Thursday, 30 July 2015

Shopping Haul

This last week I have been quite ill with a viral infection and stuck indoors. Today I finally felt better so I had to get out of the house. I took Michael to my local shopping centre at Romford for some bits and bobs I needed. I picked up some great bargains so I thought I would share them.

1: Home Bargains. I love this store! It is so affordable and does loads of things cheaper than most stores. The store also has everything for sale

The Flash All Purpose Cleaner is my favourite product to use to clean the bathroom. It smells fantastic, usually £2:99 in my local Asda. In HB, it was only 99p

Simple Wipes 80 pack-99p
Two pk children's toothbrushes-69p
Toilet Cleaner Wipes-59p a pack
Mickey Mouse Cupcake Mix-99p. Michael will love these when we make them tomorrow.
Photo Frame-69p
Cup with Lid and straw-59p. Michael really likes these and they don't spill.
Jake and the Neverlands Facecloth-19p!
Cans of drink-29p-35p.

I also saw these adorable cushions and had to have them 

How cute is the rabbit and the squirrel?! I thought they would add a nice touch to my sofa and living room. They were just £3.99 each.

As I was at the till, I also saw these little card messages. 

So I picked some up for relatives, they were just 19p each! In most of the card stores they are more like £2.

2: Peacocks.

I do not usually shop in Peacocks but today I noticed they had a sale on so thought I would have a quick browse. Again I was disappointed with the store's selection for women but I did get these three bits.

Dinosaur Top Size Age 2-£5 reduced to £3.
Pack of Alien Stickers-£1:50 reduced to 50p 
Owl scarf-£5 reduced to £2:50. My mums loves owls so I got this for her and will be putting it away as one of her christmas presents.

3: HMV

4: Asda

Underwear- 3 pairs for £6
Take a Break Magazine
Notepad- £1:50
Pack of 3 pens-£1

Asda had loads of back to school bits so if you have children at school, have a look in there. It was all very affordable.

I do enjoy looking around the shops at Romford and was up there for about two hours. Michael of course kicked off on the bus and was a right pain for most of the 45 minute journey so I don't often make the trip to Romford but I was pleased today with what I bought. 


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Holiday at Haven Review

So we recently went on Michael's first holiday to Haven Orchards at Clacton on Sea. I booked it via The Sun newspaper so it was reasonably cheap and we got the train down there. Dan could not come with us sadly so my mum and younger brother Ben joined us for the 5 day break.

I was very pleased with it all. I did not know what to expect having never visited a Haven site before. It was clean, had modern caravans that was reasonably sized and equipped with all we needed and lots on site. We went swimming, visited their playground, and spent our nights at the entertainment complex. The site was however not near the town centre and as no one drives, we had to get the bus each time we wanted to visit the beach or the town for shopping. It is when you travel outside London you appreciate how cheap TFL is! 

Michael had a blast, he loves swimming and loved the Haven characters. I said I was not going to buy any of their merchandise but of course I did, he now has a pink elephant bear and a DJ Ned cup. Every night the characters put on a little show for the younger children and then a show later in the evening for the adults. 

We had lots of fun on our break and will be booking up to go next year. It's perfect for us, it's very toddler friendly and easy enough for us to get to.

The only negative was Michael was so excited by it all that he was running around like Usain Bolt and being a little too much at times. Luckily he adores Ben, so he was able to keep him entertained some times so I could sit down for a while without having to chase Michael around! 

It was great to get away for a couple of days and see Michael really enjoy himself. I really would recommend the site if you are looking for a cheap but enjoyable break away with a toddler.


What's in Michael's bag?

We now longer use a changing bag since Michael is now a toddler and has less stuff. Instead he has a small backpack that goes on the buggy when we are out and about.

This is currently Michael's backpack. He has had a few including Mickey Mouse and Thomas the Tank Engine, they only cost £5 roughly each time.

The Star Wars one his dad picked for him since he loves the films. It has a front pocket and two cup holders which are handy. 

So what goes in it?

1. Nappies, wipes and nappy bags. 
Goes without saying really doesn't it? They are kind of a essential for a non toilet trained child.

2. Change of clothes.  The days I have forgotten to take a change of clothes out with me are the days Michael poops all over his or spills everything down him. So we now have a change of clothes that stays in his bag.

3. Snacks (and lunch if out all day). Michael eats a lot so we always take some snacks in his bag. So much easier than having to buy them while you are out, also sometimes you can't get the healthier snacks you want. Michael takes out yogurt, bananas, pot of grapes, fruit drops, purée pouch etc. All grab and go snacks, easy peasy!

4. Drink Bottle 

5. Toys and book Really handy if Michael is starting to get bored if we are visiting someone or if we are eating at a restaurant/cafe. We rotate the toys and book in the bag so he does not get bored. Things like sticker books and colouring book really work as well. Failing that he gets handed the iPhone!

6. Nappy Cream Michael gets really sore when he is teething so a decent nappy cream is essential for us. We have tried a few and I have found oilatum to be the best brand.

7. Teething powder The miracle cure to Michael's teething problems and crying! We use the Nelsons brand. They are expensive but so worth the money! 

8. Dummy Now Michael does have a dummy, we are working on decreasing the amount of time he has with the dummy now that he is nearing 2. Now it is just for going to sleep and so we take it out in case he needs a nap. 

9. Reins Some people don't like reins, for us they are essential. Michael is a bolter and would walk right into the road. Therefore reins are in the bag if he wants to walk but we are near cars. 

What do you have in your toddler's bag? 


Stressful day with naughty toddler

What a awful and stressful day today has been. We were all up early because Dan had a early shift. So I decide to take Michael swimming since I have not been able to do much with lately.

He has been so unbelievably naughty and has just been hard work today. He did not want to eat breakfast, or get dressed. Finally got him out the door and in the pool and the swim thankfully went good. Nap meant I could actually relax.

He woke from a nap to throw his lunch at the cat, hit me with a bubble wand, stood in the way while I was trying to clean the kitchen floor, took all the dvds off the shelf, terrorised the cat, tantrums galore because I gave him the wrong snack and turned over Mickey Mouse clubhouse etc. It has just been non-stop today, all while I try and get the place tidy and clean for guests tomorrow.

I have pleaded with Michael, tried to distract him, put him in time out, shouted at him 😳. Now he has fallen asleep, because you know being naughty does take it out on a toddler.

Anyone else have days like this?!


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Summer is here!

The summer is here and school is broken up. Of course that makes little difference to me since Michael is a toddler. However we do make some great use of the sun(when we have it!)

The park is great for all children. I am lucky that I have a really good park just 5 minutes away. It has a pond with ducks, a great playground on sand, splash zone and cafe. So needless to say, we spend a lot of time there. Michael loves feeding the ducks(one of his few words) and finding squirrels. A picnic means we can spend a good couple of hours there.

Swimming also is another great summer activity. Again luck mean I live in walking distance to a newly built leisure centre with two swimming pools, gym and play area. I think swimming is a key skill and Michael has taken lessons since he was 3 months old. He really does love it.

Visiting the beach is a little harder for us but it is only around 40 minutes on the train. We try to go at least once in the summer and make a day of it. It does not have to be expensive. Take a picnic with you and your bucket and spade and you have a great day. 

What activities do you plan for the summer?


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Favourite clothes stores for children

love buying clothes...for my son. For me nothing seems to fit fantastically and I always question too much if I need that fabulous pink shirt. Then when I decide to actually buy that shirt, they have sold out. Sigh.

Anyway Michael has more clothes than he will probably wear in a lifetime but I love buying for him and like him looking smart. Here are some of my favourite clothes stores for toddlers.

1. Asda George

Now this is probably because Asda is the only large supermarket within a 10 minute walk but I do like the clothes Asda has to offer. They are affordable and fit well. 

I just bought these two shirts for Michael recently in the Asda sale. For £3 and £4 for decent quality t-shirts you can't go wrong. I also bought Daniel two Star Wars shirts for £4 each! Total bargain. 

2. Next

Love love Next clothes for toddlers, hate them for women's clothes but their children's clothes are the best quality I have found for high street stores. They look lovely and last for ages. I do however find them a little expensive for clothes, especially for a mucky toddler. So I tend to only shop there during sales or for special birthday/Christmas outfits.

I have already wrapped it but I recently bought this shirt:
We bought a similar one last year for Michael's first birthday and it looked really cute in the pictures. I wish they had kept the same design as last year but I do think Michael will look great wearing this for his second birthday in September. It was only £6.

3. Mothercare

I recently spent £40 on clothes in the mothercare sale and I got some great clothes. I don't always shop in mothercare because I find some of their clothes a bit plain and boring. However I have found some nice clothes in there and they are affordable. You just have to dodge the toys first before your toddler grabs one!

Just some of the clothes I picked up in the mothercare sale, they were priced between £1:50-£4. 

4. Primark 

Now I have to admit I am not a massive fan of Primark for children's clothes. I find their clothes come up small and do not wash as well as some of the other stores. However they are ok for some bits. I mainly buy Michael's vests, pants, socks and his more casual clothes like tracksuit bottoms and some cheap t-shirts just for running around at home and when we go messy play. That way I am not fussed if they get ruined.

5. Ebay/Charity Stores

Now some people will not put their child in second hand clothes and that is fine. I personally have no issue with them, once I have put them on a hot wash. When I was younger, we were often dressed in second hand clothes and it did not bother us at all! Michael has had some lovely Ralph Lauren shirts that have cost me £5 and he has a leather jacket that was £1:50! 

So you know, go with an open mind. You can find some great bargains. Also toys and books are pretty cheap in charity stores.

Toddler clothes don't have to cost the earth, shop around and shop in the sales! I already have a lot of Michael's clothes in the next size up where I pick them up cheap and put them away.