I’m so thankful to be able to share this guest post with you today from Gude. She is genuinely one of my favourite craft bloggers, whose blog I found when I guest edited the Mumsnet Craft Blogs Round Up. A couple of months later and I discovered (spooky music alert) that she is actually a friend from my teenage days (should have guessed that as her twitter profile is a picture of her drinking. Obviously we went to a school where we learnt all the important stuff!) I’m always in need of some hints on how to encouage a picky toddler to eat so I’ll be trying all of these ideas out soon, especially the dinosaur sandwich cutters which I am in love with! Anyway, here’s Gude…
Hilltop Farm Benfleet is a bit of a hidden gem. Not many people know about it but it’s a great place for fruit or strawberry picking in Essex. Occasionally we go out as a family and I think ‘I’m not going to blog about this, I’m not going to blog about this, I’m just going to have a nice time…’ and then ‘Argh! This is too nice! I have to blog about it!!’ So this is my review of it – if you want to know about the farms opening times or other places for fruit picking in Essex then I’ve popped these at the end of the post.
This weekend we went to Hilltop Farm in Benfleet, which is about a twenty minute drive from central Southend. I’ve wanted to do fruit picking for ages, I grew up in Kent and picking strawberries was just one of those things that you did every summer holiday. As I grew older I had friends who worked on the farms picking blackberries and the likes and to me it always reminds me of my childhood. Fruit should be something we can pick, not just something we pick up in Tescos. But round here? Well, despite the loveliness of the seaside I live in one of the most densely populated areas in the country. There’s foraging to be done, but it’s at the side of busy roads, so the discovery of Hilltop Farm was a rather sweet one….
Do you remember a little while ago I wrote a post about how to take to take your own photographs during pregnancy? Well, as fate would have it, while I was writing that post I was contacted by Marie Donn to see if I fancied doing some maternity photos with her.
Marie is a proper photographer and does gorgeous lifestyle shoots so of course I said yes. And then the panic set in. I am not a supermodel. I am a normal woman, in my early thirties, living in Essex. Generally, I am quite happy with the above facts, but when you realise that someone is going to take pictures of you, being as normal a woman as you can be while heavily pregnant…. well, I was a little bit worried. …
In the old days I used to love the hot weather. I have Raynaurd’s Disease too which means the times when I feel anything other than freezing can basically be counted on one hand. But six months pregnant? With a toddler? Hmm.
This great idea was something the Pre-school I visited yesterday were doing and when I recreated it at home today my friend told me to take pictures and blog it as it’s such a fab idea. I know that she reads this so I thought I better comply!
I filled the washing up bowl with cold water and a squirt of washing up liquid and chucked in a load of The Toddlers toys. Obviously containing batteries! Toddler and his friend then spent ages looking for toys, taking them out, playing with them, putting them back in the water and, bonus, getting the toys clean at the same time. (I umm..don’t clean toys that often…)
Another added and brill bonus is that the BBC reported this week that one of their tips for cooling down in hot weather is to stick your hands in cold water. Much easier to get a child to do if there’s toys involved! They also encouraged wearing a damp tshirt which I can also report back certainly happened!
How are you keeping you and your kids cool in the hot weather? Any suggestions gratefully received!
Pre-Toddler most of our holidays included a beach, a bar and preferably me falling asleep on a sun-lounger post lunch, which inevitably had included my alcohol intake for the week. Sometimes we stepped away from the beach; driving round South Africa for my 30th, not knowing where we were going (hello Townships!), getting locked out of our apartment in Prague and having to crash in a dodgy hostel, getting a boatride in Sri Lanka and thinking we were going to get mugged. We had some great, amazing and unforgettable times but we umm… also had some slightly dicey bits too.
While we were in South Africa we talked about having a baby and how maybe this would change our holidays. And having recently spent a weeks holiday in the UK with The Husband and The Toddler I can honestly say that I wouldn’t swap our English seaside holidays for anything further away.
What I want these days is different. If The Toddler is happy, we’re happy. I want somewhere child friendly, where I don’t have to drive for a couple of hours every day of my holiday. A nice swimming pool. Child friendly restaurants where they don’t raise an eyebrow if I pull out some crayons. Other children who my son might want to play with and give me ten minutes rest. Places where no one will raise an eyebrow if he’s dressed as Batman all day (all the cool kids dress as super heroes all day, right?!) If it wasn’t for the planned arrival of Baby Crafts-on-Sea we’d probably be booking a short break in the October holidays, but with that being a little out of bounds this year I’m hoping to aim to look at deals on Bank Holiday breaks instead and have another holiday in the UK.
In two and a half years my life, and the holidays I take, has changed beyond what I ever thought was possible, but I’m much the happier woman for those changes too. If you’ve got children have your holidays changed as a result of it? I’d love to know what you think!