9/18/2018

Five Ways To Keep Your Toddler Entertained (Plus Giveaway)* | Just Add Ginger


Now that Eric is 17 months old he is at a really awkward stage. Not quite ready to keep himself entertained but in constant need of stimulation our days are full systems go from the minute he wakes up to the minute he goes to sleep. 

Not one to sit down for very long at all, if we have to spend a day in the house I slowly feel myself going mad. Tinny songs and annoying sound effects filter their way through to my brain and are on a constant loop. So more often than not we will venture out (plans permitting) and have got ourselves a good little routine going.

A few months ago I compiled a list of rainy day activities that are pretty much my back up plans should we be in desperate need of something to do. And now I'm back with a few more fool-proof ideas to keep your tiny tots entertained and will get the Peppa Pig theme tune out of your head for a few hours. 

blonde toddler boy sucking a pacifier and looking directly up at the camera

Baths - Totally dependent of course on if your little one is a fan of water. Eric loves being in the bath though and now that I have actually managed to give him one myself, it's now on my list as something to do if I am running short on ideas. 

We tend to save this one for an afternoon purely because most of his classes do take place in the morning. I'll run the bath while he stays in his cot, pop him in and watch while he plays with all his toys, or I'll help him make bubble mountains and pour water over his hands from up high (he loves that game).

Plus he nearly always goes down for a nap afterwards - bonus!

Feed The Ducks - I used to do this loads with Eric when he was smaller. After stay and play sessions we would head straight down to the canal, walk along the path and see what birds we could spot. 

Nowadays feeding the ducks is something I try to time around when Eric is due to have a sleep. When he is fully alert he simply cannot stand being in the pushchair for too long and gets really frustrated (and this now means you might find yourself in the middle of a toddler tantrum). 

But if you don't live near a canal or pond never underestimate the power of fresh air. Pack up the baby bag, find the waterproofs and take a stroll to the park corner shop or even just round the block. Not only will it give you a change of scenery but it will also give loads for you to talk about with your toddler too!

Make A Mummy Date - It took me the longest time to make mummy friends. Even though I took Eric out to classes I never really found anyone that I felt like I could really get on with. I was worried everyone thought I was weird for the way I parented and was afraid to make connections. 

Now however, I have a few lovely friends who I meet up with on a regular basis. And I live for those days. Eric gets to interact with other children and I get to have a coffee and a chat with grown ups who will happily talk about poo, sleepless nights and how shit it is when your baby is teething

So if you have mummy friends, why not reach out and arrange a trip to the local coffee shop, invite them round for a play date or for a morning out at the park. Because having human contact as a parent is really important!

blonde toddler boy standing in a garden and reaching up to touch a blue swing

Garden Picnics - Possibly best saved for sunny days but definitely something we took full advantage of this summer. Whether it's the garden or local park, get outside with a sandwich box, box of fresh fruit or some biscuits and enjoy a picnic al fresco. 

When the weather was warm Eric and I spent so much time in the garden. We would crank up the volume on Spotify, layer on sun cream and set up camp on the patio. It was blissful. He loved the freedom of being outside and I felt myself calm down because I wasn't trying to stop him banging his head or falling over every five minutes.

As it's heading into Autumn I'm not going to let this be an excuse. I'm pulling out Eric's puddlesuit and getting him back out there. With rain undoubtedly due and the leaves changing colour, it'll be a whole new sensory world we can talk about.

Soft Play (If You Dare!) - Hearing the words 'soft play' may fill your soul with dread but there are actually some really great play areas out there. And once you find one you really like they are a brilliant place to take your toddler to burn off some energy. 

There's an amazing one not too far from where we live and I absolutely love it. They don't allow children over 4 or 5 so it's ideal for little ones and there's even a spacious designated baby area for those under 12 months. Eric absolutely loves going there and it's so nice to let him run around without having to follow him too closely. 

**

banner of text for the baby and toddler show in Manchester 2018

Being a new parent can be as exhilarating as it is exhausting. And let's not forget confusing at times! If you're a parent-to-be or first time mum/dad reading this post then I have been given the opportunity to give away a pair of tickets to the North West Baby & Toddler Show in Manchester at the end of September. 

With a range of exhibitors and experts ready to impart their knowledge and advice it's the perfect place to head to, peruse, and pick the brains of brands who are really in the know when it comes to choosing your ideal baby products. 

Giveaway Rules -

*The prize is for ONE pair of tickets to the Manchester show.
* Entrants must be 18 years old or over. 
* This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
*You must be able to make your own way to and from the show.  
*The giveaway will close on 25/09/2018






The Baby And Toddler Show have also kindly given me a code to share with my readers for 1/3 off tickets to the North West show. Just use the code 'BL10' at the checkout. 
* I was very kindly gifted a free pair of tickets to the Baby & Toddler Show alongside the chance to giveaway a pair of tickets and a discount code for my readers. This does not affect my opinions. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Imagery: Rachel Clarke Photography

8/22/2018

Finding My Perfect Summertime Bouquet From Blossoming Gifts* | Just Add Ginger


There's just something about having fresh flowers in my home that makes my soul happy. I don't know whether it is the fragrance, the aesthetic, or my romantic nature. Whatever the reason - if there is ever an excuse for me to have a vase sitting on my mantelpiece displaying a pretty posy or bouquet you know I'm going to jump on it.

Blossoming Gifts reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like to receive one of their bouquets to review. How could I say no? Only ever sticking to the same online stores for flowers and after spotting the most perfect bunch that really spoke to me I gladly accepted and waited for my bouquet to arrive.

kitchen table displaying a vase of flowers, box of chocolates and notecard

When it comes to flowers, I am really drawn to those that are more neutral in colour (roses being my absolute favourite for sentimental reasons) and in particular, bouquets that contain a lot of foliage. Comprised of Oriental Lilies, Avalanche Roses, Cinerea Eucalyptus and Salal, on first glance the White Rose & Lily bouquet seemed to combine everything I love and I knew that had to be the one I chose and I couldn't wait for them to arrive so I could put them pride of place in the brand new vase I had bought for them.

The bouquet arrived promptly on the delivery day I had selected and was packaged really safely, securely fastened to the box with the stems bound together, hydrated, a plastic covering around the blooms themselves and all tied up with a chic ribbon. The box itself was beautiful - not cheesy or over the top, but just enough to make you feel really special and want to open the box in excited anticipation. 

photo of a bouquet of closed oriental lilies and avalanche roses

close up of two avalanche roses

After preparing and arranging the flowers I took a step back to review what the bouquet looked like fully assembled. The roses were all fully opened however the lilies were all still closed. This did not change the visual impact of the flowers though. They looked beautiful - a mix of greens and whites and varying textures and shapes and they made a beautiful addition to our kitchen, really standing out against the warm grey tones of our walls and the print directly behind on the wall.

close up photo of an oriental lily and avalanche rose

close up photo of eucalyptus leaves

With a '7 day freshness guarantee' I decided to track what the bouquet looked like over the course of a week to see if Blossoming Gifts delivered on this promise. For a few days after the delivery the lilies stayed closed with only a few looking like they were getting ready to open. On day five the first one blossomed, with three others following shortly behind. 

The roses stayed crisp and white, with only a few starting to look a little tired by the time the first lily appeared. At the time of writing this review we are on day seven and it looks as though the rest of the lilies are going to make an appearance soon. The roses are still pretty much all going strong.

Hand on heart I have been genuinely so impressed by the quality of these flowers. I'm always a little sceptical when it comes to ordering bouquets online but considering how long these flowers have lasted I am well and truly blown away and so happy. Every time I see them sitting on our kitchen table I just can't help but smile. They are just perfect.

close up photo of an avalanche rose

close up photo of eucalyptus leaves with avalanche rose in foreground

close up photo of an oriental lily and avalanche rose

Blossoming Gifts not only sell flowers but also an array of gifts - from alcoholic to those with the biggest sweet tooth. They also offer 'next day flowers 7 days a week' so if you doing some last minute shopping for someone special, they are definitely worth a visit.

I am absolutely in love with the White Lily & Rose bouquet and am dreading the day when I have to say goodbye to it. The flowers have delivered on their longevity, look stunning, chic and finishes of our kitchen beautifully. Eric has also taken an interest in it too and it gives us something to talk about while he is eating his breakfast. 

bouquet of oriental lilies and avalanche roses

Offering a range of beautiful flowers at really competitive prices, Blossoming Gifts has blown every other online flower retailer I know out of the water. This bouquet has made the most perfect summertime addition to our home and now my only problem is I need to find a good enough reason to buy a replacement because I'm going to miss them so much!

* I was very kindly gifted the White Lily & Rose bouquet from Blossoming Gifts to review. This does not affect my opinions. For more information, please see my disclaimer.