Next week we’re off on a bit of a family road trip. We’re travelling down South and then slowly making our way back up the country with some stops en route. The first leg of the journey is a 6 hour drive with a toddler so my blood pressure is already on the up and I’ve started having visions of 6 hours of shouting, screaming and tears (from me).

I’m not new to long distance travelling with the little man (remember our 9 hour drive to Bluestone last year?) but it’s doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a huge fan!

I try and plan ahead and follow the tips below.

Consider your time of travel

If you can, think about travelling at night or first thing in the morning. Whilst it might not be much fun for the driver, it’s more likely your child will sleep for some of the journey. You could even let them travel in their pyjamas for added comfort.

Talk about where you’re going

One of the places we’re visiting next week is Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park. The little man is Peppa Pig obsessed so we’ve talked about our trip a lot and used it as a bit of ‘good boy’ bribing mechanism. We’ve embellished the details to keep him interested and excited and we’ll talk about it while we’re travelling in the hope it’ll keep him entertained and excited. case

Be prepared

Take at least one change of clothes and a towel. Children aren’t very considerate with their timings when it comes to sickness or an explosive nappy.

When we travel in the UK I take as many things from home as I can, including a well stocked first aid kit, cleaning products and plenty of bin liners to safely store anything dirty in, until we get somewhere where there’s washing facilities or get back home. Poki-Tomb-Runner

Make sure your phone and tablet are full charged and loaded with games

Love it or hate it, technology is your friend when travelling with children. You can keep children entertained on long car journeys by using things like tablets, electronic games or a mobile phone. Make sure you have films and great games to play like Tomb Runner and Bubble Charms fully downloaded and ready to play – no one wants to see a buffering induced toddler tantrum mid journey!

A recent discovery of ours is Poki, a cross platform game publisher with more than 30 million users from all over the world. Their games can be played on on your mobile, tablet or desktop. They offer a huge range of age appropriate online games that are fun and free to play. Munchkin 3

Choose your snacks and drinks wisely

Fruit and crackers are always good for car journeys and a mess free child and car. Try and avoid things that will melt in your childs clammy grip. Don’t forget the rubbish bag to dispose of the half eaten sandwiches and mounds of used baby wipes.

Stop regularly

Even if the journey is short, stop often. Try and find somewhere a little more exciting than a service station. Even a grassy field is more exciting to a child than a concrete car park. Encouraging your child to run around and stretch his legs might also encourage him to nap in the car.

On our road trip next week, we’re going to try and make stops at English Heritage venues. We’re members and it will make a nice change to make stops at somewhere scenic rather than motorway services.

The lovely people at Poki are offering one of my lucky blog readers the chance to win a Amazon tablet, a fantastic prize, especially if you have got some long journeys to make over the Summer.

To have a chance in winning, please complete the Gleam form below and make sure you have a read of the terms and conditions.

 

Tablet (1)

Amazon Tablet/Poki

*Collaborate post

 

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It can be difficult finding new and entertaining things for a toddler to do so I’m always on the look out for new places to go and things to do.

I’d recently heard about a place called Little Town, a newly opened Newcastle play centre which focuses on imagination, social interaction and creativity. It’s very different to the places we usually go and something that sounded really unique.

We travelled up earlier this week, having booked online the day before. Each day at Little Town is split up into four, ninety minute play sessions (9.30 – 11.00am / 11.30 – 1pm / 1.30 – 3pm / 3.30 – 5pm) that cost £5 per child during the week and £6 at the weekend. Pre walking children are admitted for free and each child is allowed to be accompanied by two none paying adults.Little-Town-Newcastle-carparkFinding Little Town was easy, even without a Sat Nav. Rather surprisingly it’s located on a housing estate in the Chapel House area of Newcastle. Parking is free in a car park near Tesco at the rear of the Little Town building. Little-Town-NewcastleLittle-TownI didn’t really expect Little Town to be in a residential dwelling, albeit a reasonably large one. I’d anticipated a warehouse or some thing similar so my first thought was ‘ how on earth would you fit 22 children in here?’.Little-Town-Newcastle-frontWhen we arrived we were greeted at a small hatched window by a member of staff who marked us off her booking list and pointed us in the right direction. There are small lockers near the entrance where you can store your belongings and your shoes which must be removed when entering Little Town. Note these lockers do not lock, so I wouldn’t advise leaving any valuable in them. Little-Town-lockersLiterally, the core of the property has been taken out leaving a mostly open plan space which has then been divided into named areas using low dividing walls.

The play area is quite a bit smaller than I’d imagined but does look aesthetically pleasing. It’s light and bright and ideal for younger children. There were around ten children at Little Town during out visit, ranging from a pre walking baby to a child of around 5 years. I found that a reasonable amount for the space available, although there was still some congestion in certain areas. I can’t imagine how 22 children would fit into the space without it being very over crowded. Little-Town-cafeThere are sections such as the cafe, doctors surgery, supermarket and a construction area with a decent amount of pretend building bricks. little-town.jpg 2There are a row of dressing up costumes, lots of imaginative play items and a couple of ride on toys dotted around Little Town which children can use. Little-Town-hairdressingI found each of the areas clean and tidy with plenty of toys to play with. The little man was able to move round each area and play with things but I think it would be much more difficult for younger children if it was busier. Little-Town-doctors-areaThere was a member of staff constantly walking the floor of Little Town while we were there. She was friendly and polite but I was rather surprised she had very little interaction with the children. Little-Town-doctors

Little-Town-constructionThe little man really enjoyed the construction area and spent time repeatedly building a tower and knocking it over. He also enjoyed the supermarket area where he could wander round filling a shopping basket with plastic produce from the shelves. Little-Town-construction-area

Little-Town-cementThe only thing I think spoils Little Town is the amount of adults inside the play areas. The areas are quite narrow and the adults all seem to congregate in the entrances which blocks them for others and may intimidate younger kids. I think during busier periods it would cause lots of issues.

What we liked

  • There was a good selection of toys
  • Everything was clean and tidy
  • The child to toy ratio was very good during our visit
  • Food and drinks are available – though I’d have liked to see more options, particularly healthy foods.
  • The idea is quite unique, for the North East at least. It made a lovely change to the usual places we visit.

What could be better

  • More interaction with the children from staff
  • Less adults allowed in or adults of older children should be asked to stay out of the play areas
  • We only saw one toilet and it didn’t have a pull down changing table, just a change mat that had to be used on the floor of the toilet

We would return to Little Town but I don’t think I’d make it a regular thing. The little man enjoyed it but he enjoys most activities we go to. I do think it makes a nice change to soft play though and I think it would make a great location for a toddler group.

 

LoveNorthEast
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Halloween todder crafts – potato pumpkin printing
I love crafting and anything arty but the little man is still quite young, so our crafting sessions are usually quite simple and very messy. This Halloween we decided to use potatoes to print pumpkins onto paper. It’s extremely simple to do and perfect for any messy play loving little person.
 
Things you’ll need
 
Potatoes. Different sizes are good for a little variety.
Something sharp to make faces on the potatoes
Paint 
Paper
Cut the potatoes in half using a knife, then on each half, create your pumpkin face. I used a sharp knife and a potato peeler to dig in deep. 
 
Then let your little person get messy! I’d also recommend a large plastic sheet to cover all surfaces. There’s nothing worse than pumpkins printed all over your furniture!
The little man thoroughly enjoyed printing pumpkins onto paper, his hands and Mammy’s hands! 

Potato printing is such an easy thing to do. It’s quick and easy and toddler friendly. It doesn’t have to stop at potato’s though, you could use any kind of solid fruit or vegetable.

 

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17 months old
Personality
He’s a little monster! He doesn’t sit still for a moment and is constantly making a mess. His new trick is climbing, we caught him trying to climb into the attic the other day. 
He doesn’t seem to have picked too many new things up this month. Most of his words are still the same, though he will repeat the sound of things you say. 
He’s started to do the most annoying whinge, He does it when he’s tired or when he can’t get his own way. I haven’t quite learnt how to tune it out yet!
Health
He’s been great this month. His two lower first molars have come through and they have caused him a few niggles but thankfully no sickness or nasty nappies this time. He’s got 10 teeth completely through – front four at the top, front four at the bottom and the  molars. I can see his lower second molars poking through at the back too but they’re not completely cut yet. 
Clothes and shoe size
He’s still in 12-18 in his clothes but we tried him in 12-18 month baby grows the other day which were far too tight on the legs. I don’t think it’ll be long before he moves up to the next size. He’s completely into size 4 shoes now too. 
Eating
Eating is a still a little hit and miss. Sometimes he will wolf things down and others, take one mouthful and then refuse anything further. He’s stopped having a bottle of milk most mornings now. He still has 9ozs of cows milk in a bottle at night and occasionally one during the day to help him nap. 
I think he enjoys breakfast the best. It’s the one meal he eats without a fuss. He loves all kinds of cereal, brioche, toast and particularly anything Daddy has on his plate. 
Sleeping
He’s gone into his big boys bed now. He’s been in for a week or two and is doing really well. He seems much more settled than he ever did in his cot. He still likes to come in for a snuggle with us on a morning but he’s mainly sleeping through in his toddler bed. 
His bedtime routine is a lot more set now. He has tea, 30 mins play, then usually a bath, bottle, bedtime story and sleep. It’s usually quite straight forward. 
He is mainly just having one nap a day now, for an hour or so in the afternoon. It’s often a nightmare to get him to have that though. If he doesn’t have it he becomes a demon child by 5pm. 
What we’ve done this month
We’ve spent lost of time in the garden. I finally dropped down to part time hours so I’ve had more time to do things with the little man. We’ve been on lots of walks, swimming and visited our local farm.
Likes 
Tractors or anything with wheels. He’s still obsessed with Tractor Tom he insists on watching it on Mammy or Daddy’s phone. 
Books, he loves sitting looking through his books, pointing things out and squealing
Puddle jumping. As we’ve had some rather rainy weather in the North East he’s made the most of jumping in puddles. We bought his very first wellies and he loves splashing in puddles with them. 
Playing with water. He loves his Little Tikes pirate ship and loves splashing in the water, or pouring it out into my plant pots!
Hoovering. He insists on hoovering with my Dyson hoover. He loves using the hardwood floor attachment and running it round the kitchen!
Dislikes
Being told no. He still hates it and now does an actual scowl when he’s not allowed to do some/
Coming in from being outdoors. He hates having to come in the house, particularly at the end of the day. 
Words
Mama
Da
Nana
Narna – banana
niner – bottle (9oz)
Tacta – tractor
dirty – dirty
nine – mine
Hiya – hiya
dica – dicky bird
digga – digger
Things he can do –
Point at his main body parts or anyone elses
Try to put his shoes on
Spin round in circles
Clap his hands (and feet!)
Climb up onto everything
Colour in
Put his toys away
Sweep the floor/hoover
Points at his nappy when he’s had a wee or poo

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Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
I love buying beautiful clothes for the little man. His wardrobe is bursting but I’m always on the look out new brands and Melijoe is my new favourite. They’re an online kids boutique selling a wide range of high end brands at affordable prices. The selection is vast but the website is extremely easy to navigate and ordering is a breeze.
I recently picked out a couple of new pieces to update the little mans Summer wardrobe in preparation for the impending sunshine. After much deliberation I finally decided on the 3 Pommes t shirt and dungaree set and some Absorba leather sandals.
After I placed my order on the website I received an email notifying me that my ordering was being processed and then another shortly after, saying it had been dispatched. Literally a couple of days later, the order arrived on our doormat. Both items were neatly and safely packaged and were in perfect condition.
The t shirt and dungarees are gorgeous. I love the pale blue colour of the dungarees and because they’re lightweight, they’re perfect for the warmer weather. I love seeing the little mans tiny little toes and the Absorba sandals are so cute with their open toes. They’re the first open toed shoes he’s had and he’s obsessed with wriggling his toes and watching them. 
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
Toddler Summer fashion at Melijoe
I’m so impressed with the beautiful clothes from MeliJoe. The quality is great and the vast selection is perfect for any budget. 

*I was provided with a voucher towards my order*

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