27 February 2017

Our Family Friendly Holiday to Lanzarote

Winter seems to have dragged on a bit from the end of last year through to the beginning of this year. I live in Scotland, as most of you will know, and we're still getting the odd flurry of snow which is sticking to the ground. The other half and I decided last year that we'd keep up the monthly holidays and trips if we could as it gives everyone something to look forward to. Whilst in this mind set is when I stumbled upon a great little deal with Jet 2 Holidays to fly off to Lanzarote in February and stay at the fab Costa Sal Apartments.

Airport chilling.
The Costa Sal resort is in Puerto Del Carmen and it's all apartments and suites situated around 4 pools. It's kind of on 2 levels so some apartments near the top two pools at reception and more apartments down nearer the beach side with the other 2 pools. No matter which apartment you got though the resort wasn't too big that you couldn't easily walk around it. Even though I had only booked a superior one bedroom apartment the lovely receptionist upgraded us to a superior two bedroom apartment which was really big. The apartment was a stones throw from the top two pools and seconds from reception and the on site restaurant which was perfect with small children in tow.

Behaving themselves on the plane... just.
I picked a bed and breakfast board at Costa Sal so that I didn't have to worry about rushing around to feed two hungry kids first thing in the morning but also had the flexibility of choosing where to eat for lunch and at night. The restaurant food was lovely with healthy portions and I couldn't fault it. The breakfast was a self service buffet with everything you needed to keep you going till lunch. The staff were amazing and totally made the place what it was. I spoke to one Dad who's kids weren't well and he was allowed to fill a takeaway box and take breakfast back to his apartment. How good is that.

Beach fun in the sun shade tent.
The resort and grounds themselves were very clean and well maintained. There were plenty of maids, gardeners, lifeguards and handy men running around making sure everything was in tip top condition. Everyone was so good with the kids as well which leads me nicely onto the kids club. Every time we've been away previously Logan won't attend kids club as he can't really cope with it but the people running the kids club at Costa Sal were amazing. I informed them of him having autism and they weren't phased in the slightest. In fact they said there were a few children with autism or additional support needs currently at the resort which made me fell so much better. So almost every night Logan happily trotted over to the kids club for a few hours to join in with movie night. He went a few times during the day as well to do crafts and other activities. He really did enjoy it and the best part was that he made a friend! They totally connected on every level which was amazing.

Poor Daddy!
Lanzarote in February isn't overly hot but it did reach about 19oC each day and some days it was up to 23oC which was quite hot. This was still perfect weather for our swimwear and yes I did have my bikini on, it was heaven. It's a naturally windy island so it did cool down quite a bit at night but I had the maxi dresses out and was fine. I just brought a hoody and cardigan for the kids to keep the chill away.

Going for some lunch.
There's plenty of places to eat around the resort and lots of little supermarkets to choose from if you fancy making your own food in the apartment as you have a fully equipped kitchen. There's even a little supermarket below reception in the resort which was very reasonably priced. Getting to the beach was super easy and took all of 5 minutes to walk. There's a gate at the bottom of the resort which you go through, then through a small lane and turn right and you're at the beach. The kids really loved the beach here and it was super clean with life guards on watch all the time.

Poolside antics.
You can walk along the beach front for miles if you like with play parks, outdoor exercise equipment, shops and places to eat dotted on the way. Because you are only 10 minutes from the airport if you turn left you get to walk past the actual airport and watch the planes taking off and landing. It was brilliant and I've never seen a plane land and take off so close up before.

Loving the play parks.
All in all it was a fantastic holiday for us. Family friendly, great weather, plenty for the kids to do, good food and even the grandparents popped out for a wee holiday half way through our stay so we had baby sitters. I can't recommend Costa Sal apartments enough so if you get the chance then do book up. It's the perfect place to stay with small children.

Wrapping up warm after a little swim.

Exercises to work off those big meals.

Cheese at dinner time!

Loving those rays.

Yay, Granny and Grandad arrived.

26 February 2017

My Sunday Photo - 26.02.17



Sunday Snap

14 February 2017

Review: mifold - The Grab-and-Go Booster Seat

With the new laws for children’s car seats fast approaching it’s time we did a small bit of reading to make sure we keep our kids safe on car journeys. On the 01st of March 2017, the Government are planning to re-classify the group classification from Group 2 to Group 3 for all newly developed booster seats. What does this mean? This means that after this change in law any new booster seats being launched to the market place and seeking approval to be sold in the UK will be classified as a Group 3 not a Group 2 car seat. Group 2 car seats are suitable for children weighing from 15kg (this is the vast majority of children aged 4 years old and up). Group 3 car seats are suitable for children weighing 22kg (this is the vast majority of children aged 6 years old and up) or measuring over 125cm, whichever comes first.

However, if you already own a booster seat before this change in law which bears an R44/04 Group 2 label, then you will not need to replace it, it will still be 100% legal for these booster cushions to be used for children from 15kg and the parents will not be breaking the law by using them, even once the new regulations come in. Existing booster seats will continue to be sold with a Group 2 classification. The Group 3 classification will only be applied to new booster seats that have been developed after the change in law has been passed, not existing booster seats.

To give you an idea my son is 7 and about 127cm in height. I’m not entirely sure of his current weight but he’s strong and sturdy so definitely more than 3st 6lbs (22kg). He currently has a backless booster seat which is ok and correct under law but I often feel it’s not safe enough.

Step in mifold. It’s the grab-and-go booster seat with your child’s safety firmly in mind. Here’s a little bit from mifold’s inventor, Jon: “Car safety is important to us and we wanted to make sure that the kids always had the correct car seat, but we often found that booster seats were not available; especially when we were carpooling with other families. So, I thought, if I could make a booster that was really small and really tough, that could easily be taken everywhere, then our children would always be safe, no matter whose car they are in.”

Jon and his company have definitely achieved what they set out to do as the mifold may be small but it is mighty. It’s the most advanced, compact and portable booster seat on the market to date and fills a gap especially for older children. As I said above my son comfortably fits into the law of using a normal backless booster seat but he’s getting older and well booster seats aren’t really cool are they. Of course coolness doesn’t have a scratch on safety when you’re a parent but when there’s an alternative that’s just as safe you’ll do anything to keep your child happy. The mifold is just as safe as regular booster seats (if not safer) and meets the highest standards for child restraint systems and is approved by the European regulation R44.4. The mifold measures in at 25cm x 12cm x 4cm and when in the car and being used you can hardly notice it. I found it very easy to use and had Logan strapped in and ready to go in under 45 seconds.

So how does it work? You unfold the mifold (colour side down), adjust the side arms width to suit your child (Logan is on the middle size), adjust the shoulder strap to required length. When you’re child is sitting on the mifold you simply clip in the seat belt making sure the lap belt part is inserted into the both lap belt guides at either side. The clip the mifold shoulder strap onto the chest seat belt to hold it on the shoulder. Sounds a bit boggling when written down but when you’ve done it once it’s simple to do again and again. Plus unlike a normal booster seat which raises the child up to the seat belt, the mifold brings the seat belt to the child providing optimum safety because the lap belt is away from the tummy and the chest belt is away from the neck.

I kept Logan in a high backed child car seat until he was around 4 because I just didn’t think a seat belt and booster seat were safe enough when he was little. I’d rather have a clunky car seat than a child with serious tummy and neck injuries. The mifold ticks all the boxes for older children though because, as I've just described, it brings the seat belt to your child ensuring their safety in the event of an accident.

As well as being safe the mifold is compact making it the perfect booster seat to keep in the car or take on your travels. At 750g the mifold weighs the same as a small bottle of water and is shaped so that it can fit inside a backpack comfortably. It’s fab for giving to grandparents if they have the kids and if you’re taking an extra child or two in your car there’s lots of space when using the mifold. Big booster seats often can’t sit side by side in the car but having the mifold means that 3 kids could sit side by side in comfort. Another perk is if you travel a lot and need a booster seat with you for your child. We used to holiday a lot in Fuerteventura and their child car seat laws are similar to the UK so when getting a taxi Logan would have to sit in a car seat. Sometimes there wouldn’t be one available or the ones that were didn’t look too fantastic. I don’t need to worry anymore now that I have the mifold, I only wish it had been invented sooner!

Logan really liked his very own mifold and he received the Lime Green colour which matches our car so he was very pleased about that. The only thing he complained about was not being able to see out of the window as well  as he could with his other booster however I’d rather he was safe than getting a good view. There’s six different colours to choose from and even a designer carry bag if you want one. The mifold retails at £49.95 which I think is majorly cheap to ensure your child’s comfort and safety in a car. Plus with the whole compact portable aspect it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

I was sent a mifold free of charge in return for an honest review.

8 February 2017

Winter Walkies with Chuckit! Dog Toys & Friends

Having a family pet is amazing especially if you've got a loyal canine or two like myself. They give so much unconditional love which is just as well as this time of year is a dread for when walkies come around. It's so dark, cold and wet so you'll forgive me if I don't really fancy wrapping up and taking my pooches for a chilly damp walk. Of course your pups need out and about though. They need to stretch their legs, sniff the trees and roam the fields. It's their bit of fun and probably what they look forward to most (apart from food) each day. Luckily for my girls, and me, to make these winter walks that bit more bearable the lovely people from Chuckit! sent us a hamper of exciting toys and treats.

The girls received a Max Glow Zipflight, a Max Glow Erratic Ball, Ultra Ball 2 pack, a Max Glow Pro 18, fluff & spruce ditch the itch shampoo and orbiloc dog safety light. I wasn't sure who was more excited when this hamper arrived, the kids or the dogs, but we all couldn't wait to test everything out.

As you might have guessed from the names of some of the products there's a glow in the dark element to them. Perfect for winter walk and play. The Max Glow Erratic Ball glows in the dark brilliantly and does as its name suggests - acts erratic. It's super bouncy, rubbery and has quite a funny shape with different angles which enables it to spring around when thrown. Great fun for the girls as they never know what it's going to do or where it's going to land. It's a size medium and really easy to spot in the dark.

My dogs love to chase a good ball and they weren't disappointed with the Ultra Ball 2 pack. They're sturdy rubbery medium sized balls with major bounce and the ability to float if you're dog likes jumping in rivers. I personally like them because they're harder for my Staffordshire Bull Terrier to destroy, in fact they're still intact. If it was a tennis ball it would be in the bin by now. These balls are handily compatible with the Max Glow Pro 18 which is a throwing stick but that comes with it's own Chuckit! medium sized tennis ball.

The Max Glow Pro 18 is a super sturdy ball throwing stick which is also glow in the dark. The ball it comes with isn't, however the Erratic Ball is compatible so you can use that for dark night walks. Near us we have a wide open field which the girls can run around in so it's perfect for using there. The Max Glow Pro 18 has been designed with the dog owner in mind as it's comfy to hold for extended periods and has a grip handle so no 'oops' throwing of the stick. Even if you did you'd find it again as it glows in the dark or it's bright orange so easy to find in day light as well.

Chuckit! make some awesome flying toys and the Max Glow Zipflight is no exception. It glows in the dark, can float, easy to clean, is soft and light weight making it fly pretty far and both the dogs and kids loved this toy. We received a size medium which is perfect for my Staffie and Frenchie.

Another important dog walking tool to have at this time of year is a light for your dog. I've had light up collars before but never a safety light. The orbiloc dog safety light has a dual purpose though as it can be used for your dog or yourself. It's a lightweight LED light visible up to 5km away and is 100% water proof. It's got replaceable batteries but you'll get 100hrs out of the original ones. How great is that.

Last but not least and not forgetting the lovely ditch the itch shampoo by fluff & spruce. It contains aloe vera and is perfect for my Staffie as she has a life long skin condition which makes her very itchy to the point where she bleeds. It's very sad so anything to help her skin is fabulous.

So there you have it, a bunch of exciting dog toys and products which the whole family loved and there wasn't a problem with any of them. They all seem very durable and have stood the thrashings of my dogs quite well with no damage as yet.

I was sent this hamper of dog products in return for an honest review. 

6 February 2017

Celebrating 2 Years of Breastfeeding

Well I never really thought I’d be writing this post. I stopped breastfeeding my son when he was around 13 months old. I was going back to work full time and it just seemed right for us. He didn’t bother one little bit and I was quite happy. When my daughter was born I thought I would probably follow the same path and give up breastfeeding not long after her first birthday. How wrong was I!

It turns out that little missy chops quite enjoys breastfeeding, a lot more than her brother it would seem, and she’s in no rush to give up any time soon even when she’s recently turned two. She’s more aware now of breastfeeding because she’s a bit older, than her brother was when I stopped with him, so she will happily climb onto my lap and proceed to yank my top up for the boob. Fine if I’m at home but not so fab when I’m in a public place.

I do still enjoy breastfeeding miss madam but now that she has a full set of gnashers it has become rather painful. I’ve managed to cut her feeding right down to once a day, maybe twice if she’s particularly persistent and it is mainly at night right before her bed time. This feed doesn’t last any longer than 30 minutes, sometimes it’s as quick as 10, however she likes to feed her own special way which normally means yanking at my breasts with her sharp fingernails and clamping my nipples between her teeth. Not the most enjoyable of experiences but once she starts to relax and lull into sleep it’s not so bad. Well unless she forgets she’s feeding then her jaw starts to shut!

Loads of people keep asking me when I’m going to stop. It’s quite irritating actually as they’re more interested in when I’m stopping than actually congratulating me on managing to breastfeeding my baby for 2 full years! I think it goes to show how much of a stigma still surrounds breastfeeding a baby past the 6 months stage. People assume that I’m going to be turning up at the school gates and whipping my boobs out for my 5 year old to feed on but I won’t be. Even if I did it would be my choice and no one else’s business.

Anyway back to the positive. There are many benefits to long term breastfeeding and giving your child nutrients is one of them. Quite a lot of people believe that there’s no nutritional value in continued breastfeeding past a year but it’s just not the case. Your child will still benefit from protein, calcium, fat, vitamin A, and other nutrients in breast milk. It also strengthens your child’s immune system so less chance of them getting ill with things like ear infections and upper respiratory infections. It reminds me when my daughter was a baby and she had a cold which blocked her sinuses giving her a burst ear drum. I breastfed her throughout this and I really believe the action of breastfeeding and the milk itself helped her to heal quickly and not catch any infections. She never seemed to be in any pain either as I would have guessed a burst ear drum to be quite painful.

Look at those teeth!!
So here I am still breastfeeding with no idea really when I’m going to stop. I’m glad I’ve cut it right down to once a day and this doesn’t seem to bother her one bit thankfully. Maybe one day she’ll eventually give up her beloved boobs!


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