5 things for kids to do in Bristol this summer

5 things for kids to do in Bristol this summer

The summer holidays are nigh! And whether the prospect of 6 weeks with the kids at home fills you with dread or excitement (or a strange mix of both), I’m sharing a few suggestions of things for the kiddos to do over the summer, in and around the Bristol area.

1 – Gromit Unleashed 2 Trail

It’s back – the ever-popular Gromit trail! This time with over 60 giant sculptures, designed by high-profile artists, featuring 3 of Nick Park’s characters; Gromit, Wallace and Feathers McGraw.  You’ll explore some of the city’s most iconic locations whilst you seek them all out!

To find out the locations of the sculptures, download the Detect-O-Gromit 2 app or, if you’d prefer, pick up a good ol’ fashioned paper map from the following locations:

The Mall at Cribbs Causeway (in the GU store), Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, M Shed, Tourist Information Centre, Aerospace Bristol and the Gromit Unleashed HQ on Upper Maudlin Street.

Happy searching!

Visit https://www.grandappeal.org.uk/trails-exhibitions/gromit-unleashed/ for more info.

2 – Kids’ Club at Clifton College (for 3-13 Years Old)

This summer, Clifton College in Bristol are hosting their popular kids’ clubs, with a group suitable for all ages between 3-13 years of age. Each club includes a wide variety of activities all with the aim that your children enjoy themselves and learn different skills on the way. The Mini’s Kids’ Club (3-4) focuses on personal development and interaction with others, while the Junior Club (5-7) focuses on encouraging children to pursue their interests and develop their skills through their own choice of activity. The oldest club, the Kids’ Club (8-13) promotes self-expression, confidence building, offering complete flexibility and choice of involvement. Of course, all three groups offer FUN, with activities such as arts and crafts, outdoor play and even afternoon swim sessions (Kids’ Club and Junior’s Club). 

Price for all clubs start from £22 for half a day and £44 for a full day. The Mini’s Club starts from 6 July 2018 while the Kids’ Club and the Junior’s Club starts from 9 July 2018. For more information, please visit www.cliftoncollege.com

3 – Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2018 

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. Made possible last year by Bristol Energy, the Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. Held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free with charges made for parking on the event site. Alongside the fantastic site of hot air balloons filling the skies, there will be a large number of trade stands, fairground rides and entertainment.

For more information about the Fiesta visit: http://www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk/

4 – Visit Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The cost of days out during the school holidays can soon add up, so why not check out some of Bristol’s free family attractions. Let your littles explore the collections of art, nature and history on display in a beautiful building. Find out about the last billion years of Earth’s history, explore the region’s natural wonders and discover more about peoples’ lives, past and present. You’ll not be disappointed!

For opening times visit: https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery/opening-times/

5 – Visit Bristol Zoo… at Twilight!

This summer you can experience Bristol Zoo as the sun sets with their Friday Twilights ticket entry (£5 per ticket or £4 for members).

You’ll be able to enjoy the following…

• Live music throughout the evening.

• Exclusive Friday Twilight animal talks.

• Explore the award-winning gardens.

• Enjoy a delicious treat at the immersive restaurant.

• Transform into an animal with our fantastic face painting!

Buy tickets online here: https://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/whats-on/friday-twilights (hurry – they’re selling out fast!)

Jenna xxx

This is a collaborative post.

Effectively childproofing your home

Effectively childproofing your home

Any parent will be able to tell you that kids can be a real handful at times. Their minds wander and, as soon as they can walk, the world is their oyster. So, you really do need to keep an eye on them at all times. Now, you may think that your home is the safest space for your child to spend time, but it can also hold a lot of potential for accidents. So, to help to maintain your peace of mind, here are a few different ways to effectively childproof your home for your littel ones’ safety.

The Kitchen

The kitchen holds a lot of potential hazards for little ones, so it’s generally best that they are kept outside of this space whenever possible. However, there are extra steps that you can take to ensure that the room is safe should your little ones manage to wander in. Invest in safety locks for cupboards and cabinets, which will keep plastic bags and cleaning products off-limits.

The Lounge

Now, the lounge generally seems like a relatively safe space for children. It doesn’t have all of the immediate threats that lie in other rooms like the kitchen or bathroom. So, your priorities might want to take another turn – protecting the room from your child. Kids are inquisitive and playful and there’s always bound to be some sort of incident in the process of them growing up. Generally speaking, the television tends to take the brunt of many children’s curiosity. Avoid having magnets attached to the screen or the screen smashed by investing in wooden TV stands with doors. These are sturdy and can be closed to keep hands, magnets, and balls at bay.

The Garden

With summer finally making its way into our lives, chances are that your little ones are going to want to spend a little more time outdoors than usual. However, your garden has probably experienced some wear and tear since the last time you set foot in it. Winter winds can wreak havoc with fencing, causing breaks, splits and holes in the panels. Check the perimeter of your garden for any damage to the fencing. You don’t want little ones to escape or hurt themselves on any fractured or exposed woodwork. If you do find any damage, call in a professional fencing service to repair or replace the panel. Next, ensure that your ground is level. Uneven paving slabs can pose a serious trip hazard. Nobody wants their little ones falling over while they’re running about playing games. Finally, make sure that there isn’t any animal mess lying about. Even if you don’t have pets of your own, neighbours pets or wild animals could have used your garden as a litter tray at some point, so scour the floor and pick up any questionable matter with plastic gloves and dispose of it appropriately.

These are just a few different spaces that you might want to focus on. Just remember to always tackle any potential hazards head on and keep your child safe at all times!

 

This is a collaborative post.

You don’t need to go far for your first family holiday…

You don’t need to go far for your first family holiday…

Working out the logistics of one family holiday seriously is hard. The more you try and plan it, the more you realise that the list of things that you have to consider just grows and grows. How long will the flight time be? Does the hotel have kids facilities? It’s going to be too hot? Is it going to be too cold? These are all things that you’ll now have to consider, which if we carried on listing, would seem like one big ball of stress. So, how do you think you would go about your first family holiday then? Well, we know you wouldn’t have to go far. In fact, you can have some great family holidays, right from the comfort of our beautiful country. All you need to do is pack a bag, pack the car, and go on a little adventure not too far from where you live. If you want a cracking first family holiday, here are some of the ways that you can make the most of it, without having the leave the country.

 

The Perfect Location

The perfect location does exist in the UK. In fact, there are so many different locations that we would class as perfect, it just depends on what you’re looking for. If we’re talking a family holiday, you need to go somewhere with plenty to do. So your first option is to go to a beach destination, such as the likes of Devon. Devon attracts so many tourists, and not just families either! There are plenty of holiday parks in Devon for you and your family to go, that will cater for a range of different ages in terms of activities. If you want a real family adventure, then you should go for a caravan or camping holiday, rather than sticking to a hotel. Plus, you’ll save a hell of a lot of money doing it this way! If you’re looking for something a bit more lively, you might want a city break. However, it’ll still have to be somewhere with plenty to do for children of all ages, so somewhere like London might be the place for you.

 

Relaxation & Fun

Just because you’re staying in the UK, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a taste of relaxation in the sun, especially with the weather we’re having at the minute! If you want to relax with your family, the best way to do this is to go to the local nature reserve, wherever you may be staying, and go for a picnic. Your children can play, and you can relax in the sun with some lovely food. If you’re looking for fun, you’re definitely going to have to hit a family attraction such as the zoo, or a theme park.

 

Trying Something New

Having a holiday is all about trying something new, and the UK has plenty of that for you. There are destinations in Wales where you can go into caves and do fun underground assault courses, or you might have a go at one of the Go Ape centers. It’s all about giving your children new experiences, without having to pay the prices of a holiday abroad.

So, we hope the destination that you choose is the UK. Besides, with the amazing weather we’re having at the minute, it’ll feel like you’re in the Costa Del Sol anyway!

This is a collaborative post.

How you can get free tea and coffee 

How you can get free tea and coffee 

If there is one thing that we Brits love, it is a cup of tea which we all know makes everything better.  This is why one of the most popular freebies is a free cup of tea or coffee.  This is one of the freebies that people will come back for time and time again.  If the idea of free tea and coffee seems a bit too good to be true, you should consider why a company would offer this to you. 

To Introduce Their Product to You 

Coffee and tea companies want you to try out their products and fall in love with their brand of warm beverage.  They are hoping that if you like the free tea or coffee they offer you, you will come back and buy their product.  This is a good marketing technique because most people will try something if free including samples of tea or coffee.  This offers the business a great method of introducing their products to new customers.   

As there are a lot of different tea companies and coffee shops out there, these companies have to think outside of the box.  Freebies are their way of getting you to try out their brand instead of their competition. Sites like WOW Free Stuff have a free food and drink section you can check to get free tea and coffee. 

To Make You Loyal To Their Shop 

If there is a supermarket which is giving away free tea or coffee, you are going to be more likely to want to do your shopping there.  When tea and coffee are offered as a perk for shopping there, the company is enticing you to want to spend money in their store.  The reason is that they are giving you something extra that you would not get at their competitors.  This means that you should make the most of your grocery shopping and claim a free cup of tea, after all, you deserve it.  

How Can You Get A Free Tea Or Coffee? 

The method of getting your free tea or coffee will vary depending on the place.  However, the most common method is through loyalty cards which you need to sign up for.  Free tea and coffee are on offer by John Lewis, IKEA and Waitrose as part of their membership loyalty bonus.  All you need to do is sign up for their cards and then collect your free tea or coffee when you want.   

 There are other places across the UK where you can get a free hot drink if you do not want to head to the supermarket.  Coffee chains such as Costa and Starbucks as well as certain restaurant chains often announce when they are giving away free drinks.  These announcements will generally be made on their social media pages, so you will have to follow them.  

There are tea companies like Birchall & Redbush and Twinnings that regularly send out free samples.  These samples allow you to test out new flavours before you commit to buying a full pack.   

 Where Can You Get Free Tea Or Coffee Now? 

If you are now ready for your free cup of tea or coffee, you need to know where you can get one.  There are a number of places that are offering free tea and coffee right now. 

 Waitrose 

To get your free hot drink, you will need to sign up to the myWaitrose loyalty scheme.  You will be sent a membership card and then you can start getting your free drinks.  Of course, you will be required to make a purchase in a Waitrose store before you can get your free cup.  However, there is no limit on the value of your purchase.   

When you get your warm drink, you can choose from tea, cappuccino, Americano and latte.  You could even get a hot chocolate if you want.  All you have to do is sign up for the free scheme.  

John Lewis 

The John Lewis freebie offers double the excitement because you get a free hot drink as well as a free slice of cake.  To get this, you will need to register to the My John Lewis membership programme.  You will then receive a voucher at least 3 times each year for a free hot drink and slice of cake from the John Lewis cafe.   

The John Lewis reward programme also helps you make the most of your time spent there as you collect points as well.  As you collect, you will also gain rewards and unexpected treats.  The John Lewis card will be sent to you within 2 weeks of signing up.   

IKEA 

IKEA is a family favourite store and they have joined in with the hot drink freebie fun.  If you are a member of the IKEA Family programme, you will be able to enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee anytime you visit the store, but only during the week.  This is ideal because we all know how stressful a trip to IKEA can be.   

A free cup of tea is the perfect end to your IKEA shopping trip, but this is not all that the scheme has to offer.  IKEA Family members also get other extra benefits such as discounted rates on products, free product insurance and an extra 10% off all of the sale items.  These are not bad benefits for a loyalty programme that is free to join.   

PAUL 

When you sign up for the PAUL loyalty card, you will be getting some good freebies.  You will be able to claim a large coffee, a hot chocolate or tea and a pain au chocolate or croissant for free.  All you have to do is pick up a loyalty card and register online.   

If you have never visited Paul for breakfast, you are in for a treat.  You will be able to kick-start your day in the best way possible with an amazing Parisian Breakfast for free when you visit any PAUL store before noon.   

Greggs 

Greggs is everyone’s favourite snack shop on the high street and is also a great place to get a free hot drink.  All you need to do is sign up to the Greggs Rewards App and get your free welcome hot drink.   

The Greggs app is very user-friendly so anyone will be able to claim their free drink.  You will need to download the app and register your account.  You should then swipe through to the rewards section and find your free drink offer.   

Booths 

If you live in the North-West of the country, you can get a free regular hot drink at Booths.  This will be the perfect post-shopping refreshment for people.  All you need to do is sign up to their loyalty programme.  

The programme also allows you to keep track of you’re shopping with electronic receipts, you can enjoy a discounted Afternoon Tea for Two as well as weekend newspaper discounts.  All you need to do is pick up your free temporary card in store to get started.   

Benugo 

If you are in London, you can claim a free coffee from Benugo by signing up for their newsletter.  Benugo has cafes and restaurants in some of the most beautiful spots in the capital.  So why not sign up to the newsletter the next time you head to the city.   

 It is important to note that the free coffee voucher you get is only valid for a month from the date applied.  This means that you need to plan when you get the voucher to ensure that you get your free drink.  

Costa 

 If you are a Three customer, you will already know about the great freebies and benefits you get with the reward app Wuntu.  Wuntu will often team up with Costa to offer free hot drinks to users.  This means you need to keep an eye on the app.  

Cafe Nero  

O2 Priority customers know that Tuesday is a good day.  If you are an O2 customer, you can get a free drink from Cafe Nero every Tuesday.  You will also be able to collect loyalty Nero stamps at the same time. 

This is a collaborative post.

Extended breastfeeding:
Who is it benefiting anyway?

Extended breastfeeding: <br> Who is it benefiting anyway?<br/>

I’m in the 0.5% of mothers in the UK who is breastfeeding their baby beyond a year. I didn’t plan to be in that group, I didn’t aim to breastfeed for this long. I wanted to breastfeed, sure. I put the effort in. I sacrificed some of my ‘freedom’. I got jealous when my formula-feeding mama friends could seemingly come and go as they pleased. I got frustrated. I got sick of the sight of nursing bras. I shared and am still sharing my body and I’m not in any hurry to ‘get it back’.

After an initial tough start, breastfeeding became second nature. I think back to those long nights and days that we struggled with it and they seem a very distant memory.

Being totally honest, I’ve wanted to give up breastfeeding many, many times. But just as soon as I felt sure I wanted to stop, I’d change my mind again. What me and my toddler have is precious and it felt silly to give it up because she was pulling on my hair too much (which let’s face it, she’d do anyway) or because my pre-period hormones would make my let down reflex so frustratingly slow that feeding became arduous for about a week, each and every month.

I kept telling myself that this wouldn’t be forever. In the grand scheme of things, even if I fed her until she was two-years-old (or beyond!), it’s not a very long time. One day, it too, would seem a distant memory. And I’d miss it, I’m sure.

How long one should breastfeed their child for is a highly debated topic. (What isn’t when it comes to mothering?) There is no definitive answer. The WHO recommends “exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”

I’ve heard people say that it becomes ‘wrong’ to breastfeed as soon as a child can ‘ask for it’. Which seems odd, to me. I mean, when you think about it, a child would have been ‘asking for it’ one way or another since the day they were born. Lip smacking/boob nuzzling/crying – that’s all OK… but as soon as a child can verbally ask to be breastfed, that would be deemed as ‘wrong’? *shrugs*

Another phrase I hear often, in regards to extended breastfeeding is ‘it’s probably more for the mum’s benefit’. Insinuating that the toddler is an unwilling participant, being force-fed boob to satisfy a mother’s selfish desire to prolong their breastfeeding journey. Which, let me tell you, is bloody ludicrous. You absolutely can not force a child to breastfeed! A breastfeeding relationship has to be mutual in order for it to work, especially long-term. I often giggle when I think of the ‘more for the mum’ type comments, usually because I’m feeding E, whilst she’s pulling my hair or scratching my neck. Much in the same way a kitten kneads at a lap with it’s sharp claws whilst being stroked because it feels utterly content. ‘More for the mum’, my arse!

Does that mean I’m not benefiting from breastfeeding my 1.5 year old? Of course not. Like I said, it’s a mutual relationship. When I’ve had a stressful day, feeding E is sometimes the best way to calm me down. As I feed her, before bed, I can physically feel the surge of oxytocin flowing through my body. I feel completely relaxed and content. I wonder how I ever managed without this daily 5 minute mood booster. It can turn the toughest of days on it’s head – suddenly all is well with the world again.

And you know who else is benefiting from mine and E’s extended breastfeeding journey? My 4-year-old, Jasmine. Even though she didn’t get any breast milk from me beyond six weeks. I still feel my positive experience with her younger sister will benefit her too. How? She is growing up in a home which normalizes breastfeeding. The longer I feed E, the more likely she is to grow up remembering that is how her mama fed a baby. She knows breasts produce milk to feed babies – that is their main purpose. And all of this is giving her a great advantage, if one day, she has her own babies and decides, she too, would like to breastfeed.

I don’t know how much longer I will breastfeed E – we’re just doing as we’ve always done and are taking it a feed at a time. But for as long as we continue our feeding journey, the relationship will be mutual and it will benefit us both.

Jenna xx

NB. Here’s a fab link to more information on breastfeeding beyond a year and the benefits to both mother and child.