We’re definitely a CBeebies household. In fact, there aren’t any other children’s TV channels that we watch and whilst we’re usually morning TV viewers than pre-bedtime (In the Night Garden plays during the CBeebies’ Bedtime Hour), I have found myself humming Iggle Piggle’s theme song on more than one occasion. When we were offered the chance to review the In the Night Garden Live theatre show, currently on in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham in their specially erected Showdome tent, I jumped at the chance, and started to make much more of an effort to ensure Pickle watched the show on TV so he’d get the most of out seeing it live.
With less than a month until our big family camping adventure, the race was well and truly on to find ourselves a tent fit for all three of us. LPD and I have a little three man pup-tent that was alright for us when we used to go on our own for the odd weekend here and there, but as I’ve mentioned before – going for a week with a toddler requires a whole new set up! Thankfully, Millets helped us out a little bit by inviting us to join in their #HomefromHome campaign, sending us a really useful multi-functional camping storage table and a care package filled with camping goodies. Millets recognise that every family has a different idea of what their home from home needs to be: whether it’s the luxury of fully kitted out caravan complete with a television, a more rugged, back-to-basics natural set up sleeping under the stars, or anywhere in-between.
So what’s our idea of #HomefromHome? And what were we looking for? And more importantly, have we found it?
This year is absolutely flying by, and before we know it, we’ll be taking Pickle on his first camping holiday. I cannot wait! To make the countdown even more exciting, I’m starting a camping series and every Wednesday from now until the end of August, I’ll be sharing how I’m getting prepared for big family camping trip as well as sharing some camping tales from other bloggers too. I’ve been really looking forward to this holiday for SUCH a long time (does anyone else find sometimes the anticipation of the holiday is the best bit?!) and I can only apologise in advance for how high the levels of excitement will reach as each week passes!
For our holiday, we’re heading to Cardigan Bay in Wales, near New Quay – famous for its abundance of wild dolphins. I’ve spent so much time sat on the gorgeous harbour, waiting for and delighting in the sight of dolphins playing off shore. No matter how many times I’ve seen them, it never gets any less magical. I’m not sure how much time Pickle will give us to just sit and watch water… but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed we can again this summer.
From Camping as a Couple to a Family
I like to think of ourselves as seasoned campers. I’ve been going camping since I was a mere six months old (and I always get reminded of this by family members who seem to particularly remember the fondness I showed for sherry that holiday!) and although I don’t think LPD went on many family camping trips, we’ve now notched up a fair few together over the years. Although usually only for the weekend, and we’ve usually gotten away with only taking the bare essentials. We certainly don’t have an abundance of our own equipment.
We’ve had a few disasters in our time. Including the holiday that we rocked up in Wales only to find we were missing half the tent. We had to drive to the nearest Argos which was 45 minutes away to buy ourselves a new one. Oh, how young we look in these photos!
Our little tent isn’t going to quite cut the mustard with Pickle in tow… and whereas we could get away with minimal stuff before, there’s so much more to consider when taking a toddler along!
Thankfully, Kiddies Kingdom have already sent us a few bits and pieces to help and Pickle was the recipient of his very own Red Kite backpack and a Weegoamigo circus muslin. They’re probably not necessarily items you’d automatically consider ‘camping’ items, but I already know they’ll make life easier for us when under canvas – as well as in the run up to our holiday too!
Red Kite Lion Backpack & Reins
Oh, this is just too cute isn’t it? This gorgeous little backpack is perfect to take away with us. I love the idea of Pickle carrying his own little bits and pieces around and now that he’s on the move, he can be a proper little adventurer with all his essentials in his bag! I’m thinking… some travel baby wipes, suncream and a teddy would be perfect to pop in here. And yellow really is his colour.
I can’t get over how grown up he looks wearing this. These photos were actually taken a while ago now, before he was properly walking (I don’t think I’d ever manage to get a photo of him sitting still now!), and I remember being taken aback at how much he didn’t look like a baby anymore. Babies don’t have backpacks! Toddlers have backpacks! How has this happened already?
This backpack comes with the option of using reins that can clip on and off at the top of the bag. I have tried them out with him now that he is properly walking, in the hope that it’ll literally ‘rein’ him in a little bit but… I just ended up following him wherever he wanted to go anyway! It was more for my reassurance that he couldn’t suddenly bolt without me knowing where he was rather than a tool to keep him from naturally exploring!
The bag has a little clip at the front, to stop the straps falling off his shoulders meaning it stays on really nicely and I bet he doesn’t even feel like he’s wearing it – he certainly doesn’t seem to mind. His hat however… that’s a whole different story! That comes off alarmingly frequently, even when it’s tied on.
Weegoamigo Muslin Wrap – Circus
I’m late to the party when it comes to gorgeous printed muslins. When Pickle was really little and muslins were mainly just used to mop up milky sick on the very rare occasion he brought any up, I couldn’t understand why anyone would buy such beautiful and large muslins. Why would you buy something so pretty to clean up sick with? But, of course, as I’m sure other people already know, when your baby grows out of the sicky stage, they’re like the swiss army knife of a baby change bag! Especially ones as big and gorgeous as this Weegoamigo Circus printed one.
So far, we’ve used this one as a lightweight blanket during the hot weather, a fun addition to peek-a-boo, a quick storage solution for toys, a rug to play on… I even pegged it up on the washing line to form a den with some shade!
It’s honestly so beautiful. I really fancy getting hold of some wooden circus animals so that we can begin to play with the muslin and tell stories about the circus printed on it and what the animals all get up to! A fun activity for a rainy day. Maybe I’ll get him a little circus animal set for when we go on holiday – it’s bound to rain, right?
But we still need a tent…!
So whilst Pickle has himself a few lovely treats, we’ll all look pretty silly if we don’t have a tent to go with it. We still haven’t bought one. I feel like it’s quite the investment as I’m hoping we’ll get one that will last us a good few years and see us through many a future camping trip. I think it’s worth spending that little bit extra and going for a tent a little bit bigger than we need right now, in order to prepare for the years ahead! I’d love to hear from you if you have any tent recommendations or any advice as to what to go for, what to avoid and what’s really important.
Oh darling, camping is going to be quite the adventure! You little explorer.
Before Pickle came along, LPD and I would often eat out. Oh, those were the days… when we didn’t have a baby-bedtime to rush home for or an evening of being too tired to do anything but mindlessly watch Netflix to look forward to. Lack of available time and a massively reduced monthly income mean that dining out is very much classed as a luxury these days, but that needn’t be the case really and an early Sunday dinner at Prezzo with La Famiglia has really made me realise it’s far more do-able than I thought.
I’ve mentioned it a million times before, but I’m a terrible creature of habit. If something works, it works. Why change it? And that’s exactly how I feel about Splash About. We’ve been using their swimming pants since Pickle was three weeks old, and we’re starting to build a little collection of them that chart his rapid growth! I was over the moon excited when I got the email to let me know I’d been selected to be one of their Splash About Gurus, and it was perfect timing that we got the news just before our break to Bluestone, giving us the perfect opportunity to test out their Splash About BabyWrap wetsuit.
Now, I was no stranger to a Splash About BabyWrap wetsuit, as wonderfully, the swimming lessons we take him to have a little stash that you can borrow for the session if the pool is a little cold. Buying one was on my pre-holiday list as I already knew how much happier Pickle is in the water when he’s warmer. In fact, the difference is quite staggering. What I particularly love about the Splash About ones compared to some of the other designs I’ve seen at swimming is that they’re pretty easy to get on (and off!). The wrap is like one big envelope that opens completely flat, and it just velcros up along the bottom and the middle, with two straps over the shoulders. Anyone who’s tried to wrestle a baby into their swimming get up will appreciate how easy it is! The perfect choice for wriggling babies and toddlers on the move.
As it turns out, we didn’t need to worry about the temperature of the pool at Bluestone as it was beautifully warm, but knowing he had that extra layer of warmth just meant I didn’t have to worry about limiting our time in the water or being in a rush to get out.
The only thing I noticed after our week of daily swimming was that the skin on Pickle’s tummy started to get a bit dry in patches. It didn’t look sore but it was very noticeable. I wasn’t sure if it was just a result of the number of times we went swimming that week or if the wrapsuit was exacerbating it but when I was at the Baby Show last month, I checked with the skincare expert on the Johnson’s stand. She told me that the chlorine in swimming pools can have a big drying effect on delicate baby skin and that the best way to combat it is to properly wash off the swimming pool water after each swim and lather up with a baby-friendly moisturiser. I’ve been doing that ever since and it’s already made a massive difference – phew.
More than anything, having the Splash About BabyWrap wetsuit* just gives me peace of mind, and allows us both to just focus on having fun in the water and learning lots of new things. I’ve seen a huge surge in his confidence since we’ve had the wetsuit and he can now pull himself out of the pool onto the side, is happy to lean forward and flop himself into the water and definitely enjoys splashing around more! It could just be a coincidence, but I’m very happy to put it down to feeling more comfortable and warm in the water. I kind of wish we’d thought to buy one sooner, really. Thank you Splash About, once again!
Disclaimer: Pickle is a Splash About Guru, and as such we were sent his BabyWrap in return for an honest review of the product. *This review contains Affiliate links. This doesn’t affect the price you pay but if you do buy using my link, I get a small financial incentive – thank you!