic look, this could be just the thing for you. If you are of an artistic frame of mind, you can even have a go at making them yourself!

Wood prints

For something truly out of the ordinary, wood prints are definitely worth considering. By printing the images directly onto a natural wood surface, the picture attains an additional depth and uniqueness. In fact, it almost looks more like an amateur painting than a photograph.  As you might expect, it is a stunning way to turn nature photographs into works of art, but it also works well with other forms – photographs of a busy intersection in New York or Tokyo are nothing uncommon. But printed on wood? That really has to be seen to be truly appreciated!

What’s your favourite way to display your photographs?

Just So Festival 2018 – Our Highlights

Last weekend saw our third trip to Just So Festival – which I guess makes us regulars (though there are certainly people who have been plenty more times than we have!)  Each year we have done things slightly differently.  The first time we just visited for the day, the second time we camped for the full weekend and this time we made a last minute decision not to camp due to the weather forecast and just drove over each day. (We live just under an hour away from the festival site of Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire.)  Although we are fully set up for camping in the rain and wouldn’t let the weather spoil our fun, in this instance the forecast was bad for Sunday and the idea of putting the tent down in the rain when we didn’t really have the time or space to get it back up again to dry it out at home ahead of camping again the following two weekends was the deciding factor.

One of the things I love most about returning to Just So Festival each year is the mix of familiar favourites with the new.  There were things we were familiar with from previous Just So Festival adventures, others we saw at Timber Festival earlier in the year and yet more still which we’d never seen before at all.  Even just the fact that some things had moved around the site keeps things feeling fresh.

For us the highlights of Just So Festival 2018 were:

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William’s Den – 14 Things We Loved

William’s Den, situated in a small village called North Cave near Hull in East Yorkshire, is an adventure play space with a difference.  The team at William’s Den were keen to create a space which was just that – a huge open space full of possibility and adventure.  They wanted to create a place where children could play whatever the weather, where they could enjoy the outdoors and experience the freedom that comes with it.  And yet, at the same time they have created a space where children are safe, where their parents can get stuck in or sit back and enjoy a coffee while they’re children roam to their heart’s content.

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Siblings – August 2018

So I may have missed our Siblings post in July – we were in Tenerife and I forgot to schedule it ahead of time!  Whoops.

It’s now the middle of the fourth week of the summer holidays, and in fact our fifth week off school together as we snuck out for the last few days of term to take our trip to Holiday Village Tenerife.  Much as we’re all loving the more relaxed pace and some quality time together, I think it’s fair to say that the cracks are starting to show!  There’s a whole lot more bickering from the kids and a whole lot less patience from me.  As is always the case, I find they all get along much better when we’re out and about but I learned my lesson from last year that scheduling too much stuff in doesn’t really work either!  This time round we’ve had a more balanced pace interspersing our adventures with days at home to relax.  We’ve also had a couple of days with childcare dotted around here and there both for my sanity and so I can keep on top of my work – but in all honesty I think it does them good to have the odd day apart too!  Read More »

Swimming for fun thanks to Swim Academy!

Swim Academy has given Amy untold confidence in the swimming pool

As you know Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks and, more recently Swim Academy for nearly three years now.  In that time she has blossomed from a not quite 2yr old who was really unsettled by the water and clung to her Mummy for dear life to an almost 5yr old who happily gets into the pool without me for her Swim Academy lessons each week.  Watching her confidence grow has been amazing – it hasn’t been an easy journey at times, in fact I there were points where I questioned if Amy would ever actually choose to put her face under the water.  There’s been times where it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back and then other times where the leaps forward have been sudden and huge – learning to swim has been a huge journey for our little girl, a journey which is of course by no means complete.

Mummy & Amy in the pool at Aqua Nurture

Swimming for pleasure as a family has not really been something we’ve done before – for a long time this was down to ratios – many pools insist on one adult per child for under 5s which meant it just wasn’t possible for us, in fact when we went to Splash Landings a few years back we had to take friends so we would be allowed in!  Of course the fact that Amy didn’t especially love swimming meant that it wasn’t really worth the hassle either – we tended to feel that we were doing our duty in sending everyone to swimming lessons (the big two have been having local council swimming lessons since they were 3yrs old) but swimming for fun wasn’t really fun! Read More »

Twenty Reasons why you should book Holiday Village Tenerife

Holiday Village Tenerife / Hotel Costa Los Gignantes - view from Balinese beds

Holiday Village Tenerife is part of the Be Live Hotel; Costa Los Gigantes, situated near Playa de la Arena – the quieter, calmer little sister of Playa de las Americas which is half an hour down the road.  Dave stayed in Playa de las Americas for a stag do last year and said it is like Blackpool – make of that what you will!

We actually saw very little of Playa de la Arena, only leaving our hotel for a day out at Siam Park.  This felt extremely lazy but in reality is testimony to how well looked after we were at Holiday Village Tenerife.  Usually we would have explored local beaches & markets but the time just slipped away from us.  I think if we’d been staying for another week we might have planned to explore more but we just really didn’t feel the need.  Dave described this as a “take your brain out” holiday – you just don’t need to think about anything. Your meals are organised, the kids are entertained, your bed made. This is a far cry from the self catering holidays we would usually book and our heads have been well and truly turned – Dave actually started looking at booking our next Holiday Village break before we’d even got home!

Holiday Village Tenerife kids in quiet pool

With that in mind, here’s

Twenty reasons why we think you should book a family holiday at Holiday Village Tenerife:

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Summer Memories with Snapfish

Snapfish personalised beach towel

*This post is in collaboration with Snapfish*

Obviously you all know I love a good photograph.  Capturing precious memories to be looked back on in years to come is one of my favourite things to do – be it the big milestones, the exciting trips or the ordinary day to day moments in between.  I have something ridiculous like 400GB of photos on my hard drive, some 44500 images . . . (I think I maybe need to go through and have a bit of a tidy up as you can guarantee that plenty of those will be about 10 versions of the same photo!)

But, what good is 44500 images on my laptop where only I can see them?  I share lots of them on instagram or on my blog, and we do have quite a lot of framed images around the house but this summer Snapfish wanted me to do more with my photos.  Snapfish offer a wide range of products which can be personalised with your photos and text to make something really special.  From a £2.99 fridge magnet through to a £49.99 personalised beach towel, you will find a gift to suit your budget!  (I say gift, I’ve totally just ordered things for myself!)

Snapfish photo fridge magnet

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Twenty Four Reasons Why My Child Needs the Toilet

“Have you wiped your bum properly?”

“Did you flush the toilet?”

“Have you washed your hands?”

Although we’ve been out of nappies for quite some time now and our children are more than capable of taking themselves off to the toilet when they need to, toilet habits still seem to feature fairly highly on our topics of conversation!

Bum wiping and poo seem to be Dave’s pet hate whereas mine is the kids needing to go for wee at the most awkward of times.  With that in mind I’ve written a list of 23 reasons why my child needs to go to the toilet . . .

little girl on the toilet - 20 reasons my child needs the toilet | We're going on an adventure

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