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So this year I planned to make the most of mine and Israel’s summer, having the whole six weeks off (teacher privileges). So I started planning activities for us to do since way before the holiday had even begun and I was determined to get everything done even if it was just me and Israel on our little journey.
I basically did research on all the places I could take a newly walking toddler and he would still enjoy himself, I really wanted him to have an amazing experience wherever we went and to learn and make new friends where possible. I planned to take him somewhere at least once a week because he still had nursery two days a week, so that’d give him time to rest for a day before heading off to nursery.
After doing some research, I found a couple of places that we could go, not too pricey, not too far and some even free, e.g. the park.
The farm is in the heart of Islington, it’s quite small so perfect for a first visit to the farm, it wasn’t too overwhelming and small enough for Israel to walk around by himself. There were so many learning opportunities at the farm, Israel learnt some new animal names and sounds. He enjoyed having the independence to walk around the farm relatively on his own. We actually visited Freightliners twice, first time with family and the second with colleagues and their kids and both were lovely experiences, there’s also paradise park right outside so had a little play there afterwards. Entry is also free, as it’s a charity farm.
ZSL London Zoo
Who doesn’t love the zoo?! This was another first for Israel and he loved it! We went with my cousin and her daughter and it was so nice watching them both learn and interact, my cousins daughter is 2, almost 3, so there’s a little age gap between her and Israel so there was so much learning going on as Israel listened to her talking and saying all the animal names. We know tourist attractions in London can be quite pricey but I was determined to not spend too much on keeping my kid entertained so I got my ticket on a discounted price on 365tickets.com, a great website for finding cheaper ticket prices for attractions in London.
Every summer, man made beaches are set up in and around London at big shopping centres, I think they’re such a beautiful idea for people who may not have the means to go abroad or are just looking for a fun day out with the kids. We took a big family trip out there and the kids had so much fun swimming and going on the rides. There are rides for adults as well. It was £3 to get in for adults and the kids under 3 were free.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
This was definitely a highlight of the summer, the story centre is based in Stratford so we had to take a train there but it was so worth it. The venue is beautiful and they offer famous children’s stories (e.g. The Gruffalo & Room on the broom) being told throughout the day, it’s perfect for children of all ages, there are sensory spaces, outdoor play areas, a reading garden and a lovely little book and gift shop. I loved this place because of the variety of things for kids to do also because it was an indoor space, it was okay to let Israel run around and explore. A day pass is £6.50 and there are additional shows you can book for (most are free) and if one requires payment it’s like an extra £1.50. So worth it!
This was easy access, free, and close to home which is why I loved it. With a paddling pool, mini farm, children’s play area, cafe and lots of open grass space it’s perfect for letting your kids just burn some energy. To think that this park has always literally been at my doorstep and this summer was the first time I really explored it. Izzy loved it, he loves having freedom to walk around and climb and run so this was perfect, we had a play date with my friends daughters and they had so much fun. Unfortunately we didn’t go on a super hot day so couldn’t use the paddling pool but we got to do everything else and the kids enjoyed themselves which is what really matters right?
The Play Spot @ Finsbury Park
I loooove this place! The play spot is an indoor soft play area for kids up to 8 years. Izzy and I have visited before and he had so much fun (he was only about 7 months) so there was no doubt we had to go back for another visit. As soon as we stepped in, he wanted to get out of his buggy and go and play. I blame the bright colours, the vast majority of activities and all the other children who were clearly having fun! The space isn’t huge which I found amazing because, no matter where your child is, they can be seen. It offers opportunities for climbing, running, playing instruments, there’s even a sensory room for smaller kids and lots of ball pits! Just £3 to get in and you can spend the whole day if you want, there’s also a cute little area for rest and a snack.
This is literally some of what we did over the holidays, some weeks, we had spontaneous trips to the parks around my area (always a perfect idea) play dates with friends kids and family, walks down the lake and cute little days spent indoors just doing activities like painting etc. I can definitely say we had a brilliant, inexpensive summer. I didn’t even know there was so much for kids to do in London especially at such a young age. A little goes a long way and everything for Toddlers is a learning experience. No matter what you do with your kids, just remember they are learning and having fun, you don’t need to spend loads of money to keep them happy.
Being a working mum is hard but having the summer off to spend time with Izzy is definitely a blessing, I wonder where else we’ll be going on some adventures…
Keep you posted,
I’ve been meaning to write this piece for a long time but because our bath/bedtime routine has changed so much over the year I just haven’t had a chance to but we have one now and it seems to be working great for us. (Finally!)
First of all, the reason our bath time routine changed so much was because of Israel’s sensitive skin. As a first time parent, my first instinct was to use Johnson’s baby products on him when he was first born, initially they were okay but as he got older his skin became so much more sensitive and he just started to react badly to the body wash and moisturise, his skin got really dry and he had a ‘rash’ all over.
So I started doing some research and found Aveeno products were really good for sensitive baby skin. So I tried their baby daily wash, and creamed him with Aveeno daily care baby moisturiser, this worked fine for his skin. I used oilatum bath additive in his water also to moisturise his skin a little more. Israel later developed eczema all over his body and I just didn’t know what to do, this was at six months when he started weaning so I put it down to the new foods he had started trying. I continued using Aveeno products a little longer but decided to go to the GP about the eczema, and they prescribed Cetraben moisturiser and a whole lot of other stuff for him, I was also told to stop using anything with soap on his skin and stop giving him dairy! Stopping dairy was really hard for me because out of all the things Israel started eating, he absolutely loved dairy.
We went ahead anyway and a lot of it was trial and error but we now have a routine that works for us.
Our bath time routine:
I usually give Israel his dinner before a bath at 7pm, after he’s fed, he has a bath at around 7.30/7.45pm
I put oilatum bath additive in his water, and let him have a little play and soak in it, I still use Aveeno products but I switched to the baby cleansing milk and stopped using the soap.
I rub that all over his skin and use a face towel to rub it in and wash it off then use water again to rinse it off. I don’t use a sponge on his skin to avoid scratching the eczema. To wash his hair, I use Dermax therapeutic shampoo because I found his scalp used to get very itchy, also due to the eczema. Dermax helped a lot and the itching has stopped after a few weeks of using it. Basically if your child has eczema, avoid using anything with soap in it and remember lots and lots of moisture.
After having a bath, in the daytime I use Cetraben to moisturise his skin and at night I use Ovelle emulsifying ointment all over his body (also prescribed) this is a thicker consistency, which is why it’s better for night time use. After washing his hair, I use Cantu kids conditioning detangler to comb through his hair and Vita coco coconut oil to moisturise his scalp. After, I use Shea moisture kids curling cream to give his curls definition (I only use the Curling cream in the daytime.)
After a bath, it’s straight to bed (usually by 8pm) I try to read Israel the same story before bed for a week so he familiarises with the story, although he does have his favourites and if he doesn’t want to read a particular story he lets me know (by pushing the book away and having a little moan lol.) I then read him a prayer from his Baby prayer book, which I got from Amazon and I say a little prayer of my own for him.
While we read a story we usually have nursery rhymes playing in the background which is courtesy of his BT Baby Monitor 450 with projector which i got from Boots, which plays nursery rhymes, classical music, scenic sounds and even white noise. He usually falls asleep after listening to stories with the music still playing… bliss!
This bedtime routine has been working for us for a month now and the products we’ve been using for bath time, we’ve used consistently for about 3 months and they’ve been really helpful, Israel’s skin has definitely cleared up with the odd occasion of eczema flare ups.
As easy as this may sound, bath and bed times can actually be hard work and can take a while to get into a routine that works for parents and their children. There isn’t a specific way to do it, this is just what works for me and Israel, sometimes though, the routine does get thrown out the window and you get Israel going to bed at 10pm because he decided to have a late nap or not have dinner before falling asleep. Parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of journey, there will be lots of trials and lots of errors, just find what works best for you.
Please feel free to ask any more questions in the comments section!
As a new blogger, it humbles me to know that my blog has been noticed and I’ve been nominated for a Leibster Award 2017 by the lovely Yoruba English mama herself, Latifah. Follow the link to read about her journey on Motherhood, parenting styles and raising a bilingual child (all in Yoruba AND English!)
I’ve been blogging for a little under 2 months and can say I’m really enjoying this journey, and to know that people are genuinely taking time out to read my posts and follow me honestly brings so much joy to my heart, thank you. I really do look forward to writing my blog posts and knowing that it reaches others out there is amazing! The Leibster Award is a way for new bloggers to get their blogs out there and also help their fellow bloggers get noticed, this is a brilliant way for the blogging community to grow and what’s better than supporting each other?!
So the rules of this award also includes having to answer some questions, so here goes,
1. What inspires you most of all?
I didn’t even have to think about this question, my son is my biggest inspiration right now. I was once way to shy to start a blog, the thought of people having an insight into my life and knowing my thoughts scared me so much. Once he was born, I just wanted to do everything I always wanted to do, I’ve gotten a confidence I never thought imaginable, he makes me want to be better and do better. And I’m discovering myself again as a mum, which has been really exciting. I guess a new journey in life is always a huge inspiration but he’ll always be mine because being a mum to him will always be a journey I’m excited to be on.
2. One extreme thing I’ve ever done?
My friend took me to get a tattoo when I was 16 and I lied about my age in order to get it. Now that I think about it, it was so stupid, the tattoo artist didn’t even ask for ID, he could’ve been anyone lol!
3. What do you do when you’re angry?
When I’m angry, I take time out to be by myself so I don’t say or do something I’ll regret. I don’t get angry often anyhow, I’m pretty chilled and very calm, it takes a lot to get me angry but I’m the type to cry out of anger and walk away rather than losing it and going mad on whoever got me to that point lol.
4. If you could have anything you want in the world, what would it be?
An endless amount of plane tickets to fly to countries all around the World. Why? Because I want to see the world, I want to go everywhere and just see how other people live. Rather than being stuck in one place, spending money on unnecessary things, i’d rather spend my money on experiences that I won’t forget.
5. Continue the phrase, ‘if I were you I…’
If I were you I’d really get to know myself, love myself and accept every ‘flaw’ I think I have and OWN it.
Those are all my questions answered and now I shall go onto my nominees…
Mabinty Esho from Effortlessly M.E a dear friend of mine and mummy to a beautiful little boy who blogs about the world as she sees it and her experiences.
Brenda from BrendaJuliet.com her journey through Motherhood, being a single parent as she welcomes the experience while trying to find a balance between building a career and living a fulfilling life.
Ada from The Ada Lifestyle, a blog about you guessed, her lifestyle lol, anything from Fashion to movie reviews and what ever random thoughts come to her mind which she wishes to share with the world.
Okay ladies, here are your questions…
don’t forget to nominate other bloggers of your choice and include the link to this blog in your article. Congratulations!
1. What inspires you most of all?
2. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
3. What’s one of the best blogposts you’ve written and why? (Add the link so we can all read it)
4. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done?
5. Give a tip to other bloggers or potential blog starters?
Thanks ladies, enjoy x