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  • Center Parcs Woburn Forest lodge at sunrise with sun flare

    Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs Woburn Forest in Pictures

    After trying to write up a blog post about our recent holiday to Center Parcs for what feels like forever, I’m scrapping everything I’d written so far and starting again. Why? Because I was going about it the wrong way. I was trying to fill in the back story – explaining why we went in the first place, how I wanted to make sure this year my birthday was better than last year. I spent over 1,000 waffling on about the lead up to the trip and hadn’t even begun documenting the memories I want to cherish from our time actually spent at Center Parcs. So I’m starting again. And focusing on what’s important.

    Our First Full Family Holiday in Years

    One of the most special things about this holiday was that my whole immediate family came too. My parents, all three of my brothers (including the one who lives in Australia – he made the trip over especially!) and my foster brothers too. It’s the first time the full Parker-clan (my maiden name) has been on holiday together in… I don’t even know how long. Possibly fifteen years. That’s half of my life. That really meant a lot to me, and I was hoping for lots of fun in the forest together to properly pre-celebrate my 30th birthday. read more

    Aged 2+, Lifestyle, Parenting, UK Travel
    / January 2, 2019
  • Paper Ink Academy papercuts at the Worcestershire Etsy Market

    Meet Your Local Worcestershire Etsy Sellers

    This is a collaborative post with the Worcestershire Etsy team.

    If you scroll all the way back through my blog posts, you may be surprised to learn that this was my very first post: LPM Made This: Envelope Back Cushion Cover. Every now and then, this blog of mine gets a little bit of crafting fun sprinkled over it – in fact, there used to be a whole crafts section until I made the sad realisation that I didn’t have the time for crafts like I used to. My love for all things homemade hasn’t diminished though, and so when I received the most wonderful parcel a few weeks a go from the Worcestershire Etsy Team, I was beside myself with excitement.

    You see, I love browsing through Etsy, and the huge wealth of talent and creativity on there, the convenience of shopping online and then the excitement of happy post… but I also like supporting my local community. Last weekend, the Worcestershire Etsy team put on an incredible Designer Maker Market in Worcester at the Royal Porcelain Works, complete with a Rock Choir, offering the chance to combine all the things I like best in one room.

    It also served the purpose of ticking a few presents off my Christmas shopping list (which I’ve been neglecting for too long), and I may have gotten a little too excited that so many of the stalls accepted card payments that I came home with a lot more than I anticipated.

    The gorgeous cards on the left were made by @gallerykonstartem and the mouse ceramic work is by @_claire_paveley_.

    If like me, you love all things handmade and appreciate the talent, skill and time that goes into these creations, let me introduce you to some of the wonderful businesses I encountered last weekend.

    Eliston Button

    The whole reason I was even at the market to begin with is thanks to this lovely lady: Rachel from Eliston Button. We got chatting a while ago now after finding each other on Instagram originally (I think…) as we both live in the same town. I’ve long been admiring her handiwork, especially these gorgeous mixed media pieces and it was such a treat to finally meet in person – ironically, in Worcester, despite the fact I could walk to her house if I wanted to!

    I’ve planted the seed that I think she should do a fabric collage of Arrow Valley Lake as I’d definitely buy it! Whilst at the market, I also bought one of her gorgeous prints as the sentiment was absolutely perfect for my best friend’s birthday later this month and I couldn’t resist buying LPD, Pickle and myself all matching Sprout badges.

    How darn cute are these little guys?! I just absolutely love them. Never have pom poms had so much character. If you’d like to see more of Rachel’s work, she has a fantastic blog over at Eliston Button, her own Etsy shop and a cracking Instagram account (@elistonbutton).

    Natty Designs

    I wish Smell-o-vision was a thing (anyone else remember the Children in Need 1995 Smell-O-Vision book?) as this candle is unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. As soon as I sniffed it, I knew it needed to be bought for Little Pickle’s Dad. It smells like hearty old countryside pubs with log burning fires and wooden paneling. It’s so comforting and masculine and earthy – I absolutely love it, and I know LPD will too. I’d have never really thought about buying him a candle before, and it’s the last thing he’d expect I think, but I know he’s going to love it.

    I also bought a set of Lemongrass and Ginger tealights which I still haven’t decided whether to keep for myself, or to gift yet. I love them. And I’m not quite sure I can bear to part with them. We’ll see…! Nat from Natty Designs also makes these gorgeous origami box lids for her tealight sets (you can just about see them in the above photo, apologies for it being wildly out of focus!) which reminded me so much of when my brother and I were younger and how we used to make and decorate little paper boxes so we could make ourselves homemade McDonalds.

    You can find out more about Natty Designs on their website or visit the Natty Designs Etsy shop.

    Munchkin Madness Makes

    I absolutely fell in love with these wonderful hair accessories. As well as super cute and quirky options, there were also some wonderfully festive ones and I hear the unicorn sets were particularly popular! Most of the hair sets offered two hair ties, two hair clips and some even had an additional bow too. Whether you’re five years old or fifty-five, I think these are brilliant!

    I bought myself this dinosaur set as I thought that would make me such a cool Mom! Imagine my delight when I came home to learn that LPD and Pickle had spent the afternoon watching The Land Before Time together. Amazing. If ever I’ve come across a stall that instantly put a smile on my face – Munchkin Madness Makes wins that prize hands down.

    If your style is a little less quirky, then these cute pins are a really fun way to inject a little bit of colour and vibrancy to your outfit. I picked up two sets – one for me, and one for my sister-in-law who I think will really like them. Fingers crossed…

    Paper Ink Alchemy

    I like to think if I ever were to ever open a craft business, it would be like Paper Ink Alchemy. I absolutely fell in love with her papercuts – especially her work that features whales (it’s pretty much top of my bucket list to see whales in the wild). Lottie, the creative genius behind Paper Ink Alchemy, is also the Worcestershire Etsy Team Leader, so the whole market was largely thanks to her efforts. To pull off something so wonderful and successful on a first attempt is pretty special, I think, and I really hope the team do events like this at least twice a year.

    From lovely papercut baubles, to necklaces and framed art, this lovely shop has something to suit every price point. And I really look forward to keeping up to date with Lottie’s latest work over on Instagram (@paperinkalchemy) to see what other beautiful work she creates in the months ahead.

    By Charlotte

    If there’s one regret I have from the market, it’s that I didn’t buy one of By Charlotte’s absolutely adorable crocheted animals. Not only were the colours absolutely gorgeous, but I don’t think you could stop yourself from being charmed by these little critters. I know exactly where I’ll be heading next time I have a new baby’s arrival to celebrate.

    I did buy a lovely hand lettering print from Charlotte though – again, another gift for a friend, where the sentiment just seemed to hit the nail on the head. I’m really loving including hand designed prints for decor at the moment – I think it adds such a lovely touch to a room, and make such thoughtful gifts.

    My other favourites

    I could end up typing pages and pages going into the detail of all the fascinating stallholders I spoke to, but I’d be here forever. I’d much rather show more of the photos I took and point you in the direction of the other Etsy holders, their Instagram pages and the ways in which you can continue drooling over their creativity.

    Justine Morris Designs

    I kept quite a wide aperature on these photos so you can’t see all the detail on each piece, but these gorgeous stud earring sets by Justine Morris Designs were right up my street. I particularly like the little solid triangle studs that look like little shards. I love the apparent simplicity of the designs, even though Justine said sometimes the simplest looking ones are the hardest to make.

    OvariJewels

    The colours in OvariJewels pieces were really striking – I loved the calm, serene vibes that some of the pieces gave off, in contrast with some of the more energising ones. These little bracelets would make a lovely Christmas gift, whilst the necklaces are real showstoppers. I loved chatting to Mhari, and I’ll be wearing my own bracelet with a lot of pride.

    Starr Fused Glass

    Talking of Pride, these rainbow pieces from Starr Fused Glass really caught my eye. To celebrate Pride, Bryony made these wonderful hanging decorations, with 10% of every sale going to Mermaids UK charity. They’ve been really popular and I’m not surprised. I think they’re amazing.

    Keep it Local

    This is just a small selection of the wonderful local artists we have to be proud of in Worcestershire. I strongly encourage you to follow the Worcestershire Etsy team on Instagram (@worcestershireetsy) and remember that buying online doesn’t mean you can’t also buy local. I’m hoping I can meet up with Rachel and @mypotasaurus for a tea and crafting date soon as what a treat that would be – although, I hope they don’t laugh at my amateur crafting (lack of) skill.

    I couldn’t resist buying two of these little keychains from @dippydaisydesigns – she even makes a keychain that you can keep your lipbalm in. How cute is that?

    I had so much fun at this Designer Maker Market, and it was the perfect way to kick off my Christmas shopping this year, as well as get some ideas for things I’d like to add to my wishlist should Little Pickle’s Dad need some gift inspiration. I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about these wonderful artists as much as I have.

    Disclaimer: I was invited to the Worcestershire Etsy Designer Maker Market and offered a small fee for writing about it in addition to receiving a goody bag before the event. However, all items I bought were out of my own pocket and genuinely because I loved them. I was under no obligation to do so. 

    Crafts, Lifestyle
    / December 10, 2018
  • Gutterhead board game, with a glass of wine

    A Games Night Special: Gutterhead

    Before I go any further… let me preface this with a big NSFW (which means: Not Safe For Work). In other words, I like to think this blog of mine is fairly typically PG, but you might not want to read this one out to your Grandmother. I’ll leave a lot to your imagination, but this one’s definitely a post for those of you who enjoy a dirty joke and, as Little Pickle’s Dad would put it, a little bit of smut or toilet humour. I know, what did I tell you? It really is something a bit different from me today!

    We’re big fans of board games in this house, so when we were offered the chance to test out a new board game, strictly for adults, I knew it was the perfect excuse to invite friends over, have a few beers and give ourselves a much needed giggle. I’d heard that the game, Gutterhead, was like the illegitimate love-child of Cards Against Humanity and Pictionary, and quite frankly, I can’t think of a more perfect description. In fact, there’s probably not much more I’d need to tell you other than that for you to get a really good gist of what’s involved.

    What does the game include? A board game, with a snake like trail of spaces winding it’s way over it, four playing pieces (in the shape of different colour turd piles), five sets of cards (categorised by Person/Place, Object, Action, Feeling/Sensation and Naughty or Nice), two wipe-clean whiteboards and four wipeable pens. The colour scheme is dark, deep and cheeky. It definitely has a grown-up feel to it. This isn’t something a five year old would get excited over.

    The aim of the game is simple: get your poop pile across the board quickest, by earning yourself a dice roll for each time you manage to correctly guess the dirty word (whether that’s through drawing or miming) before your opposing team. The words themselves? Vary. Some are pretty tame (unless there’s a secondary meaning I’m not sassy enough to be aware of?) but others definitely gave a bit of colour to my cheeks.

    With a glass of wine in hand, I definitely became a bit more relaxed and open as the game went on. And I surprised myself with the extent of my… knowledge? I’m not one for ‘sexy slang’ (and by ‘sexy slang’ I mean… the kinds of words and meanings that belong in the Urban Dictionary!) so I wasn’t sure I’d know what half the words even meant. Thankfully, the cards do include a little one liner underneath to help shed any light on the terms that you may have not come across. I tell you, it’s an education.

    I took a few photos whilst we played, but… I’m not sure I can share most of them here. I’d had a couple of glasses of wine when I took the pictures and at the time, I thought I could get away with it… but in the sober writing of this post, I’m just not sure I want to subject you to some of the more intimate doodles and phallic scenes! As LPD succinctly put it ‘it’s not really on brand, is it?’, but there are a couple that I do feel give you a bit of a gentler idea!

    This was LPD’s depiction of ‘gangster’ and my drawing of ‘bat shit crazy.’ See, they’re not all rude enough to make you blush.

    The game is fun, quick and you’ll definitely end the game feeling like you know your team mates or opponents a little bit more intimately than you did before. Be warned: there are some cards that require you to mime (but you get a choice of three, so you can choose whichever one you’re most comfortable with!). When it was my turn, I chose spanking and snorting cocaine, although I had the options of diarrhea, giving birth or deep throating(!!!). And, if you’re reading this Dad, of course I don’t know what that means…

    You might want to make sure you have some wipes to hand (to give the white boards a clean) or have some scrap paper to hand if that’s your preference, as there’s nothing that comes with the game to fulfill that purpose.

    There’s lot of cliches about parenting that are 100% true: always being tired, children grow so fast, and life turns completely upside down. But there’s one cliche that hasn’t rang true for us, and so I’m here to tell you – parenthood does not mean you have to wave goodbye to your social life. It just… kind of… rotates on an axis a little bit.

    Can we go out for a drink at the drop of a hat? No. Will you find us downing shots in a club every Friday night? No. But do we still see our friends? Yes, absolutely. It might take more planning, it may have to booked in a diary weeks in advance, but my goodness, do I appreciate those evenings, or afternoons spent with friends more than ever. These days, we’ve swapped the beer mats for our customised coasters at home, swanky interiors for the comforts of our lounge, but we’ve not compromised on the fun or the laughter. Especially when board games are involved.

    With a game like Gutterhead, you’ll feel like you’ve reclaimed a little bit of your youth back. A complete flashback to those high school titters in the back of the classroom. And definitely a way to easily forget the troubles of the day.

    The Details

    You can buy the game from Amazon* or direct from the gamemakers website: GutterheadGame.com. It retails at £29.99 (correct at the time of publication) and is strictly for 18years+, with groups of four to sixteen players. There’s also an Expansion Pack* you can buy, so don’t worry about getting too familiar with the terms in this set – they have even more on offer to tickle your fancy.

    Disclaimer: we were kindly sent Gutterhead in exchange for writing a review giving our honest thoughts and feedback. All content, opinions and ideas remain my own. This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to buy, the price you pay will not be altered but I will receive a small financial referral fee.

    Lifestyle, Reviews
    / October 23, 2018
  • Portobello mushrooms with gorgeous bread

    The Victoria Inn, Barnt Green

    You can always tell if I like somewhere, as I’ll be planning my return visit before I’ve even gotten home. I must get that trait off my parents, who were sat during dinner last Wednesday, making plans to bring back their friends to The Victoria Inn in Barnt Green (and I’m tempted to come back to celebrate my birthday next month!). It’s recently undergone a beautiful refurbishment, and it was an absolute treat to spend the evening there earlier this week with LPD (Little Pickle’s Dad), my Mum and my Dad to preview the new look and sample the Autumn/Winter menu.

    Having worked at a pub before, during and after a refurbishment, I know what the excitement is like. To see your place of work undergo a transformation is weirdly thrilling and the sense of new beginnings and a fresh start means everyone ups their game. As soon as we walked in, to the smell of freshly painted walls, and were greeted by the Victoria Inn staff, I got the feeling that they were willing us to like it as much as they did – and guess what? We did.

    I hadn’t visited The Victoria Inn before, so I didn’t really know what to compare it to – but my parents had. I think they’d had a meet up there with their Guide Dog pals (my Mum and Dad look after Guide Dog puppies and take them all sorts of places as part of their training, including trips on the train to nice local pubs… it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!).

    We each grabbed a drink at the bar (gin and tonics for three of us, it would have been rude not to with the gorgeous gin station at the end of the bar to pimp up our Tanquerays) and took a seat in the bar to familiarise ourselves with the new decor. My Dad was very happy to see that the fire place was still there, and I think he’s quite looking forward to returning for a cosy drink on a wintry afternoon.

     

    Whilst we sipped our gins and chatted about our respective days, the Victoria Inn team brought us over a couple of sample plates of different starters (sharing plates of food are always my favourite!). We tried duck parfait, salt and szechuan pepper squid (SO GOOD!), deep fried brie, a lobster and prawn creme fraiche delight and some gorgeous beef.

    They definitely whetted our appetite for the meal to come, and as we took our seats at our table, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the menu. Usually, I look up menus online before we visit anywhere but I refrained this time which meant it took me longer than usual to peruse the options and decide what to go for. Thankfully, our waitress was able to help me choose (I always trust staff recommendations!).

    Although I think all four of us chose quite meaty dishes, it was impressive to see a whole vegan menu (I was quite tempted by the Spiced Coconut Curry, but I’ve been choosing a lot of rice dishes when eating out recently so wanted to try something a bit different this time).

    As we waited for our starters to arrive, we tried a bit of this really unique chili mango and pineapple. I made sure to try a mango piece as I’m not a huge pineapple fan, and it had quite a kick to it! Something a little bit different. I’d love to try and recreate that at home.

    I think I’m just going to let these photos do the talking because… well, they tasted as gorgeous as they all looked. There were a couple of choices on the menu that were flagged as being calorie-friendly, so seeing as I was having an indulgent evening, I thought I’d try and least do some damage control with my starter and so went for the Sweet Chilli King Prawn Roll: king prawns with julienne vegetables wrapped in rice paper. LPD went for the Scallops of the Day, served with bacon and black pudding, my Mum went for Portobello Mushrooms and my Dad went for the Carrot and Coriander Soup.

    We’d asked for some wine recommendations to go with our food, going for a bottle of red and a bottle of white and the waitress didn’t even need to hesitate before offering some suggestions. My Mum and Dad can be a bit fussy with their red wine (they’ve got expensive tastes!) but I’m generally quite happy with any white wine as long as it’s not Chardonnay. We were all pleased with the choices though, and my white wine in particular went so well with my Pork dish main.

    As the Victoria Inn wasn’t open to the public during our preview meal on Wednesday, it meant I didn’t feel like a complete idiot for getting my big camera out. Usually, when we’re out for a restaurant review, I feel really silly using my camera and just try to quickly take a few sneaky shots before anyone really notices and other customers question what on earth I’m doing. Thank goodness that I had a bit more freedom this week as when our main courses arrived, the dishes all looked so beautiful.

    First up: LPD went for the Chicken and Leek pie, topped with a ham hock crumb, mash and greens…

    My Dad opted for pan-fried Sea Bass fillets with parmentier potatoes, pancetta, olives (which he didn’t eat!), spinach and a white wine voloute:

    I went for the Pork Belly, served with Seared Scallops, dauphinoise potatoes, butternut squash puree, green beans, crackling and a red wine jus. I’m a sucker for pork so had high hopes – it did not disappoint! Next time, I’d probably order it without the Scallops just for portion size reasons, but it all came together beautifully and was absolutely divine:

    And the award for the most drool inducing plate of food goes to my Mum’s choice – the Roasted Rack of Lamb, with aubergine, roasted sweet peppers, dauphinoise potatoes and a red wine jus:

    Looking back, I’m a bit gutted I didn’t think to ask my fellow diners for a taste of their dishes (for research purposes, obviously) – I was just so enjoying my own that the thought didn’t cross my mind. The Victoria Inn also has pizzas, burgers and steaks on the menu – and if the little taster we had was anything to go by, the Stir Fried Beef Fillet Salad would be a delicious choice too.

    I think my eyes might’ve been bigger than my belly as even though I felt so full, I couldn’t resist ordering pudding too. Although I’m usually a sucker for a crumble (and the menu boasts a lovely sounding Apple & Blackberry one), I trusted another recommendation from our waitress and went for the Chocolate Bomb. I mean, it’s not every day you get to try a rich chocolate shell filled with sticky toffee pudding, peanut cream and served with a hot salted caramel sauce.

    It was ABSOLUTELY delicious, and I love a pudding with a bit of drama (the waitress poured the hot sauce over the chocolate bomb to reveal it’s sticky toffee contents). Chocolate bombs are always a dessert menu highlight, aren’t they? But for those wanting a bit more of a home comfort, my Dad went for a mini version of the Apple & Blackberry Crumble with a hot drink.

    It’s only been recently that I’ve really appreciated hot drinks at the end of a meal when dining out. I used to think it was a bit of a waste of money when you could just go home for a cuppa instead, but actually, there’s something really luxurious about taking the time to let your meal go down and just bask in that lovely post-food glow and enjoy the atmosphere. It helps when the decor surrounding you is gorgeous!

    All in all, it was such a delightful evening. One I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. It was an extra little treat to bump into Jen from Rice Cakes and Raisins who was enjoying a meal with her Mum – I can’t wait to read what she thought of the new look too.

    If you’re looking for a local restaurant that offers stunning decor, a friendly atmosphere and guarantees gastronomical satisfaction – you’re onto a winner with The Victoria Inn. Hop onto the train if you want to enjoy a cocktail or two (it’s two for £10 from 12pm – 7pm Monday to Friday) or do what we did, and drive there, leave the car overnight and grab a taxi home.

    From the four of us, we wish the team at The Victoria Inn all the very best in the coming weeks as they show off the new refurbishment, and we’ll be back soon to devour your gorgeous food again. Thank you for having us, and a big cheers to new beginnings and gorgeous interiors.

    If you’d like to see a bit more from our meal at the Victoria Inn, I’ve added my Instastories from the evening to a new Dining Out highlight. It’s worth a watch as it includes a slightly inebriated Grandpark Pickle (my Dad) sharing some very enthusiastic feedback on the toilet hand-dryers.

    Disclaimer: we were invited guests of the Victoria Inn, Barnt Green on 10 October to preview their new refurbishment. Our meal and drinks were offered to us in exchange for an honestly written review. All content, views and opinions remain my own.

    Dining Out, Lifestyle
    / October 14, 2018
  • Tingaling gin and prosecco cocktail at Turtle Bay in Leamington

    A Girls Night at Turtle Bay

    Just as certain songs can transport you back to a special time, meaning every time you hear it you are overcome with memories and emotion, so can venues. When Turtle Bay got in touch last month to see if I was interested in reviewing their Leamington restaurant, I instantly knew this wouldn’t be a visit I’d share with Little Pickle’s Dad (LPD). Turtle Bay is where I’ve celebrated some major milestones with my girls. It’s where I’ve marveled at my best friend as she recanted the labour that made her a mother. It’s where rum-based cocktails have induced giggles, feminist sass and post-midnight takeaway orders. It’s where I tried to make up for missing a hen party, partaking in a round of tequila shots at the bride-to-be’s insistence.

    Dining Out, Lifestyle, Reviews
    / September 30, 2018
  • No need for a lawnmower with artificial grass

    Designing a Toddler-Friendly Garden

    This is a collaborative post.

    With our upcoming house move on the horizon, house renovations and decorating are very much on my mind at the moment. We’re moving into a relative’s house for about a year, so whilst the house isn’t ours, it’s the first time we’ve lived somewhere that we can make our own. Our main reason for relocating is to save money, so we don’t want to go mad, but I’m thinking it’s all good practice for when we hopefully buy our own home in the not too distant future.

    My main priority is the lounge, and I’ve spent all week scrubbing the walls and plastering them with emulsion but next on my list is the garden. Second to the lounge, it’s probably the area of the house that we spend the most time in with Pickle: come rain or shine, he just loves being outside. It’s got me thinking about what makes a good garden for a toddler, and although not all of these ideas are feasible for us right now, they’re good food for thought as we start thinking about searching for a house to buy.

    Flat and Spacious

    The main requirement any toddler has for outdoor space is… plenty of it! If you’ve got an energetic toddler like mine, they’ll love nothing more than running up and down, and round and round any garden space. Although Pickle really enjoys climbing up hills and racing back down them, or jumping off steps, a nice big flat area has bigger potential for stress-free play.

    That doesn’t mean sloped gardens can’t be fun… Some of my favourite memories from my childhood involve putting the tent groundsheet in the garden and using the slide to make a watery slide. Literally hours of fun! But in an ideal world, I think flat is best.

    Artificial Grass

    I wish we were the kind of family that drink coffee, read the newspapers and mow the lawns on Sundays – but we’re just not. Mowing the lawn is something that only gets done when it really needs it. With the grass so high and the weeds so numerous that it’s passable for a jungle, its not the most conducive environment to a football game or a quick play outside.

    If there’s one lesson I’ve learned through my life so far with a toddler, it’s that your garden needs to be playable in at a moment’s notice. Being ready for action at the drop of a hat means you have so much more flexibility, and helps avoid those horrible days cooped up indoors. So if, like us, you’re not best friends with your lawn mower, it’s definitely worth considering artificial grass.

    There is still an element of maintenance needed for artificial grass, but arguably it’s much less than a normal lawn, and will always look nice and fresh, and neat.

    Lots to Play With

    Providing Pickle with lots to play with in the garden hasn’t been much of a priority until now, as our old home was so close to the park that it was easier to wander down there than mow the aforementioned jungle lawn. But when I see how excited he gets when we visit our friends who have swings, slides, climbing frames and playhouses, it makes me realise how lovely those things would be to have at home.

    That said, if space and finances are limited, there are some small, cheap basics that should be in any toddler’s garden: something to throw, something to kick, something to push and something to climb. And anything that involves water play is always going to be a hit – Pickle’s face the first time he played with a water pistol is just a picture!

    For some great toy ideas, I’ve created a little shopping list of items I can personally recommend:

    Things to Grow

    For Father’s Day this year, we were sent some little pots and some seeds from Johnson’s Baby and it was just the push I needed to get over my fear of gardening and learn from scratch. Pickle and I figured it out together, using a small trowel to move compost, poking holes in the soil and sprinkling the seeds.

    Not only did he enjoy planting the seeds to begin with, but it was really sweet to see how excited he was to water our flowers each morning. Granted, he did over-water the little pots right from the off and they never actually grew… but the larger planters have done really well and I’m so proud of us both that we’ve successfully grown something from seed!

    As Pickle gets older, I’d love to widen our growing horizons and start growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs. I think it’s so important for children to understand where their food comes from, and what better way than to see it from seed to plate?

    A Washing Line!

    This last item isn’t so much for the toddler’s playing benefit, but for their welfare. I’m not sure I need to convince anyone how essential a washing line is for any household with children.

    When the weather is dry, there is nothing I love more than the feeling of accomplishment when I peg a load of washing out to dry. We don’t have a tumble-dryer so it’s the quickest way I have of getting through the never-ending laundry pile and seeing the line full of Pickle’s cute little clothes makes me feel very adult for some reason.

    What’s in your Garden?

    So, what do you think? Have I covered all the essentials for putting together the perfect garden for a toddler? Am I missing anything? I’d love to hear what you have in your garden so I start to think about buying our first family home and knowing what I need to be looking for in the outdoor space available.

    Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post in collaboration with Grass Direct. All content, views and opinions remain my own, as as always, is 100% honest.

    Countryside, Lifestyle, Parenting
    / September 1, 2018