Family days out – Newborough & llanddwyn island

IMG_6072Today I am going to share one of my favorite places with you. Please don’t all rush there at once though, as part of its charm is the tranquility. You know those relaxations where you are asked to imagine yourself lying on a beach, listening to the waves lapping at the shore? well this is where I always imagine I am lying. In fact I am lucky that I have spent an afternoon doing just that here, at least once a year for the past few years. This year I didn’t expect to make it to LLanddwyn island, Anglesey with a new baby (as the walk is not buggy friendly) but we put our baby in her carrier and walked out to our favorite cove at the end of llanddwyn island at the end of August. We spent just 10 short minutes admiring the view in the glorious sunshine but it was worth it.

Llanddwyn island is not a true island. It’s a peninsula attached to the end of Newborough beach & warren, which at high tide gets cut off from the main beach. The island is very picturesque and I always take my big camera. There are beautiful, white, wild ponies roaming the grass land, a couple of lighthouses, a row of pilots’ cottages, a large stone cross and the ruins of a church. There are also numerous pretty coves which are sheltered from any breezes. We’ve spent several happy afternoons over the years, lazing on the sands of one of these coves, occasionally dipping our feet in the beautiful clear waters. It’s the perfect reward for the walk to the end of the island.

IMG_6069 IMG_6070 IMG_6075To get to llanddwyn island you park in the main car park for Newborough beach (accessed by a toll road, currently costing £3) and walk on to Newborough beach. Once on the beach you will see the island on your right (and stunning views of the Llyn peninsula and the Snowdonia national park straight ahead). It’s a good walk to the island across the sands (and the only facilities are at the main car park and don’t forget to check the tide times). From the car park to the end of the island and back is approximately 3.5-4 miles, mostly across the sand. If you don’t fancy the walk to the island, you could easily spend a sunny day on the main beach which is renowned as one of the finest in Britain (according to blue flag awards). Or why not take a walk or cycle through the forest on one of the many clearly marked trails. The car parking facilities have been greatly improved since our last visit. There is a toilet block, picnic tables, barbecue area, refreshment vans (I do not know if they will still be there outside the summer season though so I would pack your own provisions), decked walk ways to the beach and a viewing platform. This really is a beautiful area to explore even though we are now in autumn (who doesn’t love a forest walk in the autumn?).

For details of how to get to the main car park see the Forestry commission website.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday finds – 27th September 2013

Welcome to another week of Friday finds. It’s been a quiet week on the blog due to a weekend a way at my parents, illness (my husband has a nasty bug & I’m fighting off a cold) and generally busy days looking after our daughter (who so far is not ill, we are hoping my husband caught the bug from her when she was ill the previous week). The only other post I have published this week was Wednesdays UK handmade feature Cwtch bugs. Hopefully next week will see more blog posts. Until then I hope you will enjoy this collection of items and blog posts I have put together for you (there is definitely an autumn theme to this collection).

friday-finds-27-91. Last year I did a UK handmade feature on Clara and Macy (back then they were called cupcakes for Clara) well this week I spotted this gorgeous autumn print.

2. I would like to add this classic, we’re going on a bear hunt, to my daughters book collection as it’s such a great story. This jigsaw version is a beautiful hard back book which will be nice as a picture book to read now but when she is older the pictures are 12 piece jigsaw puzzles (there are 7 puzzles) which adds a nice interactive element to the story.

3. I popped to my local Sainsburys yesterday to pick up a few bits of food and came home with 3 tops and a pair of trousers for my baby (for less than £10). TU clothing is all 25% until Monday (including sale items). Aren’t these purple spotted cord trousers (£4.50) adorable? and I love this Fairisle hat and mittens set (£4.13).They didn’t have either of these items in my local store but I would have snapped them up if they did.

4. I found it really hard to pick one item from the new Zara Kids homeware collection (perhaps I’ll do a feature on the collection in the coming weeks). In the end I settled on this cute ski towel. My baby is out growing all her hooded towels and I wondered what you all do when your little ones out grow them? I have been using a bath towel some times but I feel like hooded towels keep her head warm & dry her hair quicker especially as the weather is only going to get colder.

5. I discovered gumigem teething jewellery this week via many blogs. Personally I think they are a great idea as my little one is forever trying to put everything in her mouth and chewing/sucking on it (I don’t even think she is teething yet). My only problem would be choosing from the wide selection of styles and colours available. I do quiet like this skimmers grapevine, although perhaps for my baby a Bermuda bangle might work better (she often tries to chew on the fingers or wrist of who ever is holding her).

Did you all follow along with the MAD blog awards online last Friday? if you weren’t one of the lucky ones there of course. Congratulations again to all the winners. In case you haven’t seen it, here is the full list of winners.

Lots of posts have been published this week, sharing autumnal inspired activities for children of all ages. My favorites include bringing home a woodland walk, Autumn sensory dig, 20 autumn nature crafts, autumn play dough and autumn sensory play.

I am intrigued by this idea of making homemade crisps using the microwave and will have to give it a try soon. These pear and white chocolate cupcakes sound delicious, as do pear and cinnamon smoothies. I’ve bookmarked this recipe for the future, macaroni cheese with hidden vegetables. I love chocolate brownies and it is always good to have a standby, easy recipe, as well as a more indulgent one (pimp my brownie recipe). If you still want more recipes then check out this recipe swap using recipes on tea cloths

I love these posts – 19 pieces of advice to my pregnant self, on the eve of giving birth and To my Kitty, on your third birthday (gorgeous words, gorgeous photos). These posts made me chuckle this morning, out of the mouths of babes and chocolate tablets make us not stressed (I’m so writing these posts when my little girl is talking).

UK handmade spotlight – Cwtch bugs

cwytchbugs1 My baby has just got to that age where she is constantly dribbling and putting everything in sight in her mouth. Cwtch bugs might just have the products I need. Cwtch (Welsh for hugs) bugs are based in Cardiff, where they produce and sell handmade baby accessories. They have a wide range of dribble bibs and natural teething rings as well as comforters and blankets. New for autumn/winter 2013 they are selling super cute baby harem pants (in a range of fabrics). I love the fabrics they have chosen and there is plenty of choice of designs. They use 100& cotton where they can and they offer organic fabric options as well. Their products would make perfect gifts for newborns and they are available to buy through their etsy shop.

All photos taken by Cwtch bugs, used with permission.

All photos taken by Cwtch bugs, used with permission.

Friday finds – 20th September 2013

Welcome to this weeks friday finds where I share with you my favorite finds from this past week. From blog posts to children’s fashion, there is something for everyone. In case you missed it, this week I blogged about baby play with my baby from birth to four months and I shared with you a UK handmade range of baby wear from Parsnip and Bramble. I hope you enjoy reading my finds as much as I have enjoyed putting them together for you.

friday-finds-20-91. I’m currently reading this book and considering baby-led weaning with my baby. I’d love to hear from you if you have done baby-led weaning with your children, good and bad experiences. If you are starting weaning too but prefer starting with purees, here is some inspiration from this mummy.

2. The blogs are full of reviews of these beautiful tutu skirts. They come in a huge range of colours.  I can’t imagine any little girl who wouldn’t enjoy wearing one of these and I’d love one for my baby girl when she is a bit bigger.

3. A few weeks back I shared the gorgeous handmade items made by The fox in the attic with you. Since then they have added new designs to their etsy shop which I just had to share with you all. Isn’t this hippo cushion adorable?

4. I love this nursing necklace. I’ve tried wearing something similar with my baby who likes to hit me and grab my lips & hair with her top arm whilst nursing but it makes no difference.

5. Tonight is The MAD blog awards 2013. If like me, you aren’t at the awards but would like to keep up with the excitement you can follow via the live blog here from 7pm. Good luck to all the nominees and I hope you all have a fabulous night.

Bento boxes are getting more popular here in the UK. I think they are a great way of encouraging little ones to eat a variety of foods. Lucy who blogs at Captured by Lucy is a big fan and regularly shares her bento ideas. This week she shared fishy adventure bentos and asked other bloggers to link up their bento ideas. Whilst you are over there getting lots of inspiration have a read of her articles on bento supplies and getting started (including lots of ideas for foods to use). Tinned tomatoes is currently running a bento kit giveaway this month which would give one lucky person everything they need to get started.

Looking for inspiration for activities to do with the family this autumn? Mama owl shared her autumn bucket list. I love this mirror-based sensory play from the boy and me, perfect sensory play for those who don’t like gloop or mucky hands. Red Ted art shared a fantastic and detailed post on an art project for kids inspired by Joan Miro. I also loved their idea of an alternative (to toys) gift of a craft box. There is a lot of sensory play and arts and crafts on parent blogs but imaginary play should not be overlooked. I enjoyed this post on imaginary play from mummy daddy and me (and I love the knitted food too).

I’ve never been a massive pink fan. However, now I have a daughter it is growing on me. However I prefer my pink in moderation and as such I loved this non-pink girly bedroom thatbelongs to the daughter of Shaneen from breathe happy. I also like this boy’s bedroom makeover from littlegreenshed, especially the Eames rocker.

Inspired by The Great British Bake Off, blogs are filled with delicious looking tray bake recipes. I love the look and sound of buttery, moreish raspberry Bakewell tray bake and this recipe for spiced plum tray bake.

I’ve only spent 3 days in Paris but I completely fell in love with the place. These stunning photos on Simply Ruby made me realise it is possible to visit Paris with children. Maybe be my next visit to Paris isn’t as many years off as I feared.

Finally regular readers will know how much I love children’s book so I enjoyed reading ten tips from The Guardian for making bedtime reading fun.

Baby play – 0-4 months

Baby playFor the first 6-8 weeks most of my baby’s awake time was spent taking care of her needs such as feeding and changing. There was very little awake time. Baby play during this period consisted of talking to her during changes and baths and showing her the odd toy that she had no interest in. She wasn’t fussed about the toys on her play mat or over her bouncy chair until at least 8 weeks, possibly a bit later. I took her out to various baby groups but these were more for my benefit than hers. Once she started to have more awake time, like all the other first time mums I have met, I wondered what to do with her. So this post is to share the things that my baby has enjoyed during her first 4 months. I am no child development expert so I do not claim that these are the best toys or activities for babies. Also remember that all babies are different and what one likes another may not enjoy so much.

babyplay1Bouncy chair & play mat – we love our bouncy chair and play mat. My little girl happily plays with the toys hanging above her head for at least 20 minutes. She smiles away and “talks” to them as she hits them. She grabs the butterflies and stares at them like she is taking in all the details. We have this mamas & papas bouncy chair but in the previous design. We love the design and colours of our one plus it looks so comfy (even when she was tiny due to the newborn insert) and the vibrate and music are a nice addition. This is the play gym we have. We like it as it is bright and colourful, compact compared to many play gyms on the market but big enough for its purpose. The only negative is that the butterflies and parrot are attached by velcro, which is nice for allowing them to be interchanged but our baby is now able to pull them off.

IMG_6091Tummy time mat – we all know how important tummy time is but you don’t need any fancy toys. However we were given this one which my baby loves. She is happier on her tummy for a lot longer than when I simply put her on her tummy on a mat. This is the newer version of this mat.

Car seat/pram toys – we have the Lamaze firefly shown in the top photo (it seems like every other baby does too!). Again my baby seems to really like it. It has a black and white side and a very colourful front. There are lots of textures, it has a bell inside and a squeaky bit. It also makes the crinkling sound that babies seem to love. We always know when she is asleep in the car as the crinkling sound stops.

IMG_6108Baby links – these are a more recent addition. They are great for little hands to practice grasping and also nice to chew on.

IMG_6097Homemade rattles – this is proof you don’t need to spend a fortune on baby toys. This is an empty water bottle with dried chickpeas. You can vary the sound it makes by changing the speed that you shake the bottle (or the angle that you tilt the bottle to). An important safety note here, although the top is screwed on tight I would never leave my baby unattended with this toy.

Bubbles – another cheap idea picked up from a baby class. The ones I bought blow lots of bubbles at once and my little girl loves to watch them floating around, you can really see her tracking them with her gaze. The only thing I watch out for is that they don’t land on her face, especially her eyes.

Books – both myself and my husband love books & we want to share this with our daughter. We have a few board books and a few picture books at the moment but I know we will keep adding to this. At the moment she will happily sit & listen to a story & look at the pictures. I have been sharing some of these books with you on the blog and will continue to do so (you can find them here).

IMG_5011Nursery rhyme and action songs – I’m a terrible singer but my little girl doesn’t seem to think so. She loves me singing to her and especially when we do the actions together. In the early days singing to her distracted her when she didn’t enjoy getting dressed or having her nappy changed. I had forgotten many of the nursery rhymes so I purchased an inexpensive nursery rhyme CD (£2.50 on sale in the early learning center) & also this beautifully illustrated book (that I reviewed here). I also try to take her along to one of the free rhyme time sessions at our local library most weeks.

Baby yoga – we started baby yoga at 6 weeks and I’ve really enjoyed it. It is a nice mix of exercises for mums and babies with a couple of action songs. There is also a short relaxation at the end but this is never all that relaxing as at least half the babies at crying. I’ve always fed my baby at this point as she has her best naps after a yoga class (usually 3 hours). I regularly do the baby massage and exercises at home with my baby as well. We also learnt a number of different ways to do tummy time which can be useful if your baby doesn’t enjoy being on their tummy.

Disclosure – this is not a sponsored post. All these items were either purchased by us or given to us by family or friends. I just like them so much I wanted to share them with you all.

UK handmade spotlight – Parsnip and bramble

parsnipandbramble

All photos taken by parsnip and bramble, used with permission.

Parsnip and bramble produce beautiful handmade baby wear which would make the perfect gift for any newborn. They design and sell a range of original designs, that they cut and sew on to plain baby wear. The plain baby wear items they add their designs to are all made in the UK so you can be assured you are purchasing an entirely British made product. As well as the range of bib, vest and sleepsuit sets available on their etsy site they welcome custom orders. Please visit their facebook page to see photos of happy customers in their fantastic custom designs.

Friday finds – 13th September 2013

It’s been a while since I last published a friday finds so these links below include some blog posts from over the summer not just this week. I’ve really enjoyed putting this collection of links together for you. I’m not going to promise to publish a friday finds every Friday but hopefully they will be at least one a month from now on. Have a great weekend and I’ll be back with more posts next week.

friday-finds-13-91 – Yes I know it’s only september but imagine my reaction when my parents phoned on the August bank holiday to say they had bought my baby a snowsuit! Thankfully it is far too big for her yet. The colours of this snowsuit are brighter than they appear in this photo and the quality seems great as you would expect from M&S.

2 – 13th September every year is Roald Dahl day. I love Roald Dahl and still remember his stories well from my childhood. I can’t wait to read them again with my little girl (although I know it will be many years yet before we do). The book people have the complete set of 15 books available for £15.99.

3 – I’ve read a lot of reviews of this new book (the day the crayons quit) by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers on various blogs recently. It sounds like a great book for parents (after all we have to read them to young children) and children a like.

4 – This summer saw the release of the diamond edition of Disney’s The jungle book. As well as rediscovering my childhood favorite books now I am a parent, I am also looking forward to sharing my favorite Disney films with my little girl. I’m sure there are some great new Disney films but I believe there is still a place for the classics too. I’m ashamed to say I don’t think I’ve seen The jungle book but I’m sure this will soon be rectified as my husband is very keen to get this on blueray for our daughter. The little mermaid was one of my childhood favorites and this has just been rereleased too.

5. I was very excited to discover Ikea has started selling doll’s house furniture. At the moment they are only selling this living room set for £12. I’m hoping by the time my little girl is old enough to have a doll’s house Ikea are offering more room sets.

Looking for inspiration for things to do with your children? Nurture store has put together 45+ activities for autumn or how about building a sound garden? 20 fine motor activities for babies and toddlers or how about making bath bombs? Why not prolong the summer with messy beach play. You might also find some ideas too in this post on 122 things every child should do before they are 5.

Lucy at Dear beautiful shared a tutorial for making a stunning tutu for little girls (I’m definitely going to be making one for my little girl in the future). While you are their check out Lucy’s what we’re reading posts for great book ideas/reviews. My wish list of books for my little one is growing by the week thanks to this series. I plan to continue joining in with sharing children’s book reviews in the coming weeks (see my previous children’s book reviews here). I love this idea from the startup wife for a story jar. Another great idea is this DIY kids art display from the making home.

Last year I loved Becky from The Ar-blog’s series The Arber A-Z first year survival guide and this years 2 years on, 10 lessons in, is another fantastic must read. I also really enjoyed my two mum’s 10 things we’ve learnt in one year as parents. Mummy daddy and me started a great new linky this summer for us all to share and remember the ordinary moments. Tigerlilly Quinn shares some great tips for taking family portraits.

My little girl is four months old and already I keep getting asked if I have started her on solids. At the moment I have no plans to start before six months as per NHS guidelines but I have started thinking about weaning in terms of will we do traditional or baby led. Alice from More than toast shares and honest and entertaining post on weaning from someone who has experienced both methods of weaning. As the mother of a baby who chews on everything and drools a lot, I’ve booked mark this blog post on teething from this day I love for future reference.

This week I have been listening to Radio 4’s women’s hour for the first time. They have been talking to parent bloggers about why they blog and the issues surrounding parent blogging. On monday they discussed parent’s blogging about the early years with guests Tim Atkinson (Bringing up charlie) and Alice Harold (More than toast) . Tuesday bloggers Mark Richards – Best Dad I Can Be, & Izzie Anderton –The World According To Izzie discussed the issues surrounding writing about teenagers. Wednesday was an inspiring discussion from Hayley Goleniowska (Downs side up) & Jennie Henley (Edspire)  using their blogs to campaign.

Still looking for somewhere to take the family this weekend? This weekend is heritage open days with 4500 venues opening their doors for free. Many of the venues are not usually open to the public and all of them are free admission (even the ones that usually charge an admission fee). There is a search facility on the site so you can see what is open in your home  town.

Finally, are you a blogger? do you make money from your blog? if so are you aware of the tax implications? Lucy from Captured by Lucy has published a really useful post on bloggers and tax on her blog this week.