We had an amazing day at In the Night Garden Live at the Trafford Centre. Finn was so excited as soon as we got in the Showdome, As there is projections on the ceiling of the Ninky Nonk. It ran really smoothly getting to your seats and there was a countdown to the show. The seating is steps with plenty of room so he could move around.
The show was brilliant and it was lovely to see how excited all the children got as the charachters came onto the stage.
We bought Finn an Iggle Piggle teddy and a balloon which came to £17.50 expensive but probably about the same as similar attractions.
I’d definitely recommend booking the meet the character experience Finn loved meeting Iggle Piggle. You choose one character and the time slot is in order of who booked first. We booked last minute so had about an hours wait. You get a text with a link so you can track how long is left.
I’d definitely recomend for any In the Night Garden fans, we had a lovely day.
I recently reviewed Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year which you can read here.
I have also read and loved Dr Dawn’s Guide to Toddler Health. This book follows a similar format and offers brilliant advice for parents of toddlers.
Like the First Year book, this book gives you a timeline of childhood checks and milestones. I love this section as it is really useful to refer to as your child reaches each stage. It offers you reassurance.
The Potty training section is really useful as I know this is something a lot of parents struggle with or worry about. We aren’t at the potty training stage yet so I will define refer back to this.
I loved the section on your Toddler’s Medicine cabinet, I like to be organised so find this list really useful to refer to. I feel reassured knowing I have the essential items.
The A- Z of toddler ailments is something I know I will definitely keep looking back at. It is useful to know if you need to seek medical advice or you can treat at home.
There is also a section of first aid, something which is essential for all parents to know.
Like with the Baby’s first year book I would definitely recommend this to all parents and feel I will refer to this constantly throughout Finn’s childhood.
On Sunday we visited a lovely Farm, Claremont Farm about 20 minutes away from Chester.
We loved the strawberry picking, the farm shop and the cafe.
Finn had so much fun Picking the Strawberry’s and really got involved hunting for the best ones. There was a free tractor ride around the field which he loved. 2 big punnets came to just under £6, they are really tasty.
The Cafe was lovely with an outside seating area.For a coffee, tea, 2 cakes and a Cookie & Milk it was £12. We all enjoyed it and you could tell they used quality ingredients.
They host regular events like art class, cooking workshops and creative writing classes. They also hold a parent and toddler cooking class that I really want to try out.
This is a lovely place to visit if you are in the area, I’d definitely recommend you check it out even if it’s just for the cake.
We finished the day with an afternoon in the garden & setting up Finn’s swing.
I’m not sure about anyone else but I found picking the right Nursery for Finn quite stressful. It’s scary the thought of leaving your baby with someone else. I couldn’t be any happier though with the choice we finally made for Finn. He has been at his current Nursery since he was 10 months old. I visited lots of different nursery’s and fell in love with this one. I just knew it was the right one. These are the tips I picked up from our experience or speaking to friends. Sorry this is quite a long one but hopefully you will find it useful.
Show up unannounced – always show up unannounced. That way you know they aren’t putting on an act. Any nursery will be happy to see you. I liked the fact they shown us round all the rooms and we’re happy to answer any questions.
Menu’s & Food – This was really important to us. We are keen for Finn to try a wide variety of foods so I wanted the menu to be varied. I asked to see a sample menu when we visited. I loved that they served healthy snacks and encourage the children to be adventurous with food.
Free Flow Play- Unless the weather is really bad the children are allowed to choose if they want to be out or inside. I love this as Finn loves playing outside and I think it is so important.
Quality of toys- Learning through play is so crucial in the early years. I checked there was a wide variety of clean, safe and exciting toys.
Routine- We mainly follow a baby led routine when it comes to naps and weaning. I visited some nurserys that insisted on set nap times. I wasn’t keen on this as I prefer to just pick up on Finn’s signals that he is tired. Our Nursery were prepared to follow this. They were also happy to support us in Baby Led Weaning.
Settling in Sessions- these should ideally be free while you see if the nursery is a good fit for you all. We had 2 settling in sessions which made me feel really happy about leaving Finn there for the first time.
Feedback to home- I love that nursery give us a journal at the end of the day with what Finn has ate, his naps, what he’s drunk, nappy changes & what he has been up to. It’s lovely to know what they have been doing while they have been at nursery.
Ofsted- I read the latest reports of all the nurserys I planned on visiting. I know a lot of it is just a snapshot of that day but I felt it was important for the nursery we picked to have a good rating.
Ask Friends & Family- I asked around for any recommendations. A few people recommend the nursery Finn currently attends. It makes you feel more reassured knowing other people are happy.
What would be your top tips for picking the right nursery?
We love the Ice Cream farm it’s one of our favourite days out. We are really lucky as we are about 20 minutes away by car. It’s located in Tattenhall about 15 minutes away from Chester City Centre.
It’s free to enter and you just pay for the soft play, sand and water play, mini golf, diggers and go- carts. We tend to just do one thing when we go as Finn loves the farm and park which are both free so we spend a while on there. Plus he still gets tired quite easily. I am definitely going to invest in one of play passes soon though as these save you money. They are worth looking into if you will be using a few of the paid activities.
Daisy’s Garden (the park) is amazing with trampolines, hills to climb, a giant overflowing ice cream tree and loads more to discover Finn would happily play on here for ages.
The farm is also free to enter and Finn loves walking round here and looking at all the animals.
Our favourite is Honeycomb Canyon a giant indoor Sand and water play. Finn loves it splashing about in the water, playing with the sandpits and exploring all the water channels. I’d definitely recommend bringing a towel and a change of clothes.
He also really enjoys the fun factory soft play, it has it’s own toddler section so he will play quite happily.
We haven’t tried any of the other areas as Finn is too little but they all look amazing and I’m looking forward to trying them.
The food is really reasonable, I usually get Finn the 5 item children’s box which is £3.75 and includes a sandwich, drink and 3 other items. There’s crisps, yogurt, chocolate, raisins and other snacks to choose from. All of the main menu is good value as well.
Of course the main attraction is the Ice Cream with over 50 flavours to choose from. My favourite is sticky toffee pudding and Finn’s white- choc chunk. There’s definitely a flavour for everyone. The prices are really reasonable.
I’d definitely recommend a visit if you are local or in the area.
As Finn began to grow out of his infant carrier I began the search for a new car seat. I searched so many forums, reviews, blogs and asked friends and we finally decided to get the Joie i-Anchor.
The two main factors for me were , I wanted Finn to rear face for as long as possible and we needed 2 isofix bases for our cars to make life easier swapping the car seat.
For those of you that don’t know new research says your child should stay rear facing up to 4 years old. This is an approach taken in lots of European countries. The legislation hasn’t been passed in this country yet but we knew we wanted to go for this option. Extended rear facing is proven to be safer in a frontal collision, which is often the most fatal. We are going to keep Finn rear facing for as long as possible. The joie I- anchor is perfect for this as he has plenty of room and the isofix has seven different reclines so we can adjust is as he grows. The headrest also adjusts as he gets taller. I was worried that he would get fed up rear facing but because of the angle of the isofix he can see out of the window and a rear facing mirror means we can see him.
The only slight criticism I had for this was when Finn first started using it his head would go forward slightly when he was asleep. Joie did advice to use the newborn insert. I think for this reason I’d prefer to use a newborn carrier until he had better neck control.
Overall I would highly recommend this car seat, it was brilliant value for our requirement of 2 isofix bases and 1 car seat.
Here’s a link to Rearfacing.co.uk who explain why extended rear facing is safer.
One of the Toddler Groups we love is Messy Play , Finn absolutely loves it and has developed so much since we started going. When we first started he just used to put his hands in the paints but now he will hold the brush and crayons more confidently. We have been going for about 7 months now and he is so excited when we walk in the room and he can’t wait to get involved.
The company is called Splat Messy play and I definitely recommend these if there is a group near you. Here’s the link if you want to take a look Splat Messy Play
Sarah who runs the group we attend is brilliant, she always helps out with all the baby’s and is really imaginative with the different stations. Each week is a different theme ranging from circus, teddy bears picnic, Mother’s Day etc.. There’s usually about 6 stations with a craft to take home.
We love it and one massive plus is we can make all the mess we want else where.
Does anyone else go to messy play classes? How do you find it? You can read all about other groups we attend here Baby Groups.