lifestyle, parenting

Briarlands Farm | Stirling

As fellow parents will understand, I spend a lot of time outdoors with my son Oliver and we are always on the search for new places to visit. We decided to meet up with friends at Briarlands Farm in Stirling, about an hours drive from our home in Edinburgh.

There are plenty activities to suit all ages and although we were there almost four hours, we didn’t see half of the park – but that’s the norm for us parents of toddlers! The farm boasts wide open space for kids to let off steam; jumping pillows; toddler trike tracks; sand pits; feeding the animals using feeding tubes and tractor/trailer rides amongst others. You can even meet some of the furry animals throughout the day.

Here’s some photos from the day:

Cred: @raimonda_days

Cred: @raimonda_days

Some activities and animal feed bags incur an additional charge (around £1 each), but with the low entrance fees you can’t complain. As Oliver is under three years and therefore free, I only paid one adult at £5.50!

We enjoyed a quick coffee and scone in the cafe whilst the boys played in the soft play. The cafe offers a soft play climbing frame as well as a large kids area filled with toys, play equipment and books. It’s free to play in the inside play areas – another perk. Oliver allowed me my full hot cup of coffee as he was having so much fun – result!

I would definitely recommend this farm to friends and it should go on your must-visit list.

We are always looking for new places to go, please leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Natalie x

 

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lifestyle, parenting

My Priorities Have Changed

The second Oliver was placed in my arms, my life changed. My outlook, priorities, everything changed. I no longer wanted to rush into a career, all I wanted was to be a stay at home mum to my beautiful son.

Becoming a mum has most definitely given me a sense of purpose. I’ve been at home with Oliver for two years now and I’m honestly loving every minute of it – even the challenging parts. To me, there’s nothing in comparison to seeing first-hand your baby grow, achieve each milestone and experiencing new things together. Being at home with my child is extremely important to me and I’m so lucky to be in a position that enables me to do that.

My decision to stay at home attracted mostly positivity but I have had some negative comments along the way, mainly surrounding my future career. The way I see it is I’m only twenty-five, I will no doubt be working way past my seventies, probably eighties! so I have plenty time to find a career. For now my main priority is raising my child.

Every parent is different, some work some stay at home, we do what we feel is best for our family. I will never understand those who judge other parents decisions on the subject. How can my choice of staying at home to bring up my son be such a negative? From where I’m standing, there’s absolutely no negative.

Apologies for such a sporadic post, but I needed to vent. I’m interested to hear if anyone has encountered negativity with whatever decision you made; whether it be staying home or working. Us parents have a lot of guilt as it is, without other people adding to it. Do whatever works for you and your family, that’s all that should matter at the end of the day.

 N x

 

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Minimalism; Is it for me?

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It’s a bit of an inside joke that I’m pretty cut-throat when it comes to chucking things out. Every so often I fill bin bags with ‘stuff’ and off to the dump they go; I donate; I sell things on. And yet, I still feel suffocated.

If I said I didn’t like material things – I’d be lying. I love pretty things as much as the next person. But I’m starting to question why I long for such items. Am I trying to fill an emotional void with material things to make me feel better? I can yearn for something for months and when I finally have it, I move onto wanting for something else. I don’t seem to enjoy and appreciate things for long. Do material things bring any happiness to my life?

Over the years I have witnessed just how negatively clutter affects my mood and mental health. I have a personal limit when it comes to my home, if the mess and clutter exceeds this, I can completely shut down. Fortunately I haven’t been in that position for a long time, but am constantly aware of the threat. To some my limit might seem like nothing, but I know how quickly I can deteriorate, so it’s important to me, to keep on top of things.

I have recently been decluttering our home, slowly but surely. I worked through my wardrobe, throwing things out which hadn’t been worn (some still with tags on!) and others which when I put them on, I just didn’t feel good in. Already it feels like a weight has been lifted. I no longer waste my mornings trying to find an outfit, everything in there is wearable and ready to be thrown on. Decluttering our home is important to me, I truly believe a tidy space aids a tidy mind. Room by room, I’m throwing things out which we don’t like or even use, I’ve set myself the goal of one room per week, so will keep you updated on that.

Minimalism isn’t just about a tidy home, it includes everything cluttering our lives and our mind. Recently, I’ve found myself procrastinating, scrolling through social media and losing myself in a world of perfectionism and consumerism. I realised I hadn’t been living in the moment but constantly attached my mobile. I still post a photograph on Instagram, or write a status on Facebook, but I leave longer periods between checking my notifications – how many likes I have, who’s left a comment. I’m also trying to dedicate more time during my evenings to check-in with social media, or during my boy’s nap times. This means more quality time with my son and loved ones in the here and now – the way it should be.

My next move is to watch the Minimalism documentary, the two guys from The Minimalists  I find truly inspiring and motivating. They offer podcasts on their website exploring ways to declutter, organise and free yourself from stress, amongst many others. They’ve definitely got me thinking about every part of my life, I find myself totally fascinated by the minimalist concept. I’m only at the beginning of a very long journey ahead, I might fail, I might later realise the minimalist life isn’t for me. But I definitely feel inspired from what I’ve read thus far. I find myself re-evaluating what’s important to me, and even more so, what’s not.

I don’t believe in drastically reducing the number of my belongings and I don’t fancy living in a show home. I want our home to feel warm, cosy and child-friendly; I just want less of the unnecessary, unused stuff. I want to be able to breathe.

Would you describe yourself as a Minimalist? How are you getting on months or a year down the line? Has it changed your life for the better? I would love to know any tips, please leave a comment!

N x

lifestyle, parenting, Uncategorized

Seeing the World through a Child’s Eyes

There is something quite invigorating when you slow down to view the world from a child’s perspective. I am a mother to a 1.5 year old crazily beautiful toddler, who keeps me on my toes and opens my eyes and my heart every single day.

As someone who battles anxiety, my world can be tainted by stress, over-thinking and sometimes sadness. Heck, life for us all can become heavy; it’s easy to forget the beauty in life’s little treasures.

This blog post came about after I suddenly realised that my son finds everything so innocent and intriguing. And how different my world could be, if I viewed life as if I were a child myself. Oliver points out birds, planes, trucks and “busy yellow diggers” daily and yet, they never stop amazing him. We took a walk through the woods and my son collected twigs and stones for one whole hour; every twig and stone was a triumph and deserved an ‘ooh’, ‘ahh’ and ‘wow’ of its’ very own.

Within the last few weeks O has become interested in our cat Millie, he speaks screams (lovingly!) at her, cuddles and kisses her and every dog we meet, he has to stop and give them his full attention.

His confidence to make friends with children he only met two minutes ago, and bond like they’ve been friends forever, completely melts my heart.

The fact that an empty cardboard box and pots and pans can gift endless amount of entertainment.

The way he roars with laughter when I flick his rubber duck into the bath, over and over again. How he smiles, is so content and finds joy every single day.

Becoming a parent has opened my eyes to what truly matters in life, for myself and my family. It has taught me to slow down and live in the moment, instead of becoming bogged down with things that are quite simply – out of my control.

Spending time with loved ones has become more important to me, as time can be pulled from under us without notice.

Beauty can be found in the ugliest parts of our lives, you just have to look for it. It has taught to me to stop dragging the past alongside me; I must let go, in order to move forward.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child gives you a total sense of freedom and a new lease of life. It is teaching me to rid myself of anxiety, to stop over-thinking every minuscule detail and enjoy life.

Thanks little man for making life so much brighter.

N xx

lifestyle

Living Room Toy Storage

Our living room is the main hub for playing with toys, so we needed storage to house them. At that point, Oliver didn’t have many toys, we kept things to a minimum as he was a tiny baby and we felt he didn’t need a lot at that stage. Since then, he’s celebrated a birthday and Christmas’. So as you can imagine, there’s a lot more toys in the house these days. However, we still have a minimal amount; I try to put people off buying him toys as I don’t want to accumulate a whole lot of ‘stuff’. Mainly because Oliver seems to stick to the same toys and the others don’t get any attention – even after toy rotation! Plus, I want him to actually play with each toy he has, rather than them getting lost in a huge pile.

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For now, I have taken an Ikea Kallax unit which was originally in O’s bedroom and added baskets and boxes to house his smaller toys. The Kallax comes in different sizes and colours, we have the four cube in white. *This unit should be fixed onto a wall for safety reasons – this is not where ours usually sits!*

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In this Byholma basket we have some of Oliver’s smaller toys he plays with daily, smaller lego-type swing set, stacking cups etc.

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We store mega bloks in here and these are also played with daily! I couldn’t find this colour basket on the website, but it is the same as the Byholma.

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We keep some books from O’s collection in here and rotate every so often. He has quite a lot so I’m planning to make a reading corner in his bedroom (more on that later). This basket was given to us as part of a hamper gift.

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In this Samla box (purchase lid separately) we keep jigsaws and puzzles. I rotate these every so often and as O got two new puzzles for Christmas, these are in this clear box and the older ones are now in his bedroom.

I also bought this huge laundry-style bag from B&M last year. I don’t think they have this particular one for sale anymore but they did have similar styles when I last looked. These are great for larger toys and you can fit a fair few things in here – they are huge! We have larger trucks and tractors, balls and other random bits in here.

Oliver uses his cars every day, he absolutely loves them! So, I find it easier to leave his garage lying out. He plays with these from morning to night and it’s what works best. It doesn’t get in the way and as it’s the only toy left out, it doesn’t make the room look cluttered.

 

I hope you found this post useful! I will be writing more posts about how we organise our home over the coming weeks. I enjoy organising, de-cluttering and sorting, so I regularly change our set up, but for now this is what we have in our living area. We do also have a cupboard in our living room too which is O’s but doesn’t house toys as such – but I will cover that in another post!

 

If you have any organisation tips, please leave a comment below! 

N xxx

 

family, Uncategorized

LittleLife Toddler Daysack | Review

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Before Oliver was born, I didn’t like the idea of reins at all. I remember commenting on them when we were purchasing baby items and saying “why wouldn’t you just hold the child’s hand to keep them safe?” Well, I have a toddler and now know the answer to that silly question!

We purchased the LittleLife backpack with reins in the adorable ladybird design. It’s the perfect size for my toddler (21 months) with detachable reins, adjustable chest strap and grab handle; for easy carrying or providing extra support – we used the handle when O was first starting to walk and a little unsteady on his feet. And costs £22.99.

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There’s not a huge amount of room inside the bag, however I don’t use it for that purpose as I feel O is too small to be lugging things around; and I always have his change bag with me anyway. But you could easily fit a cup and snack in there if you wanted.

For us, reins are ideal. They allow O, an extremely independent toddler, to walk safely without holding my hand at all times. He’s such a little boy, so loves nothing more than collecting sticks and stones as we walk and getting covered head-to-toe in mud; so he likes both hands to be free. Reins give me that extra security knowing he’s safe and can’t get too far away from me.

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These have been an absolute life saver for me. I dog walk everyday and with O being so independent, he likes to be walking rather than in his pram. Reins make it much safer and easier to be able to keep both safely by my side. I said I’d never use them but I couldn’t do without them now; the added security and peace of mind – I’m sold a million times over.

N xxx

Disclaimer: *This is not a paid for/sponsored post.

lifestyle, parenting

When Mum&Toddler Gets Sick

For the past week I have been suffering with the cold/flu/whatever this horribly testing experience is. I’d like to say I’ve been suffering in silence, however, that would be telling a lie. Although, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it that much…

We’ve had a pretty bad week with illnesses in our house; most importantly O had a minor case of bronchiolitis which thankfully cleared pretty quickly. I used every method known to man, maybe one of those many things worked or his immune system is stronger now to fight infections; I guess we’ll never really know.

Of course my number one priority is my son and his health, so I get up every day and my undivided attention is on him for those 12 hours. It can be exhausting when you’re under the weather, whilst caring for an unwell toddler. Yes we can spend most of our day at home, but as mum, you are constantly seeing to your children and constantly on the move. I am in no way complaining, I love being a stay at home mum. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do so and I honestly love every minute, even the hard ones. But in that moment, it is tough.

O has had lots of sleepless nights; I’ve had sleepless nights when O’s managed to sleep soundly, as I’m worrying incase his breathing is out of control; I’m worrying he’s going to wake up and I might not hear him; I’m worrying about worrying.

O&I have enjoyed lots of close time this week which is a huge positive. We’ve read loads of books, sang lots of songs, we’ve had lots of cuddles and he’s generally been very clingy; which has been lovely. If you have a toddler you know they rarely sit still for more than five minutes! I’m looking forward to the start of a new week. I’m so unbelievably tired but I hope we sleep well tonight and enjoy lots of outdoor time. Although O was up last night, I have my fingers crossed that we are both starting to feel better; O certainly looks like it which is great!

I’ve found this week extremely testing physically and emotionally, the house has taken a back seat and it’s beginning to grate. I find myself becoming irritable so I am pushing my sore head and sickness to the side and going to do some housework. I’ve had a lazy day and it’s time to restore some order! Here’s to a better week filled with productivity and positivity. We are done with being sick!

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How do you get through sick days?

N xx