Playing with imagination at the Children’s Play Village!

I couldn’t help but notice the flurry of PR activity late last summer around the Children’s Play Village in Warwick. I have been eager to go since it opened so when a friend suggested a visit to our Mommy’s social group, I was first to say yes!

The website provides pretty detailed instructions as to how to find the village, as it is located on a private road that isn’t picked up by using a sat nav. The information is really useful, however if you are travelling alone – and rubbish at remembering more than one sequence of A road and B road numbers! – it could possibly be a little tricky to find. We did however, manage to track it down fairly easily, but I can imagine the turning could be easily missed!

The village works on a pre-booking system within time slots. You can choose 9:30am – 12noon, 12:30pm – 3:00pm and 3:30pm – 6:00pm. Between each session the village is tidied and cleaned so when you enter the village, it is spotless. Only allowing a certain amount of people in also means there are plenty of tables available in the restaurant so you are guaranteed a seat.

Before play a visit to the toilet is essential (yep I am talking about toilets – again!) I felt these deserved a mention as they too were absolutely spotless. Big cubicles allowing room for a pushchair if you had one, changing tables and lovely Pears handwash which I think I now need to buy as it smelt divine! Just little attention to detail things like this throughout the centre made the visit really special.

Before you enter the play village, one of the team leaders gathers the children round to tell them a little about the village and to sing a few songs with actions. The song is all about capturing your imagination and having fun, so it really does set the tone nicely for the day.

Warwick Kitchen.jpg

The village is so well thought out. Attention to detail here is amazing. It wasn’t as big as I had imagined, but for me, that was a plus point as I do get a little anxious if I can’t see where Finley is in play areas. From the restaurant seating space you could keep a close eye on your child. We have an informal tag team agreement in our group, so one us gulps tea whilst the other goes on toddler watch duty, so in this setting it was really easy to do this.

Finley was immediately drawn to the Fire Station. He donned the helmet and fire jacket, along with the little fire canisters and foam fire pieces, and Fireman Finley went to the rescue! He loved driving the fire truck and pretending to go down the fireman’s pole.

Next we visited the village school, where there were great little educational games to play, along with a blackboard and desks. It was lovely to see the children take on teacher and pupil roles. It also opened up a conversation with him about starting big school in September and how fun it will be, which was really nice.

Another hit with Finley was Orly’s Beauty Salon. This little shop included mini bottles of moisturisers, a pretend telephone and computer for booking in clients and sinks to wash hair, along with fixed dolls heads that the children could blow dry and style. He loves drying his hair with my hairdryer so I knew this would be a firm favourite with him before we visited!

Warwick hair Salon.jpg

Another very fun section was the theatre. Including a stage, lights and a huge choice of dressing up outfits (Finley’s favourite was a sparkly pink hat which unfortunately I couldn’t catch on camera!) A few of the children including Finley put on a show for the Mom’s and Dad’s which was so much fun to watch!

Warwick ICE CREAM.jpg

There is also Lotty’s Tea Room including a yummy looking selection of pretend cakes, a Post Office, a supermarket, Village Vets, an ice cream parlour and picnic site and a construction site. All packed with items designed to fire up little imaginations. There is also an area for babies to play in the centre of the village with a selection of wooden toys.

By this point, were were pretty hungry. There was a really nice selection including toasties, salads, sandwiches and sharing platters as well as a kids menu. We opted for the Little Picnic Basket from the children’s menu and the Cheeky Mermaid Fish Finger Sandwich, Along with a bowl of chips and a drink, this came to just over £14, which for the portion sizes I thought was really good value, as the quality was fantastic.

Warwick Food.jpg

At the end of the session, all of the children are encouraged to help to tidy away. It’s so much easier to get your toddler to do this when there are 30 other children doing it too!

I would definitely recommend a visit to Warwick Play Village. We will absolutely be making a second visit. I would particularly have this in mind for a rainy day activity!

Please don’t call us lazy!

It seems that there are a few topics that do the rounds every so often on the news and topic shows designed to divide parents – breastfeeding v bottle feeding, literacy levels, co sleeping to name just a few. Last week, the head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman, spoke of a rise in the numbers of children starting school in nappies.

I have documented our ongoing battle with potty training here. Not much has changed since I wrote the post back in February. We have good weeks where we silently tell ourselves that we have broken the potty training barrier and then we have weeks (like this week) where he just goes back to square one. We refer to it as potty strike. When potty strike strikes, it feels like the days are an uphill struggle with constant cleaning and clothes changes.

There were several threads social media following the report, with the topic being covered on programmes such as This Morning and Loose Women. In the social media age, everyone has an opinion, mainly basing it purely on their own personal experience. Everyone now has a voice, and it seems so easy to make very generalised statements about people that you have never even met and you have no insight into their life.

A selection of my favourite comments are as follows –

‘My little Maisie did it in a day. I just took her pants off and she just did it. It’s so easy!’*

‘It’s just lazy parenting. Plain and simple’*

‘My little boy was trained day and night by age 2’*

‘Parents nowadays just can’t be bothered. Too busy on their phones’*

‘In my day you couldn’t send them to nursery without being dry. We did it in a week. My Jack was reciting algebra by the time he was 5’**

I eye rolled so many times. I am really glad that little Jack is on track to read physics at Cambridge, and that you have been the perfect parent since he was conceived, but did no one ever tell you that putting other people down doesn’t make you any better?! I am, as are many other parents, raising children not robots and they all develop at different rates at different times.

Now, I have no doubt that in a small number of cases, there is a degree of parental neglect. But sometimes, the ‘the parents are lazy’ statement is a huge generalisation. There are many factors as to why children are later being potty trained now. Mom’s generally go to work now and there may be different childcare arrangements throughout the child’s early years. We generally wait until a child is ready now instead of rushing potty training, And disposables are sometimes mentioned as a contributing factor, as the child doesn’t feel wet when they wee.

I really don’t totally buy in to the ‘this didn’t happen in my day’ school of thought. From a source who shall rename nameless, I have been told of a little boy who attended school in the 60’s. He had poor social skills, poor literacy, lack of concentration. He was dismissed as a ‘naughty boy’ who was regularly hit over the knuckles with a ruler for ‘misbehaviour.’ Anyone with any experience of children by today’s standards would clearly recognise this child possibly suffered with dyslexia, possibly ADHD – who know’s? I am confident that this is probably a story replicated for many people across the UK. My guess is it did happen, but people just didn’t talk about it.


And us? We aren’t lazy. You name it, we’ve tried it. Taking days off work – check. Reward charts – check. Being nice about it – yep. Being cross – several times. Shopping for potty’s – We have a potty in every room, all chosen by the boy in question. Each day out is accompanied with a back pack full of clothes changes ‘just in case’. We feel like going to the toilet has taken over our whole lives some days. Finley starts school in September and the panic is starting to set in. We keep being told that ‘eventually he will get it!’ We are desperately waiting for that day to arrive!

Sometimes it just takes some kids longer. They aren’t robots. We feel stressed enough by the whole thing already. Please don’t makes us feel worse!

*I may have paraphrased and exaggerated these quotes slightly. But you get the jist!

**FYI Jack’s Mom, Finley can count to 100 and spell his own name and that isn’t exaggerated – so there!

Liebster Award!

Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! The lovely Crushed Caramel has kindly nominated me for a very cool little accolade, given by bloggers to other bloggers to allow them to get to chat a little bit about themselves. Then in turn, they can nominate other blogs they enjoy reading!

The rules are as follow –

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers
  4. Ask them 11 questions
  5. Let them know you have nominated them

So here are my questions and answers!



If I am feeling flush my chocolate of choice is Hotel Chocolat. Every day I just like plain and simple Galaxy.


I loved reading Abi’s blog over at Something About Baby and Nicola’s blog at All Things Spliced. I always thought it was quite a nice little hobby. Finley started nursery and I suddenly had a free day each week to myself so I thought ‘why not?!’


That’s a big question! It comes in many different forms and I think it’s easy to look back when you are older and forget things that were hurtful to you when you were younger. I think we all experience it in some ways as we grow up. I guess it depends on the degree of it how you let it affect you.


I love going on trains! I really want to do the overnight train to Scotland. I went to Edinburgh years back and adored it -a bit geeky I guess!


Don’t cheat – it’s not nice!


I don’t mind any sort of poem if it’s a good one!


Moulin Rouge, space girl, I can’t really remember really it was a long time ago!


I am a huge S Club 7 and Girls Aloud fan – anything cheesy!


No I am trying to convince my husband to do one though


Ha Ha! We have a lot of fairies in our house!

So there you go! I hope I have educated you in the mind of Yammy Mommy! My nominees are as follows –

Laura at Sophella

Kelly at Small House Big Trips

Kayleigh at Mini Human Resources 

Becky at The Owlet

Charlotte at Little Pickles Design Blog

Nina at Non IGE Baby

And here are my questions –

  1. What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
  2.  What box set are you watching at the moment?
  3. Describe yourself in 3 words?
  4. What does your perfect day look like?
  5. Who inspires you the most?
  6. Cats or Dogs?
  7. What’s your worst habit?
  8. Staying in or going out?
  9. What has been your most embarrassing moment?
  10. What book are you currently reading?
  11. What’s your geek trait?


Happy Monday everyone!



When Finley helped Mr Silly Pancakes get to the moon!

As readers to my reviews will know by now, we love a live performance in our family. I always keep an eye on the Mac listings, as as well as showing fantastic shows aimed at the under 5 age group, it’s a venue I really like to support. I have a soft spot for this place. I visited Cannon Hill Park and Mac frequently as a child with my Dad (30 years + ago!) so I guess it’s holds a special place in my heart!

When I spotted Mr Silly Pancake and the Land of Cake and Biscuits, I just had had to see it. A show about pancakes, cake and biscuits?! What could be better?!

On entering the theatre, the set as would expect was visually stunning, with a promise of a visit to ‘Cherie Trifles Magical Cake Shop.’ We didn’t have long to wait before the wonderful Mrs Trifle bounded on to the set, asking us all to share some magic to help her make some cakes by waving our fingers around.

After a visit from the Gingerbread Man, she told us all about the Land of Cake and Biscuits, and how Mr Silly Pancake lived there. Humans aren’t allowed to visit, because we would eat everything! But Mr Silly Pancake needed our help to get to the moon? Could we actually go and resist the temptation to nibble at the treats?

The following part of the show was such a surprise and so unique. All of the children were invited on set to sit on a biscuit and help Mr Pancake! Finley’s face as he played around the stage, navigating jelly fields, marshmallow castle and milkshake river was just such a magical experience. Not to mention the crazy dancing custard cream! I have never known such an interactive show where the children helped to dictate the narrative. Amazing! We all know how hard it is to keep toddlers engaged in a story and to sit in their seat for 60 minutes, so this as just pure genius.

With bubbles, lights, magic spells and dancing, it was an hour of fun and laughter for everyone.

And did Mr Pancake get to the moon…? You’ll have to wait until Knees and Toes Theatre is back in town and go and find out!

Special mention to the BSL interpreter. Such a great job bouncing around stage with so many children and keeping in sight of who needed to see you!

Top 10 things to do in the Black Country this half term!

7 days is a lifetime in the eyes of a kid (and a parent!) so if you are looking for things to keep your little one occupied this May half term, check out my handy guide below detailing my top picks of things to do in the Black Country next week.

Some of these attractions we have been regular visitors too, so I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

1 – Arley Arboretum

Where? Upper Arley, Near Bewdley, DY12 1SQ

Price? £5.50 per adult. Kids go free during half term.

Join in the fun on the dragons and princesses trail round stunning gardens with views of the Severn Valley Railway.  Explore the maze, play area and refuel in the cafe which also has an extensive outside seating area. Great if we get some sun!

Arley Arboretum 2

2 – Birmingham Museum Dippy The Dinosaur

Where? Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH.

Price? Free – but pre booking is recommended.

As well as being able to visit the iconic Dippy The Dinosaur, the museum is also hosting a range of craft activities, dressing up, jigsaws and colouring in.

3 – Black Country Living Museum

Where? Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ.

Price? £17.95 per adult, £8.95 per child, under 3’s go free.

This half term visit their ‘Made In The Black Country’ event, and learn all about how the Black Country manufactured goods that were shipped all around the globe. What’s more, your entry cost will allow you to visit unlimited times over the next 12 months.

Black Country Museum .jpg

4 – Dudley Canal Trust

Where? Birmingham Road, Tipton, DY1 4SB.

Price? £5 per adult, £5 per child

On the 30th and the 31st May, Dudley Canal trust will be running 45 minute boat trips along with running Black Country themed activities. Included in your entry cost is a hot drink and a range of craft activities.

Dudley Canal Trust.jpg

5 – Himley Hall

Where? Dudley, DY3 4DF.

Price? Free, however car parking charges will apply

Find Twit, the very silly owl, who has lost his way in Himley Hall! Collect your map from the arrival tent and and guide your way round the gorgeous grounds to help him find his way home!

6 – Red House Glass Cone 

Where? High Street, Stourbridge, DY8 4AZ

Price? Sessions start at £3

There is a whole week’s worth of activities running next week, including a treasure trail, an animal fun day and glass crafts. Check the website for more details.

7 – Severn Valley Railway

Where? Departures from Severn Valley Railway, Comberton Hill, DY10 1QX.

Price? £21 per adults, £14 per child, under 3’s go free.

There are a host of activities next week at the Highley Pump House. including Dippy The Clown, face painting, music and dancing and the chance to meet a greyhound. Kids eat free in the cafe too!

8 – Dudley Libraries ‘crafting with Elmer’

Where? Various Dudley Libraries through the week

Price? Free

Dudley libraries are running Elmer crafts at various Dudley libraries throughout the week. check the website for specific time slots.

Saturday 26th May – Coseley, Halesowen, Long Lane, Lye, Stourbridge

Tuesday 29th May – Brierley Hill, Sedgley

Wednesday 30th May- Wordsley

Thursday 31st May  – Coseley, Lye

Friday 1st June – Dudley

9 – Creation Station at Mary Stevens Park

Where? Stourbridge, DY8 2DA

Price? Free. A contribution to the park is welcomed.

Have a great afternoon of crafting with your baby or toddler in the sun without the hassle of cleaning up afterwards! The event runs on Thursday 31st May outside The Hub.

Creation Station .jpg

10 – Rainbow Street

Where? 130 Colley Gate, Halesowen, B63 2BX.

Price? £4.95 for a child and accompanying adult, sibling discounts apply

An absolutely fantastic place, particularly if the weather isn’t great! There are 4 sessions daily, and its such a great play area allowing your child to role play in the cafe, doctors surgery and shop, as well as playing dress up in the costume corner! Amazing range of cakes, snacks and milkshakes too along with sandwiches and a kids menu.

Rainbow Street .jpg

Are there any other great places I need on my radar?  Let me know – I am always on the look out for things to do!

* Details correct at time of writing – please check before you visit anywhere . I won’t be held responsible!


Becoming a vegetarian-ish!

We are pretty big meat eaters in our house. Most days includes at least 1 course of meat, usually chicken. I am not sure what’s shifted recently. I have never considered becoming a vegetarian and I guess, until quite recently, I probably (wrongly) thought it was a little bit hippy!

A while back the story of the 2 Sisters chicken factory did turn my belly a little. I wrongly assumed that food standards everywhere were highly regulated and the things that were reported, such as chicken being wrongly labelled to adjust the production date and dropping meat that was eventually packaged on the floor, just wouldn’t happen.

We have been chatting quite a lot in our house recently about carbon footprints, I guess now we have Finley we have become a bit more aware of the planet we will leave behind for him and our grandchildren. I must issue a disclaimer on calculating yours – it’s not the easiest thing to do! However, I had a go and based against the target of 2 metric tonnes per person (to combat climate change) mine was estimated at 3.46 metric tonnes. The average for a person living in the UK at present is 7.13 metric tonnes per person. So needless to say, there is work to be done!

I have noticed the cost of meat rising recently. On average we spend around £100 a week on groceries and I am always looking at ways to cut this down! For example at Asda I usually buy the meats as 3 for £10. For a weeks worth of meals this is £20 before you have even thought about buying anything else! I am sure going to a butchers may work out a little cheaper, but I just don’t have the time at weekends to visit local high streets.

The health element also interested me – would I feel any differently cutting down my meat consumption? I have heard different people say different things when cutting meat out from their diet – better skin, higher energy levels, sleeping better to name a few. All of these sound highly appealing to me, so I am waiting with baited breath for these changes to take affect!

I have noticed such a difference when eating out and shopping in the range of vegetarian and vegan food available. Stuart has got me into eating falafels which at the moment I can’t get enough of. We tried some of Asda’s Sweet Potato and Red Pepper burgers this weekend and they were really nice.

So while I am not going to turn 100% vegetarian, I guess I can class myself as a part time one?! Stuart is definitely more committed when it comes to making drastic changes to his diet and lifestyle and as he has decided he wants to cut down it’s a good time too make the change. Hopefully me doing it alongside him (most of the time!) will assist him.

So my next challenge is to find some yummy, easy, meat free meals! We are eating a lot of fish at the moment and yesterday I did a rather good vegetable curry which I will be doing again soon as it was so easy.

Has anyone else cut down on meat? Any great meal idea I can try? Leave in the comments below!


Bloggers Breakfast at The Baby Show!

I was a little (a lot!) excited on Friday as I was invited along to the Natural Birthing Company Bloggers Breakfast hosted by the NCT Breastfeeding Cafe at The Baby Show at the NEC. Being still fairly new to the blogging game, it’s really lovely to be asked along to these things and a real treat to be able to try out products and chat to other parenting bloggers.

NBC 2.jpg

I wasn’t familiar with the Natural Birthing Company beforehand, probably as they were launched just after Finley was born back in 2014 they hadn’t come on to my radar, so being a health and beauty product of any kind fantatic, I was really excited to learn more about the range and see the range of products on offer.

The press pack boasted of the numerous awards the range has received in the short time it has been on the market. Mother and Baby Awards shortlist 2018, The Green Parent Awards 2017 and Prima Baby and Pregnancy Awards 2016 to name but a few. The range is 100% vegan and British made. There are so many products aimed at Babies and Children on the market, so it was really refreshing to learn that the Natural Birthing range is made specifically for mums to be.

It was also really lovely to chat to Jane, the founder of the range and a qualified and practicing Midwife. If anyone knows the needs and challenges of a pregnant woman, it has to be a Midwife right?!

Not presently being a mum to be, there were a few products I couldn’t do a full review on, namely ‘Down Below’ (Perineal Massage Oil) and Bosom Buddies (Breastfeeding Oil) But trying the products out on my hand you could feel how lovely the products are to use and how yummy they smelt! The products contain essential oils such as Evening Primrose Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Peppermint and Lavender. And having being developed specifically for use in pregnancy, you can be assured they are safe to use.


My favourite product is the ‘Best Wishes’ Uplifting Body Wash. Although the recommended use is to help with morning sickness, I immediately thought how lovely it would be to use when your little one had a bunged up nose! It’s so lovely and mentholly and I would also love to use it perhaps for aching joints and if you yourself are under the weather. We tried it out over the weekend and it produces lovely foamy bubbles. Our upstairs smelt amazing afterwards too!

Also available is the ‘Cool It Mama’ Cooling Body Spritz to help with pregnancy sweats and hot flushes. Including ingredients such as Neroli and Ylang Ylang, it can also help with headaches and tiredness. I will be passing this on to my Mom, as it can also help with menopausal hot flushes too! ‘Bump Envy’ Stretch Mark Oil contains olive oil and shea butter to help combat stretch marks and can be used throughout pregnancy. ‘Pure Bliss’ Postnatal Compress Solution would be an absolutely fantastic product to pack in your hospital bag. It can be used on stitches, C section wounds and haemorrhoids. I would have LOVED to have this to hand after I had given birth, along with ‘Bottoms Up’ Soothing Bottom Spray, which can also help with general soreness down below. This would be great to take out and about in your changing bag,

The final product demonstrated was the ‘Relax and Breathe’ Calming Massage Oil which is designed to be used on your bump to aid bonding with your baby and throughout labour. Again, one I would have loved to have had!

The products are available in Boots, Amazon and Holland and Barratt as well as the Natural Birthing Company website.