Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Syria's Children: Untold Atrocities

As I'm sat here writing this, my two beautiful children are playing on the floor next to me.  They are giggling together about something and look as if they don't have a care in the world.  They don't, and I pray that it stays that way for as long as I can make it so.

Right now, there are tens of thousands of children caught up in Syria's civil war who will never be able to experience such care free lives again.  They have witnessed things that no adult, let alone a child, should ever have to see.  Children not much older than my own.  I truly struggle to comprehend it.

Save The Children are working to bring this horrific situation to people's attention.  They have been denied access to Syria itself but are working on the country's borders to bring aid and assistance to the families who have been affected.  Of the many things they are doing, they are creating safe spaces for children to meet, play and to talk through their experiences and they are providing support to children who have fled Syria alone.

Yesterday they released a report which contains first hand reports from children and parents who have been directly affected by the conflict.  It makes for a truly heartbreaking read: Untold Atrocities

What Can I Do?

Sometimes it can seem as though we're just one small person up against a huge problem.  But by adding our voices to others it can make a massive difference.

Here are some of the things you can do:

1. Watch and share this 2 minute video with everyone you know.  Let's stop this being an untold atrocity.  Use #savesyriaschildren on Twitter.

2. Sign the petition calling on the UN and its member states to ensure they are doing all they can to make sure every crime against children is counted and that the perpetrators know they will be held to account.  

3.  Donate to Save The Children.  Money raised will go towards providing basics for these children such as food and blankets and will allow them to receive proper emotional support.

Please take a few minutes to share this story.  It could make a world of difference.

For more information visit the Save The Children's website.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Day Out: Peppa Pig World (Paultons Park)

Some of you may know that we made the *ahem* wise decision to go camping for three nights in the second week of September.  The main purpose of this adventure was to take Meg to Peppa Pig World as a special treat.

In order to get there, she had one important behave herself!!  She managed this beautifully somewhat in the week leading up to our holiday and so earned her treat and on the second day of our holiday, off we went!

I'd done a bit of research and measuring beforehand and knew that entry for Meg was free along with Eli.  I didn't realise that she was actually the perfect height - at 98cms she was tall enough to go on all but three of the rides at the whole of Paultons Park but we hadn't had to pay for her entry which was a huge bonus.

I'm of the general opinion that one theme park is pretty much the same as any other theme park so I was pleasantly surprised by Paultons.  The first thing we did when we arrived (other than losing £1 in a dodgy locker, but I half suspect this was my OH's fault for not reading the instructions) was get a lost child sticker for Meg.  These were situated right by the entrance, I wrote my phone number on and stuck it on her back.

We then headed to Peppa Pig World along with a whole crowd of people.  I was worried that it would be packed and we wouldn't be able to get on the rides but we didn't queue for longer than 15 mins apart from when we queued for Mrs Rabbit's helicopter ride when myself and Meg stood for 45 minutes.  It's an incredibly slow moving ride and a bit of a shame really as queuing isn't a toddlers forte!!  I can imagine it would be chaotic in the school holidays.

Peppa Pig World was absolutely perfect for our two.  I was so so impressed with how clean everything was, and how friendly all the ride operators were.

The indoor play area was fantastic although the under 2's area was a little small.  I loved the instrument section they had there though and Eli kept everyone entertained with his piano playing which was broadcast throughout the soft play!

I also thought the outdoor play area was brilliant.  My OH observed that it's not often you find a play area with toddler sized climbing frames.  It was perfect for Eli to master himself.

Unfortunately one downside we found is that there are no gates.  I saw several mums on their own with multiple children and I can imagine it would be difficult to keep your eyes on all children at all times in an area where they are encouraged to run around and explore.

Having the added security of knowing the entire area was enclosed would mean a lot I think.  There were two of us and at one point we did turn around and realise we'd lost Meg.  After a few minutes searching we found that she'd actually run out of the play area and was wandering around the part that was fenced trying to get back in!

Once we'd exhausted the delights of Peppa Pig World we headed into the rest of the park.  This was pretty much deserted.  Quite often we were the only ones on the rides!

Again though, everything was well kept and clean and there was lots for Meg to do.  Eli found his dream ride in the form of the diggers and would have spent the rest of the day driving round and round if he'd been allowed!

If you've read my previous post you will know that Meg was so thrilled to be at Peppa Pig World that she broke out into a spontaneous dance.  For us, it was a massive win!  

I can't comment on the cost or quality of the food as we took our own picnic but there are plenty of options available if you did want to purchase food and drink whilst there (although several of the stands and a few of the rides were closed).

I would definitely recommend this as a day out if you have toddlers!  But, probably best to try and go in term time!

And if my glowing review hasn't yet convinced you, here are a few more photos of our day:

Please note, I have not been asked to write this review, it is simply my own opinion of our day out.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Sparkle (See it, Snap it, Love it)

Whilst on a visit to Tutbury Castle, Meg noticed a face painting stand.  Lots of little girls were becoming beautiful butterflies and the boys scary lions or cheeky pirates.

We queued for a while with Meg chattering on about how beautiful Snow White had been.  This made me fairly certain she'd ask to be a princess.

When it was our turn she sat in the chair, beamed at the man and said "I want to be a fish.  A green one.  And sparkly too."  

Bless him he did his best!

Mummy on the other hand was washing blue face paint off items for the next week!

I'm linking up with Dear Beautiful Boy's 'See it Snap it Love it'.  Do go and have a look at the other Sparkle photos!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Warning: This could happen to your toddler...

So, we're home after three nights camping near to the New Forest in Hampshire. 

I'll post a round up of what we got up to once I've waded through the mountain of washing and post-holiday chaos but I thought I'd share with you my personal highlight of the holiday.

When visiting Peppa Pig World Meg spontaneously started dancing...I assume, due to an excitement overload!

I wonder where she gets her dancing skills from?!?

Friday, 7 September 2012

I'm away to my holiday...

Finally finally FINALLY my holiday is here...woohoo!!

So I won't be around the next week as we're off camping in the New Forest.  I don't plan to use my phone at all for anything slightly related to social media (we'll see how long that lasts!) so I guess it's bye for now!

I'm sure I'll have lots of lovely holiday photos to show off when we get back :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

How do you tame yours?

I'm the mummy of a tantruming toddler - get me out of here!!

We all have days like this don't we?

I've seen a few posts just today with a similar tagline so I know I'm not alone!

At the moment I feel like I'm living with Jack Jack from the film The Incredibles.  One minute Meg is all doe-eyed and sweetness...the next minute she's a raging tantruming madam.

We use timeout as our main method of 'discipline' (I dislike that word but you know what I'm getting at)  Meg is given a warning and if she carries on with the behaviour then we take her to our bottom step and ask her to sit there until she calms down.  We don't have a specified time for her to stay there, it's just until the point where her screams of temper and indignation become ones of 'I want to say I'm sorry'

The problem we're facing is that whereas the mere threat of timeout used to stop Meg in her tracks, now it just doesn't seem to be having any effect.

We also use stickers on a reward chart for good behaviour although of late we tend to end up entangled in a disagreement because Meg wants to stick them on the French doors rather than on her reward chart.

If you've read any of my other posts you'll know that we've faced similar periods before when Meg has become frustrated over things.  We have always tried to encourage Meg to explain why she's frustrated rather than just kicking off and this is probably effective 60% of the time.  We are then able to talk to her about the problem and either reach a compromise or at least reach a point where Meg understands why mummy and daddy have made the decision we have.

Recently though her worst tantrums, perplexingly, seem to come out of the blue.  We could have had a lovely day up until that point and then one 'no' morphs into an end of the world scenario.  I thought that once we were out of the terrible two's things would start to improve (ok, I can hear some of you laughing at that naive statement!)

Another concern is that Eli has started to copy.  If I say no to him he lowers himself carefully onto his back and starts to make the exact noise that Meg makes.  His heart isn't really in it as often I'll just stand him back up say "silly Eli" and off he goes to carry on playing but I don't want him to think that it's the normal way to behave.  Of the two children he's the laid back (if mischievous) one and I'd like it to stay that way!

So, what I really want to know is do you have any tips for when your terrible two's turn into terrifying threes or am I destined to spend the next year of my life counting down the hours every day until wine o'clock?!?

Meal Planning Monday 3 Sept 2012

I am so bad at getting these posts published!  I do make a meal plan every week and I try to have a nosey at everyone else's, I just seem to fail massively when it comes to writing my own up here.

Anyway, here's what our meal plan looks like this week:

Monday: Bangers & Mash
Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie
Wednesday: Chicken, Lemon & Mushroom pie
Thursday: Bacon Tagliatelle
Friday: Moroccan couscous (a new recipe my Other Half wants to experiment with - could all go wrong! could be completely delicious.  I'll fill you in next week!)
Saturday: We're officially 'on holiday' for the next week and a bit so we'll probably treat ourselves to eating out
Sunday: Pork roast

Do hop over to Mrs M's blog to see what everyone else is having this week.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Gallery: Movies

We love to dress up in our Other Half recently commented that he never thought we'd need a whole box just for novelty hats!

And of course nothing is better than the opportunity to dress up as your favourite film character.  Meet Cinderella and her (Hawaii based) Fairy Godmother!