Easter Gift Ideas for Toddlers and Tweens

Easter Gift Ideas for Toddlers and Tweens

If you’re a regular reader then you’ll know that I have rather large age gaps between my children. Most of the time it’s really difficult to get the balance right when planning day trips or activities that suit everybody. Obviously, the eldest at 22 is not included in this round-up, but will of course get his fair share of chocolate goodies. I find that crafts, baking and games seem to be things that interest both the three year old and the eleven year old, so we’ll go with this theme.

This round-up is a selection of Chocolate alternatives since both kids tend to get more than their body weight in chocolate from friends and family. 

A selection of Easter Gifts for Toddlers and Tween aged children inside a giant pink easter egg

Ceramic Painting Sets – £1.00 each – Pound Shop

I found these lovely ceramic painting sets in the Pound Shop. They had a choice of an Easter Egg, a Chick and a Bunny. Each set came with a set of three paints and a mini paintbrush.  The surrounding Easter Animals were also from the Pound Shop and were available in various themes including Easter Animals, Farmyard Animals and Jungle Animals.

Ceramic eggs and chicks surrounded by Easter animals, paint pots and paint brushes

Play-Doh Colour Burst Set – £4.99 – TK Maxx 

I picked up this really cool Play-doh set which has four pots with sprinkles of different colours that you mix together. It looks really cool when you first get it out and the colours swirl into each other.

A set of Play-doh colour burst Play-doh surrounded by Easter Animals

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bogey £6.99

I picked up a book for both Freddie and Belle at the school book fair. This was my choice for Freddie who finds anything that includes bums, farting, pooh, and bogies absolutely hilarious. This book is really funny and includes a few fairytale favourites including Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Goldilocks. It also comes with three pingable bogies. It was a huge hit!

Uproar – £8.99 – McMiller

Uproar is a bit like snap, but you turn two cards over and find two matching words and sound out whatever the sound is including a hungry pig and slurping soup. This is aimed at 8 years and upwards but as long as you can read, you can play. It is absolutely hilarious, and in fact, my eldest will probably pinch this to play with his mates as part of their pre-drinks before going out.

Uproar game similar to snap but with words

The Smart Girls Guide to Life – £6.99 – Amazon

Isabelle has been struggling with anxiety recently and so we’ve been doing lots of work on feelings and emotions, and how to deal with them. This book has loads of stuff including the kind of quizzes that I used to do in teen magazines and an agony aunt type section.

Scratch Art Set – £6.99

Belle really enjoys these scratch art kits so this Easter-themed one will be a perfect gift.

A Personalised Easter Bunny Mug – £8.99

One of these mugs will be perfect for Freddie who likes to have a cup without a lid now. Even more perfect for hot chocolate.

Easter Craft Jar – £6.00 – Hobby Craft

A huge jar full of everything the kids need to keep them entertained during the Easter Holidays.

Easter Craft Jar full of Easter themed crafting items for kids

Acrylic Paint Pens – £10.18

These Acrylic Paint Pens are perfect for decorating Eggs in time for Easter. They can be used on lots of other stuff too including wood, pebbles, canvas, and glass.

Easter Toss Game – £8.99

This game can be played inside or outside and come with four beanbags. This would be suitable for both Freddie and Isabelle so a win win situation for me as a Mum.

Bath Bombs – £7.99

Again another gift that both ages will enjoy. Belle loves bath bombs and Freddie who loves to copy everything she does, now likes to have them in his bath as well.

Easter Stampers – £8.49

These stamps are great for little hands, and each one is inside an egg. This set of 12 eggs could be used as part of an Easter Egg Hunt.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be to find Easter Gifts that would be suitable for both age groups.

Happy Easter!

If you are looking for something to keep the little ones entertained then Pom Pom Painting can be a lot of fun!


*This post contains some affiliate links and gifted items. Affiliate links mean that I receive a small payment when you click and make a purchase at no extra cost to you. 

Are you set up for Working from Home?

Are you set up for Working from Home?

Are you set up for Working from Home? Let’s rewind to pre-pandemic times and it was my dream to work from home. Ditching the 9 – 5 and all the office drama behind was my dream, and so I started plotting and planning my own new way of working. I’d already started my blog which had evolved naturally from an online retail shop as selling was not my strong point (probably not great for the retail industry).  My blog was making me a small amount of income, but not enough to replace the income that my employed job brings me.

Are you set up for working from home?

However, my background is in admin having worked in the NHS for nineteen years, and that combined with my blogging skills which I’ve picked up along the way made me think about what I could use them for. That’s when I first heard the term Virtual Assistant. It seemed to tick all the boxes in terms of describing the skills that I could offer to people and so my research began. I found myself some Facebook Groups and a course and started asking ALL the questions.

Then the pandemic hit and I was just on the cusp of officially opening the doors of my new business. The world went slightly crazy and I put everything on hold. I didn’t know what to do for a few weeks, before realising that it still was my time to launch – a lot of people and businesses were adapting and much help was needed. So I took the plunge and announced it and the inquiries started to come through slowly. I also went from working part-time at the hospital to being given a laptop to continue my work from home, which I was really excited about. I’ve since started a 50/50 split between home and the office, but I enjoy being at home far more than at the office.

What do you need to Work from Home?

Well, how long is a piece of string? This is entirely dependent on what work you do. As a Virtual Assistant or even a Blogger, you can set up with pretty much a laptop and an internet connection. No specialist equipment is needed but there are other things that can make your life easier and much more proactive.

A Dedicated Work Space

This might seem like a no-brainer, but having your station set up with everything you need to do your work means less distraction and creates a working mindset. Even better if you have an office that you can go to during your usual office hours, so it still feels like ‘going to work’.


Make you have all the things you would usually have to complete your work in your dedicated workspace. So I have pens, notebook, pad, diary, and highlighters, and usually a cup of tea on the go at any given time.

A Laptop or Desktop computer

I have my beloved MacBook Pro and was given a laptop for my NHS work with all the relevant programmes that I would need to use. In the office I was used to using two screens so I had to adapt to working from just one screen which was a lot smaller.

Internet Connection

You’re going to need an internet connection for remote working. Ours has its moments of being completely pants, but generally, we have a good connection and thankfully haven’t had any problems during the pandemic. Shopping around is a good idea, but there are a lot of good plans to compare such as xfinity vs cox, so do your research and find what is best for you.

Work Pattern

Working remotely can give you so much flexibility, but you do need to have core working hours whether these are your original office hours or new hours created to fit around family duties. My office hours for the NHS are 8 am – 4 pm and I get up and ready exactly how I would for a day in the office and start work as I would usually. I tend to take my breaks as I would at work as I’m in ‘Work Mode’ and this works for me. Don’t be tempted to work more hours that you’re being paid for, espcially those of us who maybe live alone.

Taking Breaks

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to go through the day without having a break. Take regular breaks to top up your water bottle and stop to have lunch. Move away from where you’re working to eat so that you get a bit of a break. In an office environment, you’re likely to have colleagues to sit and have a chat with or people that you bump into on your way to and from the kitchen which you won’t at home.

Anker Nano Fast Charging Plug

Access to Plug Sockets

Wherever you set up your dedicated workspace, make sure that you have access to plug sockets to make sure you can charge your laptop and phone within reach. I’ve been using the Anker Nano II Fast Charger which will charge your phone, laptop, or tablet up to three times quicker than your usual charger.

Health and Safety

As you would in the office, it’s important that your setup supports you in terms of health and safety. If you’re working for an employer, they should provide you with the necessary equipment needed to complete your job. Obviously, as we were thrown into the pandemic, a lot of this was overlooked, but going forward if you continue to work from home this should be re-assessed.


A window seat in the office is usually the top spot for most people, but having good lighting at home is also important. Not just for the view or grabbing a bit of natural light, but also for the all-important zoom calls that you may have to do as part of your job. I do Teams meetings for my employed work and Zoom Calls for my Virtual Assistant business (networking and client calls) and it’s important that you present yourself as you would in person and that the recipients can see you.  A nice light room just makes the experience much better.

Anker Ultra Clear Portable Conference Speaker

Networking or Socialising

So we lost our social lives when the pandemic hit, and homeworking meant the loss of the coffee room chat and the presence of work colleagues. We all threw ourselves into zoom meetings both for work and to chat with family and friends. We’ve all done the huddling around laptops and phones whilst straining to join in family chats and quizzes. We’ve since been using the Anker Ultra Clear Portable Conference Speaker. It has amazing sound quality, enabling it to be used by a group of up to 8 people whilst blocking out additional background noise. You can hook it up to your laptop, tablet, or phone via Bluetooth or a USB cable. Its portable and lightweight and so easy to use, making your group chat or zoom experiences much better. You can also play music and podcasts through it so it’s my new best toy!


Not everybody is fortunate to have a home office so earphones have been a lifesaver for many. Whether these are wireless or corded, they can stop the distractions of homelife that may be going on in the background.

Are you set up for working from home? Are you going back to office? I’m hoping not as it fits in so much better with my family life.

*This is a collaborate post with Anker and items were gifted to me for the purpose of this post.

What We’re doing for The Big Little Tent Festival 2021

What We’re doing for The Big Little Tent Festival 2021

This past year has been an awful year on so many levels, but we’ve also had some good times as well. Spending time in our own little bubble, doing our own thing at a leisurely pace has definitely been the highlight.

We’ve done loads of stuff including setting up a cafe for afternoon tea, made a sweet shop, had many a lounge disco and I’ve lost count of how many Movie nights we’ve had over the last year. One thing that the kids have always pestered us to do is go camping. I sit firmly in the ‘anti-camping camp’ but could be persuaded to give glamping a go at some point.

The Big Little Tent  Festival

The Big Little Tent Festival set up by the Caravan Club last year is a way of grabbing a little piece of camp life in the comfort of your own home. Set up a tent in your garden or, like us you could set up camp in your living room and join in the fun.

To join in the festival there is a downloadable pack that contains everything you need to bring the festival to you including a checklist of things you will need,  festival wristbands, bunting templates as well as a whole host of activity ideas which you could easily spread out over a few days. There’s even a chance to win a childs Raleigh bike.

Setting up Camp

So as we don’t own any actual camping gear, we’re going to set up camp in our living room with all our home comforts which is very appealing from my point of view. We’re going to get festival ready with hair chalks, facepaint and an anything-goes dress code.

You could of course drag out your entire camping kit and set up in your garden. The Festival is running over Easter weekend with an action packed schedule including a Zoom Party where you can meet the Mermaid Princess and the Friendly Neighbourhood Hero for games, superhero training, and a campfire song!

Our Festival Menu

So thinking along the lines of food we would probably buy should we be in a real life festival, we thought we’d go for hotdogs, chips and corn on the cob followed by our own version of S’mores and popcorn at the request of Isabelle.


Pethood Stories – A Woman’s Best Friend with Petplan

Pethood Stories – A Woman’s Best Friend with Petplan – I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life where we haven’t had a pet of some kind. As a child we were surrounded by cat’s, rabbits and guinea pigs. There’s definitely something calming when you sit petting an animal. I was more than happy to share my Pethood story as part of a series from Petplan Pet Insurance.

Our Pethood Story

Our son had wanted a dog from around the age of five and would regularly ask but we had a cat who was a bit grumpy and it wouldn’t have been fair to get a puppy. So that Ryan could have a pet of his own we got him a hamster, and then another four months later when the first went to hammy-heaven. Unfortunately this one didn’t last very long either and as Ryan was heartbroken we decided that we needed to choose a pet with a longer lifespan so we got a Lionhead Rabbit called Sammy and Ryan doted on him.

Having a dog was still discussed on a regular basis, and as a family we quite liked the idea of having a dog but we were both working full-time and our cat was still the main issue so the conversation was shelved many times. I should point out that we did love having our cat, she was a lovely girl, she just didn’t like other animals.

Amazingly she made it to the ripe old age of eighteen, and as a pet family it wasn’t long before the yearning for a furry friend became apparent.

2014 was the year of The Dog

Our situation had changed. We’d had a little girl who was now three and Ryan was fourteen. I worked part-time and Chris’ job was fairly flexible so it wasn’t long before the yearning for a dog came up again.

We did a lot of research before making any decisions, taking into account the every day costs of having a dog as well as the time we had available for walking etc. Chris didn’t want a small dog, Ryan wanted an English Sheepdog, Isabelle wanted a puppy and I sat and did the research but we were looking at labradors and retrievers. Then I found the Labradoodle.

Labradoodles come in a variety of sizes with some being more curly and hairy than others. Labradoodles are a crossbreed of a Labrador and Poodle and was first bred around 50 years ago as a low-allergen guide dog. A lot of people mistakenly think that Labradoodles don’t shed their fur which is totally wrong – you only need to see what we hover up every day!

So once I’d discovered the Labradoodle it wasn’t particularly hard to convince the others that this would be the perfect breed. As a breed they are good natured, if not a bit daft, great with children and have a good life span. It’s interesting to see what the most popular breeds through time are. I found a local breeder who had some puppies available soon.

I wafted the information through to the others on a daily basis and it was three against one (Daddy) and to be fair he didn’t take much persuasion.  I showed the kids pictures of labradoodle puppies with their scruffy gorgeous little faces, and appealed to Chris’ sensible head about the advantages of having a dog, in particular why a Labradoodle would be a good fit.

When we went to visit the puppies we were led into a kitchen and in ran the puppies. I forget how many there were but they were all golden apart from one little scruffy brown pup. They were all over us, but this little brown one was biting at Ryan’s trainers, pulling at his laces and generally wouldn’t leave us alone. We knew then a there that he was going to be ours, it was like he’d chosen us.

Bringing him home in a veg box sat on Ryan’s lap, all of us grinning from ear to ear. As we’d done our research we knew that we’d have a settling in period where he might cry for his mum, brothers and sisters so we bought him a cosy bed and a toy monkey for him to cuddle up to.

Suprisingly he was no bother at all. He was at his happiest being around us and it really didn’t take long for him to be knitted into our family life. Dogs are known to lift people’s spirits that’s why they use them in some hospitals and nursing homes and coming home to this cheeky chappie is always a pleasure.

Charlie was covered by temporary pet insurance when we picked him up which lasted for a few days which gave us a chance to get his insurance in place. We opted for Labradoodle Pet Insurance Lifetime Cover which gives us peace of mind should anything happen. Petplan offer a range of cover which is tailored to your dogs breed so that you get the correct level of cover. Anybody even considering getting a dog should definitely factor in dog insurance.

It seems that most breeds have certain traits and illnesses they can suffer from. Labradoodles are prone to:

  • Ear conditions
  • Skin conditions such as dermatitis
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Cruciate ligament rupture

Poor Charlie does suffer with his ears on and off and has received treatment quite a few times now.

Life with Charlie

As we live on the coast we were keen to get him used to the beach so had his first trip to the beach at four months old. It was on this car journey that we had our first episode of dog car sickness which we later realised was due to anxiety. He gets quite anxious in the car, panting a lot which was resulting in him being quite sick. It took a while for him to overcome this, but we persevered making sure that we kept car journey’s short and always took him to places that he would enjoy.

Our Charlie has a lovely personality. As Isabelle was only three when we got him we made sure that he never jumped up at her, and even now he won’t jump up at children. He’s a sociable boy with other dogs and people. I don’t quite think he understands when people aren’t that bothered with him as he’s used to getting a lot of attention. He would wait for Ryan to come home from school for a bit of rough play.

Charlie is ruled by his belly! He’s a very well behaved dog, BUT will be a bit naughty if he’s given the chance to scoff. He’s gate-crashed many a picnic and has run off a few times when the temptation has been too great. Since getting him we have had another baby who is currently weaning so Charlie is in heaven at the moment.

He doesn’t like water! Bearing in mind the Poodle in him are known waterdogs, he hates it! He doesn’t swim in water and will only go up to his ankles generally at the beach where the water is gradual. When it rains you practically have to shove him out the door. He’s such a wimp.

Charlie loves to play, but he’s not as bouncy and energetic as he was as a puppy. He’s hopeless with balls. He runs after the ball but then never brings it back. His favourite walks are on the beach or in the forest where he can discover lots of different smells and loves to find sticks and bits of driftwood.

Charlie is our third baby, our fur baby. I’m his Mummy! Only other dog owners understand when I refer to him in this way. It took around the same to choose a dog sitter as it did finding a nursery for the kids.

We had another baby last year and it was quite a big adjustment for all of us. It was our first time with a newborn and a dog and the fur was a bit of a concern for us. A year on and Charlie’s loving this new source of food that a weaning baby provides. We now have daily dog/pram walks which seems to suit everybody.

Charlie celebrates Christmas with us. He has a dog chocolate Advent Calendar, a stocking and presents under the tree.

We also celebrate his birthday every January by making him a cake or treats and presents. His dog bed even matches our sofa!

Charlie is undoubtedly a member of our family and we’d be totally lost without him.

Pethood stories - A woman's best friend with Petplan. Read how Charlie the labradoodle became part of our family

*This post is in conjunction with Petplan but all thoughts are my own

Our Dream Garden with Artificial Grass

Our Dream Garden with Artificial Grass

Our Dream Garden with Artificial Grass – Now that we have our third and final child here, at the top of our list is making sure that the house is sorted before our new arrival gets here.

On the inside we’re in the process of sorting and organising everything that we have to optimise space and make it as homely but functional as possible.

Our Dream Garden With Grass Direct

Since the last time we welcomed a new baby to the world we have another addition to our family. Charlie our lovable labradoodle we got four years ago when Ryan was fifteen and Isabelle was three years old.

There is an incorrect fact floating around the dog world where Labradoodles don’t shed their fur. This is a total lie, their fur is less likely to aggravate any allergies that you may have to dogs but he’s a big hairy beast who leaves a trail of fur wherever he goes.

Charlie’s fur gets absolutely everywhere! This hasn’t been such an issue with Isabelle being three when we first got him so she was no longer crawling or potentially eating things off the floor which may be fur covered.

With a new baby in the house we’ve had to have a huge rethink about the dog fur issue. We’re in the process of removing our downstairs carpet which his fur seems to knit into, and replacing with wooden flooring so that we can use a static mop to make sure the floor can be kept clean for once the baby starts to crawl and play.

I’m not sure how Charlie is going to fair with this since he does a pretty impressive Scooby Doo impression on the kitchen floor at the moment if he attempts to run. It could be quite amusing.

We don’t allow him upstairs as I’m not keen on dogs sleeping on beds so hopefully the baby’s room will be a dog fur free zone.

The garden is the other major space that needs our consideration. I know this isn’t something that we need to sort just yet, but once the baby is mobile we’ll need to have a rethink.

My Dream Garden

I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and love looking at perfect kitchens, bathrooms and gardens. If I were to have the garden of my dreams it would be big with three separate areas.

Our Dream Garden With Grass Direct

The kids area

We’d have a kids area with outdoor wooden play equipment and Isabelle’s trampoline and a gorgeous playhouse and fairy garden. Maybe a mud garden area and a vegetable patch. This would have a cute little fence around it so that Charlie wouldn’t go in and do his business or steal all the toys. We could even have some flowers and plants in this area as Charlie wouldn’t be able to get in and eat them.

Main lawn area

The main part of the garden would be accessible to all with low maintenance plants as we’re not particularly green fingered and Charlie does like to eat the odd flower or two so we don’t really do patio pots or flowers at the moment. Charlie is quite particular about where he does his business so maybe we could have a ‘Dog pooh corner’ incorporated somehow.

More and more people have been having artificial grass laid as it’s low maintenance and can be played on all year round. Our current garden has a bit of a slope and doesn’t drain particularly well which means that when it rains it takes quite a while for it to dry out enough for Isabelle to play on without it turning into a bog. We also have the same problem with Charlie going out on the grass when its wet as he comes back in with wet muddy paws which is a bit of a pain.

When I first heard of artificial grass I completely ruled it out thinking of the stuff that you used to see at the greengrocers where they put the fruit and veg. I had visions of cheap, plastic looking stuff and couldn’t quite envisage how it would look anything other than naff.

However, there are loads of perks to the artificial grass route such as:

Never having to mow the lawn – the garden is good to go all year round.

Easy to maintain – The grass can be cleaned with a mild detergent or special grass cleaner and will drain to dry

It’s safe for both children and pets to play on – opting for a softer grass for children is preferable

It stays green and lush looking all year round – No dry bare patches in the summer or muddy bog situations happening.

You don’t have to have a lawnmower!

I love the fact that you can wash it down so that it will be hygenic if Charlie has done his business, and also no wee burn patches on the grass would be nice.

It does have to be installed properly by a Landscape Gardener and ground needs to be prepared properly to gain the best result, but once it’s done think of all the time you’ll save not having to do the usual Sunday mow. I think it’s quite funny that you buy it by the metre like you would a carpet, but I suppose it kind of is the same.

Our Dream Garden With /grass Direct

Patio/BBQ area

I would love a grown up part of the garden where we have a built in barbeque, fire pit and a gorgeous seating area which can be used during the day and then at night with the use of outdoor lighting. I think this would need to be some kind of stone slabs rather than decking since the decking can become slippery when wet and needs maintenance. Chris would be the king of the Barbeque whilst I sit and watch the kids with a Pimms in hand. If I were to go one step further I’d have bi-fold doors to create a gorgeous indoor/outdoor living area leading into my state of the art open plan kitchen/dining area with huge beanbags or cushions where we can sit and relax.

A simple way to connect these two areas would either be through a similar colour scheme or having the same floor and skirting boards running throughout. A simple but very effective way to keep the two areas separate, yet also connected. 

One day I hope this to be our reality but for now I can but dream……..

* This was a collaborative post with Grass Direct

Elastoplast #TearsIntoSmiles Challenge

Elastoplast Tears into Smiles Challenge.


What do your kids call a cut or a graze?

A Baddie
A Boo Boo
An Oopsie
An Ouchie

Isabelle loves to make a huge song and dance whenever she falls over. She starts off crying and we’re desperately trying to work out if she’s hurt herself and if so what damage has been done whilst she bats us off covering up the ‘baddie’.


Once we’ve had a look we have to assess the situation and work out if it’s just a bang and we might need to rub on a bit of arnica or whether it’s more than that.

We have, like most parents a whole kit of stuff for every eventuality.

We have arnica for bruises
Antiseptic spray and cream to get all the nastiness out of a cut or graze
Plasters of course in all shapes and sizes
Cotton wool pads – for holding over the baddies (better with a sprinkling of magic water)
A cold pack that we keep in the freezer

I think that the biggest part of a cut or graze is the initial shock of falling over that scares them more than the resulting injury.

If we have plain plasters, then part of making it ‘all better’ is drawing a design on the plaster whilst a cotton pad is held in place to clean it is all part and parcel of making sure that all is good and well in the world again.

I’m not playing down any falls that Isabelle may have, but thankfully she’s never had any serious ones that have needed proper medical attention.


We were sent a set of both Frozen and Star Wars Plasters which have all the characters of the films on them so Isabelle has already pointed out her top few from both sets for ‘future baddies’.


I love a challenge so it was no different when we were asked to take part in the Tears into Smiles Challenge – #TearsintoSmiles

So what do you do when your child has a fall?

We do all of the above and Isabelle plays a huge part in this by cleaning it herself and putting the on cream herself. She likes to put on the plaster but her aim isn’t that great so we try and do this ourselves if we can.

Following the clean up we have a bit of calm time when we sit and have a cuddle and either watch a bit of TV or read a book together.

Using Distraction

Once this is all done, it’s definitely a game of distraction that helps get the day back on track.

We were sent a Hoopla Garden Game to try out as part of the challenge which we set up in the lounge to start with but have since played with it in the Garden, and it’s even been on a trip to Nanny and Papa’s house.


Isabelle really liked this game and became the chief score taker (good for helping her count in tens and fives).

All the pieces come apart so could easily be packed away for the day on the beach as well.


This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsIntoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast.

Lisa x


#VicksTricks for Coughs and Colds

#VicksTricks for Coughs and Colds

I feel like a bit of an expert on this topic as we’ve probably experienced the rough side of a cough and cold with our daughter more than the average mum and dad.

I say this not in a competing kind of way, but having Isabelle has changed so many things about what I used to believe was the ‘right way’ to look after a child.

#vickstricks for coughs and colds- Surviving the cold season with vicks

Ryan was never a sickly child, slept and eat well.

We never avoided people with sniffles and were never really that phased when we turned up to the nursery and yet another notice was on the door notifying us of the latest illness going around.

Isabelle changed all of this.

We truly believe that you could sneeze across the road from Isabelle and she would catch a cold.

I hated it when I went to baby/toddler group and there were always children with coughs and colds as we knew that she would get them.

It irked me when family and friends would visit with a poorly child or ill themselves knowing that she would get it.

I can imaging you rolling your eyes at this point, but Isabelle never gets just a cough or cold. It was always to the extreme.

She would be poorly for days on end, none of us getting much sleep at night due to the crying, coughing, and ultimately the projectile vomiting when she couldn’t control the cough.

She’s been given inhalers, antibiotics, and steroids to help ease her symptoms mostly not helping at all. We know the signs a mile off by now so we know what’s in store for us.

So I pass on our baton of wisdom in all things ‘Cough and Cold’.

My Tips

No milk. I know this one isn’t possible when little ones are little little, but milk is claggy in the throat and can sometimes promote coughing as it thickens the phlegm. Also milk sick is so gross smelling and a nightmare to get the smell out of carpets.

A nice calm bathtime routine. Adding a chamomile teabag into the water or a few drops of lavender oil to relax them and also open up their nasal passages.

No running. I know this sounds like a funny one, but Isabelle would have the most awful coughing fits if she had bursts of running around or being silly, so the run-up to bedtime has to be quiet play.

Open the windows – Even if it’s a freezing cold day. Open the windows during the day in your child’s bedroom to let some fresh air through. Alternatively, you could get a dehumidifier.

Menthol vaporiser – We have a plug-in one that we got from boots which we put on about an hour before Isabelle goes to bed.

Raising the mattress – When they have a cough and cold lying flat is not the best thing for them so put something underneath the mattress so that they are slightly raised. I also give Isabelle an extra pillow for the same reason.

Vick’s Vaporub – Don’t be shy go for the massive tub. We get through loads of this which we apply to Isabelle’s back and chest. We also read on a forum to put it on the bottom of her feet and leave her socks on so we did this as well.

Water – Make sure that your child always has access to water so that they can at least try to help themselves by having a drink during the night.

Isabelle can’t seem to control her breathing very well when she has a cough and a cold and is quite often sick as a result of her panicking when she’s struggling. She now knows to get out of bed. If we can direct the sick away from the bed at least she can get back in without having to wait for the whole bed changing dance.

NEVER let them in your bed. We know only too well what happens when they’ve been sick in their own bed and thinking that it’s an easy option for them to climb in with you only results in nobody having anywhere to sleep!

We’ve also tried nasal sprays which she didn’t like at all so we keep them as a bit of a last resort to be used only with bribery.

Get some balm for their noses which get sore and red from all the nose wiping. It’s like a plaster, they love to have something to put on.

For coughs, we give Isabelle ice lollies which she loves, but it also soothes her throat. If she’s not eating we can make them from fruit so that she’s at least getting some nutrition in her.

All the cough medicine that they are able to have. When things have been really bad we’ve been told by our doctor to give Isabelle an antihistamine to make her sleep.

During the day create a space where they can sleep if they want to. Isabelle won’t go to bed but if she’s comfortable she might at least close her eyes.

Have a selection of easy to play with toys. No jigsaws or complicated games which will end up in them getting ratty.

DVDs or TV for them to watch. Whilst you don’t want them stuck in front of the TV all day some little ones can’t seem to cope with much else.

Don’t expect them to sit and eat huge meals. When Isabelle is poorly she never wants to eat so we let her choose from a selection of things such as fruit, crackers, toast, yoghurts, etc so that she can pick what she wants and is more likely to eat it.

Olbas Oil on a flannel over the radiator and then dot a few drops around the room.

Honey and Lemon – Make them a cup of warm honey and lemon. Putting it in a fancy cup with a straw usually works for Isabelle.

Kids’ magazines always cheer Isabelle up. Isabelle’s favourite part is of course the toy on the front and it’s possibly the only time that she’s interested in the stories and activities inside the magazine as well.

Another good one is to be armed with an iPad or phone with some good kids apps. Isabelle is currently into kids youtube watching the unwrapping of ‘Blind Bags’. The voices totally drive me nuts but as each one only lasts about 4 – 6 minutes they’re tolerable in small doses.

We were sent ‘That Book’ – The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep. It was quite a long book and I’m sure that it might work on a child who stays in bed, lying down in bed and doesn’t talk all the way through, but it made me tired, and she did go to sleep quicker than usual.

We also received some finger puppets which at the moment have prime pillow space in Isabelle’s bed along with bunny.

We do all of this whilst trying to avoid the sneeze spray so that we don’t end up getting it ourselves. It NEVER works, one or both of us always comes down with it so make sure that you have a cupboard full of remedies for yourselves as well.  Chris seems to like the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray whereas Ryan opts for the Nasal Stick.

#VicksTricks Sliced Banana Trick

This is my entry into the #VicksTricks Campaign.

Lisa x



Fun Summer Activities to Do at Home

Fun Summer Activities to Do at Home By Ty Schmidt

It’s something everyone always told me would happen, but I didn’t believe it until it happened to me. My dear 18-month-old son has developed into something they all said he would. A sponge. From the ground up, that is what he is on a daily basis. He picks up everything, from words and actions to a general understanding of all things happening around him. And while this is super (just what any parent of a toddler longs for during those sleepless nights of newborn-hood), it comes with its fair share of considerations.

Among them is how best to keep this young mind occupied with all things learning while he’s awake. He still sleeps enough to make most adults envy him, but how do you engage him while he’s awake. If your answer is PBS Kids or Disney Junior, you’re not alone. But you shouldn’t have to live that way, and neither should your toddler. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with Doc McStuffins, Mickey Mouse, the Wild Kratts, or Curious George. Each show has its own empirical charm. Yet there is more you can be doing with these warm summer days than learning how George most efficiently packages a grocery bag.

Summer Activities for kids

Live a little this summer by keeping these fun summer activities in mind:

DIY season. With the exception of the dead of winter when literally nothing else is going on, summer is one of the best times to get those creative juices flowing. Siphon them into something meaningful with a do-it-yourself theme to at least one day a week this summer. It doesn’t even have to be the same day. Just choose one day a week when you indulge in all things creative (like a homemade water slide) and really bring it to life.

Summer loving. For most of us, summer is a time that involves making the most of water. As a Midwesterner, one comes to appreciate the water of summer, be it in pools, water balloons, water tables, or basically any form. Find ways to embrace the simplicity of water this summer. You won’t regret it.

Camp comes home. Channel your inner child and embrace what he or she shares with you about fun things you did to stay occupied in the summer months. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but things like a family campout in the backyard or family game night outside can fill those hot summer nights with a purpose that breathes life into everything you do.

Get cooking. I didn’t cook much with my mother growing up, and I wish I had. While I refuse to live vicariously through my children, I have already decided to involve them more in the food preparation for our family as they grow old enough to understand the purpose behind what they’re doing. From chopping the ingredients to fresh homemade salsa to understanding what grows in our garden, it is never too young to start teaching little ones about where food comes from and the importance of eating well.

For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com. Fun Summer Activities to Do at Home

*This is a collaborative post with Modernize Home Services.