21 Feb 2017

Travelling with Children #Travellessons

We've just got over half term for the children - and when I say get over it, I mean I have had to sit in a dark corner for a while to compose my senses. We didn't go anywhere, just a few days out and I worked as normal but it really takes its toll with two small children who get cabin fever. So hubby and I have decided that the next holiday (it's only six weeks away!!!!) we will take the kids away somewhere but where to.....

Pre kids we went further afield and did an amazing trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and we saw so many great things, there was another trip to Cuba where we traveled the length of the country staying in some amazing (& not so amazing) places. We went to Madrid in August...who even does that, most of the Spanish had decamped to cooler parts of the country. Since having our children we have kept it more simple but as they are getting older we feel its time to get more adventurous again, I may get some time to actually sit on a beach again and read a book or relax.

Whilst we decide I thought it would be good to put down a few of the lessons we have learnt whilst traveling with children:
  •  Plan, plan, plan....
I love a good plan at the best of times but when we go anywhere with our kids it all needs to be a bit more of a military operation. I've come to find out over the years that our two love a bit of structure and it all falls apart with out it. There are favourite toys to factor in and fussy eaters to cater for so I like to know exactly what we are getting and where from! I can then sort out child entertainment for whilst we are there or on route.

  • Don't over complicate things
I'm a less is more kind of girl and so find it easier to only plan one activity a day for the kids, so for instance we may go visit a town or attraction and then head back to our villa or chalet to take it easy, pop to the pool and unwind. I've never tried to cram it all in and it works for us.

  • Take snacks...bribes....distractions
Yep I was going to be that mother that wouldn't bribe my kids with some chocolate fingers or a packet of crisps but when they are getting bored and we've been on the road for a long time I break out the big guns. I also take a new toy along for the ride and produce it when things are starting to melt down slightly, it takes their mind of the woes and gives us as parents a brief bit of head space.

  • It's not about us
Holidays used to be all about us, relaxing, resting, seeing new things but when you become parents you often need a holiday to get over the holiday. It's great fun but a different type of fun, most of the time things are geared up for the kids, we go places they will enjoy and on the back of it we enjoy watching them enjoying new things. There is a little bit of us in there but I will no longer be dragging a preschooler and a 6yr old around an old ruin in the midday sun...it will just never happen!
  • New places are exciting
For everyone there is something to see and do and even the mundane is beautiful when you are 2yrs old. We want to do more city breaks for this exact reason because its fun exploring a new city where there are different things around every nook and cranny. Beaches are great but it's good to think outside of the box on some places.
  • As long as we are together nothing else matters
It's so true because sometimes the wheels fall off our plan or the kids don't want the bribes and distractions but as long as we can all look back and smile at the adventure we have had then it's all worth it. Spending time as a family is what counts the most and if its raining then we embrace it and go splash around in puddles, if it's too hot then it's ice creams all round.

This is our entry into the GoEuro #travellessons travel blog competition.

13 Feb 2017

Cleaning Teeth - Brush baby Review

We've been dealing with brushing teeth now for over 4 years at least and I remember when Bubba was small we used the chewable tooth brush and she loved it, especially when she was teething. We moved onto a toothbrush when she had a full set of nashers and she has always been great about having her teeth cleaned twice a day.

With cub its all been a bit more of a struggle, he used the chewable tooth brush and loved throwing it around the room, he didn't go for the wipes (he's never been one for letting me do anything for him) and we have had a struggle with cleaning his teeth. It's been a bit hit and miss regularly and sometimes we've had to hold on tight and try and get his teeth clean whilst he shouts 'No no no' at us.

One thing we've come to realise is that for Cub it is all about fun and if he thinks it is fun then he is willing to give it a go...otherwise forget it! So when we got to try the BabySonic & KidzSonic Electric toothbrushes our whole teeth cleaning adventures really took off.

Up until this point my husband freely admitted that he hated cleaning their teeth (especially cubs) and would do almost anything to get out of it. It was always a last minute scramble and the negotiations would start in earnest with cub the moment we stepped into the bathroom. I would plead and try and make him open his little mouth enough so I could clean his teeth with a normal toothbrush (forget trying to let him do it himself as he'd just throw the brush). I tried cute and funny toothbrushes, I let him pick his own and put the toothpaste on...but I was still met with resistance. Because he was getting all the attention, Bubba would insist I clean her teeth for her, she was happy to have it done but didn't want to do it herself...she wanted in on the action.

When the toothbrushes arrived the kids went nuts and asked to try them straight away, this was at 3pm in the afternoon! So by the time bedtime came they were beside themselves with excitement. I've got to say, hand on heart, two weeks later and they still clean their teeth with just as much excitement. They sit together on the bathroom floor like a couple of expectant puppies until I hand them their brushes...and they clean their teeth on their own! It's amazing.

The BabySonic is designed to grow as your baby does and is from 0-18 months and it has added brush heads for 18-36 months. So we just went straight to those for cub, the toothbrush lights up and vibrates and after 2 minutes (the recommended tooth cleaning time) in turns itself off. It's very lightweight for him to hold himself.

The KidzSonic is for 3-6 year old children and as Bubba said "its like a disco in my mouth" as the lights are multicoloured. The bristles are graduated to help clean between the teeth and I hadn't realised that as soon as teeth start touching, it's time to start flossing. So this is perfect for Bubba at the moment with all her baby teeth still intact.

They use the corresponding toothpastes - 0-3yrs toothpaste is applemint, 3-6yrs toothpaste is spearmint (up until now we've had to change toothpaste regularly for Bubba as she didn't like the taste but so far she loves this one.

Bubba really liked the stickers and brushing check-list and took it all very seriously, she likes that she has a 30 second reminder to move the toothbrush around her mouth. I asked what she likes best about the toothbrush and she said "it does the work for you" and I couldn't have said it better myself...it's taken the work out of keeping their teeth clean for me.

As parents we now know that they are brushing their teeth properly and also regularly with less bribery and more involvement from them. It's made our morning routine a lot calmer already and a lot more fun..which is what was missing for us before. We will continue to use these brushes and my only wish is that they made an adult version because I would so be up for using that.

We were sent these items for review from Brush Baby - all opinions are ours (& honest). Check out their website for fun ideas and a brilliant colouring in chart
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