Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sightseeing in Rome with Toddlers

Not many people take toddlers to Rome, this was evident in the lack of children, pushchairs and babies we saw on our visit.  I can see why, with a city full of culture and history, there is so much to stop and look at and to take in and we all know staying still isn't a toddler's strong point!  We saw the city in a different way, but I felt that we still appreciated it's beauty and rich culture.

Here are our top 5 tips for taking toddlers to Rome:

  • Relax, if you can't take the tour then just appreciate the architecture.  We had to prioritise and plan.  We saw the Colloseum whilst the littlest was snoozing, but mostly admired the historic buildings from the piazas outside, whilst the boys explored the surroundings.

  • Visit the Explora Children's Museum, it is toddler paradise with role play, sensory and science and everything is completely hands on.  You may have tears when it is time to leave, but it is a great way to balance out the day.

  • Eat more ice cream - it makes everyone happier.  On the same note, always pack plenty of baby wipes!

  • Bring a lightweight buggy if you can,  the metro isn't pushchair friendly and you will be carrying it up and down stairs.  We had to take a double, and it was pretty heavy!

  • Staying outside the city gave us a bit of balance.  The boys enjoyed playful mornings at the pool before exploring in the afternoon, and we had a quiet but perfect day at a local beach.  Travelling with toddlers is about compromise and actually this made us all happier.

Good luck if you give it a go!


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

When Christmas got its Magic Back

Christmas has always been a family event.  My first memories of it are at my Aunty and Uncle's house, thirty of us crowded around a table that reached out from the dining room, down the hall way and into the living room.  My brother, sister and I were always the youngest and therefore got utterly spoilt, and there was always so much food - turkey with all the trimmings and a Christmas pudding stuffed full of silver.

Christmas dinner was followed by tins of Roses and Quality street around the Christmas tree, being tickled by cousins and playing beetle drive - we were always given extra points for being younger.  Presents were exchanged and the afternoon and evening seemed to go on for days, spending time with those that mattered most, my Grandma sat proudly on the sofa, watching her children and grand children and the family that she had raised.

As my cousins and I got older, there were too many of us.  We expanded at such a rate that Christmas became smaller with visits throughout the day.  I had moved away from home, so it still seemed perfect going back to my parent's house and spending the night in my old bedroom, the familiar smells and sounds.

2011 was the Christmas that changed everything all over again for me - for a lot of us.  The bloke and I welcomed a beautiful little boy into the world, and our adult day of board games, after dinner naps and late nights was punctuated by nappy changes, cooing at the smiliest four month old, and a new appreciation of what family means.  After all, Christmas is all about the children.  We knew this growing up, and we never really forgot, but after 5 years of a smaller Christmas, with every member of the house able to legally drink, we were reminded of the wonders anew.

We spoke of Father Christmas again and the magic.  We crowded round as we exchanged presents, watching my son grab the paper in delight, not having a clue what was really going on, but at the same time making it real for everyone there.

Christmas has never been the same, and will never be the same.  I now have two children, who every year become more aware of the magic, who believe in the man in red, and who wake up wide eyed and excited about being surrounded by family.  Christmas dinners involve bibs and beakers, two extra paper hats and at least twice as many smiles and laughs, and we know our Christmases will only get bigger as more babies join the family. 

Christmas has always been about family, but having my own made it what it is today

This is my entry for Transun's 'Win a family trip to Lapland' competition. You can read about the competition here:

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Skiing with Toddlers

Earlier this year, we went on our very first ski holiday - something we didn't imagine would be possible with toddlers.  It was exciting, exhilarating and actually a great place with young children, from snowball fights to sledging to cosy afternoon in the creche, our boys had a fantastic holiday whilst the bloke and I hit the slopes for the first time and came home with some great stories.

Mark Warner have teamed up with P.O.P and challenged us to create a ski holiday wardrobe for children - it was easy.  I love bright colours, and with the white snow as background it is easy to spot the little ones whilst they play.  I would get the boys matching thermals, and I love this grey set, and then matching but not matching outers.  Dylan would need sallopettes and a jacket and this blue is the perfect colouring for him, whilst Archie is still best in an all-in-one.  These look durable and bright, and I know that in two years time, Archie will fit in Dylan's set, and bump will have grown into Archie's.  PoP is known for longevity and with ski wear I think it is worth investing in something that can last more than one child.

Pop Ski

I love the matching gloves and complimentary hat, and both of these can be used all winter long.  The hat is perfect for a British winter as well, and the gloves mean snowman building with warm, dry hands too.

Obviously the boys would need a nice off-piste outfit for meals out and snuggly evenings, and I love this cloudy top and comfy jeans - definitely something they would both suit (and I can't get enough of matching at the moment!)

off piste

  All these items are currently available from the PoP website

A week in Rome

I have plenty to share, but for now, here are some of my favourite photos from our week away in Rome.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Being Active Together

Being active is an important part of our family lives.  I have two children who love to be outdoors every waking moment, and they don't care if it is pouring with rain or bright and sunny.  With the boys still being under three, our Sunday morning bike rides and football games in the park are still a couple of years off, but here are our favourite activities for each season:


The spring is about walks along the river, feeding the duck, exploring the emerging flowers and baring our arms for the first time.  We love to visit a local park which is perfect for toddler adventures, and we always take along some stale bread for the hungry ducks.


The summer is about walks on the beach, sandcastle building, toe dipping and running barefoot.  Collecting water from the sea to make a fort, launching head first into everyone's sandcastles (so that may just be Archie) and walking to the ice cream van and back mean long sleeps for everyone!


The Autumn is for leaf crunching, stomping and crisp afternoons wrapped up warm in the park.  The swings, the slides, the climbing frames are ours as only the hardcore park go-ers are left! The days may be getting cooler, but the leaves are not going to crunch themselves!


The Winter is for wellies, puddle splashing, dancing in the rain and coming home to hot chocolate and teacakes at the end of the day.  We love wrapping up with hats, scarves and gloves and braving the elements.  A puddle suit is essential as no puddle is too big for my mini adventurers!

How do you keep active as a family?  This is my entry into the Mark Warner Mum competition

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A little Bit Lately

The weather has been warm, the sun has shone and we have spent every waking moment outdoors.  The boys love adventures and manage to find them everywhere they look.  We have spent plenty of mornings at our local sandy beach, afternoons learning to skim pebbles and leisurely picnics feeding the ducks down by the river.  We have blown off the usual play groups and routines and enjoyed each other's company.

I feel so lucky to have given them each a brother, a partner in crime and someone to share these adventures, as isn't life more fun with someone by your side?!  They may not always get on and they often have different agendas, but they are also friends and when they giggle together, there is nothing more precious.

We are lucky to live in a place of such opportunity.  Neither myself or the bloke drives, but we can find a day out and most importantly an adventure pretty much everywhere we look!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

This Summer

The summer weather means everyone is in a better mood.  Long days outside mean fresh air, a chance to blow off the cobwebs and two very tired boys at bedtime.  I forget how much I love this time of year until it arrives.

We are lucky enough to live very close to a beach and after spending most of last summer stuck in a stuffy hospital room, we are determined to enjoy it this year.  With the beach being a ten minute walk from our front door this seems like the perfect place and I know there will be days we don't spend a penny with our buckets and spades and a packed lunch on the picnic blanket.  There will also be fish and chips on the sand, plenty of ice creams and those little rides that are irresistible to toddlers and expensive at the same time. 

Somehow the beach never seems to get dull or boring.  The children never seem to tire even though there are no conventional toys, nothing that requires batteries or makes noises.  No screens, nothing to fiddle with.  What there is, is space, possibility, freedom.  They can explore, they can create, they can find and they can have an adventure.  There are no walls to bounce off of or to constrict.  I am looking forward to a great summer.