Birdworld review: A Great day out with the family.

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wp-image-944449070As a child my mum and dad would take us to attractions, theme parks and zoos, during our school summer holidays. It was something that my brother and me would look forward to. I try to do the same for my children at least once or twice during the holidays.wp-image-1950446311

My youngest daughter is currently obsessed with birds. All birds, any shape or form. My middle daughter loves anything flamingo. When BIRDWORLD gave me the opportunity to visit, I  jumped at the chance.  With my oldest being 11 years old, I didn’t want him to get too bored but once he found out they had penguins, he was happy to come. I asked my mum to come along with us incase I had any problems with my leg, she could help with the children.

When we first arrived, we had to walk through the gift shop before going out to see the birds. At the admissions desk we were offered the chance to buy some bird food. I was quite disapointented in the size of the pot and the amount in the little bag, my first thought was ‘ That’s not going to last long’  and as predicted by the time my children got to the fourth enclosure the food had gone. However I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed dotted around the sanctuary, there were little vending type machines, you put 50p in the side, turn the handle and a certain amount of food came out and re-filled the tubes. I think this is a great idea.wp-image-1831391353

Walking from enclosure to enclosure was great. There were so many beautiful birds, among them we saw the Toco Toucans and Hornbills,  the colours and patterns on their feathers were just amazing. As we followed the path round we were guided towards a pond, where you can see all the ducks having a swim and enjoying the water.  The scenery  in the whole sanctuary is some thing on its own, They have beautiful flower gardens full of colourful flowers and beautiful shrubs.

We found a really nice picnic area to have lunch, Near this they have an outdoor cafe called ‘Safari Snacks’ Where you can find hot food like jacket potatoes, chips and hot dogs. They also offer a large range of ice creams here. This is nicely placed between the two play areas and the safari train is situated right next to this.wp-image-167545792

After lunch we headed into the penguin enclosure, called ‘Penguin beach’  This is where the African penguins are ( apparently they are known to be jackass penguins)  I wasn’t expecting it to be as big as it was and it was really nice watching the penguins playing with each other in the water, It was a nice sunny day some of the penguins were sun bathing soaking up the sun, They were quite relaxed about having people walk across the bridge in their enclosure. My older children loved spending time in here especially my eldest, he loved the penguins.

We carried on following the path and came to ‘ Jenny Wren farm’ You can find many of the well-known farm animals here and a lot of the animals are roaming free, My middle daughter had great fun in the goat field and my youngest daughter really enjoyed seeing the chickens and pigs. You are also able to purchase many of the smaller animals here, for example rabbits, chickens and guinea pigs.

After playing in the park that is right outside Jenny wren farm entrance, we turned back on ourselves and went looking for the enclosures we had missed. Half way round we lost our map and just kind of winged it and followed the path. haha! This brought us back to the picnic area and the safari train, My mum offered to take the kids on the train so I could rest my leg for a bit. They seemed to really enjoy it, coming back telling me they had seen some cranes and emus and even ‘ Birdworlds Great BUSTARDS. ( No i didn’t swear, read it again. haha!)wp-image-1073493292

Ella had wanted to walk from the moment we entered and now she was starting to get tired so we put her back into the pram and made our way to the remaining enclosures. we finally came to the enclosure my middle daughter had been waiting for all day for. The flamingo enclosure. This is one of the latest enclosures to be added to the park and I think the flamingos have settled in well, as you can see in my picture there are little grey fluffy babies walking around in the enclosure.

The final big enclose we went to was the owl enclosure. This is a group of beautiful wooden enclosures placed in a semi-circle with hands-on activities for the children to do. The owls themselves are gorgeous and there are two babies in an enclosure with their mum that so cute. The path then brings you out towards some more beautiful birds of prey and leads you round to the parrot enclosure. My children spent ages here watching the birds and trying to find brightly coloured feathers.wp-image-229583623

Our last stop of course was the gift shop at the end. The gift shop is linked to a really nice cafe where you can get two course from £12 and they do a lovely cup of coffee. My children had a certain amount they had to stick to from the gift shop. My youngest wanted some small stuffed birds and this came in a deal of 3 for £10, My middle daughter chose a large stuffed owl toy and my son chose a penguin cup with swirly straw, a dragon sand toy and a penguin sand toy.

wp-image-999849921Once you come out of birdworld, you can enter a different part called Underwater World. This is a smaller building with various fish tanks with lots of different species including a shoal of piranhas, also this is the home of their miniature crocodiles.

Overall we had a great day, My children loved it and I really enjoyed spending the whole day out with my family. I would really recommend taking the family here for a day out. If you have been to birdworld leave me comment below and let me know what you thought of it.

I would like to say a big thank you to birdworld for giving us the opportunity to visit and have a great day.wp-image-1575003404

Craft time review – Make your own unicorn.

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Before I start I want to make clear that I am in no way getting paid to write this review and I do not get paid if you order through my link to the shops home page. 

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My middle daughter absolutely loved unicorns so when we saw this it was a no brainer, we just had to get it.

I got this crafting set at my local home bargains shop. It cost £1.99 which I thought was a really good price.

The packaging it come in is very bright and automatically caught my daughters eye. The design on the box is very simple and the text can be easily read. The content of this surprised me. I thought there would be one unicorn and a few embellishments that you can use to decorate it, However when Kira opened the box it had three thick cardboard unicorns to decorate and five cellophane bags containing different items to decorate the unicorn with.

In these cellophane bags were…

  • 3D coloured gems
  • Pink foam flowers
  • Purple foam hearts
  • Wooden beads
  • Tube of pink glitter glue
  • Tube of PVA glue

Also included were two pages of coloured paper and two pages of stickers, one with eyes on them and the other was full of lovely unicorns, butterflies, crowns and flowers. There also was a cellophane bag containing blue, pink and white wool to make the hair of the unicorn.

I Brought this crafting set because my children are off school for the summer and I thought it would be a nice activity for us to do together. Kira loved doing this activity and we sat together just chatting and decorating for about 45 minutes. Kira decided to only decorated 1 unicorn and save the others for another day.

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I think this crafting set is mainly directed at girls between the ages of 4-7. Personal I think a child below 4 years old would struggle a bit with all the little stickers and plaiting the hair and knotting the beads. Girls older than 7 I think would find this a bit babyish and would get bored quite quckly.

To be completely honest, I was thinking this is too good to be true, this only cost me £1.99. There must be something to let it down but I can’t seem to find anything majorly wrong with this. I will admit that it could do with a few more of the foam stickers as there are three unicorns to decorate and not many stickers to cover all of them but this is not a major problem and Kira didn’t really mind.

I asked Kira what she thought about this unicorn crafting set and her reply was ” I love it mum, it was really fun doing this together. Can you get me another one next time you’re at the shop please?”

so it was a great hit with Kira and as a parent I really enjoyed spending time with her, doing something she really enjoyed. This product is really good for boosting childrens imagination and creativity. At the time Home bargains only had ‘ Make your own unicorns’ but I will be watching out for different characters in this crafting collection. Next time I am at Home bargains I will deffinatly be picking up some more of these and I would highly recommend them to any parent.

I just had a thought, This would also be a great top up birthday present for your childrens friends.

When Kira found out I was going to be doing a review on this, she made a comment about how it would be nice to see how other children decorated their unicorns. so I would like to set you a challenge. If you live near a home bargains please go and pickup one of these kits for your children, If you don’t live near a home bargains you can access their website here. Order you children one of these kits. Me and Kira would love to see all the different designs they can make. You can post your pictures below or tag me ( @limpingmum) in your images on Instagram or Facebook.

An eventful start to our picnic at the park.

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If you have read by blog before you will know I don’t go out very much and I don’t really know many of the parents at my daughter’s school, so when I was invited out with the other mums for a picnic, I thought It would be a great opportunity to get to know them a bit more.

One of the mums text me all the details, where and what time. I’m not great with park names and when I looked at the text I automatically thought we would be going to the park near our children’s school. The night before the picnic I made all the sandwiches and some pasta salad, I packed all the snacks and drinks and went to bed feeling prepared for the day ahead.

Picnic day had arrived, we were all up early, got dressed and ready to go, half past 10 came and we were out the door, giving us 30 minutes to walk to the park to meet the mums for 11am.

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Photos taken from the first park.

We got there just after 11am. we were the only ones in the park, half an hour goes by and still no-one turned up. I text one of the mums and re-read the earlier message, only to realise we were at the wrong park!! The children were non the wiser and carried on playing but I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been not read the message properly. I bundled Ella back into the pram, told the older two to grab their scooters, as we’re walking down the road I open Google maps find the nearest bus that will take us to the right park and rush to the bus stop. Finally we were heading in the right direction.

Well that’s what I thought…

Still following Google maps, we get off where it told us to, Heading in the direction of the park, Kira is now scooting as fast as she can because she knows she is getting closer to seeing her friends. Then I get a phone call from one of the mums to find out where we were, I tell her the road we we’re on and she gives me directions to the park, however she thought we were at the other end of this stupidly long road and gave me direction from that end, we take the first right and then the next left, follow that to the bottom but now Google maps is having a complete breakdown because I’m not sticking to the directions they are giving me and I realise we’re walking away from the park not towards it. Now I’m having a mini break down, I have three moaning children and no clue where I am! Panic started to set in and I was starting to think enough is enough, I give up.

I hate feeling lost, especially when the children are with me because I can’t physically show that I am lost and have no idea where I’m going because I don’t want to scare them. It was at this point that I declared to myself, I am going to get out more and explore the area I actually live in.

I decided to reboot Google maps and try again. Right breakdown over and were back on track. Turned around and started walking back towards the park. For some reason Google maps decided to take me to the park entrance furthest away from where I was. (I’m sure it was payback for not following their directions first time around) We ended up walking for what felt like ages and all the houses kinda looked the same. Still not 100% we were walking the right way, I stopped and asked a very nice man outside the local pub for directions and it turned out we were just round the corner from the east entrance! Yay!! Finally we got to the park. By this time the older children were already tired from walking round and round in circles, Ella had enough of being stuck in the pram and was trying to escape.

We were an hour and a half late and most of them had already eaten their picnic but never mind, we made it.

when Kira saw her friends, the mood had lifted and all three children were sitting down happily eating the picnic.

In the end it turned out to be a really good day, the kids had great fun playing with the other children and it was nice to sit down with the other mums and properly talk to them.

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Photos taken from the second park.

Ella started to get tired around 3pm so I called it a day and pre-warned the older two they had five minutes left while I packed up the bag, then we were going home. All of a sudden it dawned on me. I actually had no idea how to get home!  The mums were lovely and gave me directions from the west entrance, where they had parked their cars. (It seems like I’m the only one around here that doesn’t drive)

So here we go again, following directions, we take a left and then a right. OMG! OMG! Right in front of me was the rear entrance to my sons new secondary school! How could I not know the park was so close to his school. If I had, i wouldn’t have got lost and had a mini breakdown, I would have known exactly where I was! Stupid Google maps had taken me way past the park and round on a bloody goose chase.

We made it home and all-in-all we had a good day, Now I know how to get to the new park I’ve promised the kids we will go there more often.

If you have ever had a disastrous start to your day, I would love to hear how you dealt with it and if you had a positive outcome.

xx

 

9 Tips for an amazing summer with your children.

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Here in the UK my children have now broken up for the summer. It’s lovely seeing how relaxed and happy they are but it doesn’t take long for all that to change and they start annoying each other and arguing. If this sounds like your house, there are a few things you can do to turn it around.wp-1501097724900.png

  • Have a summer routine.

My children follow a routine during school time so having a summer routine comes easy to them. Our summer routine is very simple and easy. These tasks need to be completed before we go anywhere or do anything in the morning.

* Have breakfast.  * Brush teeth + wash face.  * Get dressed.  * Make beds.  * Put washing away.

  • Make some house rules.

Sit down as a family and come up with some summer rules. For example if you have older children, what is their curfew time? Do they need to do any chores? For the younger children, Do they have to ask before heading outside to play? Having these rules in place at the start of summer will help the children know what they can and can’t do.

  • Plan an activity or an outing at least once a week.    

Planning special activities or outings can really help the weeks go by a lot smoother. I like to plan a few smaller activities at home and an outing once a week, it could be going to the park, going to the zoo or going to see family but it really helps because my children are not stuck in all week.

  • Don’t plan too much, let them get bored.

Packing too much into the week can leave your children feel exhausted. Give them time to relax and time to get bored. You don’t need to be your child entertainer all the time, its good for them to use their imagination, play with toys and craft they have to hand.

  • Have a back-up list when things don’t go to plan.

Sometime things dont’ always go to plan. Maybe you had planned on going to the beach but it started raining or your children are becoming argumentative and irritable. Make a go-to list of activities you can refer to when thing go wrong. On our list we have rainy day buckets, craft buckets, picnic at the park….

  • Cut back on the housework.

When my children are at school I have a cleaning routine I normally do everyday however when the children are at home I’m a bit more relaxed about it because I don’t want to miss out on having fun with my children just because I had empty the dishwasher or had to put that load of washing away. Some things can wait untill the children are in bed.

  • Set limits on technology.

If I didn’t set limits my children could easily spend all day on their laptops or the XBox so I have to set a time limit, they can have 30 minutes before lunch and an hours after lunch. When they want to use this time is up to them but once its gone they have to wait until the next day to use them again. My son will generally wait until the evening to use his laptop but my daughter will use her hour straight after lunch.

  • Keep their learning skill sharp.

I like to keep their brains working and will get my children to read to me 2/3 times a week and I print out fun work sheets for them to do when they get bored. Keeping their brain active will help them when they go back to school because they haven’t got lazy with their learning.

  • Have fun and enjoy the summer.

When you are enjoying the time you spend with your children and enjoying all the things you’re doing, your children will enjoy doing them as well. The summer holiday is a time for relaxing and having fun together as a family.

I hope you are having a great summer (It’s currently raining here as I write this)

Leave me a comment below and let me know what your up to this summer. It would be great to connect with you on my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram account.

xx

 

 

Staying happy as a Stay-at-home-mum.

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Being a mum is hard work, there is always something or someone who is demanding your attention. Some people think SAHMs have it easy, they can do what ever they want, stay in their pj’s all day however it’s not surprising that SAHMs are a large categorise for many depression polls.

After the novelty of becoming a SAHM has worn off, it can all start getting very tiring and boring, most days you will have a needy, sometimes non-verbal bundle of energy running around wanting your attention and because you are at home the housework seems to pile up as well.

Below are some tips that have helped me as a SAHM.

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  • GET DRESSED EVERY DAY

Staying in your pajamas all day may be great at first but it can start to make you feel frumpy and lethargic. Getting dressed can give you that little boost of energy to help you through the morning.

  • CREATE A DAILY ROUTINE/SCHEDULE

Having a daily routines or schedules can really help your day stay on track, Both you and your child will start to remember what you do at certain times, for example at 10am you have a snack, at 11.30am your child goes down for a nap.

  • LIMIT HOUSEWORK

When you are at home all day you make mess, dishes build up, toys are everywhere but it would be a shame to waste away the day doing housework. It will still be there after you have been to the park of sat and played games with your toddler for a while.

  • GET OUT THE HOUSE

Some times getting a little fresh air can really boost your mood. You don’t have to go anywhere special just a little walk down to your local shop can be enough to shift any bad mood. This also has the same effect on your child if they are having a bad day.

  • LEARN HOW TO PLAY AGAIN

Becoming a parent gives you full permission to find your inner child and let it out. Most children love it when their mum sits on the floor and plays games with them. This is a great time to show and improve your happiness because for a while you can forget all about you adult worries and focus on your child.

  • FIND YOUR MUMMY STYLE

Everyone has a different parenting style. Some people like to be out and about all day, some people like to stay at home playing with toys and puzzles and some like to be creative with arts and crafts. Find out what mummy style makes you happy and it will help you get through the day a lot easier.

  • TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF

I personally think you can not spend all your time with you child/children without getting frazzled at some point. You can not run on an empty tank so taking time out away from your child to relax and refuel is a great way to stay happy.

  • MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PARTNER

Before having children you had all the time in the world with your partner but now it has all changed. Having children can take over your whole life and your partner can feel a bit pushed into the background. Spending some quality time with your partner can be a great way to keep a relationship strong. Some thing simple like one night a week you get a babysitter and go out for a meal or go to see a film.

  • ASK FOR HELP

This is a hard one for me, I don’t like to think I am burdening anyone by asking them to look after my children however we all need a break at some point and I’m sure that you have a family member or friend more than happy to help you. Maybe you need to do some shopping and taking the kids is just to hard or maybe you really need to catch up on an hour or two of sleep because you feel exhausted, all you have to is ask.

I really hope at least one of these tips will help you. If you have tried everything and you are still unhappy and feeling down please GO AND SEE YOUR DOCTOR. They are there to help you and can guide you on the road to feeling happy again.

xx

Make your mornings run smoother.

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Beautiful morning

Some people are morning people and some are not. I’m not a morning person, I love a lay-in so when that horrid alarm goes off I have to really pull myself out of bed and when you know your morning is going to be hectic and you have to hit the ground running, it makes it even harder to get up.

Just imagine this…

I have one child running around shouting ‘Mum I can’t find my sock’ and another child stropping and shouting ‘Mum my hair won’t go the way I want it’ At the same time I have a naked toddler running around shouting at everyone because she thinks it funny that the others are shouting. All of this is before I’ve even had chance to make breakfast.

This is how my mornings would be nearly every day. It was time to change and start getting organised. I searched online and found some great ideas on pinterest. It was like a light bulb moment, Why had I not done this before. I have put together are a list of some of the best tips that have really helped me make my mornings run smoother.

 Start the night before.

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Get clothes ready the night before.

Get a head start on your mornings. After cooking dinner is a great time just to spend 10 minutes getting any packed lunches or snack ready for the next day. You can store them in the fridge and add them to school bags in the morning. Before your children go to bed, get them to pick out which uniform/clothes they want to wear the next day also get them to go through their school bags and add anything they need for the next day and place their bags by the front door.

When the children have gone to bed, it’s now time to focus on what you will be needing for the next day, check your schedule or diary, get your clothes ready, check your bag and make sure you have everything you will be needing, place your bag, keys, sunglasses etc all by the front door so you can quickly grab it on your way out.

Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier.

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Get up earlier than the children.

This a hard one for me, Getting up earlier than your children helps you wake up properly before you have to jump into mum mode, It’s a great time to have a coffee, meditate, take a shower, start getting your self ready. This can help your morning run smoother because you are more awake and ready to start the day.

Stay away from technology.

I have made myself a rule to avoid technology in the mornings. Once my children wake up I stop checking/replying to emails, I stay off of social media and I don’t even let my children watch TV until they have finished their jobs and are ready for school.

Make mornings a happy time.

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Happy mornings

When waking up children try to be a bit gentler with them, put some music on, make them their favourite breakfast, give them lots of cuddles and give them chance to wake up properly before they have to start getting ready.

Make a morning routine.

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Brush teeth

Having a morning routine can help children get ready faster as they know the jobs that need to get done and what they need to do next. Children like routines it makes their lives easier and definitely helps my morning run smoother. We use a simple routine of  wake up at 7am, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, wash face, brush hair, check bags, get shoes on and leave for school. This has now become an automatic habit for my children and they don’t even need to look at the poster I made for them.

Offer rewards for finishing all their jobs and having a smooth morning.

My daughter has a princess poster that I printed for her (you can find so many different posters on the internet) and after she has finished all of her jobs and we have had a good morning, she gets to colour in a heart and when she gets to 10 hearts she can have a little treat of her choice.

Plan to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than you need to.

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Plan to leave 10 minutes earlier.

Things don’t always go to plan, life is just like that so by planning to leave earlier than you need to gives you some wiggle room to be able to solve a problem or two and still get out the door on time.

These tips have helped me transform our mornings from manic to smooth and almost every day the children are ready and heading out the door on time.

I hope these tips can help you and I would love to hear about any tips you use to help your mornings run smoother.

xx

 

Day out with nan.

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(My Nan didn’t want to be in any other images but she approved of the one below. ha ha)
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My Nan and me.

When I was a child I used to love going to my Nan’s house. It was always somewhere I knew we would be having fun. We would cook together, play all the traditional board games and have some really nice family time.

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Dice

One of my best memories was getting up early on a saturday and getting ready to spend the whole day with my Nan, we would always have hotdogs for lunch and eat them in the garden and then head out to the local park. This particular park has a huge play area, it also has a large enclosure of animals. One side is filled with small birds and the other is filled with rabbits, ducks and other smaller animals. It was great fun feeding them.

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Callum and Ella

This soon became a regular day out that we had with our Nan and it’s something I will always associate with spending time with her.

Years later, the amount of animals in the enclosure has reduced but the park has changed dramatically and is now twice as big. The tradition I used to share with my Nan has now become a tradition that we have continued with my three children and from what I see, they enjoy it just as much as I did.

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Its great seeing my children and my Nan enjoying their time together. We very nearly lost my nan to breast cancer. She was so strong and determined to meet her new great-grandchildren (Ella and my niece) that she has made it through the fight and I cherish every day I get to spend with her.

It’s funny how scenarios can repeat themselves over time, My children always say ‘ Mum why do the hotdogs taste better at grandmas?’ I used to say the same thing to my mum and to this day I actually couldn’t tell you why but they just do.

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Ella at the park

The park we go to is made from mainly a wooden frame with wires and bridges attaching them all. My children love the big circular swing because all three of them can fit on at the same time. Most of the equipment is better suited for the older children but Ella still loves to have a go at it all. It’s a great park for the children to boost their self esteem as there are many things to do there that are a bit more challenging than the traditional swing + slide type of park.

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we will spend quite a while down the park as there is a huge grass area opposite so if the children have had enough in the park they can go and run around on the grass, play some games and see the animals.

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We are all shattered by the end of the day but it’s so good go out and enjoy the day. I love having that connection with my Nan and love spending time with her. All the time my Nan still wants to and is able to come to the park with us, I am going to take as much advantage as I can.

xx