Personalised Children’s Backpacks

 

We are super excited about the release of three new personalised items on the Milo and Matilda store that we thought we should share the news with you all.

For Milo and Matilda’s summer holidays they both had a cute world map design mini backpack. We decided to have their names embroidered on to them to add a little personalised touch.

During our holidays we received so many comments about the backpacks that we decided it would be a great idea to stock similar items on the Milo and Matilda website.

Therefore, we sourced four adorable backpack designs (world map, colourful creatures, flamingo bay and rusty the fox) to create adorable personalised children’s backpacks.  The colourful creatures and flamingo bay designs also have matching small packed lunch style bags and personalised aprons (ideal for baking and painting) available.

For the slightly older kids we have also started to personalise two drawstring bags – red riding hood and monsters of the world.

These have arrived at the best time as they make ideal customer gifts.

Advertisements

Breaking the City with a Toddler

We love a good city break, the chance to discover a new city in between our longer trips, which these days aren’t as often as we’d like.
When we became parents we thought those city break days were over, the fact we’ve taken a ridiculous amount of luggage on each trip since Milo arrived and the fact it usually takes him a good two nights to settle in a new bed meant we were hesitant about a trip that would take him as long to get used to as we were actually away.
But we decided the only way to see if it was possible was to try it, the worst case scenario being that we had an awful trip and wouldn’t do it again.

Four days (three nights) in Lisbon was our choice, flying with TAP Airlines – hand luggage only.

Packing was scary. Most airlines give you a hand luggage allowance for an under two lap passenger, but is it realistic to lug three small suitcases around as well as a stroller, a nappy bag and don’t forget the actual child. No it’s not.
So we packed two small hand luggage size suitcases and took Milo’s changing bag as well.
We packed as light as possible, I planned my outfits beforehand, taking a skirt that could be mixed with one of four tops, travelled in my warmer clothes in case I needed them and then packed one other dress. Milo’s Daddy did similar (no dresses though). For Milo I have included our full packing list below. Would I say we missed anything, not really, maybe we could have done with a couple of extra nappies (we ended up buying a pack while there) but other than that I think we cracked it.

We purchased specifically for this trip the GB Qbit Stroller (approx £179 at time of purchase) we did a fair bit of research and the fact it folds down to hand luggage size was the deciding factor. We did check it in but knowing we have that option in the future is a bonus.
It’s small and lightweight and perfect for the beautiful small, skinny, cobbled streets of Lisbon. I could not recommend this stroller more. It took a little getting used to as I am used to Milo’s Uppababy at home and the wheels are closer together (to make it compact) which meant a few catches of the feet the first time of using but other than that I loved it!

IMG_0246
Lisbon – what a city!!! 

This was Milos seventh flight and he was a little gem as usual. Our only tip would be to download a ton of twirlywoo videos (or your child’s favourite) and keep them awake as long as possible beforehand. It seems to have worked for us so far.

Usually we would have done public transport but with a small child we decided taxis were the best option. The hotel was lovely. I did a ton of research before we booked and found a stunning hotel that offered apartment style rooms. The Lumiares hotel in the Bairro Alto district was perfect for our stay. We booked a studio room and it had by far enough space for the three of us. They provided a travel cot and it tucked away nicely just out of sight of our bed (if Milo sees you in the morning he will not go back to sleep)
It did take him two nights to settle, so at 5am both mornings he was up and chatting away, it meant we were first in best dressed for breakfast and it also meant we hit the pillow at 9pm. The third morning he slept until our alarm at 8. It didn’t matter though, early mornings meant more time to see the sights.
The Lumiares provided a lovely breakfast each morning but also had a kitchenette in the room should you want to do extra bits for your little ones. We didn’t use it but it seemed well equipped.

We had the most wonderful four days. Milo is a great eater, he sampled all of Portugal’s favourite dishes. He sat there eating octopus like it was the tastiest thing ever, he definitely doesn’t get that from me, that’s all his daddy’s influence.

A great place to eat is the Lisbon Time Out Market. Set in a great location it offers informal dining with some world class foods. We ended up having at least one meal here a day, just because it offers so much choice and it was somewhere that children were clearly welcome, families were everywhere. Don’t leave without trying a pastéis de nata from Manteigaria located just as you walk through the main entrance, they are quite literally the best thing I have ever tasted.

We would also highly recommend a trip to the absolutely amazing Lisbon Oceanarium. Listed as the second best in the world we had high hopes for this place and it surpassed every one of those.
The days were long and he was shattered by the end of each one. Taking a stroller meant he could fall asleep if he needed, while we would walk back to the hotel after dinner.

It was one of my favourite trips since he was born. My only advice would be if there is something you want to see on a city break and you can book tickets in advance, do that. We arrived at one attraction to find a 45 minute queue, we declined the chance to see inside because that is not fun or fair for any toddler!

My other advise is take calpol, neurofen or both. Milo cut a huge tooth while we were away and the calpol was a lifesaver. Medicines aren’t freely available in supermarkets like they are in the UK in many other countries and when it’s 10pm and the pharmacies are closed you will be so glad you’ve packed some.

Would we do it again. Most definitely. In fact we’ve already booked our next trip. Life is completely about creating memories and we want as many as possible.

IMG_0245

If you are considering a city break we would say DO IT! As a family we had a wonderful time and he might be young but he’s seeing new places, trying new foods, making memories and as we saw on a huge sign in Lisbon ‘moments are far better collected than things’!

 

Milo’s Packing List

(fitted into one half of a hand luggage case)

▪️Three pairs of shorts
▪️Four short sleeved baby vests
▪️Six t-shirts (he can be super messy)
▪️Four pairs of socks
▪️One wipe clean bib

▪️Two pairs of shoes (both trainers but one super comfy and one a little smarter)

▪️One pair of toddler reigns

▪️Mr Lion (we go nowhere without him)

▪️16 Nappies
▪️One packet of wipes (we purchased an extra while away)
▪️16 nappy sacks
▪️One bamboo muslin cloth (Zippy Bibs of course) for emergencies

▪️Toothbrush
▪️Toothpaste
▪️One tiny bottle of sunscreen – so glad we packed this as it was hot!
▪️One small bottle of Burts Bees baby wash (taken from a travel sized set)
▪️One bottle calpol
▪️A packet of Ashton’s and Parsons teething powder

He travelled in jeans and a hoodie and jacket which meant we had these items should we need something warmer but we were blessed with beautiful hot days!

 

 

 

The Best Kind Of News.

Milo’s Story

The day I found out I was pregnant was an amazing but tough day. I had just eaten goats cheese and smoked salmon on toast, after a weekend away on the Guinness in Dublin, so it honestly wasn’t expected.

I’d always wanted to plan a surprise if we were lucky enough to fall pregnant, like the ones you see on you tube. You know, some buns in the oven or a t-shirt on Halloween with a skeleton baby in my skeleton tummy. What I didn’t expect was to be making a call over FaceTime and sharing the news to Milo’s daddy thousands of miles away (3,823.1 miles to be exact – I should know I googled it enough times) because he was in the desert, the sandpit they call Kuwait. He had been there for a year. At the time I was only weeks away from making the move myself, I’d stayed behind when he left to finish renovating the house that we had bought just before he was headhunted for a job away from home.

And for those of you wondering how you can get pregnant with 3,823.1 miles between you, we did see each other approximately every three weeks and it only takes one cheeky careless moment to create a miracle. Even my cheeky dentist made the joke about who was the daddy.

I don’t remember much of the call, I remember I facetimed from the toilet. I asked him to sit down and then I said I’d something to show him. Then there were tears (mainly from me) and a lot of the f*** word (in a good way) as I tried to position a bloody iPhone camera over a positive pregnancy test. In a perfect world that’s not how I would have broken the news, but at least it gives us something to laugh about now.

We found out in October, and we were exactly 12 weeks on Christmas Eve. We were even luckier to have our twelve week scan that morning. We couldn’t have timed that better if we’d been trying, and it did make for some very special surprises on Christmas Day. I finally got the chance to be creative, although watching back the videos I wouldn’t share them with the world, they are so special to us. But I’ll talk about them another time or I’ll be here all day.

I think if I could have it any other way I’d still have done it the same. It certainly wasn’t how I’d dreamt it would happen but it’s a story to tell, and if we are lucky enough to fall pregnant again then I’ve plenty of ideas saved, and I will definitely not be doing it over FaceTime.

 

Matilda’s Story

Before becoming pregnant I had always dreamt of doing a pregnancy test, finding out it was positive and then wrapping the stick up in a little box (yeah so maybe it’s a little gross), then handing it to my husband as a gift on a romantic date and watching his super happy face as he realised what his gift meant. However it didn’t really happen like that. I ended up doing the pregnancy test while my husband was around, however it was still amazingly perfect for us to wait together for those two and a half excruciating minutes, eagerly waiting to see how many lines would show up on the test.

So I also didn’t get the dream reveal to Matilda’s daddy, however just as Milos mummy did once we found out it was positive we got to tell our families in special ways. But let’s save that for another time.

Alcohol alternatives when pregnant!

9114

When I was pregnant I found it hard to find a nice drink to have as an alternative to my usual wine or cocktail. Throughout the nine months I had a lot of social events like family parties and hen weekends and I must have tried all the alcohol free drinks and didn’t really enjoy any of them.

I usually drink Prosecco or Long Island Ice Teas. So first I tried a number of different non alcohol wines and cocktails – all of which were far to sweet and fruity for me. None of the wines tasted anything like wine 😦

Next I tried alcohol free ciders, again way too fruity (even more than normal cider), then on my friends hen party I decided to bring along some Shloer and alcohol free Becks. Becks was by far the best and did surprisingly taste slightly like lager.

So on all of those social events I was very disappointed that I’d even wasted money on these drinks and not just stuck to diet cola – at least I would have known what I was getting.

However, the other day my husband brought home Belvoir Elderflower drink for my in laws that were coming for dinner. I really enjoyed a glass of this with our food and then after thought – this would have been great as a nice refreshing alternative to alcohol when I was pregnant.

If you are pregnant and love fruity drinks you will be fine, if not then I’d say try Elderflower or just stick to the pop, juice and plenty of water!

Shloer prize

Perfect Gifts for Teachers

Teachers work their backsides off to give our little monkeys the best chances in life. They teach them all the things that we can’t and educate them for the life ahead.
My mum was a teacher, and it didn’t mean much to me when I was little except for that last week of term…..because that was when my mum would bring home 30 boxes of chocolates and because no mummy can eat that much my brother and I would get our pick. It was like a second Easter in our house, only with no bunnies, no eggs, but lots of quality street. My mum, as much as she appreciated all the boxes of tasty chocolates would always say how nice it would be to get something other than chocolates.

Well times have changed and these days teachers get less chocolates and plenty of other things. So this got us thinking, what can you buy those lovely ladies and gentlemen who work so hard at making our tiny humans clever.

A drinking vessel – We loved this ‘I Can’t Adult Today Mug’ so much when we first came across it that we decided to stock it at Milo and Matilda. Perfect for a teacher, it’s a great way to remind them that it’s summer and they have six weeks off from being an adult! We admit it, both of us in the Milo and Matilda office use this mug, it makes it a little hard when doing the tea run, especially when we forget which one has the sugar in, but honestly we couldn’t love this mug anymore than we do right now! We are sure any teacher would feel the same.

IMG_6944

Chocolates – If you are going to go down the traditional route and buy a box of something cheeky, we suggest getting something special. Hotel Chocolat is known for some of the finest and tastiest chocolates. You don’t have to spend more just buy a small token. We especially love these Caramel Tiddly Pots. If I was a teacher I’d keep a box of these in my desk at all times for nibbling on demand.

IMG_6946
Space form are well known for there lovely little glass tokens. These are the tiny gifts that last. These are a lovely way to show a teacher that they were special to your child. We love the one below, but there are other designs available, and some come with options to personalise them also.

IMG_6938
Pamper Gift Basket – Teachers work hard, they deserve a cheeky bit of pampering at the end of term. This is something you can put together yourself. Buy a small basket or box, put in a relaxing candle, bottle of bubble bath or a lush bath bomb and some luscious hand cream will do the trick (a favourite of mine is this Loccitane Shea Butter one.)          If your teacher is a man this can easily be adapted to suit, throw in a black pepper scented candle, some sandalwood soap and a bottle of whiskey scented bubble bath and your on your way to gift perfection.
If you haven’t got the time to make a gift basket there are a couple of lovely companies that we have seen who create some amazing baskets, including this Organic Pamper Box designed specifically for teachers.

IMG_6955

 

Flowers – Another of the more traditional gifts, but flowers can be so much more than a bunch. Try getting something that lasts a little longer, like potted flowers or a cactus. This way the gift isn’t finished in a week and can be enjoyed for weeks to come. We have just discovered this amazing flower company Bloom & Wild, they have a range of flowers that can be delivered through the letterbox. We especially love ‘The Jamie’ as this Trio of Succulents which are long lasting look absolutely amazing. Marks and Spencer offer a slightly larger version without the cute packaging.

IMG_6954

We asked a couple of teachers this week what the best gift was that they received from their little ones. One said Gin, we love that.

Finally a great suggestion from one of the teachers mentioned above was a class or group present. If you and some of the other mums are close it might be nice to club together and buy a the teacher something special. A little piece of jewellery or a larger version of the pamper hamper would be a super treat for any special teacher.

Whatever you decide on, the thanks from your tiny human is more than enough to put a smile on any teachers face for the summer…..however a bottle of gin will make that smile much bigger.

The perfect child free night away – Oulton Hall Review

61

Last week my husband and I spent our very first night away from Matilda and took ourselves off on a relaxing spa break. We absolutely love spending all of our time with Matilda, but a day and night away was just amazing.

We booked an overnight spa package through – Spa Breaks. The package included – access to the spa, one 60 minute treatment each, light lunch, £28 each towards our evening meal and Bed and Breakfast at Oulton Hall.

We arrived at 1:30pm and headed straight for the spa. Our first impressions were a little disappointing, as we walked down the path from the spa car park to the spa entrance the gardens were very over grown and run down – you could tell no gardening had been done this Spring / Summer.

However, once inside the Spa was lovely – we headed to the juice bar to grab our light lunch. The food was great, I had the Asian bento box and my husband had the English one. I would highly recommend both of these, I’m a massive fan of scones with clotted cream, and the English box was great for this. Once we had very full tummies we then relaxed in the spa, we spent a nice hour moving between the jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. I was once told that when you are on a date away from your kids not to talk about them, unless its about fun things you are planing to do – so we chilled in the jacuzzi discussing our bucket list and all exciting places we want take Matilda.

We both had a ‘Fit for Business’ back massage, my massage was amazing. The girl that carried out the massage was lovely, she talked me through all of the different oils and massage pressures. I’ve had quite a few back massages, all around the world and that was definitely the best. However, I think the experience is a bit hit and miss, as my husbands message was a little shorter than mine and he wasn’t that impressed with the massage or the overall experience. I think he was a little sad when I told him how great my girl was, he loves a good massage and he wasn’t asked which oil or pressure he would like 😦 After the massages we did a little more relaxing in the spa and planning our future.

At around 5:30pm we went and checked into our room, the room was nice, it looked as though the bedroom had recently been decorated and the bathroom newly tiled. After throwing our bags in the room we thought it was about time we headed outside and had a drink in the champagne bar! The champagne bar is located on the other side of the hotel to the spa, overlooking the golf course. The gardens here were a lot nicer and as it was a lovely sunny day it was great to have a little chill in the sun before it was time to get ready for our evening meal.

FullSizeRender (4)

We thought we would make the most of our child free night and have a glass of wine whilst getting ready for dinner, the hotel staff were more than happy enough to bring us up a wine bucket and some wine glass so we could crack open the bottle we had brought with us.

Our evening meal was in the Calverley Grill, we weren’t expecting much as we don’t normally have great experiences in hotel restaurants. However, we were pleasantly surprised, for starters I had the goats cheese and my husband had the broccoli soup, for mains we both had the chicken with chunky chips and then we shared a creme caramel for dessert. The starters and main were amazing and had real flavour to them. Neither of us liked the dessert but I think that was just down to personal preference – as we didn’t really like the texture. All the food was covered in our £56 food allowance. Drinks could not be included in the allowance so we just paid the extra for our wine and beer.

The next morning breakfast did not disappoint. The majority of the food was a self serve buffet with a few items like pouched eggs available to order. So we stocked up on lots of lovely food before our drive home.

So all in all we had a fabulous time on a little night away and I would definitely recommend a spa break (and Oulton Hall) for those tired parents in need of a chill day and night.

Matilda’s Mummy

We’re Going to The Zoo!

I hate zoos. I am against animals being locked in tiny cages for our amusement.
I don’t hate all zoos though, I do believe that some are genuinely in it for the conservation of animals and if they are done right the animals don’t suffer and are really well cared for. Whilst I’d still prefer the animals to be in the wild I’m not against these.
Singapore zoo is one of my favourites and having been a couple of times I highly recommend this to anyone visiting the city.

The other day a friend suggested a trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. After a little research I really liked the look of it, so on bank holiday Sunday we headed down for the day.

The car park was packed and I was a little apprehensive that it may be really busy inside but honestly I didn’t think it was. They seem to have enough going on that it never felt crowded and we never spent long in a queue or waiting too see anything.

We arrived about 11am so we headed straight to grab a couple of coffees and some sandwiches to take with us and then we headed off to see some animals.
Entry was £16 for an adult and the boys were free as they are both under 2.

We saw polar bears, spider monkeys, mara’s, lions, leopards, meerkats, zebras and giraffes just to name a few. I fell in love with one of the tiny baby baboons and if I could have taken him home he would have been in Milo’s changing bag quicker than you can say ‘Safari adventure

Lunch consisted of sandwiches and mini cheddars on a picnic bench while the boys ran around the grass. Well Milo wobbled around and fell over a lot. But it was lovely, and the sun was shining making the day delightful.

We headed back to the animals and the boys watched with the most excited looks on their faces. I think Milo’s favourite animal was the spider monkey, the enclosure is open so they are just wild, swinging around the branches above you. He couldn’t get enough of them and finally dragging him away meant tears. But it wasn’t long before we were at the next stop and there was something else to make him smile.

Late afternoon the boys both fell asleep and we used that as an excuse to grab a couple of ice creams and sit in the sun.

The enclosures are huge, the animals look healthy and happy and there are plenty of viewing areas for each stop so you can see loads.
The cafes are plentiful and although it’s just your usual sandwiches, cakes and sausage roll type fare it wasn’t overly expensive and it tasted good.
There are endless areas where you can stop and grab a picnic bench and have a bite to eat. If you are more prepared than we were take a picnic with you….and don’t forget the sun cream. We covered the boys but neglected ourselves and both ended up crispy and red, rookie manoeuvre.

Before we left we headed to the monkey house soft play area (indoor) and the boys had a whale of a time monkeying around. We could have spent longer here but toddlers get tired and cranky and it was time to head back.
There is also a huge outdoor play area, we didn’t have time this trip but all the kids there looked like they were having a great time, there is so much to do here!

IMG_5764

I love this place, I can’t wait to return and hopefully as Milo grows he will enjoy the animals more and more. I highly recommend!!

IMG_5758

Milo’s Mummy x