5 Things To Do With The Kids In Birmingham

Gas Street Basin, Birmingham

No matter what time of year you visit Birmingham, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

It’s particularly good for the kids, with a huge variety of attractions that are sure to keep them happy.  Even without leaving the city there’s a whole hub of activity around the canal basins, which is where the city grew up.

  1. The Sea Life Centre is a fantastic day out for children of all ages, with plenty to see, including the scary shark tunnel as well as lots of other ‘hands-on’ stuff.
    National Sea Life Centre

    Sea Life Centre

    It’s right there in the middle of town, right next to the canal, so is dead easy to get to.

  2. No short break to Birmingham would be complete without a visit to Cadbury World.  A short rail journey from Birmingham’s New Street Station gets you to the epicentre of the chocolate industry in Britain for over a century.  The visit takes you through the history of chocolate right through to the present day, with loads of samples dished out at various points along the way.  The cute little bubble buggies driving around add to the fun and there’s lots of outdoor space to sit out on a sunny day to enjoy a picnic on the grass

    Cadbury World

    Cadbury World

  3. Millennium Point houses the ThinkTank Science Museum, with its working models and multitude of hands-on exhibits and the fabulous ‘Giant Screen’ iMax cinema.  There’s also the Digital Planetarium, with its 360 degree dome.  These are great places to consider on a rainy day, with so much under one roof you could make a full day of it.
  4. The Gas Street Basin not only has some lovely walks around the canals and basin, but there are loads of great restaurants, coffee shops and bars to explore.  Or why not take one of the many canal narrow boat trips that are available and see the city from a completely different perspective?

    Millennium Point

    Millennium Point

  5. The newly opened Library of Birmingham isn’t just a place to read books.  With daily activities and exhibitions, there’ll be something of interest for everyone and whatsmore, it’s only a short walk from all of the city centre goings-on.

Don’t think of Britain’s second city as just a big urban sprawl.  Birmingham has some of the most interesting and enjoyable things to do that can be found anywhere in Britain.  Whatever the weather, you’re bound to find something that’s great for parents and kids alike and with a fantastic selection of affordable hotels from Hotel Direct located really close to all the attractions mentioned above it is the perfect place to visit if you want everything centrally located and easy to get to.

Have You Been Distracted When Driving?

baby in car seatA new survey has revealed, not unsurprisingly, that, almost without exception, parents get distracted by their children whilst at the wheel!

A staggering 96% said they had been distracted when driving because their kids were being too noisy or arguing with their siblings. Over 50% of parents answered that they had been distracted by having to deal with the after-effects of children spilling something or vomiting. Two in every ten parents questioned said they had even had to deal with the kids throwing things around the vehicle whilst they were driving.

Distracted When Driving

Parents all over are quite literally being Driven to Distraction and it’s not just being distracted that’s a problem either as a huge number of mums and dads have had to intervene to stop their kids from doing something decidedly dangerous. 83% of parents have had to stop their children from opening car doors whilst on the move, and little ones leaning out of the car windows and trying to get out of their seats is also an issue. Over 50% of parents say they have caught their child unfastening their seatbelt or safety harness.

crying childHere are the best methods parents have found to pacify their little passengers from tantrums in the car. The leading choice is the use of music or videos with 80% of parents saying it made a difference. Tablet computers and games systems pacified the children in the car of 60% of parents, whilst 40% went for the fail-safe sugary staple – a bag of sweets. Suffering through a game of I-Spy was still favoured by 35% of parents.

On longer car journeys 70% maintain that taking a break within two hours of beginning your trip to stretch the legs, have something to eat or drink, look around the shops or go to the loo is a tried and tested way to prevent the kids from getting bored and causing mayhem

One piece of good news to come out of the survey is that it seems that most parents get to choose the music in the car, with only 20% letting their children take control of the playlist.

What are ebay Collections?

ebay have just launched a fun new feature called Collections and lots of you have been asking, ‘What are ebay Collections?’.

baby-blue-eyesWell in a nutshell, it’s kind of like Pinterest and we suspect it’s going to be incredibly popular. It’s basically creating mood boards that people can buy from! If you want to have your own ‘Collections’ then it’s dead easy. All you have to do is set up a profile page and create groups of products you like, want, or recommend from the over 500 million listed items on ebay. Your profile page will then show all the collections you’ve created, as well as the collections and people you follow. When you’re browsing on eBay, you’ll now see an “Add to collection” link on product pages and whenever anything catches your eye all you have to do is click that link. From there, you can select one of the collections you’ve already created or start a new collection, add a distinctive description of the item, and save it to your collection. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! ebay-logoAnyway, we had a go at creating some ebay Collections that we thought our regular site users would like . Instead of wading through zillions of gifts suitable for, let’s say, a christening, you could make it easy for yourself and just take a look at the 15 or so products we’ve selected in our Collection of Christening Gifts . Perhaps it’s the big cute teddy and we’re a load of old sofites, who knows, but whatever it is, this is our favourite Collection! Most of the collection of products we’ve put together are pretty self-explanatory. So far, we have: ebay-collections-teddyBaby Books Pre-School & Picture Books Baby Clothes & Shoes Baby Carriers & Slings Baby Toys Pregnancy & Parenting Books Maternity & Pregnancy Outdoor Toys Nursery Furniture & Accessories Car Seats & Accessories Potty Training Feeding Christening Gifts

But if you can think of any other good categories, then we’d love to create a few more ‘collections’. Just let us know what you’d like to see and we’ll have a go!

Sponsored Post: TheBabyWebsite is working in partnership with eBay to promote the new ‘Collections’ feature – #ebayinspires #ebaycollections

Home Working vs Office Working

With so many mums working at home now, we thought this was quite an interesting infographic.

Although we do feel that it fails to mention an awful lot of the distractions which affect productivity when it comes to home working! For example, there’s no mention of biscuits anywhere…….

Home Working Infographic

Now anyone who works at home (and there are a lot of mummy bloggers and daddy bloggers out there trying to make money from their blogs who will recognise this) knows that it is pretty difficult to ignore the call of the biscuit barrel. All those minutes, walking from the laptop to the kitchen in your PJs and slippers to make a coffee can really add up too!

Equally, when you see #jeremykyle trending on Twitter for the umpteenth time, it’s difficult not to turn the telly on.

Update your status on Facebook and you can lose an hour aimlessly browsing through a friend of a friend’s mother’s holiday photos.

Follow a link from Twitter to the Daily Fail and you’ve lost valuable minutes reading about some Z-lister’s most recent wardrobe mishap.  Follow another link to a Funny Animals Video and before you know it, you’ve lost an hour or more to YouTube.

There are pros to working at home, of course there are- not least of which is all the additional time you get to spend with your little ones. You might be missing out on the latest office gossip featuring Jo the Perv from Accounts but do you really care?!

Infographic courtesy of Crucial.com

Who Goes On Holiday Without A Suitcase?!

sandy feetIt’s that time of year, when lots of us are thinking about our Summer Holidays and one of the things we all have to consider is budget.  So when you’re looking at the different websites and working out what you can or can’t afford, it’s worth writing down how much the ‘additional expenses’ will be.

I think it’s absolutely dreadful that most of the holiday companies now charge extra for a suitcase when it’s patently obvious that if you’re going on holidays for a week or a fortnight, you’re going to need one!  I’ve been trying to price up the cost of a family holiday to Kos from Gatwick and the ‘incidental costs’ don’t half add up! Of course we want to sit together. Of course we need more than a cabin bag! Of course we need transfers……. It’s endless!

Gatwick Parking

I’ve also been taking a look at all the different options for Gatwick Parking and without a shadow of a doubt, it’s way better booking in advance than family on beachturning up at a random car-park when you get to the airport a few hours before your flight’s due to take-off. Who wants all that stress when you’re already worried about getting to the airport on time and missing your flight?

To be honest, we generally prefer to do the whole Park & Stay thing where you get an all-in price for a hotel and parking. Sometimes you can end up only paying around the £30 mark extra for a room in a Crowne Plaza the night before your holiday starts and it’s so much better knowing you’re already at the airport and don’t have to worry about delays on the M4/M25 or whatever.  So £60ish for parking for say 8 nights or £90ish for the same parking plus a night in a well-smart hotel – it’s pretty much a no-brainer really.  Sometimes we do the hotel stopover on the last day of our holiday if we arrive back at the airport late in the evening.  There’s nothing worse or more dangerous than driving home in the dark after a long day and a long flight after all.

If you think about it,  you have to park the car anyway and if it’s only a few pounds more to start or end your holiday in comfort, then you may as well do it.

Right then, so back to where I started….. where shall we go and when’s the best time? I’m rubbish at making my mind up!

Making MealTimes Fun

spoonfeeding babyThere’s no underestimating the importance of sitting down as a family to eat a meal together. Not only is it a great chance to spend some quality time together, but it’s also a great way of educating your children about food: where it comes from, its effects on health and its flavours.

If your children are fussy eaters, then planning family meals can sometimes be a struggle. However, there are ways in which you can make lunchtimes both fun and educational, paving the way to a better acceptance and understanding of healthy foods in the future.

Even if they are hungry, it can be hard to drag children away from their toys and games to sit at the table and eat a meal. So why not try and make chcken nuggetslunchtimes just as much fun as their other activities? Include them in the preparation, or cut food into interesting shapes – even a basic sandwich can be more appealing when it looks like something else. You could even play games that involve guessing the ingredients of a dish, with prizes for those who get the answers right. By making lunchtime into a fun occasion rather than a chore, you’ll find it easier to persuade your kids to sit down as a family and eat – and will hopefully find it easier to get them to try new things too.

At weekends, get your children involved when preparing lunch to give them more of an understanding of food. You could even turn your dining room into a “restaurant”, with children taking food orders for other members of coconut rice puddingthe family and helping to prepare their meals. By involving them from start to finish, they’ll learn more about where their food comes from, and will hopefully be more willing to eat it as a result.

Search for recipes with elements that kids will be able to help to prepare, whether it is chopping, peeling, mixing or assembling the final dish. There are plenty of great lunch ideas online that are suitable for all occasions and times of year: consider letting your kids help you to pick the recipes for the week, giving them even more involvement. It’s all about making mealtimes fun really!

If you are trying to liven up packed lunches for school, try moving away from the humble sandwich and give your kids something a little different. Tortilla wraps make a great substitute to plain sliced bread, and pasta or rice salads will give them a meal that is still nutritious, but a little more interesting. If you want to give your child fruit or vegetables, try sticking small chunks on wooden kebab skewers to make them look more appealing – thereby making them more likely to be eaten. Perhaps most importantly, give them a range of different packed lunches throughout the week. Boredom is a surefire way to make sure that they don’t eat all of their lunch, and may even turn them off certain foods.

More Recipes and Meal Ideas

All Inclusive Holidays With Baby

baby on holidayGoing on holiday with a baby needn’t be any more difficult that in the ‘olden days’ when you were just a couple. The key is to be organised and to plan. Think ahead to what you’ll need and remember to cover every eventuality!

I’m a big fan of all-inclusive holidays as it really does mean that Mum gets a break.  Let’s be fair, if you go the self-catering route, it’s often Mum who’ll end up doing the lion’s share of the planning and cooking.

So let’s say you decide to go on an all-inclusive holiday to Spain. Check on the website or with the travel agent what exactly is provided. Will there be high-chairs? Will there be a bottle-warmer or a steriliser? Will the restaurant or food areas have somewhere where you can heat up jars of children on holidayfood? Although to be honest, if you’re going all-inclusive there’ll be plenty of food to choose from and it’ll be a great opportunity to give baby new and exciting foods to try.

All Inclusive Holidays With Baby

Most of the good all-inclusive resorts are incredibly family-friendly and tend to have well-equipped changing areas, with ample supplies of wet-wipes and all the usual paraphernalia. I’d suggest always bringing your own nappies though as you never know what brands are going to be available.

Lots of holiday companies such as First Choice  and TotsTo Travel offer Baby Packs that you can add to your booking where you can pre-book items like a highchair and buggy, steam steriliser, bottle warmer and UV sun tent. Knowing that all these cumbersome bits and bobs will be waiting for you in your hotel room is a definite weight off your mind.

baby swimmingSomething else to bear in mind are the resort’s  baby-sitting facilities, crèches and Kids’ Clubs. It would be nice to have a little bit of child-free time at some point so do a bit of research in advance and make sure to choose a family all-inclusive resort rather than one aimed at couples or youngsters.

As I said above, plan ahead and write down on a checklist everything you think you’ll need on the holiday.  If you choose your resort/hotel carefully then you’ll be fine as most of the leg work will be done for you already.

Remember your holiday starts as soon as you leave the house so plan for the journey too and check out this article about how to prevent baby crying on a plane.

PS: A damp flannel in a plastic bag is as good as wet-wipes and significantly cheaper and believe me when you’re travelling you will almost definitely need to mop up spills and sick at some point!

The Honest Toddler by Bunmi Laditan

The Honest Toddler

The Honest Toddler

A Child’s Guide to Parenting

The toddler stage can be a real shock for some parents, when your cute, sweet little baby morphs overnight into a mini-monster who seems hell-bent on making even a simple trip to the shops a horrible humiliating experience for all concerned.
The Honest Toddler is a deliciously funny guide to parenting which aims to provide the answers every parent seeks. What are you supposed to do when your little one simply lies himself down on the supermarket floor screaming? Or what do you do when she simply doesn’t want to wear shoes today?

Play-Date Etiquette

Who better to teach parents about the needs of toddlers than a toddler himself? The Honest Toddler covers the big questions – How Can You Prevent Siblings?  Who Does Mummy Belong To?  Sleep and Weaning Your Parents Off It – and is packed full of general advice on play-date etiquette (don’t touch – just don’t!), preferred toddler foods (ice cream and toast), sleep training methods (hint: none) and the proper response to random aggression in the playground (embrace it! The Honest Toddler has everything every parent needs to know to keep their little angel/devil happy.

Buy Now From Amazon

Read or Write Reviews of The Honest Toddler

The author, Bunmi Laditan lives in Canada and has two young children.  She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering and iVillage.com, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics often go viral.

Gifts For New Mums and Babies

Do you wish to spoil a new mum and her little bundle of joy with a gorgeous gift? Well below are a few special ideas for gifts for new mums and babies too!
bouquet of flowers
Your mum-to-be friend or relative’s due date is fast approaching and you still haven’t managed to find the perfect present, take a look here….

Gorgeous Hampers
A hamper packed with essentials is the perfect gift for a mum-to-be. Either make your own or buy a hamper already generously filled with must-have products including gorgeous garments and soft toys.
If you’d prefer to create your own hamper, why not include items that the future mummy has had her eye on. Perhaps she has seen an adorable soft fleece comforter which you could have personalised (once a name has been chosen of course) or maybe you could include a baby record book to track the baby’s progress. A new mum is certain to love this truly thoughtful gift.
Congratulatory Flowers
Send your congratulations with a beautiful arrangement of flowers for new babies. Whilst it’s only natural to want to shower the newborn with gifts, it’s important to spoil the new mummy too! Welcome a beautiful new baby with a stunning bouquet of flowers. A new mum will be overwhelmed by gorgeous scented garden roses in sumptuous pastel hues, hand tied with aromatic herbs and foliage. Beautiful blooms are the ultimate way to welcome a new arrival and are sure to make any new mum smile. Why not throw in a special message card to send a loving note to both mother and baby. The Real Flower Company online have a stunning range of flowers for new mothers and babies.
Thoughtful Gift Vouchers
Are you unsure about what’s been ticked off the newborn baby checklist? Why not buy some vouchers from mum’s favourite baby shop. Gift vouchers are the perfect way to allow the recipient to choose a gift whilst also showing more thought than simply shoving some cash into a congratulatory card. Give a new mum a special treat by allowing her to stock up on whatever she needs with a generous gift voucher.

Silver Birth Certificate Holder
A Silver Something
Mark the arrival of a newborn baby with a stunning silver gift. There are a number of silver keepsakes that new mums will love and cherish.
A silver plated birth certificate holder is the ideal way to celebrate a birth and means that the baby’s birth certificate will always belong in a special place.

An adorable silver plated photo frame is the perfect present too. Proud mums can select a picture of their choice (perhaps one from the hospital) to put in a beautiful frame that is sure to compliment any baby’s nursery.

Fussy Eaters

80% Of UK Parents Say Their Children Are Fussy Eaters!

feeding baby fruitNew research shows that fussy eating habits affect more than 8 in 10 families in the UK! A survey of over 1000 parents illustrates the scale of fussy eating in the UK.
• 90% of parents of fussy eaters say their child’s eating behaviour has a negative impact on their life.
• 69% of parents worry their child is not getting the nutrition they need
• 60% said fussy eating frustrated them
• 27% said that the fussy eating situation led to feelings of anxiety and feeling powerless
• 15% admitted they felt guilty
• 40% of parents with fussy eaters said that their child’s behaviour had turned mealtimes into a time of conflict and created tension with their partner
• Nearly 10% of parents said they can spend between 40 minutes and an hour every mealtime encouraging their child to eat

Tackling the Fussy Eating Problem

baby eatingMums and dads of fussy eaters will bribe children with dessert or sweets, hide vegetables in other foods and threaten to take away treats or fun activities. Netali Levi, a Clinical Psychologist who works with children who are fussy eaters and their parents, says: “Managing mealtimes to make them enjoyable, reducing stress (both yours and the child’s) and understanding your child’s hunger signals are all key to success….You need to find what works for you and your child but generally speaking, by involving them in the process of shopping, cooking and preparing food, gradually introducing new flavours and textures, and rewarding progress, it should be possible for you to navigate this tricky phase and get them back to healthy eating habits.

Abbott Nutrition, who commissioned the study, has developed a new website called Fussyeaters.co.uk, offering practical guidance to parentfussy eaterss to help them get their children back on track with healthy eating. The plan helps parents to:
• Identify and understand their child’s individual habits and hunger signals
• Follow a set meal and snack routine
• Introduce new foods and textures gradually and regularly
• Make mealtimes a positive experience for everyone
• Let their child take some of the control

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