Flying to a Eurocamp Holiday

For a while I wondered if it was possible to fly to a Eurocamp holiday without the use of a car. I went on lots of Eurocamp holidays as a child and we always drove to our campsite, including a ferry crossing.

I wanted to introduce my own young family to the joys of Eurocamp, but did not fancy the long drive either side of the holiday with little ones. I decided that flying to a Eurocamp holiday was the only way for us to get the most out of this luxury camping option with a toddler and an older sister.

Eurocamp By Air

View from a plane window

Since wondering about the possibility of Eurocamp without a car, we have been on a couple of Eurocamp holidays with a hire car from the airport. We have also been on a Eurocamp holiday with back up from my parents in their car. My brother joined us on one of our Eurocamp holidays without any car, relying on flights and train travel through Italy with his son and girlfriend.

Eurocamp have started to acknowledge the flying option, but it is clearly not a common choice amongst Eurocamp holidaymakers.

The easiest of these three options for us has to be travelling by aeroplane with a hire car and back up boot space from my parents. My Dad’s car has a large boot and plenty of space in the back so we benefited from that when my parents drove to the campsite in the Dordogne in France and we met them there. They spent three days driving and we travelled in a matter of hours, including a flight from our local airport. Our transfer from the airport in our hire car was under an hour.

Limited Luggage

When we flew without the use of a car, we kept our luggage to a minimum. We hired a cot and bed linen and towels from the campsite as there was no way we could carry them. We had to accept that we couldn’t bring much food or cooking items. Normally I would pack breakfast cereals and cooking oil and herbs, but that wasn’t an option when travelling with little ones to a campsite in Italy.

Getting Out and About

One of the big problems with travelling by plane to a Eurocamp holiday is that the campsites tend to be in rural spots in the middle of nowhere. If you don’t have a car it can be difficult to to get out and about to see things and the transport options are often limited. We chose a campsite with lots of activities on site and within walking distance of a beach. It was nice for a few days, but I think a fortnight would have been too much.

Top Tips for Flying to a Eurocamp HolidayEurocamp family holiday by aeroplane

Choose a Eurocamp site that is within easy reach of public transport and ideally places to walk to and things to see and do.

Choose a Eurocamp site that has good facilities on site, ideally a decent supermarket, restaurant and activities for the kids.

Prepare to buy bulky essentials when you get there, such as washing up liquid, breakfast cereals, cooking basics.

Hire bed linen and towels from the campsite. Carrying your own bed linen and towels takes up loads of room.

If you would like to read about our holiday to a Eurocamp site in the Dordogne, please click on the Sacred Hour blog post Eurocamp St Avit Loisirs Campsite, Le Bugue, Dordogne, France.

Top 10 Family Days Out In Cornwall


We have recently returned from a family holiday in Cornwall and we had a really great time. So I thought I’d share our top 10 family days out in Cornwall (and within reach of Cornwall) based on our experiences and with a little insider knowledge from some of the lovely local people of Bude in Cornwall.

1. Eden Project, St Austell

If you are interested in plants and wildlife then this is a great day out. If you or your kids require a bit more excitement and entertainment then this may not be the best day out for your family.

Our kids loved it here. They liked the rainforest biome which includes loads of unusual plants, including cocoa, coffee, bananas and pineapples as well as many colourful plants.

They enjoyed the canopy walkway and a bridge, which forms a cloudy mist every few minutes.

There is a Rainforest Lookout which is an aerial platform overlooking the tropical canopy below. The platform is at the top of the 165-foot-high Biome. We climbed the steps along with our kids, but you can’t carry children and it might be too scary for some. We managed quite well, but it was a little bit wobbly at times.

The restaurant offered a range of lovely home cooked meals and I really enjoyed my Moroccan lamb meatballs.

The website claims there are activities and events for families throughout the year, but we discovered that these are mainly focused on school holidays. Because our half term was different to the local schools, there was not a lot to offer beyond the general walk about. We discovered a craft activity 10 minutes before they packed up, but there was no mention of this on the activity list when we entered, which was a shame.

2. Boscastle

We felt this small village was well worth a look round.

It is probably most famous for the flooding issues suffered in 2004 then further flooding in 2007.

It is very pretty with a couple of tearooms, pubs and hotels. There is a stunning harbour and a lovely view out to sea. We stopped on our way back one evening so we just had a brief look around.

There is a youth hostel and a museum of Witchcraft, as well as a few shops including a pottery shop, but we only stopped for a quick wander so we didn’t get to experience these.

3. Bude

We really liked the town of Bude.

The staff in the tourist information centre are really helpful and friendly and they have a file detailing local events that you may not otherwise be aware of as a visitor.

We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Castle, which includes some local artwork. We watched a little projection film showing a sea life animation using artwork from children at the local school. I enjoyed sampling a bottle of the local cider along with a Ploughmans lunch, while looking out at a beautiful view.

The beach is lovely with lots of rockpools to explore and there is an outdoor swimming pool, which had people swimming in it both times we visited during our stay in February.

I imagine that Bude is packed during the summer holiday period and there are lots of facilities aimed at surfers, but it was nice and peaceful during our visit.

4. Beaches – take your pick

We went to a lot of beaches during our stay and all of them were beautiful.

Our kids just loved collecting pebbles on the beach and wandering about through the rock pools.

Our favourite beaches that we discovered in Cornwall were Sandymouth, Bude and Duckpool, but there are beaches all over that are gorgeous.

I cannot imagine what they are like during the crowded summer holidays, but we were really lucky to see them at their most peaceful during February. We even had a sultry mist to add to the atmosphere on a couple of days.

5. Bike Trail Camel Trail (Wadebridge to Padstow)

Following the recommendation from a lovely local lady we hired bikes in Wadebridge and we cycled into Padstow along the Camel Trail. It was a great day out. Our kids loved it. The views were pretty and it took us about an hour each way to leisurely ride there and back.

We stopped in Padstow and locked up our bikes. We then had a good wander round the beautiful town of Padstow. There are lots of lovely places to eat and we settled on a  fish and chip restaurant, which was great. We loved the Cornish pasties and the ice creams and we were lucky enough to stumble across a food fayre where we bought some chutney and cheese.

There are lots of companies to choose from, but we used Bridge Bike Hire and we were very happy with the bikes and the service. Click on the link to see the website and arrange a booking – Bridge Bike Hire, Wadebridge

6. Cream Tea – choose a venue

I had really looked forward to this before going down to Cornwall and lots of people had told me to try the scones with cream and jam. I think we picked a dodgy venue as ours wasn’t as good as my Mum’s, but maybe we are spoilt by her scones. I am sure that a tearoom would have a better offer than the seaside cafe we tried. It was nice to enjoy a cup of tea and a scone with a beautiful view of the sea.

7. Eat Proper Cornish Pasties – loads of places to find these beauties

I love a cornish pasty and we were not disappointed. We had a few of these during our stay from a bakery, a restaurant and a fish and chips restaurant and they were all great. There are bakeries all over the place selling Cornish pasties. We must have spotted about ten in our short wander around the town of Bude. My favourite was from one of the bakeries in Bude, where we also bought a lovely croissant with cherry jam and almonds.

8. Coastal Walk (Sandymouth to Duckpool)

There are loads of walks around the Cornwall coastline.

We headed off to Sandymouth beach one day and picked up a path and followed it.

It was a great walk with stunning views of the beaches and rocky coastlines. Our 6 year old managed well, our 2 year old relied on lots of carries. We were there in Winter so it was wet and muddy in places. The kids were fine in their wellies. Our trainers were less suitable, but we managed. We walked to Duckpool.

I think we took in some of the South West Coastal Walk. We brought picnic with us and had the most amazing view as we sat eating our sandwiches.

9. Try the Local Cider

There are lots to choose from. I liked the Orchard Blush cider. Somebody recommended the Rattler Cloudy Cornish Cyder, but they also warned it was quite strong so I stuck to a refreshing bottle of Orchards.

10. Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford, North Devon

We were advised to try this place for some family fun, including rides and indoor play as well as shows including birds of prey. There are specific areas for little ones, including a show for under 5’s. We never made it to this adventure park, but we would have gone if we had managed to fit it in. Maybe next time. Click to see the website for Milky Way Adventure Park.

Bude Tourist Information Centre

The staff in the Tourist Information Centre in Bude were really friendly and helpful. They keep their leaflets up to date and they have a file to look at with all the local events that you may not otherwise discover.

We stayed in a lovely caravan park in Sandymouth, which was beautiful and it had fantastic facilities. I have written a separate blog post with tips for going on a family caravan holiday.

 

Things to Pack for a Caravan Holiday

We have been on a few camping holidays now and there are some things I have learnt along the way, especially things to pack for a family caravan holiday.

I am writing this post from our beautiful caravan in Cornwall so I can look around to remind myself of all the important things that you need.

Staying in a caravan in the UK means preparing for a range of weather possibilities, but you can pack a lot of things into your car.

I am a list writer and always write down things I plan to take and then tick them off as I pack. This time, I decided to skip the list and managed to forget a load of clothing items for the kids, so I won’t be doing that again – lesson learnt.

Comfort and Warmth

I always pack bed socks, slippers and dressing gowns for comfort and warmth. Caravans usually have hard floors, which can feel a bit cold and we’re used to the comfort of carpet at home. Extra blankets and pillows can also be handy for a bit of extra comfort or for a cosy afternoon in front of the television.

Weather Protection

It is a good idea to pack jackets and waterproofs whatever time of year you are going away. Wellies for the kids and walking boots for the adults are also useful if you’re planning to walk or go to the beach in cooler weather.

Basics

Most caravans will have basic items, but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry so there are a few items I always pack for a caravan holiday. Key things are scissors, tin opener, corkscrew/bottle opener, tea towel, hand towel and washing up sponge, hand wash and matches.

Extra Items

I always bring a torch, bin bags, food bags, toilet rolls, kitchen roll, cleaning wipes, picnic bag, drink bottles, cutlery, plastic plates and cups for the kids.

I brought a potty and step for my youngest this time, which has been really useful as she can go to the toilet with minimal help.

Online Shopping Delivery

I would certainly recommend getting an online delivery to your caravan if possible. We saved a lot of space and managed to get a range of frozen and chilled items delivered to our caravan as well as things that would have got squashed if we’d brought them all the way from home. Key items included butter, milk, bread, fruit, cereals, pizza, ice cream and beer.

This is a checklist of things to pack when going on a family caravan holiday based on our own experience. It is best to check what is included with your caravan as you may or may not have a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, freezer and this will determine what you need to pack. Hopefully this list of tips will be useful for other people planning a caravan holiday and wondering what to bring.

We had a long drive to our holiday in Cornwall, but it was not as stressful as I feared. We played games and had a few stops along the way. You can check out my other blog posts about surviving long car journeys if you click on Long Car Journey With Kids and Games to Top 10 Car Games to Play .

Lunch Ideas Beyond Beans on Toast

beans on toast with melted cheeseI want to share some ideas for lunch at home beyond beans on toast.

I love beans on toast. I really love beans on toast with melted cheese and chunky Branston – yum. It is quick, cheap and easy to make. It is one of the plus points of being at home with my two year old daughter, who also loves beans on toast, thankfully. However you can only eat beans on toast so many times!

I often struggle to think beyond the most obvious lunches and forget about lots of quick and simple alternatives. Quick and simple is key when at home with kids. So this post is dedicated to thinking beyond beans on toast and giving some inspiration for alternative lunches at home.

Quick Lunches

Sandwiches are an obvious choice, but I like to go beyond ham and cheese when I can. How about egg mayonnaise with some rocket leaves, smoked salmon and cream cheese with rocket and a little lemon and pepper (ideally on a toasted bagel).

Eggs are so versatile, but I hardly ever make eggs for lunch. I love scrambled eggs on toast with a little brown sauce. Boiled egg and soldiers is great. Poached eggs are great if cooked to your preference, rubbish if not.

Cheese on toast is a nice lunch for a toddler. Stilton and lightly fried mushrooms on toast is amazing for me. I lightly fry mushrooms in some butter and add stilton until it just starts to melt then pour over toast. Alternatively you can add a little milk to the mushrooms in the pan, warm up and pour over toast.

Bit More Time

Pasta offers so many options for quick and easy lunches. The following are my favourites for a simple lunch. Simply cook some pasta and add a little olive oil and crushed chilli flakes. If I have left over bacon I will often fry up some of that and have it with pasta and passata (optional addition of onions and mushrooms or olives). I have done the same with left over sausages. I have added some cream cheese to pasta before, along with some pepper, which is ok for a quick lunch.

Omelettes are a filling option. I hardly ever make an omelette, but whenever I do, I think I must do this more often and then leave it another six months. My favourite fillings are cheese, onion and ham, pepper and mushroom.

Jacket potatoes are great when you fancy something filling and hot. I like a crispy skin so I cook mine in the microwave first then cover the skin in oil and salt and put them in the oven for at least 20 minutes. My favourite toppings are cheese, tuna mayonnaise, mushroom and stilton works well.

I hope this provides a little inspiration for lunches at home.

Like many Stay At Home Mums, I get digs from others about my life of afternoon teas and coffee mornings with the other Mums. I know that I am lucky to go out for lunch with my daughter fairly often, although lunch out with a toddler is far from a relaxing event. The reality is that my daughter and I spend a lot of time having lunch at home, normally eating beans on toast or ham sandwiches. Sometimes we have something a little more adventurous for lunch.

Any more suggestions for lunch at home would be much appreciated if you’d like to leave a comment.

Long Car Journey With Kids

Lego man family car journeyI have just booked two family breaks away in the UK, which will involve some serious driving to get there and back. We have been on many family holidays abroad with young kids and UK breaks within a couple of hours of home, but we don’t have much experience of long car journeys with kids.

My daughters are 6 and 2 so I am hoping to bring lots of things to keep them entertained during the journey and we will play lots of games on the way down. I will also create a playlist of songs for the car so that everyone has some music that they like (99% of the music will be chosen by the kids, obviously).

Breaks

I guess we will need to stop for a break every 2 – 3 hours. We will probably eat somewhere on the way as that feels like a treat and a proper break for everyone. We’ll need to break up the long journey for the kids. Ideally we can stop somewhere with a play area – I’d best get Googling that one.

Toys and Stuff

I am planning to bring a load of kids stuff for the journey, such as colouring books, sticker books, iPads, blankets and pillows, Barbie dolls, Peppa Pig figures. I may also make some I-Spy packs for the girls which I have done for holidays before with things to look out for and tick off.

Food and Drinks

I will also bring drinks and snacks, including breadsticks, carrot sticks, some sweets and dried apricots. We’ll probably buy some lunch when we stop, but I may pack some jam sandwiches for snacks whilst in the car.

Avoid

I will avoid chocolate and anything sticky for in the car, as well as PlayDoh or messy toys and anything that the girls are likely to argue over.

I have put together a list of car games that we regularly play in the car, so we will probably do lots of these too.

Do you have any tips for a long journey with kids? Please add a comment if you do.

Top 10 Car Journey Games for Kids

Lego family long car journeyWhen we’re travelling in the car there are various games we play with our kids. Some are popular well known ones and others we adapt and make up as we go along.

My daughters are 6 and 2 so our 6 year old gets very involved and our 2 year old likes to pipe up now and again. We always try and involve them both and encourage our youngest to have a guess, even though she tends to say “Seven” in answer to anything.

When not playing games, I am generally forced to play music from Trolls or Little Mix, so it can help to break up a long journey to play a game or two. I also try to avoid reaching straight for the iPads too early on in a journey so we find that games in the car can help prolong that.

The following list is our top ten games for playing with kids in the car:

  1. Rainbow Cars – spots cars in the colours of the rainbow, starting with Red then Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Depending how long it takes and how bored the kids are getting, we can include lorries or bits of lorries.
  2. My Car Colour – this one is best for quieter roads rather than motorways. You each pick a colour and count the number of cars you see that are your colour. You can either do this within a set time or just shout out each time you see your colour.
  3. I-Spy – good old favourite. Younger ones can play I Spy Colours, where they have to spot something blue for example. We also play I-Spy Numbers which involves spotting 4 things for example 4 people in the car.
  4. ABC Game – in this game, we work through the alphabet naming things in a category, such as Animals – ant, bee, cat etc or Sweets – aniseed balls, bubble gum, candy canes etc. We have done this for things you might get in a classroom or things you might get at a party. You can take it in turns or just work through it together depending on the age and ability of your child.
  5. I Went to the Shops – here you take it in turns to add an item to a shopping list remembering the ones that have already been said, eg I went to the shop and bought an orange, I went to the shop and bought an orange and a toilet roll, I went to the shop and bought an orange, a toilet roll and a pen etc. You can work through the alphabet or just think of items randomly.
  6. 20 Questions – somebody thinks of a person or character that everyone in the car knows. You take it in turns to ask questions about the person to work out who it is.
  7. Guess the Time Left – this is a good one to answer the dreaded question “Are we nearly there yet?” Each time someone asks that question, you can say, let’s guess and see who is closest. How many minutes do you think Sat Nav says it is until we get there? You can do this every 20 minutes or so if you want, but probably best to leave it until you’re fairly close. An answer of 5 and a half hours may be a little depressing for everyone otherwise!
  8. Odd One Out – we quite often play this with our school aged daughter, so for example you may say Orange, Apple, Carrot and Pear, where carrot is the odd one out because it is a vegetable and not a fruit. We have progressed to things like Grass, Giraffe, Glass and Cup, where cup is the odd one out as all the others begin with a G.
  9. Name that Tune – a great one to adapt for different aged kids, our youngest loves to guess nursery rhymes and our eldest can hum along tunes from Little Mix or from the Trolls soundtrack.
  10. Eddie Stowbart Names – whenever we see an Eddie Stowbart lorry, we always guess two girls names and see whether anybody got one of the names on the front of the vehicle.

These are the games we tend to play when out and about in the car with kids and they do help to pass a bit of time. If you have any other ideas, please share by leaving a comment.

Is Yogurt Healthy?

My kids love yogurt. They both always have. It is one of the few things that I have always been happy for them to eat as I’ve always assumed it is a healthy food and something to be encouraged. I think of the calcium, vitamins and protein, as well as the probiotics that I read are good for your gut.

More recently, however, I have noticed that lots of yogurts, many of them aimed at kids, are full of sugar. Now I’m not obsessive about nutrition and I’m fairly relaxed about my kids eating treats, as long as they are eaten alongside some balanced meals. However I am irritated that there are a number of food products, including yogurts, that are pretending to be a healthy choice, when really the kids might as well be eating ice cream covered in strawberry sauce.

My youngest daughter will happily polish off two of those small fromage frais yogurts from Petite Filous, plus a Danone Actimel Kids yogurt drink before tucking into her porridge for breakfast and she will frequently ask for another two yogurts for a snack later. She never eats just one, it always has to be two!

I was intending this to be a lighthearted post, but now I am starting to look at labels and get concerned about sugar levels so this is going to get a bit more technical. If you are easily offended by meddling guidelines on nutrition, then stop reading now, but if you have similar concerns to me, then you may wish to keep reading and find out more.

I have just had a look at the packaging and discovered that two mini Petite Filous yogurts contain 9.3g of sugar (recommended serving is two pots). The Yoplait Wildlife fromage frais pots are very similar in terms of calories and sugar. The Actimel Kids yogurt drinks each contain 11.2g of sugar so that’s 20.5g of sugar before my daughter has even started on her porridge, which normally has a little honey on. Eek – alarm bells are starting to ring.

NHS Guidelines on Sugar

NHS guidelines describe ‘free sugars’ as sugars that are added to food or drinks and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purees. The guidelines suggest that the average adult should have no more than 30g of free sugar a day. Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugar per day. Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars in a day and there is no guideline limit for kids under 4 as they should avoid sugar sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it. One teaspoon of sugar is 4g.

See full article here – NHS Guidelines on Sugar

The packaging on the yogurt products is not really showing the full picture as you can only see the carbohydrate of which sugars figure, so there is no differentiation of the naturally occurring sugars (lactose milk sugars) and the added sugars. It is suggested that in a 100g of yogurt, the first 5g of carbohydrate of which sugars is typically natural lactose and the rest is added sugars.

So, the Kids yoghurts are not as bad as I first thought, in moderation, but it still seems a lot of sugar. I feel I need to start limiting the amount my daughter has and keep a closer eye on the sugar levels.

Off the Scale Sugar Levels

I used to buy Muller Corners, which are clearly not a healthy choice, but I didn’t realise how bad they were. Initially I bought them as a treat, but increasingly became expected from my eldest and my other half so I looked at the label and was quite shocked. The Muller corner strawberry shortcake flavour contains 17g of added sugar. That is on top of the natural sugar from the milk. This represents almost 60% of an adult’s recommended daily amount of sugar and 90% for a young child. One of these yoghurts contains almost the full daily amount of sugar that my 6 year old should be eating. I find that quite disturbing and these products should not be promoted and sold to children. Maybe they should even feature an over 18’s label or these manufacturers need to look at reducing the sugar levels.

Low Fat Yogurts

I steer clear of low fat yogurts as I have been warned these typically contain loads of sugar and whilst not always the case, I found that to be true of the ones I was buying. Some low fat yogurts have over 20g of added sugar per pot, which equates to three scoops of ice cream. I know which I’d rather choose!

My parents buy the Weight Watchers fromage frais and these are very low in sugar and in fat, but I personally find these very sweet. My girls like them. There are wide debates on the issues of sweeteners – save that debate for another day, but I don’t like something that tastes overly sweet and I don’t see how that can be a healthy option.

Natural Yogurt is a Healthy Food

There seems to be overwhelming acceptance of unsweetened natural yogurt as a healthy option. Many people feel that natural yoghurt can seem a bit sour and difficult to enjoy. Maybe because we’re so used to the sugar loaded versions. My girls and I do enjoy natural Greek yoghurt with raspberries and a little honey. Maybe that is a better alternative to the Kids yoghurt products that I have been buying and I will try to reduce the honey.

Shocking Sugar Statements

There are some very questionable statements about yogurts from the shocking tales of Mums on chat websites to the health claims of certain brands. No, there are not 8 teaspoons of sugar in a 47g pot of Petite Filous. Also, the people who are selling these yogurts to us are probably not the most reliable source for whether a yogurt is healthy or not. As always, it is a question of being informed and having things in moderation, but my view of yogurts has changed and I won’t be so proud to see my girls wolfing down yogurts.

I have tried to get some reliable facts while writing this and checked the labels of products for myself. I have no agenda other than trying to find out more about what my family are eating and drinking. Please do advise if you disagree with anything I’ve written or comment if you have something helpful to add.

A Note On Fruit Smoothies

I recently wrote an article about making fruit smoothies for my daughters and I’m now wondering why smoothies are on the naughty list. Is it possible that fruit smoothies are more harmful than the fruit ingredients that go into it.

I shall quote the NHS website as I wouldn’t trust anyone else on this one:

“The sugars found naturally in fruit and vegetables are less likely to cause tooth decay, because they are contained within the structure. But when fruit and vegetables are juiced or blended into a smoothie, the sugars are released. Once released, these sugars can damage teeth.

Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a maximum of 150ml (a small glass) in total per day, and drink it with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay.”

See full article at the following link – NHS Guidelines on Sugar

I thought I had found a good solution with fruit smoothies, but again I’ll have to watch the amount we have and try to have fruit smoothies alongside meals.

Mummy Moment

Mummy moment - sewing a bunny's leg after drinking wineThere are certain times where you look at your situation and think, yes, this is one of those ‘Mummy Moments’. Prior to kids, you can imagine certain inevitable Mummy Moments, such as the cuddles after a fall or playing in a park or walking your child to school. Others are less obvious and sometimes less natural.

Tonight’s Mummy Moment involved me sewing up a fluffy bunny after drinking wine. I promised my daughter that I would do it before I went to bed. She had questioned whether I would be able to do it. I said “Of course” as I walked away wondering whether, in fact, I could do it! I settled to watch a film and drank some wine, then remembered I promised, therefore, I must sew up the bunny as best I can.

So here I am. It is a Saturday night and my daughter is sleeping like an angel in her bed and I am sitting on the couch sewing up a stuffed toy while watching a film.

I can remember my Mum sewing items of clothing and making me dresses when I was a child and she seemed like she knew what she was doing. I just thread a needle back and forth and hope that it will suffice. Sewing isn’t something I’m very good at. However, it is quicker and easier than expected.

Before I went to bed, I placed the bunny in my daughter’s arms. She was fast asleep and I kiss her goodnight on her forehead whispering “night, night”.

The next morning, she rushed into my bedroom at an early hour and threw her arms around me, saying thank you for fixing her favourite bunny.

It wasn’t such a big deal after all and it is nice to be appreciated now and again!

W Sitting Alarm Bells

W Sitting position in childrenI have stumbled across various threatening articles about the dangers of W Sitting and the great risks to health and development of my toddler.

My daughter is 2 and she often sits in this W sitting position with her feet either side of her bottom. It does look a bit unnatural, but she seems happy enough to sit like this and can reach for things and play happily while in this position.

I have asked around for advice on this as I have struggled to find any medical advice from the NHS resources. I have asked a couple of health visitors and childminders and a physiotherapist, but none have been able to concur with the strong fears of the articles that I have read. My eldest daughter and I are a bit double jointed so I wonder if this is just a form of flexibility.

The only NHS article that I can find that makes reference to this issue is the Leg Posture In Children leaflet. Here there is a brief mention of W Sitting with the following advice:

“Children who intoe should sit cross-legged or side sit and avoid sitting with their bottom between their heels i.e. ‘W’ sitting.”

This is a specific issue for children who walk with their toes pointing in, but not a general issue.

There was an article in the Daily Mail last year with conflicting views one from an American Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon and one from a London based Osteopath. The article also said that sitting crossed legged was a danger and both positions could lead to pain throughout their lives.

My daughter manages to reach for things and does not show any signs of problems with her legs or posture so I am reluctant to stop her sitting in this position. It is difficult to change her position as she tends to revert back to W-sitting. It does look a bit unusual and I couldn’t sit like that, but until I see some clear advice from a credible medical professional, I don’t feel I should keep moving her out of this position.

The Toilet Training Race

little girl on trampolineFor some reason there are lots of people who feel the need to toilet train their little darlings as quickly as possible. I have known people boast about the joys of successful toilet training at just 18 months or two years of age. Often these people can be found walking round the park with a potty in hand. That’s not really my idea of toilet trained and I will not be found stopping every few metres to try for a wee on the potty while out and about.

I have no desire to rush with toilet training. My youngest decided about a year ago (before her second Birthday – whoop for me!) that she wanted to go to the toilet. She did this and she did a poo in the toilet at a local play gym. I congratulated her and may have even bought her a treat. The other parents were astounded and said I should be so relieved, so proud. I played it down. I was in no rush for toilet training. I have encouraged my little one to use the toilet or potty when she wants to go, but I haven’t declared the start of our potty training journey. Sometimes it is convenient, like when we are at home, but we’re not at home very much. I like to walk when I can, which sometimes means long journeys in the buggy and I would struggle to do this and get her using the toilet every time she needs it.

For me, toilet training with my eldest was the exact moment when I was no longer able to have a hot meal in a restaurant if with my children. My eldest still insists on going to the toilet at the exact moment my food arrives. Even when I have taken her to the toilet immediately after ordering food, in preparation for the inevitable toilet visit, she still insists on going as soon as my food touches the table. There are very few restaurants that have baby change in the male toilets so this is always my job. Now that my youngest is frequently requesting to go to the toilet, I have two daughters to take to the loo on a regular basis.

My eldest was using the toilet around her 3rd Birthday and it was a simple process with few accidents. She was also dry through the night at the same time, which I know is very unusual.

We went out for our tea last night and I must have gone to the toilet at least five times. My pizza was cold and a lot less desirable than when it was presented in front of me and everyone else managed to chat and leisurely eat their meal in peace.

I am not one to preach to others, but I do not see why people make such a big deal about having a toilet trained child. A few people have told me that I really should be working on toilet training by now and I just think no, I’d rather not. Nappies are so easy and convenient and pull-ups are a great in-between. I can see that the cost of nappies could be a concern for some and I understand the environmental issues, but as for convenience, I choose nappies and a slower progression with the toilet milestone. If I was relying on the old style of reusable washable cloth nappies, then I would certainly have felt the need to get my little ones toilet trained as quickly as possible, but I don’t see the need.

My youngest is now going to the toilet or the singing potty fairly regularly, but I have the back up of a pull-up if needed. We have tried knickers a few times as she loves the thought of them, but after the poorly tummy day where knickers were not a good idea, I have put them off for a while!

Good luck with potty training and don’t be pressured into it.