Alongside writing the odd post, we love to read others, gaining insight into the future of parenting and plenty of tips! Here’s a few of our favourite parent bloggers. Because, if you found me, you’re likely to like them too!
I’ll update this over time, so pop back and find some new blogs to follow every few months.
It would be wrong to not put Emily first. This is the fantastic Mummy who inspired me to start, and helped me get into blogging in the first place.
She’s so down to earth, so honest and not afraid to say when its all going wrong. She many a great money saving tip, and her blog is a place for all the issues new parents face.
These two are a fantastic Mummy and Daddy duo with the cutest little man Grayson, and their latest equally adorable furry addition of Bella.
Their blog gives great parenting views from Nursery to great days out, recommends new music in New Tunes Tuesday, whilst also tackling tougher issues, such as sexual harassment and educating our children about white privilege.
There no one post to highlight, check out their blog and give them a follow on the ‘gram.
Whilst this product was kindly gifted. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.
From the second I said, ‘look, a package for you’ Munchkins eyes lit up. When he saw it was Peppa, the excitement was unreal, he could not wait for me to wrestle and free it from the packaging.
Peppa Pig Count with Peppa is a number and colour recognition toy all styled in the design and with the voice of every parents favourite pig.
It uses 10 coloured number discs, with different colours and the numbers from 1 – 10. On the other side is the corresponding number of items i.e. 5 planes. Peppa can recognise which discs are inserted and therefore know if the correct disc is posted.
There are multiple games, from find the number, to find the coin which has a certain number of an item. It also plays three songs, from the series, which Munchkin was instantly joining in with. This will further solidify Munchkins colour and counting skills and improve his ability to follow instructions.
We admit we had a little issue pushing the coins through at first. But two days later it seems to have improved for us both.
As parents, there’s still times we need to put the kids to bed, get the beers out and enjoy a game or five…
Big Potato have always been a favourite of mine, even before I started to collaborate with them. They produce fantastic party and family games, and are also working to be more eco-friendly by reducing plastic, reducing box sizes and planting trees (double points from me!)
6. Day at the Festival/Night at the movies puzzles
First on the list is a new release from Big Potato Games. There’s two puzzles, one is all about movies and one about bands and music artists.
Each is a 1000 piece puzzle which when complete, becomes a second challenge to identify the hidden bands/movies from the picture clues.
🕑 Variable, as its a puzzle
5. 20 Second Showdown
20 second showdown is instant, fast paced, addictive fun. Split into two teams, grab a baton and get prepared.
Flip the timer and start the 20 second countdown, complete a task then flip the time back to start the time running for the other team. Complete simple, and often hilarious tasks and try to stay in the game by completing the task within the time. The first team to run out of time loses.
🕑 15 min
👤 5 – 20
4. P for Pizza
P for pizza was a lockdown savior as it only requires a minimum of two players.
Reveal three categories, match to a letter and shout an answer before another player. If you are first, win a pizza slice and add it to build your mega pizza slice to win. Though as you build, the categories you can answer reduce, making it harder the game progresses. A game so good you always play it twice.
🕑 15 min
👤 2 – 4
3. Don’t get Got
Don’t get got is the ultimate party game as you can play it alongside something else, like dinner, a party or other games.
Get five secret tasks and one ‘guess what?’. Be the first to fool three other players and complete your tasks, but don’t get caught, or rather, Don’t Get Got!
In snakesss, players get points by answering questions correctly after a brief team discussion. But beware, some players are actually snakes who try to charm you to choose the wrong answer. Snakes score points by distracting you from the correct answer.
One player gets the wooden ‘Mongoose of Truth’ token which shows they definitely aren’t a snake!
🕑 40 min
👤 4 – 8
1. The Chameleon
And finally, number one! My favourite Big Potato game is The Chameleon.
In this game, one player is The Chameleon who needs to blend in with the crowd. Every one else tries to uncover their disguise.
Turn over a new topic card and roll the dice. This will show the topic to all players but the Chameleon. Take turns giving a word related to the topic in order to detect the Chameleon – but watch out, they can escape if they can guess the topic so be wise when you choose your word.
With only a two year old, in all honesty, Daddyandmunchkin knows nothing about the return to school, so here’s a guest post from Lydia Chan.
While back-to-school prep always seems to frazzle parents, starting up school amidst a pandemic makes things more challenging. Being prepared can go a long way toward easing frustrations, though. Consider these prep tips to help you stay safe and get ready for a smoother school year.
Amp Up Your Electronics
Be sure to address your household’s electronic needs before the first day of school, whether virtual or otherwise.
Download parental control apps to monitor or limit kids’ screen time.
Clean your kids’ schoolitems at the end of the day (if they attend in person).
Heading back to school can be both liberating and frustrating for parents. Between worries over germs and concerns on the effects of technology, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But with these tips for navigating digital classrooms, boosting kids’ confidence, and eliminating as many germs as possible, you can enjoy a calmer back-to-school season.
About the Author
Lydia Chan understands the life of caregiving for another. After her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is the co-creator of Alzheimer’s Caregiver, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers.
Based on the book series by Tom Blofeld, BeWILDerwood is a magical forest playground for the whole family. With wooden playgrounds, a sky maze, ropewalks, balancing beams, and the fastest and longest slides, all set within the trees in a beautiful forest setting. Everything is suitable for the entire family too so adults can play alongside their children for a truly enjoyable but exhausting fun family day out, so here is our beWILDerwood review.
Entry costs* £17.50 for an ‘Almost Wild’ child of 92 – 105 cm, £19.50 for over 105 cm to 65 years and £12.50 for the over 65’s. Entry includes all day climbing and exploring, free parking, and is inclusive of story times, dancing events and craft activities, so there’s no extra cost. *as of August 2021
A brief word on Covid
With restrictions lifted, I think its still nice to mention the Covid restrictions in place. BeWILDerwood supported digital ticket entry and cashless payments so there was no wasted paper and no handing over of tickets or payment cards. There were signs for social distancing in queues (although widely ignored by most) and instructions to keep left on pathways. There were also hand sanitiser stations at every section of the park (and most were full, which is quite the accomplishment as this has been a rarity elsewhere).
Munchkin’s (a two and a half year old toddler’s) experience
The forest is munchkin’s favourite place so that was a good start. Then, to add to that, there were slides, things to climb, and plenty of things to explore. Munchkin had a absolutely fantastic day, given a longish wait to enter and for the (very short) boat ride.
Which is probably my only negative. While Munchkin was excited for the boat, a 30 minute wait for a generally unexciting 2 minute journey isn’t really worth it. That said, it may be better for fans of the series as sets the scene of the books.
To avoid the long wait to enter, I recommend arriving early to beat the queue, get straight onto the boat and arrive first on the large structures such as the sky maze.
With only one or two things that were too big for his height, such as large ‘demon drop’ style, almost vertical bag slides, he was in his element. Climbing ladders, going across rope ladders and down the largest and fastest slides he’s ever seen! There was nothing he didn’t want to do. Ultimately proven by falling asleep before we even left the drive out of the wood!
Food and Drink
For this one we took a picnic, and there were numerous picnic spots, including one right next to the car park for an each lunch grab, so it was a breeze finding a free table.
If you to find something to eat there, there’s sausage buns, hotpot, nachos, sausage rolls and picnic food, such as sandwiches, crisps and fruit. Although we didn’t try their food, it was reasonably priced (£4.35 for a sausage hotpot), so we will likely eat there next time. They also do ice cream!
Where do you find Bewilderwood?
BeWILDerwood can be found in two spots in the UK, in Norfolk (north west of Norwich) and Cheshire (half an hour south of Chester). Here’s their handy dandy maps from their website.
No complaints here. A fantastic day out for the whole family.
If you know this Daddy, you’ll know he thinks most social situations need snacks, a flow of good beers (gin or wine also suit) and a plethora of good board or party games to play. So Here are my seven, top board and party games in no particular order.
When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards making further content and buying more games to review.
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P for Pizza – Big Potato Games
P for Pizza, whose box isn’t edible like the photo suggests, is a super simple party game for 2 – 4 players. Being suitable for two players, it was the perfect lockdown companion for evenings when we officially ‘ran out of Netflix‘.
The rules could not be simpler. Match a category with a corresponding letter and shout out an appropriate answer before your teammates. Quickest correct answer wins a slice to build their own pizza pyramid. As the pyramid gets taller, the choice of categories lessens, increasing the difficulty towards the win.
P for Pizza is on the list for is simplicity to explain and get into and how everyone asks for another game.
The GOT board game is a fantastic board game I haven’t had the pleasure of playing since University, yet it still makes the top list because of some very fond memories.
Imagine a Risk style board game, but set in Westeros. You compete as one of the six great houses aiming for domination of Westeros to claim the Iron Throne.
In each battle the tides can be turned by using characters alongside dice roles and players should always be aware of the risk of the Wildlings attacking from north of the wall! So in essence, its Risk, but with many, many more layers of complexity.
At 2+ hours gameplay (though it took us 6 hours the first play), this certainly isn’t one for a quick evening game and you’ll need a team as it requires 3 to 6 players.
Game of Thrones board game is on the list as it is totally immersive, bringing you into the battle and the feel of fighting for the iron throne.
Carcarsonne was another lockdown favourite, as not only a physical board game, but also digitised on the site Board Game Arena; a online board game website with a plethora of games to play.
Take turns placing tiles to build cities, monasteries and roads to link them together. Score points by placing a ‘meeple’ on the feature and completing it, or setting them in a field to be scored at game end. Use the large meeple (which counts as two) to compete for ownership and steal points from other players.
Carcarsonne is on my list and I have been so addicted since playing it for the first time. Simple as that.
Sushi Go is a deluxe, 2 – 8 player 20 minute sushi feast game!
A game of Sushi Go last three rounds. In each round, each player is dealt a hand of cards. Simultaneously, each player chooses 1 card to play and places it face down. When all players have chosen the cards are turned and each player passes their hand to the left.
Sushi Go basic game set up (left) and hand during gameplay (right)
The round ends when all the cards have been placed, and then cards are scored depending on the type of sushi. For example, Nigiri are scored individually for 1, 2 or 3 points, however you need a group of three Sashimi to score 10 points. If pudding is collected, these are scored at the end of the three rounds. The player with the highest points wins.
Its on the top games list as its so accessible to all and enjoyed by most.
Linkee is a fun team game which works best with three of more teams of two or more players. A question master reads four questions one by one, then a clue if required, out loud to the teams. The first team to shout ‘Linkee!’ and guess the link wins the card. Each card has a letter on the other side, and the first team to spell ‘Linkee’ wins.
Linkee example card (left) and winning collection (right)
There’s two extra little rules to use when you collect spare cards you don’t need. You can ‘buy’ a letter from the bank in exchange for three cards, or delete one from another team at a cost of two cards.
Linkee is a favourite as its simple but highly competitive, getting everyone poised to shout ‘Linkee!’
Munchkin is another game with a lot of rules. In simple terms, its a 3 – 6 player game which can last anything from 40 minutes to several hours.
Munchkin Zombie starting set up (left) and example monster (right)
The object of the game is to get to level 10. This can be done using special cards, but, most importantly, defeating monsters. As you play, you get the opportunity to level up your character as you go, adding items to power up your Munchkin.
At any time, you can attack other players with cards too, making it a constant game of battle to reach level 10 and win. Like I said though, that’s it in very basic terms, there’s quite a few more rules!
Munchkin comes in a variety of themes. Each can be played individually or merged together. So Munchkin Zombies could become Munchkin Zombie Superheroes by combining two decks.
Munchkin made the list as its always in my bag for a games night. It’s geeky whilst enjoyable.
Don’t Get Got is the ultimate party game as it can be played simultaneously with other games, alongside a meal or, to be honest, any get together.
Don’t get got example wallet mid game (left) and game contents (right)
Each player gets a mission wallet with 6 tasks. The first is simply a ‘Guess what?’ which you succeed if someone replies with ‘What?’. This one can be attempted multiple times.
Then there’s 5 more secret tasks such as ‘Hide this card on a player without them noticing’ or ‘stick this card under a table and get a player to notice it’. These can only be attempted once, as if you are caught, you fail the task, so choose your opportunity wisely!
The first to pass three tasks wins.
Don’t get got is on the list as its one of a kind. I’ve never seen anything like it in that it can go alongside any social gathering.
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An important decision
Your new arrivals first sleeper is an important decision, amongst many others. It’s got to fit your budget (alongside all the millions things you need at the start), may need to provide functions above and beyond sleeping at home such as as a travel cot, be safe and comfortable and support that new little ones early development. For us, it was a Next 2 me. Why? Well here’s our Chicco Next 2 Me Review.
There are multiple options/editions of the Next 2 Me cot (see versions below) . This review is based on the Next 2 me Dream. This was the middle of the road option but with all the essential bells and whistles we required.
The Next 2 Me fit its purpose for us for multiple reasons. Firstly, Munchkin was breast-fed for the first six months, so easy access was essential. Natalie found it super easy to pick him up, give him a feed and pop him back down without leaving the duvet (that’s messy nappies aside though, as that’s usually where I pitched in).
It had a great mattress too. As the early age, babies backs are developing and need a good supportive mattress. The next 2 me was suitable from birth for all night sleeping so that’s ticked off. Other features included a reclinable side, to change it from a side of bed sleeper to a full on cot. It had a tilt mode, to help with nights of bad reflux and 6 different levels to make a snug fit to any bed.
Out and About
The Next 2 me easily doubled up as a travel cot. Munchkin was born pre-covid, so it was essential to have something we could easily pack up, pop in the car and take to family and friends or on holiday. The Next to me was simple to collapse and build, leaving to frustration free sleeps away from home. It fitted simply in the boot and had simple instructions to pass on when needed.
Price, versions and where to purchase
The next 2 me range comes in a range of options. Ours was middle of the road, and picked up in a Mothercare sale which knocked a few bob off (RIP mothercare, which lost the retail battle). However, models range from the most basic ‘Air’ with 1 level mattress and zip side access (£129 John Lewis) to ‘Dream’ with multi level (for when they start to sit) and fold down side mechanism (£166 Amazon) to the full out ‘Magic’ (£227 Argos (promotion Jul 2021, usually £227)) with wheels to move the crib about, one handed access, rocking mode and improved mechanisms for folding and storage. If you’re looking for something more permanent for they also have the ‘Forever’ which triples up as a side-sleeping cot, traditional cot and floor bed for toddlers (£329 John lewis).
Overall and Stars
An essential bit of kit and perfect for our needs.
I wanted to do something with Munchkin for my birthday, and Nanny has always said about Sundown Adventureland, which was somewhere I fondly remembered from my childhood, ever since before Munchkin was born. I have reviewed the other parks we have visited with Munchkin including Hobbledown and Chessington World of Adventure, so here is my Sundown Adventureland Review.
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What is Sundown Adventureland?
Maybe this video will answer that?
Sundown Adventureland is a theme park aimed at the under 10’s. It features numerous play parks, all with different themes from an old American wild west cavalry post, to a pirate cove, a sand pit play zone and Angry birds themed play area. Then there are themed zones to walk through and play in, including story book houses, the yellow brick road and a toy town, with miniature town buildings to go through and explore. There are multiple rides, including a train ride, tractor, a boat ride (where you get soaked), flying pigs, tea cups and an ostrich ride. There’s a driving school, but you have to be slightly taller (over 1.0 m) to have a go at that one.
Entry cost varies throughout the year. We visited in early June so it was off-season. This meant rides were subject to opening times, but the entry price was reduced to £14.50 for adults and children over 90 cm in comparison to £17.50 in summer*. Children under 90 cm are free, and are also too short for most of the rides, but have plenty of play parks to explore. *Prices correct as of June 2020.
Having visited during the pandemic. Its only right I assess their Covid guidelines and how they were managed.
It all honesty it was slightly mixed bag here. There was no temperature testing on arrival, like that used in many other places. There were zones in which masks were to be worn, but the signage wasn’t always the clearest. Some rides had clear social distancing markings, but many did not, and where they didn’t, people didn’t tend to distance.
One thing they did well however, was clean every ride every time. Thankfully it was low season and this didn’t add to the wait times.
At just over 90 cm Munchkin could go on all but one ride, and being low season, he went on all but one ride, and some twice!
He had an absolute ball, he was completely made up when he saw the Noah’s Ark play area as we arrived and that was just the start. He left multiple rides asking ‘again Daddy/Nanny!’. Even if he seemed to look a little scared on the rides, I now realise that was his interested face. He was thrilled to ride a tractor and the train and bounce up and down on the ostrich ride. We had to pull him out of every park to explore the next area. He had the time of his life and we can’t wait to take him again.
There were so many bits maintained from my childhood which were a joy for me and Nanny to explore. I had vivid memories of the yellow brick lane and Nanny loved seeing and exploring the miniature town like we did when we were children.
Food and drink
There are several establishments on site offering hot food which is ‘tasty, not gourmet’ (their words not mine, but do sum it up quite well). Two of these offer soft play too to give parents a rest, though these were closed when we visited due to restrictions. If you would like to bring your own, there’s tons of space for a picnic and the car park is a short walk from the entrance.
Where do you find it?
Sundown Adventureland is located east of the A1, east of Worksop and north-west of Lincoln.
Sundown Adventureland Review Star Rating
Taking away a half star for the little annoyance of limited Covid-10 restrictions, we would give Sundown Adventureland:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
This rating is for perfect park cleanliness, really reasonable pricing, the variety on offer and the enjoyment had by myself, Nanny and Munchkin.
A parent’s work is never done. According to a survey by Salary.com, the proper compensation for a stay-at-home parent should be around $160,000 (£115,000). The work never stops, but that doesn’t mean the money is coming in. There comes a time in many parents’ journeys where the finances are looking a little tight, and the need for extra income becomes real.
But for many folks, a full-time traditional 9-5 just doesn’t fit their lifestyle. It doesn’t leave much time for what’s most important – taking care of your little ones. Fortunately, the gig economy and online opportunities can help. In this article, we discuss four side hustles that will earn you money while allowing you to work from home.
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1. Virtual Assistant
Do you have a working computer, Wi-Fi, and excellent people skills? If so, consider a virtual assistant position for your next side hustle! This growing profession is one of the easiest ways to make money online. All you have to do is perform basic administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and entering data, leaving you with more than enough time for your kids! You can earn anywhere between $8 and $30 an hour (£8 to £22).
2. Freelance Blogger
Blogging is one of the best ways to generate income while retaining your schedule flexibility. You’ll be able to work on your own time and write about what interests you. The rise of mommy and daddy bloggers have taken the internet by storm, and for a good reason. Hosting costs less than $10 (£7.20) a month, and sites are easily monetizable with ad revenue, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts. The sky’s the limit for this one – you can earn anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a month to six figures.
This is the perfect job for goal-oriented people who love to help other people succeed in life. Consulting involves developing a strategy or plan to help clients achieve their goals. This job typically requires accreditation of some sort. A great solution is to get an online degree, which will enable you to get certified while simultaneously keeping up with your busy lifestyle. For example, a degree in computer science offers excellent growth potential and can be applied to varying subjects such as logic, architecture and systems, and AI. You can then use your newfound knowledge to consult for those who require your expertise.
4. E-Commerce Business
While starting your own business is no small endeavor, the payoff is that it’s a great way to supplement your income. Get inspired by other “mompreneurs” and “popreneurs” to provide products or services of value. The best thing about running a small business is that it has minimal upfront investment and setting up and is easily done from the comfort of your own home. Try to monetize a unique skill or hobby to increase market value. Some people sell handmade crochet patterns; others sell used clothes. Some may choose to print art, while others sell car tutorials. You have the freedom to go wild here and find something that you’re passionate about while raking in those dollars!
There you have it – the best online jobs for you to bring in some extra money while still supporting your family. Making good money doesn’t need to be time-consuming, dreary, and demanding. Nor does it need to mean more time away from your kids. Once you find that happy medium of an enjoyable yet monetizable job, you’ll feel like you hit the golden ticket. So get out there and try your hand at some of these jobs!
About the Author
Cheryl Conklin is an aspiring writer, blogger, adventurer, traveller, and creator of Wellness Central. She uses wellnesscentral.info to share her thoughts on wellness along with the great resources she finds on her own wellness journey.
Sensory play is a fantastic thing for babies and toddler development. There are classes available, but its easy to do sensory play at home. Here is a few things we have done with Munchkin during lockdown of 2020. All of these used every day items we already possessed.
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Bubble Float, Bubble Pop
Its a known fact that every child loves bubbles, and Munchkin was no different. The look of awe and amazement as he reached for the bubbles around him was worth every second of the clean up operation which followed!
Bottle Shaker Sounds
If there is one thing Munchkin loves, its making a lot of noise. He loves drumsticks and banging everything, his drums and setting off all his musical toys at once, and even using his utensils at meal times for impromptu musical routines.
So this one was simple. Take equal sized bottles and fill with different every day items to illustrate the different sounds they make. We used lentils, stones Munchkin collected from the garden and rice. You could see the interest of the different sounds and the joy of shaking and dropping them.
Splish Splash Water Play
With swimming on hold, it was important to give our Munchkin some time to splash about at home. So we filled the blow up duck he used to have his baths in, gave him some toys and away he went splashing about.
Wibble Wobble Jelly Play
Exactly what it says in the title. Jelly on a plate, wibbly and wobbly, with a few utensils, feeling it, bouncing it and tasting it. Good orange flavoured fun.
Make a Lentil Mess
We put some lentils in a bowl and let him go crazy. From the first unsure touch, to throwing them everywhere, it was a fun explosion of sensory fun.
Disco lights and lightning bolts
We set up a disco ball, a lightning plate, a rope light and a colouring changing stars on the ceiling toy and popped Munchkin in the middle. He loved touching the plate and making the lightning move, grasping onto the disco ball and wafting around the rope light.
Cook up a storm
Finally, not fully a sensory exploration, but we gave Munchkin kitchen bits and some balls for a cooking experience. He’s had a saucepan ever since as his eyes immediately lit up and a smile filled his little face. He loved to play peek-a-boo with the colander!
It was easy to create sensory and discovery experiences from items already in our household. Hopefully this gives some inspiration for what sensory play at home you can do with your little ones.
Its nice to give children a space that feels their own. We had our Mutable (What’s one of those?) in a corner of our lounge against a plain wall and it lacked something. I decided this needed to change it by adding some things like prints, to make this corner, his corner and make a toddler wall on a budget.
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A Toddler Wall on a Budget
Its always nice to save a pound or two on a project, so I decided to make these things on my own. This turned buying three prints and frames, two wire words and two wire images for around £70 down to less than £20. Here’s how I did it and made a toddler wall on a budget.
Make Prints on Canva
If you haven’t heard of Canva, where have you been hiding? It is the most useful web based application for digital design. See all those images I make for each of my posts? They are all made on Canva!
Now to make prints. First, take some inspiration from the world of Etsy and get a design in mind. I decided to go for a never stop exploring visual design and then a ‘be kind’ rainbow and ‘play, dream, explore’ below. I used a free trial to make these, meaning all the premium art and fonts were accessible, designed them, downloaded them and sent them to Snapfish for printing. We then popped to a discount store for some cheap but reasonably nice frames and got a pack of 3M Command strips and we were away.
Handmake Wire Words and Graphics
I really wanted some wire words after finding them on Instagram, but at £8 – 11 per design, I thought id give it a go myself. For this I found some knitted rope on Amazon, and some easily mouldable copper wire. I then had a mare getting the wire into the knitted rope, but when I did, it was fun seeing what I could come up with. I then went and made a ‘play’ and ‘explore’ word wire and later added a dinosaur and rocket.
Giving Munchkin his own space also fits with our Montessori way of parenting. It gives him some ownership and a space he knows is his. A space he can have his snack, find his morning milk, play, paint, draw and enjoy.