For me, if the choice was between a week away in the UK, or a week in a hot country – the hot country wins. That said, I do like a UK short break in between holidays, and Tattershall Lakes was perfect for that.

I always said I would never stay in a caravan again, I hated them when I was little, but we gave it a go and for a weekend we loved it. We went to Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire with another family we are friends with. You couldn’t beat the price for what you got, the Caravan was clean and pretty big!

What we loved…

The Italian restaurant was yummy, there is a large bar/restaurant area that is noisy and very busy, but there is also a smaller restaurant upstairs that is quieter and much better quality. The prices aren’t too bad either! The chocolate brownie is yum!

They had some good activities, the main one being the high ropes, which my partner and kids loved. The instructor was great and can only take a few people at a time, so not much standing around. It is worth mentioning that you have to pay extra for the activities – even if you have an entertainment pass.

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What wasn’t really our bag…

The pool left a lot to be desired. The booking of the pool is strange, you have to call at 08:00 or 13:00 to book a slot. This is mainly because the park has gotten so big, but the pool has remained the same size. This wasn’t made any better by the grim changing rooms. The pools itself is nice enough and has a good lifeguard there.

The kids evening entertainment was OK, the kids didn’t mind it, but they weren’t the best ideas – songs about different kinds of beans springs to mind. The kids much preferred the singers later on, and Gary Barlow was great, maybe they should have these on earlier than 9.30pm as the kids were ready for bed.

And the rest…

We were only there for a couple of nights, but had we been there longer we would have explored the castle nearby as it looked interesting. We spent a lot of time at the play park & mini golf was a lot of fun (and very quiet).
The onsite shop had a lot of stuff in it, and seemed to be fairly well priced, Hallie picked the biggest ball in the world and it was very cheap.

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We agreed that should we go back again, we want to be one of the people who had a hot tub!

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My top 5 box sets to get you through your baby’s first year

Ah the newborn days, they sleep a lot, but they wake up at the most random times. You try and sleep when they sleep, but you can’t always get to sleep, but you do need to chill, this is where the box sets come in. I watched a fair bit of TV when Hallie was asleep, especially as I couldn’t do much after my c-section. 

For the best viewing experience I use a Google Chromecast. You can cast from Google Play app or from the Chrome browser on your laptop.

  1. Mount Pleasant – the perfect box set for the newborn days, there is no point getting into something heavy, you will never stay awake or alert enough to take it in. Mount Pleasant is funny, easy going but still very addictive.
    They have stopped making it now, so you can watch it from start to finish.
    Where: Now TV 
  2. Stella – Again very funny, but still has that drama edge. It is written by Ruth Jones and she stars as the main character Stella, if you loved Gavin & Stacey, you will love this. The perfect tonic for long newborn nights.
    This has also just finished (although there are rumours of a Christmas Special).
    Where: Now TV
  3. Power – well, what can I say, I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I really did. It is produced by 50 cent (stay with me) and centres around the New York drug & club scene. I won’t give too much away, but it can leave you feeling a bit hot under the collar. 
    Season 5 is released in the summer, so plenty of time to catch up.
    Where: Netflix
  4. Shetland – I love a crime drama, and while I will never tire of The Bill reruns, I do like something a bit grittier but with heart. It will put you off ever moving to Shetland, but there’s not as many murders as Midsomer…
    The current series is on BBC1 Tuesday nights.
    Where: iPlayer for current series, you might have to buy the others.
  5. Outlander – A journey back in time and then back further. It took a few episodes but then I was hooked. Mainly set in Scotland, around 1743 onwards, you are drawn into love, war & a lot of drama. Maybe not one for the newborn days as it does get very intense!
    The next series is due in autumn and can’t come soon enough.
    Where: Amazon Prime

I am on the look out for a new box set – so please leave suggestions in the comments!

Oh and word of warning – if someone recommends ‘This is us’ do.not.listen, it is amazing but way too emotional! Save it for later down the line.

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Yummy toddler pinwheels: Quick win

I love pinwheels! My toddler doesn’t mind them either, so they are a great choice for lunch or a quick teatime meal.

It is also a meal your toddlers can get involved with making!

Get yourself some frozen puff pastry, you normally get two in a pack and they defrost within a couple of hours, then you always have a sheet in the freezer as a back up.

  1. lay out the pastry and make some tasty sauce, you can use passata and I like to add some oregano and pepper, but you can add any flavours your kid likes.
  2. Spread it across the pastry and then layer with cheese, I like to use red cheese to add some colour.
  3. Pick your next ingredient, it could be strips of ham, pineapple, chicken… just lay it out, with the strips you are going to cut in mind.
  4. Then add some more cheese on top, and you are ready to slice it up!
  5. The fun bit – let them help you roll them up!
  6. Lay them out on some baking paper and pop them in the oven for 15 or so mins!
  7. Get ready to eat them! Lovely with some salad.

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100 years today: Let’s keep pushing on!

Today feels like a great day, it is 100 years since women won the vote, and it is everywhere, everyone is talking about it and that is just how it should be. We SHOULD celebrate it, and I am hoping all women celebrate it by voting!

It does feel a bit sad however that in 2018 there is still gender inequality in jobs, relationships, pay, parenting, etc. but it is going in the right direction and we must push on with it and raise our sons and daughters to believe in equality.

I saw the Lorraine show this morning and she said she isn’t sure it is something you can teach, and in part she is right, it is more about our attitudes around our children and what we surround them with. With this in mind we got out Hallie’s ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ book and started to read about amazing women through history. From doctors to writers and politicians to scientists, these women are more than inspiring.

When I was growing up I honestly didn’t see a difference between men and women, I didn’t realise some people thought my dad was superior to my mum. My dad was a department store manager and worked in fashion and my mum was our mum and then a teacher, I didn’t realise people thought there were ‘male’ jobs and ‘female’ jobs. My mum has always instilled into me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and that university was always an option if I wanted it. Whilst growing up I wanted to be a vet, then a lawyer and then a journalist, I don’t remember anyone laughing at these choices or saying I couldn’t, and that all stems back to 100 years ago when those brave women made such a difference.

So, in my early life and teenage years I never experienced gender inequality, nothing that sticks in my mind. I did however start to pick up on it when I decided to work in IT, where day after day I would meet men (some in lower ranked jobs than me), implying there was no way I could know more than them or do the job better, which (not to blow my own trumpet) was total bullshit.

BUT I have to say, I have experienced a ridiculous amount of sexism since becoming a mother. It is honestly surprising how many people still believe the mothers role is to be main carer and basically chief cook and bottle washer. The fact that when we told people that Matt and I would have loved to have taken part in shared parenting leave, well quite frankly I thought some people had been sick in their mouths! I am constantly told how lucky I am that Matt is a hands on dad, I would like to bet people don’t tell him how lucky he is that I am a hands on mum…Let’s stamp these attitudes out and keep challenging them!

It’s not all bad though things are changing on that front, and the fact that shared parenting leave has come in at all is a massive step, in recognising the importance of women’s careers and recognising that men want to co parent.

Does anyone follow @thedididad & @dr_rachel_eyre on Instagram? If not you should! They are both breast cancer researchers and shared their parenting leave. The first six months was @dr_rachel_eyre and now it is @thedididad, and his posts are brilliant, they are honest and he gives a lot of praise to mums/dads on maternity leave. However now @dr_rachel_eyre is back at work, she too gives praise to dads who work all day and then come home and get stuck into parenting (however she does note that she still feels that is the easier role). Oh by the way, I should mention they have TWINS! Heroes.

Let’s do what we can, starting with our children

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

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Five snacks my toddler LOVES : Great snacks for on the go

Hallie has always had a healthy appetite, so snacks are constant throughout the day. I like to make sure they are healthy or contain something she can get some goodness from. Sometimes we get this right and most days the snacks are a hit, but not always, I don’t think anyone can predict 100% what a toddler is going to want to eat, most of the time they don’t even know. Funny though that white chocolate buttons can be a hit snack any time of the day, any day of the week.

Raisins 
She love, love, loves them. Hallie would eat them all day long if I let her. Not surprisingly she likes them out of the small (easy portable) snack boxes, better than the big bag, so my tip is – keep the little boxes and fill them up with raisins from the bag. Cheaper, they will get more and they are still easy to take out and about.

Carrot, cucumber and pepper strips
Healthy, yummy and colourful. As they say, eat the rainbow and you won’t go far wrong.

Breadsticks
This is a new like for Hallie, and one will keep her happy as I make her dinner. Also great fun for her to pretend it is a sword.

Fruit salad: bananas, oranges, blueberries & grapes
Lots of good stuff that little ones need, blueberries have always been a fave in our house and oranges are the new fave. I got some nice little tubs from Tesco, I try (and have the energy) to make them up when i’m making breakfast and pop them in the fridge. Great for if we are going out.

Cheeeeese 
In strips, in shapes (stars look good and interesting), or if you are Hallie straight out of your Mum’s sandwich, what a delicious plain cucumber sandwich I enjoyed today. She doesn’t seem to mind what shape they are in on mummy’s plate, but she is incredibly picky of what is on her own.

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