Ice Ice MILK Baby!

Get yourself down to Pamphill Farm shop and visit the milk vending machine. It’s tastes amazing AND you will feel good by reducing your plastic waste! WIN WIN

ladies cows

Today Freddie and I took a drive to Pamphill, Wimborne after a friend of mine mentioned yesterday that there is a milk vending machine there, and not just any old milk….cold, fresh and free range milk. I was intrigued. A milk drive through… Perfect! The little man is moving onto cows’ milk and what better possible introduction than with milk from local cows (that we can actually see in the field) and from a traditional family farm in the heart of Dorset.

The milk is produced in the Allen Valley surrounding Wimborne and Pamphill and the farm is based on the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy estate. The free ranging Friesian herd graze on lush pastures surrounding the farm for as many months of the year as possible and all calves are reared by the family themselves as well as feed for the cattle being grown on the farm too.

What made today even better, not just the fact that the milk tasted AMAZING but the fact that when we arrived the farmer himself was there too! So we had a first hand demonstration on how to use the machine and it was easy peasy!

  1. Make sure you have at least two pound coins with you as the machine only takes pound coins.
  2. Put the first £1 into the slot on the left. Press the button above and the bottle will be dispensed with lid attached. Do not despair though,there are extra lids available in a tub on the top of the machine.
  3. Open the door and place the bottle at a slight angle underneath the dispenser
  4. Put in your pound coin on the right and then press the start button and watch the creamiest milk ever flow into your bottle.
  5. The machine will automatically stop when bottle is full.

And that is it!

The vending machine is open 24 hours a day so there is no excuse to ever run out of milk plus with reusable glass bottles available from the vending machine as well, you will always be able to take your milk home.

This is a great way to avoid using plastic and to really help the environment plus great to know we are helping the community too.

Allen Valley Milk is certainly a hit in our household and I am sure I am not the only one!

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mmmmooo

C A M P B E S T I V A L

An insight into festival life this summer, with a baby in tow ….

It’s been a week back from the fun fest…..

Some thought us mad taking our 11 month old son with us to a festival, others thought us brave, some gave us an impressed nod and others thought we were totally crazy but my husband and I had never been to a festival… so when your mate says let’s meet at Camp Bestival 2018, I’m working and can sort you some tickets…. and then someone else says they have craft work for you and want you to help out with am exclusive private breakfast gathering, We were hardly going to say no to the hottest family festival around!!!

The theme this year at Camp Bestival was “Set Sail” and I couldn’t wait to get involved! Dress up is something I love to do, stemming from my love of theatre and I couldn’t wait to plan my outfits! I thought I’d down well with my look but my goodness were there some fabulous sights! People really went to town and I figured as long as you have something to give a little nod to the theme you’ll blend right in! I was of course anticipating lots of glitter and sparkle but I’ve never seen so many face gems and sparkly make up. It was like a glitter confetti gun exploded and everyone was like “shoot me, shoot me!”

Obviously being a festival organised by the very talented Rob Da Bank, I was expecting some great music but the line up was truly fantastic. There was such an eclectic mix of new/ fab music reverberating with crystal clarity around the Lulworth Estate as well as the awesome headliners, Rick Astly, Clean Bandit and some genuine favourites; The Cuban Brothers who bizarrely I remember gigged at Goldsmiths’ Club Sandwich! We picnicked on Friday afternoon right by the main stage and were treated to artists Dodi and Rae Morris. Both beautiful singer song writers with stunning voices, not out of place on your Spotify playlists and for a while we revelled in the joys of listening to live music al fresco and it was bliss. There was so much to see and do with such a variety of genres and activities you could never get through all of it in a weekend. But that’s the beauty… you’ll always leave wanting more.

The food options were also amazing and at times it was hard to decide which stall to go to. There was everything from Pad Thai, organic burgers, fresh oysters, burritos, vegan establishments, sushi, and Ghanaian cuisine to name only a few. A serious feast fest known as the Feast Collective and perfect when you all fancy different things for lunch/dinner. We enjoyed the thumping tunes from DJ BBQ and his 21 hour smoked pulled pork but perhaps not the place to head towards if you are vegan.

Camp Bestival really was a feast for the senses and the most exciting, enthralling, magical, enchanting, dazzling, intoxicating weekend ever that tired us out (in a good way) and meant we all slept for 10+ hours after we made a swift escape before the storm hit and the rest of the festival was cancelled.

It was also the first time we have ever camped with a baby and we definitely learnt a few things this weekend when it comes to packing and being festival virgins! Can you ever really be prepared for camping in 40mph winds with an 11 month old?

Here are our top 10 tips for camping at a festival with a babe in arms:

1️⃣ 🎒PACK LIGHT – you most definitely won’t need everything you have packed and I know this because I packed for every possible eventuality. I can’t help it now I am a mama – it’s like I’m in competition with myself to be ready for anything. However when your pitch is 4 fields away from your car and your poor husband is doing shuttle runs with 5 times his body weight and he says to you “I’ve only bought the essentials some things I’ve left”, you nod (pray he has bought the pillows) and realise that you can survive with the bare minimum.

2️⃣ BUT BE PREPARED – still make sure you have your rain mac, sunnies, suncream and boots to hand because you just never know when the weather will change.

3️⃣ 🏡HOME COMFORTS – dummies, familiar foods, toys, books, blankets it’s amazing how little ones relate to things they recognise especially if you are sleeping in a tent for the first time. We took our travel cot with the hope Freddie would sleep easy.

4️⃣ 💰CASH – sometimes it’s just good to have some on you especially when to rent a trolley you might need a large deposit.

5️⃣ 👶🏼🍼 BABY GEAR – you need to keep Baby warm at night so don’t forget the warm sleeping bag. Sleep suits and vests are great to layer up and it’s worth packing an extra blanket. Ear defenders are also a must for little ears to protect them from the loud sounds of a music festival! Don’t forget the dummy and ready made milk and I packed pouch food to make it simple.

6️⃣ 📆 PLANNING vs SPONTANEITY – we didn’t plan to see a particular artist, or event this year as we just wanted to get a feel for what a festival is like so we wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds. Next time though we think we might read through the programme in more detail and make a mini plan of the things we’d like to see/ do/ visit etc. We were lucky enough to see some great stuff though just by wandering aimlessly around and that, I guess, is the beauty of a festival!

7️⃣ 📝 ESSENTIAL ITEMS:

* Trolley – to cart everything including your child/ children (lots of families have them and decorate them too! Not sure how great they would be in mud though.

* Torch -you will need one. We took head torches as easy to carry and I like to be hands free but we also found our tent lantern really useful for those midnight nappy changes.

* Bin liners – for everything – keeps the tent organised, everything cleared away and when you leave you’ll feel good for having kept Britain tidy!

* Bucket – I hate to admit it but sometimes when you have to go you have got to go and the toilets are just too far away and when there are people all around……only a bucket and a bag will do!

* Toilet roll – for in the campsite but also during the day at the festival when the toilets have usually run out of toilet roll.

* Rucksack – to carry all essential items for the day without having to head back to the tent.

8️⃣ 🦄 FANCY DRESS – there is no hiding from it I’m afraid and anything goes, So my advice is embrace it and immersed yourself in the glitterati! Don’t forget a mirror so you can actually see where you are putting the gems and remember the face wipes if you like to sleep fresh – although part of the festi vibe is to rock that glitter for as long as possible! Each year there is a theme too so make sure you keep up to date and I like to do a few searches on the internet to get a little inspo!

9️⃣ 💧WATER – I’d suggest to take your own water bottle that you can fill up on site but also bring a couple of bottles of water to keep on the tent. You never know when you might have to wash or warm some milk. Plus remember to drink lots – festivals are very thirsty work as you do not want a dehydration head ache!

🔟 💤 NAP – key. We were not really there long enough but it would be my top tip. Give yourself and your little ones time to nap and recharge before heading back out into the craziness… we headed back to the tent for tea around 4/30ish to keep a little routine with babe but find what works for your family.

I hope this proves it can be done and gives you confidence. It was an adventure but one we won’t forget!

Going Wild

Going wild – a 30 day journey of discovery in the Dorset countryside with mama and baby

The month of June, when summer finally arrives and the countryside is a buzz with nature and the weather entices you outside on a daily basis so what better way than to spend your days outdoors appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature and really enjoying what she has to offer. Having spotted something online about the #30dayswild campaign hosted by The wildlife trusts across the UK, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself and see what I could find and do that involved nature and being outside. It’s hard sometimes to find the motivation to get about and do things especially when you’ve just landed on planet Motherhood but I can not express how therapeutic being outside with your baby is. Not only will you feel great your little one will be encapsulated by nature and experiencing his/her new world first hand with you!

30 days sounds like a long time but it went so quickly and it was amazing some of the things we got up to. Being accountable on social media has its plus points for sure. Mainly it was a chance to really stop and look around and to really see what nature there was right outside our front door, but during the month I realised how much it did for my wellbeing and no doubt little Freddie’s too. He’s always been a lover of the outdoors right from the start when we would go walking everyday and watch the changing of seasons but now, to be able to share in the delights of his surroundings is a real joy. As he is grows, he can now notice the movement of the butterflies cruising from bud to bud and hear the bees buzzing. He loves to watch the trees move in the wind and looks up to see the clouds. I’ve found myself wanting to learn more about what we’ve seen in the hope when he is old enough to ask me “mama, what’s that?” I’ll be able to respond confidently and be able to teach him about the wildlife around us. We’ll see though….

I hope my posts on Instagram might have inspired some of you mamas out there to step outside with your seedlings and share with them the beauty that is all around us, both in cities and in the countryside. I know I’ll be taking part again even if it’s just to nourish the soul. You can find more of my wildlife posts @MrsStrongman. Children remember their experiences, we all love to make memories and so this family is staying wild!

Cows go Moooooooooooo

When the farmer opens his gates to the public, grab the bull by the horns!

Open farm Sunday is a special day in the countryside calendar when farmers open their gates and let the public in! LEAF Open Farm Sunday began in 2006 and since then over 1600 farmers across the UK have flung open their gates and welcomed 2 million people onto their farms.

It is a brilliant opportunity for everyone, young or old to discover what it means to be a farmer, at first hand and to witness the fabulous work they do across the country, producing our food, caring for livestock and enhancing the countryside with all the goods and services our farmers provide.

curly sheep

Each farm will offer something different and will be based around the farm’s individual story of how they are where they are today. Activities might include a nature walk, tractor ride, demonstrations, local crafts, mini farmers market and plenty of activities for the children.

farmThis was my first year attending. Tom was working so I decided to take Freddie. His great uncle is a farmer so it’s basically in his blood…. so off we went to visit Knife Hill Farm in Winterborne Stickland. What a treat it was. Freddie loves the tractor ride, as did I! There was even a tractor simulator on site, as well as animal petting, milking demonstrations, farming machinery on display and a trusty tractor ride that was a definite highlight for the visitors. There was space for picnics and even though it felt stormy, the rain held off. It felt like a true privilege to be able to explore the farm and hear all about how they farm organically in the heart of Dorset. The farm workers were extremely passionate about their work and it was great for the children to see what happens at Knife Hill Farm, home to 400 cows who graze the grass and clover leys around the dairy. You could even sample the types of products that contain the milk produced by the farms cows. I kept thinking how great it was for the children to be able to see the journey of the milk and begin to understand a bit more about how the milk makes the transition from something that cows produce to products on the supermarket shelves.

Open Farm Sunday runs each year so keep your eyes open in 2019 to find a great farm near you opening it’s barn doors!

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tractor ride
“Cows go MOOOOOOOOOOO!”

If you go down to the woods today….

You’ll find the most amazing mum, baby and toddler group called…

BUSH BABIES

bush babies

Before we even moved to Dorset I was trying to find out as much as I could about the area from our home in Kent. I googled, and trawled through Facebook hoping to find some mum and baby groups we could go to so I could make friends and get out the house with Freddie and explore our new home turf.  The first Facebook page I found was Bush Babies and I am so glad I did. Not only do we have fun twice a week in the woods (if we can get ourselves out and ready in time) but I have also made some lovely new friends! Yay!

Bush Babies is a truly brilliant mum, baby and toddler group set up by Rosie and her band of merry helpers. Nestled in the heart of the Dorset’s magical woodland, just outside the village of Durweston, (near Blandford) it takes place every week on Tuesday and Friday mornings, whatever the weather! The session runs from 9:30am – 12:00pm.

The founder, Rosie has a huge passion for outdoor learning, wildlife, plants and adventures and having just completed her Forest School Course, she is perfectly placed to play, explore and educate our Bush Babies in Mother Nature’s own playground.

the living classroom.jpg

The morning begins at The Living Classroom, an area which has approximately 30 acres of mixed, broad-leaved woodland known as Bonsley Wood. At the classroom base there are toilets, water and power so this is where everyone gathers for a morning cuppa and chitchat around the fire. There is usually an activity for the kids to get stuck into to keep mayhem at bay;  today it was Mother’s Day card making and last time I visited the children were having fun with shaving foam on the table for a sensational sensory experience. I am usually a late arrival to the morning meet up so I have to say I usually miss this party… I’m getting a reputation! Then, coats are fetched, wellingtons put on over the top of waterproof all in one overalls, mothers gather their offspring; some plonked into rucksacks or baby carriers and some brave mothers bring their off road pushchairs. Then once everyone is decked out in their outdoor gear, the Bush Babies then take to the forest path for an adventure into the wildwood. It is good to know for those with little legs and the sleep deprived parents, that the walk is a perfect distance, so there are rarely any melt downs or ‘walk refusers.’ Plus, it is a  looped walk so you can’t get lost and you can easily find your way back to base!

owlLC

During the woodland wander the children are set mini tasks to fill their buckets with discovered woodland treasures, depending on the season, such as leaves,  flowers, moss twigs, bugs etc. The children stop to explore, watch, see and hear all the nature around them and are encouraged to keep their eyes open for new discoveries. They build dens, hunt for bugs and plants and bird-watch, socialising and roaming with freedom in a safe woodland environment with the supervision of multiple adults.

Then it’s back to HQ for a rest. Rosie and Co. provide a drink and snacks for the little ones (you can bring your own if you prefer) and another hot beverage for the adults with the occasional cake and biscuits as standard. The session then comes to a close with either a story or a cacophony of nursery rhymes and songs are sung in a circle whilst playing a range of musical instruments sat on tree stumps. It really is glorious!

Depending on who turns up each session activities are tailored to suit all ages. Everyone is welcome 3 weeks – 3 years and there is even Bush Buddies which happens during the school holidays for the older children too.

Honestly, being a new mama to the area has been made so much easier by these ladies and with no commitment needed it is great to know you’ll meet lots of new and interesting people each time you visit.

 

3 reasons why I love Bush Babies

  1. You can turn up as and when you please  – meaning you don’t have to sign a termly contract and pay upfront
  2. The people are amazing and instantly make you feel welcome and apart of something great.
  3. As a new mama, I have found being outdoors in the fresh air totally invaluable and a great source of therapy in the first few months of motherhood. A walk and a talk is the best medicine.

Hope to see you up at the woods soon  – you never know the bears might be having a picnic too!

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Taming the Beast – Part 2

It was lovely to receive such positive feedback from yesterday’s post so I thought I would keep the ideas coming. As a Primary School Teacher I am always having to conjure up new ideas and so I have devised another list of 10 more ideas to do with the little people during these snow days indoors! Children love to be with their parents and so doing things together when you can, will keep them engaged for a little longer. Obviously this is not always possible but if they are getting a little restless just by doing something together may improve their mood…

  1. Try to make Origami – this site has tons of great ideas. maybe make paper airplanes and have a flying contest…(look out for the plane noses – no one wants pointy paper in their eye!)
  2. Have a ‘Living room workout’  – Get dressed into your sports kits, put one of your exercise videos on and get the kids working out with you too. Personally I would rather opt for the yoga and doing it as a family will at least guarantee time on your mat!
  3. Have a Mary Poppins style cleaning session –  Crank up the radio and have a dance party whilst cleaning the house! It’s a win win situation  – clean house and tired kids! Woop woop!
  4. Design your own Ice Kingdom – children love to use their imaginations so give them some pens and a large piece paper and watch their minds spring into life. Talk to them about what they know about cold places, what might they have in their Ice world and then let them loose with the pens. When they are done get them to explain their new world and talk about it – just listen.
  5. Colouring  – mindfulness for both you and them! A little quiet moment…. if you don’t have any colouring books to hand you can easily print off some things to colour in or even draw your own. Crayola have some here 
  6. Warm up from the inside and make your very own hot chocolate stirrers  
  7. Pom Pom indoor snowball fight – If you are crafty and happen to have a pom pom maker in the cupboard and some white wool (although you could use other colours) make some pom poms  – put them in a bowl/bucket and take it turns to throw them at one another – for the older ones you can add in a point scheme depending on where you hit the other person on the body. I think I’d have a no face policy and obviously clear the mantelpiece/sideboard/table etc. but I’ll leave that to your discretion!
  8. Feed the birds – if like me you worry about the birds during this type of weather then why not help the little birdies out and make them a cake?  This is a great guide from the RSPB and kid friendly 
  9. Make a fairy door to make sure those fairies can keep warm too – everyone knows fairies are not big fans of the cold so why not entice them inside with a beautiful hand crafted door…This lady keeps in simple and hopefully you will have what you need to hand. We do not need to leave the house in this weathe!
  10. Build a lego city – Get out all the LEGO, mini people, trains, cars and other play sets and make a massive indoor carpet city. They will LOVE it!

Have fun and I would love to hear what has worked for you and what you have been up to during these past days.

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Taming the Beast

10 things to do when ‘cabin fever’ sets in – What snow storm?

The ‘Beast from the East’ has certainly made itself known. So, here we are stuck indoors in minus temperatures watching the snowflakes fall outside. The beauty of this winter wonderland is undeniable but who wants to leave the Hygge you’ve created at home? O wait the Utopian Danish dream is quashed as the kids are running round, crying and you have yet to have a warm drink…

The reality of parenting in such conditions is hard and as a new mama not being able to leave the house to go for a walk, see other people (besides my husband and babe) is not the norm and with access to and from the house somewhat like an impassable mountain road (I am exaggerating) I do feel like I could be in one of those Scandinavian crime dramas.

So with hours to be filled I thought I would share a few ideas to keep you sane today whilst the baby naps! Whether you have babies, little or big ones I hope you can find something to inspire you for at least half an hour! Good Luck.

You got this Mama!

SNOW DAY = FUN DAY…….Promise!

  1. It’s time to use those toys from way back when – if you can put them in a big bag or hide them in a sheet and play a guessing game with the older ones and for the little ones just see the joy on their faces of NEW toys!
  2. Forget the laundry  – create your own sensory set up with a variety of fabrics, textures, foil, paper etc. – anything you can find. I raided my craft cupboard and found off-cuts of old clothing (denim, fur and bells are always good) put them in the laundry basket and watch them investigate the goodies.
  3. Make a Den in the living room out of blankets  -because if not on a snowday – when can you?
  4. Put on some great music and DANCE  – I have done this today. The country music radio station was turned on and the sounds blasted through the Sonos as Freddie sucked on toast and I danced whilst I washed up – feel those endorphins!
  5. Have a baby disco – a friend of mine shared her story online and had created an amazing light and sound show  – it was amazing! Rave it up in your PJs!
  6. Have a clear out and donate – {toys, clothes, appliances etc.} I managed to go through some old baby clothes and have already managed to create a gift basket for 2 friends expecting. Get the kids to help or do it whilst the baby sleeps – you’ll feel good for being so productive and for helping others!
  7. Go to the Cinema on the couch  – pop some popcorn and catch up on movies you have yet to see or revisit an old favorite. who doesn’t love to watch Disney movies?!
  8. Get crafty and make a card or two – Mother’s Day is right around the corner so don’t forget your own mama and whilst the kids get messy with glitter glue you can tick another of those to dos off the list! O and playdough is great to get glitter off the table just as an FYI. You could always make Make snowflakes and tape them to the windows.
  9. Read books. This is brilliant thing to do with children of all ages!
  10. Skype or FaceTime Catch up with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while or talk to friends fellow  home-bound friends.