Ultimate Fathers Day Ideas

Last Father’s Day my belly sent a card to Milos daddy, I was so excited about the thought of being parents that I felt the need to celebrate the day. Father’s Day has never been a thing for me, as it was just my mum, brother and I growing up, so I wanted to make this extra special because it was kind of a first for me as well.

This year I’m even more excited, because this year we are parents and it means Father’s Day is official. On Mother’s Day I was spoilt and I want to make sure I return the love. I have always been more of a giver, I just love giving presents, writing people little notes, sending cards, packages of sunshine when people are feeling down. I prefer other peoples special occasions to my own.

So we here at Milo and Matilda thought we’d come up with the ultimate Father’s Day idea list. You don’t need buckets of cash, unless you want to, you just need a little bit of love and a spot of imagination.

  • A picnic. Outdoor or indoor. Nothing beats a picnic, it’s personal you can spend as little or as much as you like and you can tailor it to match daddy’s tastes. For Milos daddy it would be lobster rolls, cured meats, fresh fruits, scones with clotted cream and some bubbles.
    You could buy your partner (from the kids) or your dad his favourite beers, or even those fantastic personalised ones, then grab some of his favourite sweet and savoury treats and head down to the local park and enjoy an afternoon spoiling him. Picnics also work well inside, set a rug down in your siting room and lay all the food out as if you were outside. A lovely alternative for a rainy day!

Picnic in the Park

  • A drinking Vessel. What dad doesn’t love a good mug. Especially when it’s the first Father’s Day. Milos daddy said they should be called SMugs because it makes him smile every time he uses it because he is a dad and he’s making sure his whole office knows, again. And if Dad works outdoors or loves gardening on a weekend, there is always the option for a cool tin mug instead or the traditional porcelain one.
  • A Handprint. A gift we absolutely love and is sure to melt all hearts is your child’s handprint. You can have a go at home and make a card or picture or if you fancy really making the most of this then head down to one of those fantastic pottery cafes that seem to be popping up all over the place. We did this at christmas and made Milo and Matilda’s Daddy’s absolutely gorgeous little baubles for the tree. Be advised most places need between 3-7 days to finish the items in the kiln and glaze them so give yourself plenty of time.
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Probably the wrong time to make a bauble but you get the idea of how cute these gifts are!
  • Vouchers. Now we are not talking a boring old B&Q or Debenhams voucher, we are talking the homemade variety. I remember making these when I was a child and as I think about it now I could think of nothing nicer. Breakfast in Bed, one football match on the TV moan free, a six pack of beers or a night off the cooking. Those kind of things. Again its personal and you can tailor it to suit your family and the dad in question.
  • Scrabble. Another of our favourites is the sentimental gift of the scrabble family frame. Daddy can keep it in his office or his study or you can pop it on view in the sitting room for all to see. There is the option for just daddy and his daughter or son, or the option for the whole family. Matilda’s mum made us one just after Milo was born and I love seeing our names linked together.
  • Memories. Probably the most important one of all because there is nothing nicer than creating memories. Go for a walk somewhere you have never been, visit the zoo or an aquarium. Drive to the nearest beach and collect shells or spend the day playing board games at home. Just do something you don’t normally do. Laugh lots and make the very most of the beautiful family you have, remember to take lots of pictures and print a few off for the fridge.

So to all Dad’s out there we wish you a wonderful Fathers Day.

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Cannon Hall Farm Review

Last weekend Matilda and her buddy Marshall took us parents on a little trip to Cannon Hall Farm in South Yorkshire.

We arrived at 11am (on a Sunday) and I’d say the place was just starting to get busy, we paid our £3 car parking and then headed to the entrance and paid the £7.95 per adult – plus 50p for animal feed (if you have children over the age of 2 years then they will also need to pay £7.95).

First off we went into the farm to see all the animals. Before entering the big barns you are greeted by the rabbits and guinea pigs, there was one rabbit out on a table for the kids to stroke and take pictures with, which was a big hit with all the older kids. If you love pigs you will love it here as they have hundreds of them, the first barn was full of mummy pigs with all their little piglets. The farm has an average of 2/3 litters born each week so sometimes you are able to see a live birth (sadly we didn’t). Next up were the cows and goats, followed by all other farm yard animals you can think of, you are also able to meet rudolf at the end.

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After the barns we headed over to watch sheep and ferret racing. Matilda and Marshall were far to young to understand what was going on but all of the older kids were loving it.

Next stop was the Hungry Llama restaurant and the indoor soft play centre. Between the four adults we had, two jacket potatoes, lasagne and the burger, all of which I would say where standard prices/ quality of food (£6 for jackets, £9 for mains). There is also a pub – The White Bull on site, which you can also purchase food from. The £3 ticket that we paid for parking could also be redeemed at either restaurant, which is good – but also a sneaky way to get you to spend more money (as you have to spend a minimum of £10 to redeem your ticket). After food we let the babies loose in the soft play centre. They loved splashing around in the ball pool and watching the older kids whizz down the slides.

Finally we had a quick look around the farm shop. The shop was lovely and had a wide select of home produce including beef, pork and lamb. As well as gifts, wines, teas and coffees.

So, the day was fun and we were lucky to have gone on a sunny day. However, I don’t think it is somewhere we will be rushing back too – I would say it is a little extensive for what is on offer.

Weekend prices

Adults £7.95

Children – £7.95

Family ticket (four people) – £30

Under Twos – Free

£3 parking

Some offers are available for weekdays.

How to survive the first weeks with a newborn!

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If you are a new parent who has just been handed this shiny newborn baby and you are wondering how you will cope with those sleepless nights – don’t worry you are not alone. Unless you have one of those super babies – I think most parents will agree with me – ‘nothing really works’. So the two key points that got me through were ‘mentally preparing myself no sleep’ and ‘accepting help during the day so that I could catch up on sleep’.

A newborn is brand new to this big world, they don’t understand where they are and they are scared. So they want to be close so its only natural that they do not want to be put down.

So for my first point ‘mentally preparing myself no sleep’ – the first three nights we tried everything to get Matilda to sleep ‘not on us’ but in her Snuzpod so that we could sleep. But she wouldn’t, she would have a feed, fall fast to sleep on me but as soon as I tried to put her down she would scream. By the third night I spent two hours crying as I thought I would never sleep during the night again, I thought my husband would go back to work in a few weeks and this would be my life now. On the fourth night we said lets mentally prepare ourselves for no sleep but make the night fun. So we stocked up on lots of goodies and films and took ourselves off to bed at 11pm prepared to cuddle Matilda all night with her waking every two hours for feeds – we named it the ‘milky rave’. That night was no where near as bad as the first three nights and I think this was because I wasn’t expecting to get much sleep and so I wasn’t stressing about it. From that night forward things started to get easier, for the next few weeks I did start to get a little more sleep, I was able to feed Matilda, cuddle her for half an hour till she was in a deepish sleep and then slowly transfer her to the Snuzpod. I would then have an hour or so sleep before she was awake again for the next feed.

I am lucky enough to have parents that were able to come round every few days to hold Matilda whilst I had a nap  in the afternoon. I would say if anyone offers to sit with your baby then take them up on it. During the first few weeks babies feed, sleep, repeat, so I would feed Matilda until she was asleep and then hand her over to one of my parents whilst I had a nap.

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If you are a new parent just going through this stage then rest assured it really will get better, I know it is annoying when people say that to you when you are in the middle of it but keep smiling, cuddle your baby, take any help offered and stock up on netflix series, books or whatever will get you through the ‘milky rave’ nights. We are with you!

Hello. Is Anyone There?

Where has my brain gone?

Is it just me or has becoming a mum turned my brain to complete mush.
I used to cruise through the weeks ticking things off my imaginary head list with skill and ease, I didn’t forget things and I was always on time.
Now it’s like my head is full of holes and the information sometimes drops through. Make that always drops through. In fact I’d go as far as to say I’m lucky if I remember to put clothes on in the morning. How far do you think I’d actually get before I realised I was still in my underwear…..the front door, the car, the supermarket?

I thought it would get better now Milo is a little older and sleeping through the nights, but no, I’m still completely useless.

This last week alone I have forgotten the times to two classes, these are classes I’ve been attending for the last 8 months. One I missed completely, I sat outside waiting for everyone to arrive while they were actually inside having already been doing it for twenty minutes. When Matilda’s mummy text me asking me if I was ok I responded smugly, saying I was that I was early and sat outside…..I soon fell from that cloud when she told me it had actually started and was almost finishing. Ugh!
The other class (swimming) I realised 15 minutes before that it started at 10 and not 10.30. It’s an approx 10 minute drive and requires a clothes change for both of us, so I’ve no idea how I managed to make it poolside with 6 minutes to spare. I didn’t break any speed limits but I didn’t slow for speed bumps and I think the car may have even took flight a few times as I took them lethal weapon style.

I start things that I don’t finish, including sentences and conversations. I put things down for them to never be found again and I now can’t even remember what I’m supposed to write here next because I’ve forgotten that too. Notes don’t help because I have also started and not finished them.

I have put milk in the cupboard and I found a yogurt in the microwave the other week, although I’m convinced that was Milo’s daddy messing with me. He thinks it’s really funny, it’s like a big joke. Although he wasn’t laughing when I forget where I had put his car keys a few weeks ago, thankfully it was the weekend and I had time to find them, it was ok but I’m now banned from touching them. I misplace my own car keys at least twice a week, I never did this before Milo.

So I’ve decided that baby brain is real. But is it lack of sleep? Is it too many other things going on in your brain or is it just that all the stuff that’s important now (anything to do with your baby) is blocking out all the non important items. Will I ever recover or am I destined to be scatty and forgetful for the rest of my life. If I have a second child will I descend further into this black hole, will I remember my own name?

For now I will have to continue with my new hobby of making ‘to do lists’ and keeping a diary. I use Milo & Matilda’s chalk board to plan my classes and I’ve started adding a ‘travel time’ in all events in my iPhone and reminders (two) before this. Anything that helps me be where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there, helps me do what I am supposed to do and helps me remember to put my pants on in the morning has got to be a good thing.

I’m lucky I remembered to post this.

 

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One of my many ‘reminders’

How our holidays have changed now we have a baby !

So my husband and I have been together for ten years and we love to holiday! We love to chill by the pool, read a book in the sun whilst drinking cocktails. But oh how things have changed this year.

First of all it took me forever to actually book a holiday, spending hour after hour reading through reviews trying to find a resort that was perfect for what we wanted but also suitable for Matilda’s needs. So after a lot of research we booked the Blue Lagoon Princess in Halkidiki, Greece through Thomson.

So the first big change was the packing, oh my gosh do babies come with a lot of things. I’m used to having 20kg of luggage to myself and still going over. This year was very different, I had to decide what the absolute essentials where that I needed for the week, in order to make room for all of Matilda’s things.

I’m not normally fussy about where I sit on the plane and just wait until online check-in opens and hope that my husband and I can sit together. However, this year we paid for ‘seats together’, I write this in inverterted commas as Thomsons class two people sitting on two aisle seats with the aisle between them as ‘sitting together’ – I do not! As it was the first time flying with Matilda we wanted to make sure we were all sat together and not just one person left holding the baby. So we paid our extra for ‘seats together’ and set a reminder in our phones for 90 days before the flight to log on and be the first to choose our seats.

So the bags are packed, seats chosen and the day finally arrives to go on holiday – wohoooo. We normally drive to the airport and park the car at somewhere like jet parks. However, my dad decided that it was a silly idea for us to be parking  in the airport car park and then wait around for the transfer bus to the terminal in the middle of the night with a baby, instead he would transport us from door to door! This was great for us as it gave us an extra half hour in bed, and he even carried all the suitcases down to the car!

We arrived at the airport and the great thing about traveling with a baby is you get to go in the shorter security queue and board the plane first. As Matilda still drinks a lot of milk and needs sterilised water we were able to go through a special queue at security control as babies fluids are an exception to the 100ml fluids in your hand luggage rule. All the families with babies or little children boarded the plane first and handed their prams / strollers over to the airport staff. We however decided that we didn’t really want to be messing around with a pram in the airport and risk it getting damaged on the plane. So we decided to carry Matilda around in the sling whilst in the airport and hire a pram from the hotel through Thomsons – I would highly recommend this and it was a bargain at €10 for the week!

We arrived at our resort around lunchtime and with it being a Thomson’s Family Life resort the  animation team were outside waiting for our coach to arrive. We normally avoid the animation team like the plaque but Matilda’s face lit up when she spotted Thomson the dog! So we decided that this holiday we couldn’t avoid the animation team anymore and we would embrace the cheesiness by getting involved with the activities around the family pool. Matilda absolutely loved it. Everyday she would get so excited when having a splash around in the baby pool and she loved watching the older kids run around. Lucky for me my husband doesn’t mind spending time in the shade so that worked out well for me when I wanted to spend abit of time sun bathing.

Our evenings were very different but in a great way. Long gone are those days of getting dressed up, going out for a nice meal and staying out for wine and cocktails! This year we still all got a bit dressed up and would head out for food. Sometime between 8-9pm Matilda would get very grumpy, as this is way passed her normal bed time. So we would head back to our room and put her to bed. My husband and I would then have a few glasses of wine on our balcony whilst watching Matilda on the baby monitor.

So all in all this holiday was very different – but in a new amazing way. I would not change anything for the world. Matilda has absolutely loved it, she has made some great friends, relished the attention she has been given and most of all given us priceless memories.

Babies and Renovations…..

Expect a number of posts regarding this topic over the coming months. I can guarantee tears, tantrums and complete meltdowns (and that’s just from me)

Why? Because we have decided to renovate with a baby. Hahahaha, silly parents!
Now we’ve done this before, Milo’s daddy gets bored easily so we’ve already bought, renovated and sold a few houses. It has been fun, stressful, exciting, challenging and well worth every minute. However the main thing being these were all were all PRE-BABY!!

So not content with his new important job back in the UK, a relocation from the Middle East and a new baby he decided that we needed a little more, so he bought us a project. A very big project.
The last house we renovated saw the whole roof removed, and I had to bunk in a friends spare room (while pregnant) for weeks on end. So did he decide that this time we would get a house we could keep the roof on, we could live in and renovate around ourselves. Don’t be silly, he decided we needed the most work possible of course.

To say I’m worried is a bit of an understatement. How do you actually renovate with a baby? When the roof comes off this house, will we all have to live in the summerhouse in the garden, we have an old shed as well, maybe one could be our living space and one our small, damp and cold bedroom. Will we have to stay with grandparents, I don’t know how they would cope with us for weeks and weeks on end. So how exactly do you raise a tiny human on a building site. Parents, friends, even the architect, they have all told us we are mad and it’s a ridiculous idea, but then we like a challenge. I have real visions of having to wash Milo each night outside in a flexi tub and mixing his porridge in the cement mixer.

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Oh look, two new bath tubs for Milo!

Planning applications went in a week ago, so based on previous experience that gives me another 5-6 weeks of normality. After that I might be a crazy person. If anyone has any advice (or a spare room) please do get in touch!

I AM THE BRAVEST MUMMY!

Milo is nine months old and when they say children are like sponges it’s so true. At the moment he is sucking everything up, watching every move and listening to every sound and starting to mimic and copy us.

When I say us I actually mean his grandad. Honestly It’s driving us mad, first there was the strange noise he copied that prompted someone is Sainsburys to say to me ‘your baby sounds like an ewok’ which got grandad his first telling off. This week it is the tongue thing…..oh boy is this a special one. A lady in Specsavers the other day asked if Milo was ok….I had no response for her. Grandad has swiftly been told off again and asked to behave. For anyone reading this you might think I’m being unnecessarily harsh on grandad, but you guys haven’t seen this thing Milo does. It is not cute, not cute at all. Is it wrong to just want him to grow up not weird.

So the other day something happened, something that tested me as a mummy, it was horrifying but completely expected, in the back of my mind I knew this day would eventually come.
I had popped into Milos room, he was just waking up from a nap and was chatting away in his cot, greeting me with that huge grin.

Then I saw it.

Sitting there like it owned the room, watching me with its hundreds of eyes (maybe it’s only eight but hundreds sounds more dramatic) I couldn’t take a picture because it was too big, think dinner plate size. It’s many legs twitching away, making it look like it might have been dancing.

So you might have guessed it. I. Hate. Spiders.

They terrify me, but I can’t kill them so it makes life a little difficult. I make Milo’s daddy remove them safely and wave them on their way.
Well he wasn’t in. What would I do, my son is there, and I can’t get to him because a 2ft spider (at least) stands in the way.

When I was pregnant my mum would say to me you need to worry less, you need to stop stressing because babies pick up on these things. Whether it’s true or not it’s stuck in my mind so there really was only one choice.
I would leave Milo, leave the house, lock the door and wait for help. Ok so maybe that wasn’t actually an option, so I had to remove the spider myself.

I want my son to grow up thinking mummy is brave, I want him to not be scared of anything, a bit more like his dad than me. I’m scared of loads of stuff, it seems the older I get the wimpier I get too! Especially with how he is watching and learning at the moment I need to be the bravest so that he can be the bravest.

Glass in hand I teetered back and forth, half expecting the spider to jump on his back legs and dive at my face, what would happen to me, can you actually die from fear?
Fear is so silly, this thing is smaller than me so why am I starting to sweat and starting to feel a bit dizzy in the head.

Then, looking at Milo who was watching me intently I dived forward and trapped incy wincy in the glass (a huge glass for my 2ft dinner plate sized spider) and half the job was done.
Then I got Milo and through the glass showed him the spider, pretending it was super cool and exciting. Hopefully I faked it enough for him to think his mummy is the bravest and that spiders are cool (when they are outside at least 20ft from me.)

I’d like to say I finished the job but that would be a lie. I left the room, shut the door and incy spent his whole day in the glass greenhouse until daddy came home that evening and he could remove it and send him packing. During the day I might have checked occasionally that he was still under the glass, just in case he’d developed extraordinary spidee strength and thrown the glass off and headed for my bedroom.

Being a mum is hard, I’ve had to do things I never thought I would, but right now while I can I’m going to be the bravest mummy, I’ll battle spiders if it means he grows up not scared of them. I’ll pretend I love flying so he grows up wanting to travel and I’ll eat all my vegetables while saying ‘yum’ and ‘oooh that’s tasty’, yes even aubergine if it means he loves healthy food. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes and I’m sure he will sooner or later figure out that I’m a bit of a wimp, but let’s hope I can keep it up just long enough for him to have braveness imprinted on his brain.