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?


How to ‘Self Care’ ?

To be a better mum/partner/friend you first need to look after yourself, if you can’t look after yourself how can you look after anyone else? Having so much on the ‘to do’ list can leave very little time to enjoy the things you love, but taking ten minutes out of each day can improve how you feel.

Sleep – Going to bed an hour earlier can allow you to feel well rested and re-charged ready for the day ahead. I like to get at least 8 hours sleep. If I don’t, I feel exhausted by the afternoon and who wants a tired mumma?

Digital Detox – Having a few days away from social media, messaging and emails allows your brain to focus more on you and not everyone else. When I take time away from my phone, i’m more productive, I make more time for me.

Candles – Buying and lighting new candles has become my favorite treat since moving in to my own home. (I even treat myself to Yankee Candles) The soothing smells filtering through the house, automatically relax me.

Watch your favorite TV show or movie – Finding a good show that I enjoy allows me to focus on something else rather than my ‘to do’ list. I’ve recently just started watching vampire diaries, and I look forward to watching an episode in the evening when Darragh goes to bed.

A bath ALONE – Imagine getting the chance to have a bath alone, as rare as it is I love it. Over Mothers Day I got some beautiful bath bombs, and ever since I have been treating myself to a new bath bomb every month and WOW I had been missing out.

De-cluttering – When I have to many ‘things’ and there isn’t enough places to put them it gets to me. Clearing out old junk and things I haven’t used in a while clears my mind. It’s also easier to keep your home tidier if there isn’t so many possessions lying around. I usually stick by the 1 year rule – If I haven’t worn/used it in the past year, I throw it out.

Diet – When I’m eating ‘Junk’ foods it makes my body feel sluggish and tired. Eating healthier improves my mood and gives me more energy. Self Care = Health

Fresh Air – Enjoying the scenery that’s right on your doorstep can sometimes surprise you. Usually because you live there it often gets dismissed as you’re used to it. Taking time out to enjoy this creates a sense of calm in you’re busy life. It can also be a good way to distract a bored toddler.

Reading – Before going to bed each night I read a few pages of my book. Ever since I started this I find myself being able to sleep quicker and wake up feeling more rested.

Clear your mind – Write down any thoughts that are bothering you or things that you have to do, doing this can clear your mind.

Happy Mum = Happy Baby 

Hello Fresh Review

We recently tried hello fresh as we had 50% off discount codes. It’s really easy to order, as they have an app where preferences can be stored along with personal info. Although delivery is a bit of a problem as they only deliver to my address once a week between 8am-7am. This is a weekday when I’m at university.

The selection of weekly recipes is good, and a little bit different – it’s not the standard weekly dinners over and over again. It brought back my excitement for cooking. I’m vegetarian while James isn’t so the majority of the recipes we choose are veggie. (When choosing the veggie option you can only order three meals per week)

I found using hello fresh so convenient as we don’t have to struggle to think of what we can have for dinner. It also cancels out running around the supermarket with a toddler problem.  The recipes are easy to follow as the instructions are accompanied by images. There are also options to choose a ‘rapid’ box if you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. Each recipe is colour coded and has an individual bag. This makes getting the ingredients out a whole lot easier. The recipe cards can be used over and over again, giving us dinner inspiration.

The cost is quite expensive for the three meals for two people. It is worth it for the convenience. (No supermarkets ever again woohooo) Although, there are a lot of discount codes available to get your 1st and 2nd boxes half price.  Plus the box it is delivered in is like a new toy for Darragh.  Use code ORLQUI for £20 off your first box!!Hello Fresh

10 Tips For A Clean Home

  • Clean as you go – Cleaning as the mess is created can avoid a big build up, which may put you off tidying. When cooking, put ingredients/utensils away when you’re finished using them.
  • Focus on 1 room per week – I like to de-clutter and deep clean one room per week, as tackling the whole house would just be impossible. This helps me find motivation to do it as it doesn’t take long and it isn’t’ daunting.
  • Put the washing away every evening – Doing this will avoid a build up of washing. It will also feel like a small task as it isn’t a whole weeks washing being put away.
  • Keep bathroom cleaning products upstairs – I find if upstairs cleaning products are stored upstairs i’m more likely to clean the bathroom more often. I usually give the bathroom a quick spray before getting in the shower. (completing two tasks in one is always easier)
  • Move from task to task rather than room to room –  Doing this will allow you to complete your cleaning routine faster, while feeling like you are doing less.
  • Have a day to day cleaning routine – Simple activities done each week can lighten the load. Every morning before getting dressed I open the curtains and make the bed. I find that this automatically makes the room look tidier.
  • A Quick tidy before you go to bed – Waking up the next day and trying to tidy everything with a toddler just isn’t worth it. Having everything organised and clean, can help your morning routine run much smoother.