Reading for Relaxation

Although it’s hard to get the chance to read a book, with a crazy toddler running around. I always find that reading just before I go to sleep, calms me down in preparation for settling down for the night. It takes my mind off stress that has bothered me throughout the day, allowing me to clear my mind for a nice rest. Since becoming a mum I have thoroughly enjoyed reading parenting books (with a twist). Here are some of my favs I have enjoyed throughout pregnancy/motherhood.

  • Parenting the sh*t out of life (made me laugh so much, even when I was sleep deprived)
  • The Unmumsy mum Diary
  • Happy Mum, Happy Baby
  • Hurrah for Gin
  • Gina ford contented little baby (Perfect for finding a routing that suites you and baby)
  • How to grow a baby and push it out (Perfect to read during pregnancy)
  • How to grow a baby Journal (Lovely to look back at after pregnancy, and I thoroughly enjoyed filling it in).

If you aren’t a fan of physically reading a book there is other alternatives such as audio books or reading it through a mobile device/tablet. It also may be cheaper doing it this way. Although I prefer the traditional way to read books as I can always keep them and hand them down to friends or family to enjoy.



Opinion on the gendered stereotype place on toys

If a little boy wants to play with a doll, what is the big problem. Similarly if a girl wants to play with cars and blocks, why insist that she plays with dolls and prams?

One day he may want to become a father and will need life skills like these to look after his children. Maybe we shouldn’t create this alienated culture that prevents boys from playing with these type of toys. Maybe one day she will want to become a bus driver, and the love for this was seen in childhood when she wanted to play with vehicles. Maybe one day you’ll want your son, grandson, nephew or friend to learn how to cook? Then why discourage them from playing with kitchens and utensils if one day you will want them to gain this life skill?

Product marketing has effected most of the gendered stereotype placed on toys. It is seen that toys targeted towards girls are in pretty pink packaging while products for boys are in blue packaging.  Many people won’t buy toys for boys if they are in pink packaging! why? Pink  is a colour just like all the other colours in the rainbow. People buy girls predominately toys that are in pink packaging, why?

Toys are toys!

Children learn from us and this is where these habits stem from. We need to break these habits in order for this stereotype to end and let children be children. It doesn’t matter if Ben plays with a doll or pram. It doesn’t matter if Ellen likes to play with building blocks. They are playing, and playing with a range of toys is important. It widens their learning, ability to use different skills and most importantly they are having fun with what they want to play with.  Children can make up there own minds on what toys they like to play with. If girls want to play with dolls, great. If boys want to play with cars, great. The most important thing is that they have the choice, they play with toys they want to play with not because we force that stereotype on to them.

Let children be children! Blog post



How to entertain a toddler 101

Being at home with a toddler all day can be a nightmare if there is no stimulation for them or anything exciting for them to explore! I always plan activities if we are having a stay at home day, as it makes everyone’s life a lot easier. Here are some activities we do to keep our toddler happy and content.

Bubbles are always are go t o distraction. They are cheap while providing hours of fun. Although trying to get your toddler to actually blow the bubbles may be a bit tricky, but bubble machines are an inexpensive alternative and great for sunny afternoons.

Painting is usually dreaded by parents as paint goes everywhere (we’ve been there) but instead of painting pictures, we put the paint in resealable food bags and Darragh enjoys moving the paint around the bag! It also leaves no mess, win-win.

Treasure baskets can be a great quite time activity. I like to find usual household objects that we have around the house and place them in a basket. Darragh spends a lot of time sorting through an exploring all the different objects he hasn’t seen before. (while asking “what’s that?” over and over again)

If we’ve been in the house and have ran out of ideas to keep him happy, bath time can be a great way to entertain him. We usually put all his balls from the ball pit in with him and some bath toys,

Sensory play can be a great entertainment for toddlers. We like to use colored spaghetti, using food dye. Its so simple and inexpensive to make. All you need is spaghetti, food colouring and food bags.

Dance parties always have our toddler running around laughing constantly. We love using the google home, to play songs while we dance like nobody is watching. (Let’s hope they aren’t anyway)

If all else fails, get some fresh air! Nothing beats playing outside, it’s our toddlers favorite thing to do!!

Top 5 Favourite Toddler Books

We have always encouraged reading since Darragh was a tiny baby and now it is his favourite activity to do. We often go down to our local library and take a few books out as it”s much more economical although we do have a few favourites at home. Encouraging your toddler to read from an early age can improve their speech development and give them more confidence when talking. I’ve listed our top ten favourites that we will always love.

  1. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen- Being a childhood favourite of mine I couldn’t wait to introduce this book to Darragh, we even purchased it before he was born!
  2. I am Bear by Ben Baily Smith & Sav Akyuz – This book is great as it’s full of brightly coloured images, and the story line is pretty funny!
  3. Hooray for Fish by Lucy Coiusins – A colourful story from start to finish, this became one of our firm favourites. It’s a simple story for toddlers to understand, describing all different types of fish that could exist.
  4. Noisy Farm by Jessica Greenwell – This was a great book to encourage Darragh to recognize different animals and match them with their sounds. He loved pressing the sounds over and over again much to my delight!!!
  5. A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – Although this book is a bit complex for a toddler, we just love it Darragh will sit contently and listen to every word. It’s a book about animals and he loves pointing to each one and saying what it is! It also has a good lesson throughout it.

Our ‘needed’ getaway

We decided mid January to book something last minute, out of season to avoid the hot temperatures as we didn’t fancy subjecting a toddler to the high temperatures of July/August. We packed our bags and jetted off… if only it was that easy!!!! Preparations started months before making sure we were equipped to entertain a toddler at any given moment. The travelling wasn’t as bad as we though even if we were a suitcase down (why do they produce matching suitcases??) Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad, we enjoyed our holiday regardless. We stayed in a lovely town called Calpe, in Alicante. It was beautiful, not bustly with too many tourists just what we were looking for. Our hotel was so family orientated they had a great playroom for kids which i’m sure the adults thoroughly enjoyed. We ate out every night trying as many different cuisines as we could as let’s be honest who wants to cook on holiday.?? NOT ME!! We rented bikes and cycled around the town which was lovely, it also kept Darragh entertained seeing all the new surroundings! Ofcourse we relaxed around the pool indulging in too many cocktails, I don’t know why sangria isn’t a common drink over here. I’m having major holiday blues now and already looking at holidays for May, I think I want to live abroad!! I need more sunshine.

Whats in my hand luggage?

We’re travelling to Alicante on Tuesday for some well deserved relaxation. (I hope)  I thought I’d share what I’m bringing in my hand luggage to entertain my toddler on the flight.

For a toddler

  • Lots and lots and lots of snacks!!!!! One thing that is sure to keep him entertained is food. I have packed fruit pouches, goodies carrot crisps and some cereal bars for the journey there.
  • We picked up a few small toys that will fit in to the hand luggage bag. Included are some toy cars, a small book as he loves reading and his favorite teddy. Although he’ll probably end up playing with non-toy toys, like the aircraft magazine.
  • I downloaded the BBC kids i-player, which lets you download kids TV shows and play them even when you aren’t connected to wifi/data.
  • As he still sucks a dummy, we bought a few new ones to take with us just in case he looses them along the way. This saves us from a meltdown!!
  • He loves puppets, so I managed last minute to order finger puppets on amazon so we can keep him entertained they’re so small they don’t take up any room in the hand luggage bag.
  • A spare change of clothes are essential for hand luggage along with nappies/wipes/bibs.
  • A pack of crayons and a small book

For me

  • I packed my phone charger and a spare charging tank in case it runs out and we need to watch peppa pig. (emergency)
  • I also packed sunglasses for when we arrive in Spain.
  • Travel deodorant is a must!!
  • Plus all the essentials like passports, money. boarding passes etc

Family Fun is Important

Easter is the perfect holiday to spend  time with family. It doesn’t involve the chaos as Christmas does, but it allows us to spend quality time together relaxing. (and eating tonnes of chocolate whats not to love)

Over the Easter weekend, we went on an Easter egg hunt at Oakgrove Park. Darragh enjoys any activity that’s outside so he loved it. There was even a little steam train, that took us on a tour around the grounds. Being outdoors is our happy place, it distracts from tantrums and cleaning and life admin.


On Easter Sunday we spent the morning eating Easter eggs. Even though our tummies were so full we went for lunch to a lovely family restaurant situated on a golf course. As we like to make the most of family days instead of watching a movie at home we decided to take Darragh to the cinema for a treat. We seen Duck Duck Goose! The movie did disappoint us a little as we thought it would of been funnier. Darragh seemed to enjoy it so that is the main thing.

Everyone needs some chill out time, so monday was spent in our PJ’s gobbling Easter eggs and playing. We love builiding dens in the living room & reading stories in them. We got a new book for the Easter holidays, “We’re going on an egg hunt”. We loved “We’re going on a bear hunt” so we just couldn’t resist picking this one up. Darragh really enjoyed it as it has lots of little flaps through out where you try and find eggs.

I hope everyone had a relaxing Easter and ate too many Easter eggs. If you can’t eat them now when can you?