29 April 2016

Our Little Weekend in Wick

At the end of the Easter Holidays, before the schools went back, the family and I managed to squeeze in a little trip to Wick. Well it was almost Wick, just a few miles out in a little place called Berriedale. I’d booked a cottage from the Landmark Trust and we were all very excited to be having another adventure. This one was very different to Legoland though with no TV/wifi or any sort of modern tech in the cottage. It was just us, the dogs and the wild seas outside the cottage door, bliss.

For those of you that don’t know the Landmark Trust rescue old dilapidated historical buildings up and down the country. They revamp them giving them a new lease of life then they let them out for holiday makers to stay in. It’s a brilliant idea and you get to stay in a piece of history. The cottage that we stayed in up North was beautiful. It was simply decorated but fitted so well with it’s surroundings. Even though there were a handful of houses near by we never saw a soul, probably due to the bad weather mind you, but it was lovely and in between breaks in the rain we got out onto the beach with the kids and the dogs.

We stayed for a couple of nights and had a drive to John O’Groats to take a family selfie haha. We couldn’t go all that way without getting a photo even though we were almost blown away! Logan didn’t even want to leave the cottage he liked it so much but he eventually agreed to come with us. Words won’t really do this trip justice so here’s a few snaps to let you see what we got up to.

18 April 2016

Review & Giveaway: Funky Giraffe Bibs

As you might have seen from my previous blog posts and Instagram posts I’m always looking for something different for Harlow to wear. I love accessorising her outfits with cute bows and bright bandana bibs so when Funky Giraffe got in touch to see if I’d like to review some of their bibs I couldn’t refuse.

Here’s a bit about the company from the Mum who started it all: “The idea behind Funky Giraffe is that dressing your child should be a pleasure and not a chore. I provide the knowledge of textile quality, our team of inspired designers provides an exciting range of products, we price them sensibly – and you get what every customer dreams about: real style, top quality, excellent value. We love our customers. We talk with them on social media, we love to meet them, and we ask every one of them to fill out a survey so we can be sure that our service and products are the best we can make them. All this feedback is there for customers to read. We know that customers make companies – and we intend to keep hold of our customers by giving them a service they won’t find anywhere else.”

Funky Giraffe have a massive selection of bibs in the ever popular bandana style but they do have square bibs if you fancy a change. What I like about their selection is that there’s something in there for everyone and also something a bit different. For example their super cute satin bibs which are perfect for special occasions such as weddings, christenings, parties or celebrations of any sort. There is of course bibs made from cotton and bamboo with some awesome patterns and designs. I was sent a voucher to order some bibs for Harlow and it couldn’t have been easier. I basically added a few bibs to my basket hit checkout and within a couple of days the bibs arrived. Super easy with no fuss at all.

If you’re like me and like to have a good selection of bibs to go with all your child’s little outfits then you’ll be glad to know Funky Giraffe have discounts on their website. The more bibs you buy the cheaper they become. There’s currently a few offers with 5 bibs for £11.25 (£2.25 a bib), 10 bibs for £20 (£2 a bib) or personalise a bib and get 10% off! I did the 5 bibs for £11.25 myself and added in a little bamboo bib for Harlow as well so 6 bibs altogether.

When the bibs I had ordered arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. For bibs at such a great price I thought maybe the quality had been compromised however I was wrong. They’ve been through the wash a couple of times and haven’t lost their colour or shape and there’s no bubbling of the material in sight. I love the bamboo bib the most I think. It’s so lovely and soft and seems to dry quickly after a wash. The patterns on the normal bibs (which are cotton on the front, fleece on the back) are great and I’ve already got my eye on a few I think I’ll order up for Harlow soon. The strawberry one would go awesome with her new coat for sure.

The bibs Harlow received definitely did their job in keeping her dry from any dribbles or drink spillages. She has a habit of taking a sip of water then letting it leak from her mouth so bandana bibs really come in handy and the Funky Giraffe ones were perfect. They mopped up any liquid keeping her chin and neck nice and dry. I also like her wearing them as when we go out in this cold weather they act as mini scarves keeping her neck warm instead of being exposed to these cold winds Scotland’s been having recently.

All bibs are shipped using standard first class post at £1.00 which is a bargain but you can upgrade to next day delivery at £6.50 if you need your items quicker. If your item is for a gift then you can add a little gift bag in pink or blue at £1.50 each. It’s a lovely extra special touch and doesn’t break the bank. You can even buy a gift voucher from £5 to £50 which you can personalise with your own special greeting. You can then download the voucher and print or send as an e-card to the recipient, brilliant.

Overall these are lovely bibs with fab quality and design and a great price to match. I’d definitely recommend to friends and family and if you're one of my Australian readers then you can grab your own bibs here. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning some Funky Giraffe bibs for your little one then simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Family Fever

13 April 2016

Our Easter Holiday Trip to Legoland

During the Easter school holidays the family and I embarked on our first ever trip to Legoland Windsor. Logan had been asking to go for well over a year (he spotted the TV adverts) so I finally caved and agreed to a little long weekend down South. Since it was such a long trip for us (Google said 7hrs it was actually over 8 due to traffic) I decided to go all out and stay in the actual Legoland resort hotel and get a fully themed room.

There’s a few different room styles to choose from but we went for the pirate theme and asked for a room with a view over the park as well. It was well worth it to see Logan’s face when we entered our room for the first time, he was so excited. It was super cool with pirate Lego themed wallpaper, carpet and of course ornaments decorating the walls. The room was divided with the double bed at the far end, bathroom next to that then a little corridor to the bunk beds near the room door. It was quite spacious and more than enough room for the 4 of us. To be honest we didn’t spend loads of time in our room as we were too busy having fun at the park then going swimming after dinner but it was nice to have.

When we finally all arrived on the first night, after an epic 8hr drive by the other half, we grabbed some grub from the skyline bar and sat down to watch some of the kids entertainment. Logan was more interested in this than eating dinner even though he was starving, I think all the excitement of finally arriving made him forget how hungry he was. Reception had informed us of the kids entertainment available in the hotel and I was surprise to see that it was on from 7.30am to 9.30am in the mornings. So if you’ve got early risers there’s no need to worry about keeping them busy. There was also a games room full of xbox’s with Lego games and a fab play park outside just before you enter the Legoland Theme Park. If that’s not all after your day at the park the kids entertainment then picks up again at 5.30pm and finishes off at 8.45pm. Tons of stuff to keep the kids busy and tire them out.

After a good nights rest we were up bright and early for some breakfast in the Bricks Family Restaurant. It’s buffet style all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food offerings are quite good. Everything was quite tasty and they even had a little island in the middle with simple children’s options so perfect if there’s any fussy eaters. The Bricks restaurant gets quite busy so Legoland have introduced a booking system which means you have to book your breakfast and dinner time slots in advance. I did this a few days before we travelled down and it was totally fine. I booked in for breakfast every morning at 9am (as the park didn’t open for hotel guests till 9.30am and I wasn’t going to start queuing) and it didn’t matter if you were a bit early the staff still let you in. Dinner I booked for around 5.30pm and again this was fine if you arrived early when you’d finished at the park as it wasn’t really busy at this time.

During breakfast Logan would normally run around playing or nipping to the xbox room to play some games. Everything was within eyesight of the Bricks restaurant and skyline bar so there were no worries of him getting lost etc which is really handy. At 9.30am the theme park opened to hotel guests only (normally opens at 10am) so the family and I would head in just after. Only a few rides in the Lego City part of the park were open which was fine as by the time you’d queued to get on one ride the rest of the park was open.

Since Logan’s autistic, Legoland offer a ride access pass to people who need a bit of extra support when visiting their theme park. It basically means that instead of Logan stressing out in the massive queues (especially during the Easter holidays) he got to use his ride access pass to go into the ride via the Q-Bot/Exit route. This was a massive help and really made things so much easier for Logan. There of course were a few meltdowns when he didn’t quite understand what was going on but no one even batted an eyelid and everyone I spoke to was very understanding, both staff and the public which was refreshing. The ride access pass can be obtained from the helpdesk office in the Heartlake City part of the park and we always headed there first thing to get the pass on both days we were there. All the family have to be there as you get a special hand stamp plus the actual pass itself which entitles the user to access 10 rides via the Q-Bot/Exit route. We never used all 10 stamps on both days so it’s plenty, oh and to get the pass you need to take some form of proof i.e. I had a doctors letter stating that Logan has been diagnosed with autism.

The theme park itself is massive! We never managed to get round all of the rides on the first day and that was with the access pass so it’s well worth having 2 days at the park if you can. One really handy piece of advice for parents with toddlers or kids who struggle to walk far is to hire one of the parks buggies. They’re cool little plastic carriages which are easy to push older kids in and also keep little ones safe at the same time. It’s perfect for dumping all your bits and bobs on too so I’d highly recommend. It’s not cheap to hire at £9 for a single and £14 (I think) for a double as you don’t get the money back but it was a life saver for us. Logan hates walking so to prevent a lot of meltdowns this was essential. After a full day at the park from 9.30am to 5.30pm I felt like jumping in the buggy myself!

Some of Logan’s favourite rides included the Jolly Rocker pirate ship which is like a massive pendulum that swings back and forward really high. The Coastguard HQ where you could drive your own little boat around the river. The Dragon which I think must be the parks biggest rollercoaster and the Spinning Spider which was like a bigger version of tea cups spinning round and round. All very much great fun and these were only a handful of rides available at the park as well as some other cool stuff like the Lego Star Wars Miniland Model Display and the Lego 4D Movie Theatre.

After a busy day at the park Logan still had enough energy to head to the hotel’s swimming pool which is really good. It’s not massive and it has a separate pool for swimming and a leisure part for the kids to soak each other with water and use the little slides but it was perfect for what it was. It was never busy either but you would get a little wrist band that would at least guarantee you an hour in the pool.

The whole family and I really did have a fantastic time. We were so busy from start to finish that the 4 days we were down there went by in a blur, the other half and I couldn't believe it when we woke up on the last day and it was time to go home! I'll need to get booking our next trip now.

11 April 2016

Harlow's 15 Month Update

This past month has been quite busy for Harlow with the usual friend meet ups, lunches, toddler classes and birthday parties to attend. She seems to have a better social life than me, so does her big brother! Of course all the activities have went by in a blur and again another month has come and gone. I’m sitting here trying to remember specifically what we’ve been up to but I’m sure it’ll come back to me.

Harlow’s finally cut some big teeth on the bottom at either side and my goodness are they sharp! She finds it hilarious to try and put your finger in her mouth and bite you. I’m hoping she’ll stop this particular activity very soon or I’m sure there’ll be trouble as she gets bigger. She’s starting saying “Hi!” (or what sounds like Hi) when she waves but it’s only on her terms and looks like it’s a little game i.e. she’ll do it randomly for her own amusement and not particularly to say hello to anyone. At least she’s learning though and it’s very cute. The good thing is when she does do it she wants interaction and for someone to say Hi back.

I want to say she’s started to sleep through the night a bit more now but the past couple of nights she’s got up for a little comfort feed 2-3 times. Sometimes she’ll sleep without getting up a couple of nights in a row then it can be back to getting up once or twice. Luckily it’s not really affecting my sleep and the other half often has to bring her to me as I can’t hear her crying (I’m a deep sleeper), bad mummy, but we’ll get there. It might be tears and tantrums at bedtime when I stop breastfeeding though, we’ll see.

As I mentioned in Harlow’s previous update she’s not bothered at me going back to work at all and in fact is quite happy seeing me go out the door without a tantrum or tears. This is great and a totally different experience for me as poor Logan used to scream the place down and that’s even if he was left with grandparents who he knows very well. Of course he doesn’t do it anymore but it’s refreshing that Harlow’s quite content with me going out and she knows I’ll be back at some point.

We had our first trip to Legoland a couple of weekends ago which Harlow loved, full blog post on this coming soon. It was unfortunately an 8 hour + drive down to Windsor due to timings but she was as good as gold on the journey. At the theme park she couldn’t get on many rides but the ones which she could get on she thought were fab. Her little smiley face when she was going round and round on the Duplo train was priceless. One really cute thing when we were in the park was that every time she got close to a speaker playing some Lego themed music she would stop and do a little dance. It was the same dance over and over and kind of resembled the Robot! It was brilliant and she didn’t care about anyone else trying to get past, she was stopping to dance if other people liked it or not haha.

This weekend just passed the family and I had a little trip to Wick, so from one end of the country to another. It was completely different from Legoland with no wifi, TV or any sort of tech for that matter. We’ve been staying in an old cottage which has been renovated by the Landmark Trust and it’s actually really charming plus we’ve been allowed to take the dogs so proper fresh air family time. The weather wasn't fab and Harlow decided she wanted to get up every hour at night for a feed but apart from that we had a great time. Roll on next month!

5 April 2016

Autism Support in Scotland

Being a parent of a child with Autism isn't easy and when you first start that journey of diagnosis the road can be long, tough and emotionally draining. You feel quite scared for the future, the unknown of what's to come, apprehension and worry for your child, what will happen to them and what a diagnosis will mean for not only your child but the family unit. I've wanted to write a post on what Autism Support is available in and around my local area for quite a while now and although I may not have every single piece of information, here is what I do know. This is some of the support available in Scotland. I really do hope it helps families out there who have Autism in their lives.

Autism Rocks (Fife) - Kaleidoscope Project
Fife finally have their very own, much needed, Autism Charity who have managed to acquire a premises. This means that people who have been diagnosed with Autism (from young children to adults) now have a place to go where they can be themselves, relax and not worry who's judging as everyone's all in the same boat. This charity really are amazing. They host and provide coffee mornings, teen to adult nights, family days at the weekends, pool parties, charity fundraising nights and much more. Autism Rocks are based in Methil but please check them out at www.autismrocksfife.co.uk.

Fife Carers Centre
A life line for many carers from all walks of life, the Fife Carers Centre based in Kirkcaldy provide a whole host of different support. From things such as helping to fill out those pesky government forms, providing workshops, a short break for carers (i.e. sending them away on a lovely break), helping isolated carers get back into the community, respite etc. They really are a god send for people who need some friendly support in caring for their loved one. You can check them out at www.fifecarerscentre.org.

Bongos Soft Play - Autism Awareness Session
Only parents with autistic children will know the absolute dread and fear of taking them to a soft play centre. Let's be honest though, we're not going to keep our kids locked away just because some idiot jumps to conclusions before finding out the facts are we now! Thankfully to make life easier for parents and their autistic children Bongos Soft Play in Glenrothes have dedicated the first Monday of every month as their Autism Awarenss Session where you can book a slot and go along without the fear of being judged. I haven't yet managed to take Logan along to one of these sessions but I definitely will have to soon as they bring out some of the sensory equipment they have as well. You can check out Bongos here www.bongobears.co.uk.

Scottish Autism
Scottish Autism is an organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of people with autism. They offer a wide range of services in Scotland which cater for children, adults and carers offering respite and short breaks as well. They even have an autism advice life to offer support and information throughout an individuals whole life journey. There is a wealth of information and different opportunities on Scottish Autism so check them out at www.scottishautism.org.

The Yard
The Yard is a purpose built indoor and outdoor adventure playground for children and young people with disabilities. It's a safe environment where children and young people can experience play without feeling different. They run family, school and club sessions in the heart of Edinburgh and Dundee, and recently I've spotted that they'll be opening a new The Yard in Kirkcaldy which will greatly benefit the people of Fife. I can't wait to take Logan once it's all complete. Check them out www.theyardscotland.org.uk.

Family Fund
Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people, helping 72,043 families last year with over £33 million of grants and services. I've recently seen some grants that have been handed out to autistic children for things like bedroom equipment, sensory equipment, iPads and technology devices, new bed, outdoor equipment such as swings etc. They're a brilliant charity so please do check them out at www.familyfund.org.uk.

Autism Short Breaks
Caring for someone with Autism is hard work. Of course you love that person but sometimes you need a break yourself, you're only human. Autism Short Breaks now provide funding to carers of autistic adults in Scotland to give them the chance to have a break and get some me time. Check them out and see if you're eligible www.autismshortbreaks.org.uk.

These are just some of the charities and places I know about which can greatly enrich the lives of people with Autism. If you know any more yourself then please do share in the comments for everyone to see. Thank you.

Spectrum Sunday

4 April 2016

Review & Giveaway: La La Beads Necklace

Wearing any kind of fancy jewellery or any jewellery for that matter when your baby turns into a grasping toddler becomes practically impossible. You worry about your lovely jewels getting broken, your toddler eating them and choking, losing them, damaging them with teeth or drool. There's just no easy way out and in the end I've stopped wearing my fab jewels unless I'm in work away from miss madam chops.

Baby and Toddler safe jewellery is definitely the way forward and when La La Beads got in touch to see if I'd like to review one of their pieces I happily agreed. I have a couple of other baby safe jewels but you can never have too many and different kinds for different outfits are great.

Here's a little bit about La La Beads from the creator, Alyse: "Like so many mothers, when my son was born I felt like I lost a bit of my sparkle, likely due to a combination of exhaustion and more exhaustion.  I wore an endless uniform of leggings, beige, black and grey.  I ventured to wear a necklace once, but then my son ripped it off my neck spilling small beads in a million directions.  For weeks, I sighed as I passed my jewellery stand in the morning.

I felt there needed to be a way for me to look cool in a way that suited my new lifestyle.  Wouldn't it be great if I could wear something that my baby could chew on during the endless cycle of teething that also looked fabulous? So began the exciting journey to form La La Beads. It took some time to get the right colours which are exclusive to La La Beads - but also to make sure our unique designs inspiring.  I had the help of my best friend, Jo, and more than a few 'after bedtime' discussions to get it right."

La La Beads have a small collection of gorgeous necklaces which are completely safe for teething babies and grasping little hands. I was sent the Bubble Noir to test out and I wasn't disappointed. This necklace is an original La La Beads design and comes in black. It's 100% non toxic and the BPA- free silicone beads are fab for helping to keep baby's focus when breastfeeding. My daughter is almost 15 months and I'm still breastfeeding. Can I just say how fab these beads are at keeping her hands out of my hair, from pinching my skin and yanking my top up. Love them.

They're quite soft and have a lovely feel to them which of course babies and toddlers will love. It features a safety breakaway clasp in La La "Warm Red" and washes easily with warm soapy water or in the top rack of a dishwasher. The necklace has, approximately, a 14" drop length and is knotted on each side to keep the beads from shifting. This is a fab idea as shifting beads wouldn't be very helpful with an active baby or toddler.

This Bubble necklace is a classic piece to add a touch of glam to the everyday outfit and it can really be worn with anything. The fact that it's black also helps as it's more likely to suit a wider range of outfits. I really love my necklace and wear it every opportunity I get when I'm with Harlow. It gives her something to grasp and chew on even when we aren't breastfeeding. Really does it's job well.

Each of the La La Beads necklace designs currently come in at £15 which I think are a complete bargain and well worth buying if you're in the same boat as me. Why not buy a couple? At this price it would be rude not to. Overall a fab product and one which I'd highly recommend to friends and family, couldn't fault it at all.

For more information and products please visit www.lalabeads.com. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello!

If you'd like to win one of these lovely necklaces for yourself then simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below. It's so easy to do you would be silly to miss out.

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I was sent a La La Beads necklace in return for an honest review.

2 April 2016

World Autism Day

It's World Autism Day today and it's time to celebrate and raise awareness for those on the spectrum. Back in 2013 I stopped blogging for a complete year as my son, Logan, was diagnosed with Autism. Having a diagnoses didn't spell the end for us, in fact it was just the beginning and opened so many doors for our family. Yes Logan's Daddy and I did grieve for a while, no one died of course but we grieved for what could have been for our family. In the end though we didn't care, Logan was who he was and Autism was only a small part of him. He's a boy, a human being, like any other and taking his Autism away might actually change him! I wouldn't want that at all, I love him for who he is, he's amazing, unique, one of a kind and he's mine. I couldn't ask for more.

Subsequently my other half (a.k.a Scottishbeardman) was diagnosed with Autism himself at a later date, Asperger's is what we thought, and he's now raising awareness to show others that even with a diagnosis it doesn't spell the end for life as we know it. Your brain's wired differently, maybe even better than us normal folk, and putting it to good use can make all the difference.

Scottish Autism are asking people to make an A shape, take a photo then share it on Facebook or email the photo to them to help raise awareness for World Autism Month (April). Simple but very effective. Once you have sent your ‘A’ you can donate £2 to help Scottish Autism continue to provide vital support to individuals with autism and their families by texting AUTT16 £2 to 70070. It's your chance to help make a difference.


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