It is a commonly known fact that this time of year, although inspiring for some, is also when everybody generally feels less happy. With short days and long nights, if you're not careful seconds, minutes and hours pass by before you realise you are yet to see daylight. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is rife at the moment, and I think that if you are on maternity leave or a stay-at-home parent, you are amongst those who are most vulnerable.
It can be so easy as a mummy (especially when you've had a tough night) to look out the window, see the drizzle falling and think Ah - bad weather again? Guess it's time for another sofa and snuggle day in front of Fireman Sam. And while this can be lovely once in a while, I think it's really important to not slip into the same routine because it makes things simple. If you can, rally yourself, bundle up and get ready to step outside. This season is the most special for children, and there are so many things you can do to make it even more magical.
Being Ready No Matter What The Weather
When it comes to packing baby's bag at this time of year it's always best to be prepared for any kind of changes in the weather. The UK is inescapably unpredictable when it comes to gauging whether we're expecting rain or shine, sleet or snow, so it's always best to expect the unexpected and head out the door with extras in tow.
For knitwear and adorable extras that ideal for sensitive skin, are super snuggly and add a little bit of luxury to your baby's winter wardrobe, La Coqueta Kids Accessories * covers all bases. From bonnets to belts, booties and blankets their pieces would be ideal to dress your little one in or pack in your baby bag to pull out should the temperature drop. For me personally hats can be a bit of an issue (not the most one handed friendly - especially when contending with a wriggly baby who won't sit still), but every time I have needed to pop out with Eric lately, it is his merino baby bonnet that has been my go-to. It's incredibly soft, easy to slip on, and stays in place whether I'm sliding him in his car seat or putting him in the pushchair. Plus it folds down really nicely and fits into his bag without taking up loads of room.
Places To Go
Whenever I'm hoping to do something with Baby Ginger I always carry a mantra with me - Let's have an idea, not a plan. Because 99.9% of the time we will end up leaving later than expected due to a last minute nappy change, hunger-induced meltdown, or much needed nap. However, even with the hold ups, I try and get out with Eric everyday, switching up the places we go to so that heading out is always exciting for him and he never gets bored by seeing the same things over and over again.
Although it's about your baby, to beat feeling blue or to stop feeling like you are stuck wearing your "mum hat" it's important to think of ideas for places to go that entertain your little one but that you get something out of as well.
So for when you're feeling stuck for inspiration, here are some ideas of places I think are great for rainy day visits.
I love a good garden centre at the best of times, but visiting in the lead up to Christmas is extra exciting. With so many trees, decorations and twinkling fairy lights to look at, your baby will be in sensory heaven. And with some centres having a resident Santa Claus, you can book in for your little one to see the main man himself, giving you something special to look forward to and the chance to make some really wonderful memories.
Your Local Library
Not just a place to while away the hours reading and looking at picture books, sometimes libraries hold storytelling sessions for babies and toddlers too. These would be ideal sessions to attend on a rainy day because not only do you keep warm and cosy, but it still gives your little one the opportunity to interact with other children and stay entertained. I don't know how other parents else feel, but I'm sure Eric gets sick of it being just me and him in the day sometimes. He needs the variety, to see new faces, and to listen to someone new tell stories and sing nursery rhymes.
I know that some children centres are no longer open, but if there is one in your local area and you are yet to check it out, I'd definitely recommend getting in touch to see what classes or stay and play sessions they offer during the week. I get so much out of going to the centre nearby and attending sessions run by the staff. It gives Eric a bit of a routine too, and for me, somewhere where everybody knows me, knows Eric, and are always ready and keen to lend a hand to help.
Soft Play Areas
I've had to wait a little while before I could investigate these, but now that Eric can sit up on his own I can see us being regular visitors to soft play areas. Again, if it's miserable outside, going somewhere like this would be ideal as everyone stays warm, dry, and entertained. Even though there is usually a fee for using soft play centres, I think for the play opportunities (and sometimes the option for a five minute sit down and a coffee for the grownups) it's worth it!
Cute & Cosy Coffee Shops
There's nothing quite like finding a quiet nook in a coffee shop and nestling down with a hot chocolate. Instead of going for your chain coffee shops, why not investigate independent cafes and businesses in your local area and pay them a visit. You never know - there may be some baby friendly ones out there that offer music or arts and craft sessions too.
* I was very kindly sent a Zambra Merino Baby Bonnet from the La Coqueta Kids Accessories line to review. All opinions are my own and influenced by my own personal experiences using the product.