Reach for the stars…

kids, Reviews, safety, travel
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Ah yes. The first sniff of fine weather (a bit of sneezing and runny eyes…), and any responsible parent is reaching for the sun cream. You know how it goes – caught unawares, you root around the back of a cupboard for last years left overs and stumble upon a bingo callers collection of different factor sun cream bottles, none of which are completely empty. You kept them, thinking that they could be used next summer. Then sorting through the odds and ends you look at them and decide there’s not enough to last for a 2 week holiday and buy some more. etc. etc.

My solution? You don’t need to spend a fortune on sun cream. Just check the UVA star rating on the back. I found some 5 star- ultra (top rating) Tesco value suncream at £1.97 a bottle. It has quite a pleasant smell, and whilst the packaging won’t win any design awards, it’s definitely a winner for your bank balance. And as sun cream is alleged to lose it’s protection over time, you won’t be weeping at the end of the year when you throw the dregs away 🙂

The Great British Summer

kids, travel
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Did I blink and miss it?

It brought it home to me yesterday, just how awful the weather was, when this is how my boys chose to dress before putting on fleeces for a trip to town in late August…

The Great British Summer

Indecent exposure

kids, safety, travel
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Not the title of a new Hollywood blockbuster, rather an observation in relation to sun exposure for children.

Having just returned from a sunnier climate, I was wondering if I am just super-paranoid about my boys getting sunburnt. There’s much more information these days about the risks of sun bathing, and being a wrinkly old bag myself as a result of sun worshipping in my younger days, I’m adamant that my children shouldn’t have skin the texture of sundried crocodiles before puberty.

So we traipse down to the beach with a minimum of:-

  • factor 30
  • legionnaire’s hat (for neck coverage)
  • sun protection shirt
  • long-ish shorts

and yet time and time again I see children in just swim bottoms and nowt else. Am I being overly cautious or are their parents being carelessly reckless?

Only time will tell.

Bridget Jones – eat your heart out

Jasmine's journal, travel
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Those of you with children at nursery may already be familiar with this concept – the nursery has a stuffed animal which you are invited to take on your travels and write a diary for.

In our nursery, Jasmine the giraffe is very popular and has to be booked out months in advance – the stuffed equivalent of an A-list celebrity (though Jasmine has more personality that some of the real ones…)

The first couple of entries in her diary were short and sweet. Parents had saved boarding cards and stuck them in her ‘passport’ – that kind of thing. Then it was my turn. Boarding card? Pah! I saved our ski pass and put a photo of Jasmine on.

The bar was set.

Other parents added Jasmine’s photo to the boarding cards.

The bar was raised.

It comes to something when you get back from holiday and find that you have more pictures of a cuddly toy than of your own children! The whole family take turns in trying to find more amusing poses for the jolly giraffe…

Jasmine discovers Happy Hour

Jasmine discovers Happy Hour

Jasmine after Happy Hour

Jasmine after Happy Hour

Not necessarily entirely suitable for a journal for pre-schoolers, but hey, we have great fun doing it 😀

Cheap ways to entertain the kids

kids, travel
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If you have school age children, you’ll know what week it is. Even if you don’t have children, the noticeable absence of traffic at rush hour plus the increasing numbers of ‘yoofs’ loitering around the shops at lunch time can only mean one thing…half term.

So, you’ve done all the usual activities – been to the park, swimming, watched a DVD or 10 and now you’re struggling for ideas. A cost effective way to kill an hour or so is to locate a garden centre that sells fish. Rather than take an expensive trip to a packed aquarium, tootle off down to the garden centre (usually a lot more local than a full blown aquarium) and spend some time ogling the fish.

OK, so you won’t see any sharks, but then you’re not paying shark prices either!

Nellie the Elephant packed her Trunki

Reviews, travel

Actually, it’s a good job Nellie didn’t have a Trunki – as she’d never have been able to slip off unnoticed at night! For anyone who is not yet acquainted, then have a look at the Trunki. I believe it was featured on the Dragons Den – it’s basically a hard case with wheels and a strap, contoured for little bottoms so it can be used as a ride-on and sized to meet airline hand luggage restrictions.


At £24.99 RRP, it’s not unduly expensive, and is really functional – being a hard case, you can cram quite a lot inside to keep the little darlings amused on any kind of holiday; from an overnight bag to an 8 hour flight amuser. The downside of being a hard case is that even empty it’s heavier than a canvas bag, so brace yourself when it’s full!

The bright colours are very appealing to children, and eye catching in a busy airport! I bought the cases for a trip to Florida. Passing through Gatwick on the weekend before Easter, you can imagine it was a tad busy. The Trunki’s kept my two in tow (quite literally!!) and we had a ball catching admiring glances wheeling round the airport.

I was a little disappointed in the quality of the strap and the fixings for it, but having said that, it managed to withstand a fair old battering. Being plastic, I’m not sure how long the clips will last, but they’ll probably have been worn out being dragged round the house and garden rather than through holiday use. In addition, there are no straps internally (as you would expect to find on an adult case), so unless it’s packed to the gunwhales, the contents might rattle round a bit. Luckily Iggle Piggle’s blanket filled it out quite nicely…….

If I’m being ultra-critical, it would have been nice to have colour options other than just the stereotypical pink or blue – but the boys seemed happy enough customising their blue cases with a few well placed stickers.

In summary, we love our Trunkis. Be ahead of the game and get one now 🙂