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.

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

 

 

My painful morning routine.

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Mornings are always the hardest time of day for me, it’s when im in the most pain and in the most foul mood. I am not a morning person and I don’t think I will ever be a morning person.

I have an alarm set for 6am but most days I am up between 5-6am without my alarm. It would be great to say that I jump out of bed feeling fresh as a daisy, make my way down stairs feeling great and pop the kettle on…. Well that’s not gonna happen.

I have to spend the first 5-10 minutes after waking, flexing and stretching the tendons in my ankle because over night they have seized up and hurt like hell. I can then get out of bed, try to hobble quietly past my childrens rooms and venture down the stairs, Most mornings i’m in that much pain I have to go down the stairs on my bum. By the time i’m down I really need a strong coffee.

morning-819362_640I love a really dark roast coffee first thing in the morning, I take my first round of tablets with it and I find the stronger the coffee the quicker the tablets kick-in.  (It may be just in My head but hey, a lot of thing are these days. lol) My first round of tablets are Omeprazole, to protect my stomach, vitamins, added  minerals, my contraceptive pill and then finally my first painkiller of the day is Naproxen. These are an anti-inflammatory drug that helps my tendons, so that is 5 tablets within the first 30 minutes i’m awake.

By now the dogs are starting to get restless as they want to go out in the garden. I grab my coffee, let the dogs out and have my first cigarette of the day. (YES I know this is bad for me, YES I know I should really give up and i’ve tried a few times but with everything else going on I just cant do it right now)

It’s then time to take round two of my tablets, I take three Gabapentin tablets and then head back upstairs to wake up the children.

My older children have learnt mornings are not great for me and try to help as much as they can.

toast-1077984_640Breakfast is next and to do this I have to sit on the top of our bin because I can’t stand up in one place for long. After they will get themselves dressed without much fuss. (Thankfully, my middle daughter used to be a nightmare to get dressed but now she’s getting older its getting easier)

We have a wall poster of their morning routine that they follow which is really helpful.

After they will go brush their teeth and wash their faces, the last step is to double-check their bags to make sure they have everything they need for the day.

My eldest rides his bike to school and I am lucky enough that my hubby is here to take my middle daughter to school. I would love to do the school run everyday and I know my daughter would love me to pick her up, its something I want to work on for her next year in school.

I like to walk my children to the door and give them a kiss goodbye every morning. My son will always say ‘Stay there mum, it’s ok’ but I always make an effort to see them out in the mornings.

medical-1905067_640At this point I take my third round of tablets if I need them. I use my co-dydramol as a back up if my pain is too bad. I don’t always need them, it’s just when i’m having a bad day or I have walked too much the day before.

After the children go to school it’s mine and Ellas turn to get washed, dressed and ready for the day.

This is around 9.30am now and my tablets have fully kicked in and I start to feel kind of normal and I’m able to do normal things again like laundry, hovering and playing games with Ella.  For the rest of the day I try to keep on top of the housework and keep Ella busy with games and activities.

If you liked this and want to see my evening or cleaning routine please let me know.         (These tend to be less painful)

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

Connecting with your tween. ( pre-teen )

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It can get harder to stay connected to you child as they start getting older. As the parent it is always your main job to give you child love, guidance and support. When your child comes into the tween years, they want more independence, more trust and less involvement from their parents. If you take anything from this please let it be this…             Don’t take this change that they are going through personally, it is part of growing up and pretty much all children go through this, you just need to loosen the strings a bit.

My mum says ‘ Practise what you preach’  Now I’m not very good at doing this but this quote has stuck with me for years. Children pick up a lot of their behaviour from the things they see so you can nag and moan your tween about a certain behaviours you don’t want them doing but if you are unconsciously doing that behaviour yourself they are never going to listen to you.

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My tween and my toddler

There are a few things you can personally change to help your tween connect with you.

Don’t over react. There will come a time when either you hear or see something that you do not agree with or something that makes you angry. There are two ways of dealing with it. Getting angry and shouting or dealing with the situation and addressing what you dislike at a later time. You need to respond to situations not immediately react to them.

Watch your tone of voice. The way you talk to your tween can change the mood of a whole conversation. Using a lighter tone can help keep things on a neutral base line and avoid any arguments.

Give them some space.  When they tell you to leave them alone, as long as there is no real problem, leave them alone. They don’t want to spend all their time with you any more and that is a normal part of growing up.

Showing affection.  Some tweens still like the big show of affection as they have not reach the full on teen stage yet but some may not, there are little ways to show affection without going overboard. A little kiss on their head as they pass you or touch of their shoulders can brighten up their day.

Verbal reassurance.  Sometimes all they need are a few words of reassurance to know that you care. Tell them how proud of them you are, tell them how much you love them just for being them.

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Callum reading in the garden.

Sometimes by making more of an effort when doing day-to-day tasks you can make a huge difference.

Ask your tween to help you make dinner.  This is a great bonding time and as you will both be concentraiting on cooking they may open up a bit more.

Eating dinner as a family.  I know that this can be quite hard to do 7 days a week but make a point of having dinner and catching up at least 2-3 times a week.

Spending time together.  Try spending one – one time together. For example walking the dog without other siblings or when your running out to the shop just take your tween and leave other siblings with your partner.

Bedtime.   Tweens maybe getting to old to be tucked in at night but this is a great opportunity to talk to them about how their day has been.

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A very big and easy way to connect with your tween is to learn how to LISTEN  and I mean really listen. Life gets busy and everyone seems to be moving at a million miles an hour however you will gain so much more trust from your tween if you actually stopped what you are doing and properly listen to them, If it’s not possible to stop where you are right at that point, tell your child that you want to give them 100% of your attention but at that moment its a bit difficult and can you have a chat after you are finished. Once you are listening try not to jump in with a solution to their problems, let them talk and let them get it all out, sometimes they don’t want a soloution, they just want to talk about a problem and share with someone else.

It would be great to hear any tips you have to help connect with your tween, it is always good to keep learning. I am no way trying to make out that I am top-notch mum all the time and i don’t use these tips all the time, I am only human.

xx

 

My Daily routine as a stay-at-home mum.

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When I first became a stay-at-home mum it was great and I loved it, I loved having so much time to spend with my children, I loved not having to rush around trying to get all my household jobs done before I went to bed as I wouldn’t have time in the morning.

However after a month or so it started getting boring as Ella was only a newborn and slept quite a lot of the time and I started to get really unorganised and the house turned into a mess. I decided I was going to change all of this and get myself organised and start a proper daily routine.

6am – I like to wake up early so I can enjoy my coffee and take my painkillers before the children get up. I also start a load of washing.

7am – I get the kids up and make them breakfast. Both of my older children have different school morning routines as they have different tasks that they do.

8.30am – My older children go to school, I am very lucky that my husband does the school run.

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Morning job list.

At this point me and Ella then head upstairs and get ready for the day. I get her dressed, I get dressed and do my skin care routine then I start my morning cleaning routine while I’m already upstairs and Ella plays in her bedroom.

9.30am – Ella will normally play for about 25/30 minutes when I’m finished we will head downstairs and she has a snack and I make a coffee. After this if we have any errands/ appointments/family visits we will start getting ready to head out of the door.

10am – If we are staying in for the day, I will get out an activity that I know will keep her busy for a little while so I can finish off my morning cleaning downstairs. If Ella has had enough playing and I’m not finished, she usually follows me around and helps me with my jobs.

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Activity time

10.30am – We have Mummy and me playtime, Ella gets 100% of my attention and we go into the playroom and play with her toys, building blocks, play dough or we go and play in the garden if it is a nice day.

11.30am – Ella has lunch.  I like to give Ella an early lunch because she still naps during the day and by the time she wakes it is too late for her eat lunch.

12pm – Since Ella was little we got into the routine of reading her a story before she goes down for a sleep.

Ella sleeps from 12pm to 2pm.

During this time I tidy up this mornings toys and activities, reboot the washing machine and make myself some lunch.

12.30pm – I have to rest my leg for at least an hour a day. When I rest my leg it has to be elevated higher than my hips. This is when I catch up on any programmes I have recorded, I also like to read my magazines or my kindle. Napping is also an option on the cards some days.

2pm – Most days I have to go and wake Ella, If I don’t wake her up at this time it is a lot harder to get her to bed later.

2.30pm – Ella has a snack and we play together until the older children come home.

3.30pm – The older children get home, empty their bags, letters and water bottles are placed on the kitchen side and they go get changed out of their uniforms.

4pm – Twice a week they have homework to complete, not on the same days. so we sit at the table and I help when it is needed.

4.30pm – I start dinner, normally on a school night I tend to cook a simple dinner. The children have free play until dinner is ready.

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Free play time

5pm – The children eat dinner. Ella is a very picky eater and it can be difficult to get her to eat a whole meal so I tend to eat later after she has gone to bed.

5.30pm – After dinner my children have a bath or shower. They don’t have a bath every night. One night my son will have a shower and the next night my daughters will have a bath.

6.30pm – Ella still has a bottle of milk before she goes to bed, I take this time to sit with her and read her a story.

7pm – Ella goes to bed and the older children get free time, at this point they are allowed to spend some time on their laptops.

After Ella goes to bed, the hubby will start dinner while I tidy up and put everything away.

8pm – Kira will go to bed and Callum will read a book for 30 minutes. Our dinner is normally ready by now.

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Tonight’s dinner

8.30pm – Callum goes to bed and I will tidy up after dinner and turn on the dishwasher.

9pm – I take my make up off, jump in the shower and relax for the rest of the night.

This is my week day routine, our weekend routine is a lot more relaxed. Since having this routine in place I have found I feel better, my home is more organised and my children seem to behave a bit better.

I would love for you to leave me a comments and let me know if you liked this post and would like to see more on routines.

xx