Sunday, 27 July 2014

Minster Lovell Ruins - a dreamy place to explore

I was looking for somewhere close to Witney where I could go with J to explore & have a picnic, someone suggested the old hall ruins at Minster so yesterday picnic in hand we drove over to try it out.

The hall is fairly easy to find with brown road signs off the main road from Witney, you wind down into the village on one way roads & then climb back up to the ruins. There are about 8 or so car spaces, after that people park up on the road side. We were lucky yesterday & got a space, as I was unsure of how far it would be to walk I took the buggy, but soon discovered it was only a 5 minute walk to the church, you then access the ruins via the cemetery. We had 3 small steps to over come with the buggy but bar those no access issues.

The ruins are breathtaking! Their grand nature set in such lovely surroundings are awe inspiring. We wandered round looking at the ruins, & found a picnic spot under a shady tree to eat our lunch & take it all in. Close by us a river where older children had their fishing nets out, there was also a family of ducks which J loved & fed our left over bread too. I noticed a footpath darting off along the river accessible via a kissing gate so not so great with the buggy, perhaps next time J will walk it & we can go explore.

I definitely plan to return over the summer for some more picnics & ruin exploring 

Strawberry picking fun at Millets Farm Centre Abingdon

Having grown up on a farm myself & learnt first hand where food comes from I want J to grow up gaining an understanding too. So when my dear friend E suggested taking our boys strawberry picking I jumped at the chance, it sounded like a fun educational morning to me - a tasty one too! 

Equipped with our baskets we set off to find the strawberries, it's only a short walk from the car park but for J he needed a snack stop en route, after refuelling we walked the last few meteres & were greeted by tunnel after poly tunnel of strawberries! The strawberries were on stands which meant the strawberries hung down, making it so much easier to see them & pick them, for our boys the stands were just a tad too high, but they did manage to find some just low enough that they could reach up & pick them. E explained which ones to pick & they were away. The boys then cottoned on that what they were picking were edible, & soon I had J trying a few, declaring them all tasty & yummy! It was a memorable sight seeing them hunting for the best ones then sampling a few. Be aware the ground is a little uneven so excited little ones may trip, E managed well taking the buggy down the rows, her buggy is well equipped for off roading, my little one would have struggled. 

Baskets full we headed back to the shop to pay. This was the only downside to the day, you had to pay in the shop, & at lunch time the queues were huge, it'd be better if they could set up an outdoor paying station near the gate to save treking through the shop.

We had a magical time & J proudly told family about his tasty picking adventure. We will definitely be going back again for more picking, we'll check out the other fruit & veg on picking offer too!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Kids have meltdowns get over it!

Today my friends son mid shop had a meltdown. My friend as always handled it well, she calmly held him & spoke quietly to him. She stayed in the shop multi tasking waiting in the queue to pay. I was with her & had the misfortune to hear the rude grumblings of a fellow customer who in his twilight years made mean & nasty comments. 
 I have never experienced such nastiness targeted at a mother before, & it reduced me to tears. My mum always taught me that if you having nothing nice to say don't say anything at all, whislt I appreciate standing in a queue with an upset child isn't pleasant, please think of the parent, instead of scowling offer a supportive smile, instead of glaring, give a friendly eye roll, or pull a face for the little one. Instead of judging - put yourself in the parents shoes. 
We cannot possibly remove ourselves from shops each time a meltdown occurs  as this would give our children the message that to get out of shopping just cry & wail! 
I was mortified how another parent could be so harsh especially as he had his grandchildren with him - what sort of message does that give them? Not the best role model for them. I tried to talk calmly to him to no avail, other customers tried to help by saying not to worry. 
I hope this man realises what he has done, & next time has a tad more patience. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Cutteslowe & Sunnymead Park Oxford - a fab family friendly day out

I love  hearing about lovely parks in Oxfordshire and taking the whole family with me to go roadtest it for ourselves... and that is exactly what we did this afternoon, map in hand we drove the 15 mins from Witney to Cutteslowe& Sunnymead park to the north of Oxford.

It was easy to find and had plenty of pay and display parking. The park was a wonder, with so much to do I wish we'd come earlier in the day and brought a picnic with us.There was a mini railway with J loved, for a £1 a ticket you can take a ride round, all 3 of us went on and 2 turns round the track later, J was wanting more, having waved madly at anyone who passed us. Luckily there was more to see, so a quick 'lets go see the birds later' and we were marching on to the aviary where J was mesmerised by the multi coloured birds, taking delight pointing at them "look Daddy a yellow one!" The aviary was in spotless condition and the birds had lots of room to fly around. We moved on to the park, passing the basket ball court en route where J enjoyed watching  some teens taking practise shots. The park had plenty for all ages, from slides, to swings, merry-go-rounds and climbing nets. J tore off and was soon climbing up to test out the slides. After he'd exhausted the play equipment the sandpit caught his eye and J  did the quick step in that direction, removing his shoes on the way. The sand pit was big with lots of room for everyone to build a sandcastle *note to self take a bucket and spade... luckily J was happy to use a spare cup to build his master piece.  Whilst mummy and J played in the sand daddy went to the kiosk to bring back cool refreshments, ideal in the hot sun. There was loads to do for children of all ages, with  a zip wire, and hand and foot grips to climb up tree stumps, so a mini adventure house on the hill, the park was busy but there were loads of space for families to run around.

At either end of the park is a community centre with toilets open for the public. I also noticed some formal gardens which would of been nice to walk around [had J not of been glued to the sand pit] There was  a paddling pool which was closed, but some of the locals told me it opens in the summer, there was also a crazy golf that looked fun too. In addition to all the fun bits there was lots of green space for families to picnic and play ball.

To find it yourself follow the info on here -
A big thumbs up from us, we'll definitely be going back

Clothies burping cloth - product review

Burping cloths are part of every parents essential kit, baby drinks - baby burps - burp cloths catch it = standard!  But burp clothes don't have to be standard!

Introducing Clothies burp cloths, fun & funky designed cloths with a fleece back to absorb the spills. As a mummy I have a pile of muslin cloths to do the job - could I be tempted to switch? Does the Clothies cover all bases?
1. Design- big enough to catch spills, small enough to fit in my bag. The Clothies was just right
2. Wash -I'm a  bung it in the wash without reading instructions person, the Clothies survived well- and came out still looking fab & retaining it's shape. 
3. Style - Clothies score top marks here, they come in a wonderful large range of designs that are bright & colourful, with patterns to suit all tastes. 
4. Mopping up spills - not only does it look fab but the Clothies also do a great job of catching the spills, the fleece backing is super absorbent!
5. Price - at £14.99 for 3 the Clothies would make a great baby shower / new baby gift.

Would I be tempted to switch? Use a Clothie is far more stylish in public than a muslin cloth, it does a great job of looking  funky & being practical - which is what we all want. So I think having a range of Clothies to hand is a great idea! I would of loved a pack in my baby shower gifts & will suggesting them as gifts for others!
Slummy mummy seal of approval given 

Sili Squeeze - perfect for food on the go. Product review

When I was asked to review the Sili Squeeze I wasn't sure what to expect. I was told it was ideal for baby food on the go, & having seen some of the other reusable pouches on the market, I was expecting something like those. I was pleasantly surprised to be given something far more sturdy & durable!  I decided it'd be best to try it at home first so I had back ups on hand in case it it all went to pot, I filled it with my baby's favourite puree of apple & peach & gave it later that day, the Silli Squeeze  so easy to use, undo - fill up- put top on - squeeze & go. The soft case made it easy to grip especially when things got messy. I was also concerned that it'd be a pain to clean, but it was easy to take a part & put in my dishwasher! Huzzah! I've used it several times since & each time had a great experience, my Sili Squeeze has become part of my everyday kit & I've recommended it to my NCT mummies too.

I love the Sili Squeeze you can tell it's been created by parents for parents! I've looked on line & seen that they come in different colours, which will be great to identify sweet & savoury as I must admit on occasion I've forgotten which pot has pudding in & served up pear for mains & parsnip for pudding - I'm sure Delia would not approve.
Great product, great price - a must have! 
Slummy mummy seal of approval granted!

Sili Squeeze are now offering all mummies a £3 discount of their orders for a limited time by using the code - SILISM at the checkout