A 5-Step Guide to Planning A Baby Shower

If you, or one of your best friends, are soon to be a new mother, it is expected that there will be a baby shower. This event gives family and friends an opportunity to celebrate the coming of the baby and to some, meet the new arrival. Planning such a joyous event needn’t be stressful.

expecting parents. Mum with baby bump

With that in mind, here are a few tips to ensure that the event goes off without a hitch.

Compile a Baby Gift List – This will ensure that the new mum gets a variation of essential items that she will need. This could be included in the invitation, which will ensure that every guest has the list, and the new mother will have everything she needs to take care of the baby.

The Invitations – Designing and printing baby shower invitations is made much easier by enlisting the help of an online provider. You simply choose the text that you want, select the paper and the design and they do the rest, sending you the required amount of invitations by post. You should allow at least 6 weeks notice to guests when planning a baby shower, which gives them adequate time to rearrange their schedule to fit with the chosen date.

Food & Drinks – You should consult with the mum to be and see what ideas she has. You could simply order a few pizzas and make a salad buffet. It really depends on how many people you are going to invite, and a buffet is much preferable to a sit-down meal. As you know the guests, you will have a good idea about their drink preferences, and make sure that you have a range of drinks that includes non-alcoholic beverages, as not everyone drinks. If you are lacking inspiration over the menu, there are some great buffet ideas for a baby shower, which might help you prepare a varied menu.

baby shower food table

The Venue – It might be that you plan to hold the event at the new mother’s home, or a good friend offers to host the party. Whatever you choose, there needs to be ample parking facilities for the guests. You could have the party outside, if it is summer, and you can combine the garden with the home, to give the guests a choice. If you have enough of a budget, you could hire a hall or a private room in a resort or hotel, but most people use a home, which is more convenient.

Plan a Surprise for the New Mum – It is never a good idea to spring a surprise baby shower on the new mum, as she really does need to prepare herself, but you can include a little surprise within the party, which she would definitely appreciate. This could come in the form of her favourite cocktail, or all of her friends could get together and perform a song and dance routine.

As the event planner, you should draw up a list of things to do, along with a deadline for each item, and with attractive invitations from an online provider, the party will be one to be remembered for all the right reasons.

How to Make Quality Time with Your Kids Fun

How to Make Quality Time with Your Kids Fun

Parenting is a job that consists of more than watching your kids all day. You also have to both provide for them and create a stable environment for them to grow in. This means that sometimes, you don’t get to spend as much quality time with one another as you’d like to. For this reason, you should focus on making the time that you do spend together count.

In case you’re wondering how to do that, here is how you can make quality time with your little ones fun.

Be Fully Present

When spending quality time with your kids, commit to being fully present. They can sense when your mind and attention are elsewhere, so eliminate distractions. Spending time with your kids should be about living in the moment, getting to know them and connecting.

Put Your Phone Away: The first tip for being fully present is to put your phone away. In this technology age, gadgets can be a huge distraction when it comes to spending quality time with people. Leave your phone in another room or put it on airplane mode during your quality time to help you resist the temptation of checking messages or browsing, especially if you’ve got a phone addiction.

Forget About Work: For all of the workaholic mums, it’s easy to be distracted by all of the work waiting to be done whether at your place of employment or around the house. Give work a break and focus on engaging with your kids by asking them questions and actively listening to what they have to say.

Try Arts and Crafts

The good thing about arts and crafts is that it’s something anyone can do. Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, it can be an enjoyable experience. Plan age-appropriate activities that will keep everyone busy and enable you to explore your creativity. If your kids are older, consider craft ideas like making candles. It’s always nice when you make items that you can use or see on a daily basis to remind you of something you did as a family.

Consider Outdoor Activities

When spending quality time together, outdoor activities can be a lot of fun as well. It’s a chance for everyone to get fresh air and burn calories. If you need ideas regarding what you can do outside whether in a garden or park, see some below.

Treasure Hunt: One activity to try with your kids is a treasure hunt. Seeing as Easter recently passed it isn’t too late to try an Easter egg hunt, especially if you still have left over chocolate. Cartridge People have some free Easter Egg Hunt downloadables that could help you put together signs.

Obstacle Course: Another idea worth trying is an obstacle course. You can create this with hula hoops as well as other objects that they can jump through or over. If you did them as a child, you know they can be tons of fun, especially if you’ve got competitive kids.

Quality time with your kids is about making new memories and reaffirming your relationship as well as love. Whether you’re engaging in activities or watching your favourite movie for the hundredth time, make it worthwhile.

Spending Christmas Away With The Children Without Hassle

Christmas is just around the corner, and whether we like it or not it’s time to begin thinking about plans for Christmas. We’re sure that you’re already aware that going anywhere with children is no simple task, so if you’re invited to spend Christmas at a family member or friends home, it’s likely that you’re dreading how you’re going to pull this off without any drama. Luckily, I’ve compiled a little guide on how you can spend Christmas away with the children, without any hassle and still enjoy yourself! 

christmas reading child

Pack the car to the brim

When you’re staying away overnight in a strange place, you can never predict how your children are going to react to their surroundings. That’s why it’s important to ensure that you’re armed with everything they could ever need to help keep them calm and happy. Packing the car with their favourite teddies, comfort blankets, snacks, drinks, clothes, and anything else that you think could help your children settle easier will make your Christmas run much smoother. You don’t necessarily have to bring everything into your accommodation with you, but knowing that it’s there if you need it will certainly help you rest with ease.

Make nap time easier

If you’ve got young children, the thought of putting them down for naps might be playing on your mind. Perhaps your friends and family don’t have anywhere that you’d like to safely leave your child to have a nap, or maybe you’re worried your child won’t nap with ease? You can buy kids travel systems that can help make sure your baby gets the nap they need without any worry on your behalf! Again, making sure they’ve got their favourite teddy or blanket will make the world of difference!

Keep them busy

There’s nothing worse than bored children, and as you’re probably already aware, when children are bored, the adults will suffer too. Before you even think about travelling, prearrange activities for your children to keep them busy and entertained. Perhaps you could get them a portable DVD player or some board games to keep them occupied? Alternatively, check to see if there are going to be any other children there for them to play with!

Baby proof everything!

Finally, children can get into pretty much anything if they put their mind to it, and when you’re in a strange environment you never know where dangers might be lurking! Ask your family members and friends to baby/child proof their homes so that not only will your children be able to safely roam around, but you will have one less worry on your hands!

Travelling away with children doesn’t have to be as stressful as you may think, so follow these tips and have a wonderful Christmas!

Pregnant? Top Steps to Take to Ensure Your Baby’s Health

The best situation for any foetus is for its mother to prepare her body before it has ever been conceived. There are a lot of medications, for example, that help a grown adult but could increase the risk of congenital disabilities or a miscarriage. Then there is the damage that drinking, smoking, and other recreational drugs can do to the baby while it is developing. There is a lot you can do before, during, and even after to ensure your baby has the best shot at life, so start today by following these steps:

Contact Your Doctor

It is not always possible to consult your doctor and prepare your body before you get pregnant. Sometimes it is a mistake, other times unexpected. For example, perhaps you have been trying for a baby for so long that you gave up, only to then discover that the pregnancy finally happened. Either way, once you find out it is best to visit your doctor for a consultation so that you can:

Get off Any Dangerous Medication

There are a lot of different medications that can harm a foetus that you will need to stop taking immediately. An example includes anti-depressants. You will need to work with your doctor to manage your mental health without the medication while pregnant.

Start Taking the Right Vitamins

There are a lot of vitamins you can take that will help your baby’s health, like folic acid. Folic acid has been proven to help your baby develop correctly and reduces the risk of abnormalities.

Stay Healthy and Active

Though it may seem contradictory to be active while pregnant, you do need to try. Exercise is an important part of a healthy body, which means you need to stay active throughout the entire experience. This will also help you bounce back faster and return to your pre-pregnancy weight easier.

How to Further Safeguard Your Baby’s Health in the Future

All the hard work you put into being healthy will not go to waste. It will help your baby develop correctly so that he or she can enjoy a healthy life right from the start. Make your effort go further, however, by visiting biovaultfamily.com to see how easy and beneficial it is to store your baby’s stem cells now. If they have a life-threatening disease or other illness in the future, they will then be able to access their healthy stem cells. Stem cell research is flourishing right now, and for good reason. Give your baby the opportunity to take advantage of their health in the future by safeguarding it today.

Your baby’s development should be your utmost priority. Do all you can to make your body the perfect haven, and prepare yourself further by taking classes and even making preparations to provide your child with the best chance medically in the future. Do this, and you will already have given your new baby a bright future.

The Most Beneficial Children’s Toys

The Most Beneficial Children’s Toys

Children can learn through play without even realising it. As far as they are concerned they are just having fun, but you may be surprised just how much some toys and games can help with their development.

Up To 12 Months

For their first year, bright colours and toys that make noises, such as rattles, will best amuse your child. Toys that promote using their senses and encourage interaction are the best things at this age, Unbreakable mirrors, floor gyms, activity boards and soft colourful stuffed animals are a good start for babies first playthings.

Age 1 to 2

As they get a bit older they like toys where a cause has an effect. Sets where they can hammer pegs or balls through holes are good and stacking toys will help develop their motor skills. Shape sorters and puzzles with just four or five pieces are a great way for them to start solving problems.

Age 2 to 4

At this age, children need toys that are more purposeful. Their motor skills will have improved and they will be stacking blocks and doing simple puzzles by themselves. They will like toys that make sounds, such as a pretend telephone or toys that talk. It is at this age that they first start to play with different things. Usually, it is dolls for girls and trucks for boys. There is nothing wrong with this at 3 years of age, just as it is fine if boys want to play with dolls, or vice versa.

The Most Beneficial Children’s Toys

Age 4 To 5

Their learning ability by the time they reach 4 has grown a great deal. It is a good time to start to introduce toys that really are educational, such as art and crafts supplies, electronic phonic toys, harder puzzles, action figures and a Melody Jane dolls house, as they are brilliant for encouraging imaginative play. Most 4/5 year olds love things such as dressing up, starting to play sports and simple board games.

Age 5 To 7

Now they will start to develop interests of their own. This could be a particular sport, cooking or playing with a favourite toy. A lot of them will become interested in digital devices and the games they can play on those. It’s also the age when they start wanting to have friends round to play some of their games with them. Some of the best toys for this age group include strategy games such as chess or draughts, computer and video games, basic science kits, building sets such as Lego, and bikes as they are good for their balance.

Over 7

Your child will continue to develop past 7 years old, but now they will probably know what toys they want. There will always be one they will tell you everyone has except them. You will hear then chat to their friends about the highest score they achieved on their latest computer game, and they will carry on trying to beat that.

Their interests will become more adult-like and they may well take up a hobby. If they are going to be a collector of something, it is not unusual for the collection to be started at this sort of age.

So, you’re the baby shower host.. now what?

How lovely (and, maybe a little bit daunting); you’ve been entrusted with the task of hosting a beautiful baby shower for a beloved mum-to-be. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed if you’ve just started the planning process but don’t worry, it’s time to get the troops on board, then you’ll be able to plan something really lovely together. The following are some tips, ideas, and advice for those who want the baby shower they’re hosting to go seamlessly, and be as enjoyable as possible (without inducing labour in the guest of honour!)

baby shower

Presents And Gifting

Ask and see if the expectant mother wants or needs anything specific for her new baby. Try and put together a gift list to send around to the guests; this will enable each person to tick something off the list, and they’ll be no doubling up on presents. If you are part of a close friendship or family group, you could put your money together to create a hamper full of essentials, or the main gift that perhaps the new parents have been unable to afford. Don’t go buying any designer cots or prams, without asking the mum or dad-to-be what they already have. Personalised items are another way to give the new mama something special that she and her child can appreciate forever; embroidered blankets, or art for the nursery, will make a functional gift, and be a sentimental surprise. Just try to remember that the thought put into it is the most important thing.

Send Out Those Invites

Sort out a time and a venue as soon as possible, and make sure it’s around a month or six weeks before the baby is due to arrive (leaving it too close to the due date is a risky move). The best time for a shower is around lunchtime or early afternoon; this will ensure the guest of honour won’t be too tired, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy any food, drink, and nibbles. If you’re planning a surprise for the future mama, then make sure you state that on your invitations; you don’t want anyone to let the exciting news slip. There are loads of invitation design ideas online, so it’s worth taking a look for a bit of inspiration.

Food, Nibbles, And Treats

The sweet treats at the shower can easily reflect the colour palette and theme of the event; coloured icing, sprinkles and cake toppers are all excellent ways to incorporate your chosen shades. A buffet style offering is a relaxed and informal way to feed the guests and gives everybody the chance to bring a dish to the party. By involving the guests in providing the food, you’ll save yourself precious time and money.

baby shower cakes

Any time and effort that you put into hosting a baby shower will be appreciated by the expectant mother for the years ahead. You’ll be helping her to make lasting, lovely memories, and getting everyone excited for the new arrival.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me #Thinkwayfriends

It’s all back to school now within the next week and I have to say I’m gutted. I love having my kids off and spending all our time together! I love the leisurely mornings we can have and hate the early routines of school runs… waking up the kids, rushing them out of the door! This next term too sees the return of the dark mornings which are the worst!

My twins always struggle with back to school after summer holidays. They have been known to cry at the classroom door… not because they hate school, they don’t, it’s just they want to stay with me. Last year though, we tuned a corner and I think (hope) this will be the case this year.

The reason for this change is because they know they will be seeing all their friends again! They’ve got to the age where they realise the importance of friendships and how much joy they bring. They love their little ‘gang’ of boys and getting together again at school after the long break will be lots of fun!

This motley crew is made up of my twins and their school friends at a party just before the end of term in July!

Friends are THE best thing about school, I think most people would agree. When you think back as an adult to your own school days, it’s the laughs you had with the friends you made that will probably stick out the most in your memory!

This week we were sent some brand new Toy Story Buzz and Woody toys from Smyths to celebrate all things friendships! We’ve had Woody and Buzz before in our toy collection. In fact, we have quite a lot of the characters from the film as all four of my children have been into them over the years and they’ve popped up frequently under the Christmas tree! Teen (19) even had the original ones from way back when! But these, made by Thinkway Toys are definitely the most true to life ones we’ve seen! At 12″ tall they’re nice and sturdy, with Buzz being able to stand up on his own!

They’re stunning aren’t they?

toy story buzz and woody thinkway toys

Buzz and Woody were definitely the best of friends in the Toy Story films. Yes they disagreed and had their fall outs, but that’s completely normal for best buddies isn’t it? Children can relate to these two favourites as they learn all about friendships themselves. Buzz and Woody are great role models too as they stick together through thick and thin and don’t give up on each other when times are difficult! Buzz has rescued Woody and Woody has rescued Buzz throughout the 3 Toy Story films!

Now we’re on countdown for the release of the brand new Toy Story movie coming out next year in June 2019! Toy Story 4… how exciting! I can’t wait to see what all the toys get up to this time… the last time we saw them, which was way back in 2010.. can you believe it was THAT long ago? Andy went off to college and ended up giving his beloved toys to the little girl round the corner! I wonder if we’ll get to see Andy again? I hope to see lots more Buzz and Woody adventures…. and there’s bound to be some new characters as there always has been with each new film release!

Great friendships come in all forms and aren’t just for school… even siblings can be the best of friends and nowhere is this more true than in my home with my twins…. they are the epitome of best friends and are always happiest playing together! They are kind and supportive of each other, yes they have their moments when they argue, but they are fiercely protective and I hope this is what they find in school friendships they make too.

twins toy story toys toy story 4

I decided to take the two sets of best friends out for an afternoon play at the park…. Woody and Buzz and my twins! They had lots of fun!

toy story friendsEnjoying the see-saw together!

toy story BuzzBuzz Lightyear liked the play house

toy story woodyWoody liked the slide

toy story buzz and woodyEnjoying the rope climbing frame

toy story buzz lightyearLucky Buzz even got to share some ice cream

My twins have played lots with Buzz and Woody since we’ve had them and now I’m giving you the chance to buy some of your favourite Toy Story Characters with my new competition!

There’s a £50 Smyths voucher to be won here on the blog and all you have to do to win is fill out the Gleam widget below!

#Thinkwayfriends

£50 Smyths Voucher #ThinkwayFriends

Best of luck!

If you have a child starting school this September… here’s to them making lots of new wonderful friends! For those that are returning…. here’s to lots more fun with the great friends they already have and for the new ones that might come along!

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