Image from Northumberland National Park

Were ever you are in the UK you will no doubt be within reach of one of our fifteen National Parks. From the Brecon Beacons to Yorkshire Dales there is certainly something for everyone.

For our National Parks Week experience we visited Northumberland and more specifically Walltown. We’ve never visited this section of Northumberland National Park and were pleasantly surprised as to what was offer. For two days during NPW the site is transformed into a playground filled with adventure aiding imagination and encouraging all to try something different.

Duncan Wise, Visitor Development and Marketing Manager of Northumberland NP joined us in Newcastle and gave us a running commentary along the route to the site (watch out for 2017 when a huge development is occurring because of Lottery funding).

We sampled archery, a zip line, climbing wall, animals and pizza-making. I always knew I had a girly girl yet dare-devil daughter. It was truly apparent in her determined climbing of the wall in slippy trainers and her three go’s on the high zip wire (you weren’t getting me up there). I was even more super proud of Emily at her third go on the zip wire. There was a boy behind her (aged 10) who kept telling his mum just how nervous he was and she calmly turned around waited for him to finish talking to his mummy and said;

My mummy helps people stay safe and she has let me go on here and I’m her most precious poppet so it must be really safe (looks around for my confirmation). That’s right isn’t it mummy?

Heart melts!

After the activities we headed for pizza making. This was a little too popular and it would have been great if more people had been on hand to help. The pizzas were however very tasty!

I was very gutted when Emily decided she was too old for storytelling which I found very strange as we have two stories every single evening but I peaked in the tent and saw that there was a heavy infant contingency if there had been an older group I’m sure she would have actively listened.

On a usual day there is woodland, meadows, wildlife lakes, car parking, toilets, café and firm paths (although access to these in places was quite wet). There are several pleasant circular walks with access for all inclusive of  wheelchair and buggy users (I opted to leave my one year at home and would definitely pop him in a carrier).

Nearby you have Carvoran Roman Army Museum and Hadrian’s Cycleway. Getting to Walltown is easy via the Hadrian’s Wall Bus and there is also an onsite car park (£4 / vehicle all day, with tickets transferable to other National Park car parks along the route of the wall). If you come on your bike there are lockups.

Walltown is a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site perfect for viewing the dark skies over the Northumberland National Park. We are heading back in September to do a guided walk we’ll let you know how we get on.

#Top tip: Wear appropriate footwear in the form of wellies or walking boots. When the site is affected by rain (we are talking the north of England here) is can get rather squidgy underfoot in parts.

Love from

Suz and Emily x

 

Tupperware

So then, what do they have in common? They are both brands that we as consumers use on a daily basis to refer to vacuums and plastic containers.

Actually not one hundred percent true. When people used the word Hoover instead of vacuum I would shudder. It was a pet hate of mine but a couple of weeks ago when thinking about how much Tupperware I have in my life a lightening bolt went off in my realisation that I had been in fact been guilty of double standards all of these years (apologies to all those people who have put up with my wrath of branding), Hoover did a fantastic job of getting into the minds of consumers even though Dyson came first.

The featured picture isn’t really a true representation of all of the plastic containers that live in my cupboards but there is always room for more and the children do need their own (don’t they?)

babybowlsWe’ve been testing out these six bowls for £7.99 from Babymoov. Even though there are to help with our #stresslessweaning Emily my six year old decided that the pink and purple bowls were hers and not necessarily for food.

The bowls have a capacity 250 ml (perfect size), a rewritable surface and has an airtight cover.

These bowls came with instructions, I know right, who needs instructions to use the bowls? Ermmm, that appears to be me. After several attempts I simply couldn’t get the lid to make a safe fit so I enlisted the advice of a fellow Babymoov ambassador who instructed to place on in a circle action rather then putting them directly over the bowl and pushing down. Alas this didn’t lead to a perfect seal which is absolutely okay for home use but I may be a little reticent to venture into the picnic bag with any wet items but would use for dry items and hope that I get the lids on well enough not to dispense the contents all over the bag.

These bowls are really easy to get clean and are dishwasher friendly too.

Look out for the next #stresslessweaning #messisbest post which sees us trying the Babymoov lunch set.

 

 

 

This week 6 to 12 June

Hello everyone. How is your week looking? 

This week our stories are coming from Central Healthcare, Northern Stage, and Il Mulino.

Monday I’m heading to Central Healthcare in Newcastle to see what colonic irrigation is all about. This treatment doesn’t seem to be talked about as much as it once was. It’s something I’ve NEVER tried but I’m happy to put myself in the capable hands of Gill.

Tuesday we have a double bill. Nicola will be sparkling at her networking evening for the ladies of Derwentside! I went along to the first one and I often feel uncomfortable networking but I felt right at home here. I also found my much wanted cleaner in Reliant Robson and it was Claire’s first networking event. So get your #SparkleON! and click here for more information.

Also on Tuesday I will be heading to Northern Stage to watch Julie. Julie is the young and complicated mistress of the estate and is drawn into a dangerous tryst with her father’s butler, John. In the oppressive heat of Midsummer’s night, the couple hurtle towards an explosive conclusion that will shake them and the existing order to its core.

We’ll keep you updated with everything.

Suzanne x

Luke weaning

I will be the first to admit it. If I could shy away from weaning Luke I would, if I could setback the crawling a little I would. Yes I want to stop time! The realisation slaps you in the face. They are ready to move on. Try something new, but as a mummy or mammy as you would usually say from the North East of England you, like me might not be ready.

TOUGH now man up and let the weaning begin! In a recent post Breast -vs- Bottle I introduced you to the questions that I asked Julia Wolman RNutr. It was great to speak with Julia as although I love the NHS and them successfully bringing my children into the world when it comes to feeding I have done and still do feel a little lost.

Julia’s educational background includes a BSc (Hons) in Applied Human Nutrition, and a Masters Degree Psychology and Nutrition and is registered with the UK’s Association for Nutrition. With over a decade of experience working with NHS Trusts I love that Julia has delivered training to schools and children’s centres, and running healthy eating projects for local families.

.  But before I give you the answers I just wanted to let you know that Luke FINALLY starts on the ladder at the end of the month but only if he isn’t teething as teething can mimic the effects of an intolerance/allergy (sore bum, little cough, eczema flare, to name a few).

Q. What are the best substitutes for dairy products when weaning?

A. There are more then you might think they include;

Dairy free soya spread, dairy free margarine, dairy free sunflower spread, calcium enriched oat drinks, oat cream made from oats, vegan cheese, soya desserts and tofu for calcium.

Q. His porridge/breakfast cereal tastes disgusting to me as I make it with his milk but will he just be used to it?

A. Luke is used to the taste of his milk but you could try mixing with just water.

Q. Is milk intolerance and lactose intolerance different? (Luke has had no formal testing just observational). 

A. First of all Luke should be tested for a milk/lactose allergy as observation only gives part information. Cow’s milk allergy involves the immune system, babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein will also show allergy symptoms like an itchy rash, wheezing, or runny noses and coughs. These aren’t seen in lactose intolerance, as this condition doesn’t involve the immune system.

Q. Luke will often accept some food one day and then completely refuse it the next (purse lip and turn his head) is this common and how can I tackle it?

A. It’s really common. Babies will often be happy to try a new taste and even if they pull a face at the first attempt it will be more from surprise more then anything else. Your baby may react differently the next time they experience the same food

You need to persevere. It can often take up to eight attempts for your baby to accept certain foods or tastes, so give them plenty of chances to try again.

But don’t worry is all else fails go back a step to foods with a mild flavor to tempt their taste buds.

Q. I don’t want to rush through stages but I do feel like we are a little behind which may have led to Luke refusing new foods. How can I tackle that?

A. Don’t rush but also don’t miss cues. Your baby may soon stop accepting things from a spoon and this is ok, it’s a sign of independence.

Click here for a further Q and A with Julia Wolman.

 

 

Roxanne by Hotter

I recently took the plunge and delved behind the front line of Hotter shoes. Yes I am talking about the brand as though it’s my enemy but at 40 years old I saw the brand as one ‘for the grandma’s’ and I’m not talking sirens like Joan Collins or Helen Mirren but rather characters like Nora Batty or Hilda Ogdon.  Sorry but that had been my perception and if my children follow in my footsteps it will be another 28 years until I don that title, but could this brand change my thoughts or at least alter them?

Because I had never seen the brand as one I’d wear I have NEVER ever researched the company and it’s provenance. Turns out they are UK-based and were possible for the last eight years I’ve been celebrating all things UK made but Hotter I’m sorry you didn’t get on my radar but now I’m well and truly tuned in.

Hotter has been in INTU Eldon Square for five years but the first time I even noticed it was when Lush moved in next door and I was completely honest and told deputy manager Hazel this when I visited the branch for a ‘getting to know you session’.

As I entered the shop my eyes were drawn to what I had always perceived as the core of the brand ‘cosy comfortable’ but as my eyes scanned the shop and the associated graphics I was pleasantly surprised that the shop could quite literally have been split in two, into a, ‘Yes I’d like to take you home’ and ‘No thank you, maybe in 30 years time’.

I had free-reign of the whole shop along with very knowledgeable staff to help us on our #HotterMoment journey. Considering my initial preconception and my definite misconception of the brand I must have tried on 20 pairs from sports lux, heels, wedges and sandals.

Sandy was my first crushMy first crush was on Sandy or was it Molly, Hattie or Megan, well they could have all come home with me but alas in some of the shoes I was more Anastasia (ugly sister not the singer) then Cinderella and my foot simply didn’t marry together with the shoe. Hazel said that I have quite wide feet to the front and narrow to the rear. I had never realised that but it explains so much as I can’t keep a heel without straps on my feet. Roxanne caught my eye and my heart went all a flutter and I well and truly had my #HotterMoment and Roxanne became my glass slipper. The height was perfect and the wedge made the shoe stable. I’m looking forward to not only running after my children in them but also wearing on date days and a mooch around the shops.

Some facts and figures about Hotter

1959 Thomas Houlgrave decides to use his experience to set up his own business to manufacture slippers and Beaconsfield Footwear was born.

1992 Thomas Houlgrave’s son dream was realised when he started to produce shoes as comfy as slippers and the Hotter Comfort Concept was born.

1997 Call centre opened to process the increasing demand for the brand.

2002  First shop opened in Southport

2013  Fiftieth  store opens

2015  Awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and named UK Manufacturer Of The Year.

90 days The length of the guarantee at Hotter. That’s right you buy the shoes, you wear them but within 90 days you realise that the love wasn’t really love and just lust and they really weren’t a perfect fit then you can take the shoes back – no quibble leaving everyone 100 percent happy – guaranteed! I can’t imagine Hotter getting their hands back on MY Roxanne’s though.

20 seconds – one pair of shoes is made by Hotter every 20 seconds

2016 The year I found a ‘go to’ UK brand with amazing ethics in supporting the UK economy with genuine year on year growth.

The photo above is from a lovely day spent with Nicola and our partners where we met at 12 noon and were in taxi’s by 8:15 pm and we walked and talked from Newcastle’s Quayside and up and around through town and they were so comfortable.

Now have I convinced you to go and at least have a look? Good, thought so then why not grab this discount code PPATEN and apply it at the check out and not only will you get £10 off your first order (full priced) you get FREE delivery too.

* T&C: Minimum order value £25. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or on Sale or Factory Clearance items and gift vouchers. Expires 30/6/16