Tagged: ocado

Holidaying with a toddler

Last week we went on holiday. It was great. A much needed family holiday, just the three of us. We had SO much fun!

Unusually, unlike our normal holidays this one wasn’t planned down to the last minute in military fashion with printed itineraries etc. I just didn’t have time. But there were a few things I looked for when booking the accommodation and location so I thought I’d share for those of you looking to holiday with a toddler.

Holiday accommodation, for us – with Littlebit now toddling – must have:

* One floor, one level, preferably ground. No stairs for us to have to block off somehow as no doubt she would be climbing them and then falling back down them every time our backs were turned.

* Wooden floors. Wipe cleanable is so much easier than carpet.

* If there’s a fire it must have a fire guard. Our accommodation had a lovely wood burner but a brilliant large guard that secured to the wall around it. Warm and cosy AND safe. Brilliant!

* A bath. So much easier than showering a toddler and great for lots of relaxing Mama baths once bubs is in bed.

* Two bedrooms. Littlebit has her own room at home and although it takes her half an hour or so to adjust to being put down in a strange room when away from home it’s so much better for her. We all have a much better nights sleep.

* A washing machine. I hate that day after you get back from holiday if you’ve not had a washing machine on holiday. There’s just so much of it. I tend to do a couple of half load washes in the week. Toddlers, especially, go through a lot of clothes. So it means I only have a wash or two to catch up with when we get home.

* An enclosed grassy area. Now I’d misjudged this one and thought that our accommodation had its own garden, which it turned out it didn’t. However, when the main farm gate was shut, which we could do if it was open, the whole farm was enclosed and there was a nice grassy area for Littlebit to kick a football about with Daddy.

* A cot. At the moment we use 2 cots at home, her own wooden cot in her room and a travel cot downstairs that we use as a playpen. The last two holidays we’ve been on we’ve taken our travel cot even though one is provided, this might seem a bit overkill but it’s great as it means we have a way of containing her if needs be. She’s perfectly happy in there for half an hour or so as long as she has her toys and books.

* A highchair. I know I’ve waxed lyrical about highchairs before but I really do find that some are brilliant and some are just plain naff. We had a naff one on holiday. I HATE those stupid fold out padded ones that seem to recline so much that Littlebit may as well just lie on the table and eat. I very nearly packed our IKEA one but we just couldn’t fit it all in the car. However, it did the job, if with a little rearranging and padding down the back to sit her up a bit.

* Wifi. I blog, nuff said!

* A dishwasher. While not a must have it is a “like to have”. We don’t have one at home so it’s a welcome break when we do have one in self catering accommodation.

I would definitely recommend where we stayed. You can find it here. The owners were really friendly and very helpful. The accommodation had everything we needed and the location was great for accessing loads of family friendly attractions. We’d definitely stay there again.

Talking of location, it must have:

* Lots of family friendly pubs and restaurants not too far away.

* A city within an hours drive. Mama needs her shopping fix.

* Easy access to an A&E, just in case. This may seem a bit over the top, especially seeing that we’ve never had to use their services, but one of my worst nightmares would be that we were too far away from a hospital if something did happen to Littlebit.

* Not be too remote to mean that Ocado won’t deliver first thing the morning after we arrive.

* Lots of toddler friendly attractions within an hours drive. Martin, Hampshire, where we stayed was within easy reach of the rest of Hampshire and Dorset and Wiltshire. There were too many childrens’ farms to count and endless aquariums, water parks and soft play areas. Perfect location really, and as Littlebit gets older there’s plenty of museums and other attractions too. We’ll definitely be going back to the area.

* A shop within 3 miles. I could walk that and back if push came to shove :)

And the stuff that I take every time we go away:

* Travel cot as above.

* Littlebit’s food mat, this is the mat (aka tablecloth) I bung under her highchair at every meal. It just stops me from having to scrabble around on the floor at the end of each meal time. I just gather it up and shake it outside and the birds get a veritable feast.

* Sleepytot. While the cot and bedroom are different, at least Littlebit has the routine of Sleepytot in bed with her. It was originally bought to attach her dummies to, but she’s not had one of those since she was about 9 months old. Sleepytot stayed though, even though the dummies went.

* Her summer and winter sleeping bags. Work of genius those things.

* A big supply of bibs.

* My knife roll and 5 main knives. I don’t go to a self catering unit without them. They always have useless knives at those places.

* Food bags, for leftover Littlebit meals to be reused the next day. I always over portion for her.

* Grapes. If that girl doesn’t get her grapes she is not a happy bunny. She has them at practically every meal.

* Bath bubbles. I very rarely get a chance for a bath at home. Even though Littlebit goes to bed at 730pm/8pm every night there’s usually a host of other stuff for me to do, or I’m just too tired. Whereas on holiday, there’s always time.

* Corkscrew. Just in case they don’t have one / it doesn’t work!

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Meal Planning Monday – 16-Apr-12

Well this week I’m joining in the Meal Planning Monday link from At Home with Mrs M from our holiday cottage. It’s lovely here.

I’ve not got my usual meal planning board, I’m not THAT anal, so you’ll have to just read on…

Saturday – we ate on the way down

Sunday – roast chicken dinner with leftover chicken for sandwiches through the week.

Rest of the week (no set days, just as and when):

Sausage casserole with new potatoes in it – slow cooker served with peas on the side

Chicken Balti curry with rice and naan – slow cooker

And I’m sure we’ll eat out or get a take away 3 days, that’s about usual for us as it gives me a holiday from cooking too. If we don’t find anywhere good we can always get a quick eat in meal like pizza from the chillers.

Saturday – house sitters making us dinner for our return.

As you can see it’s not exactly a Slimming World week but who slims on holiday, really!? I will try not to indulge too much in puddings and sweets though.

Oh and of course there will be a cooked breakfast – bacon, sausages, black pudding, mushrooms, eggs, potato cakes, beans, and American pancakes with streaky bacon and maple syrup – at some point. You have to don’t you?

I’ve treated myself to an Ocado delivery too. After last weeks disastrous Asda delivery where they delivered me a 1.5kg ham joint instead of the 4kg I’d ordered, 200g chicken breast rather than the 1kg I’d ordered and 3 missing items. Not impressed. It’s holiday so we’re Ocado’ing it as a treat. And an added bonus was that on the day I sat down at my Mac to do the online order a £20 voucher pinged into my inbox, I think it is to entice me back to a regular shop with them. Very welcome!

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Penny pinching

We have to save money. I won’t go into detail about why here but needless to say we have little to no savings and there may come a time, in the not too distant future, when we need some.

Therefore hubby has set me a task of saving £10,000 this year. Yes, you read it right, £10,000! He’ll help with this figure by pulling in a bit more work and I have to rethink my spending.

It is true that he earns most of the money and I spend it. I’m the one that manages the house, what we eat, holidays, Christmas, birthdays and events throughout the year. Therefore I need to spend less and save more. Makes sense.

Typically, in the first month we have saved our fridge freezer decided to bite the dust and I’ve had to spend some of the savings, grrr! But then I guess that that’s the sort of thing they are there for. Previously we would have whacked it on the credit card, so I suppose it’s a good thing really. Just disappointing that the balance of the savings account is depleted again.

Our monthly food shopping bill was due to take a dive anyway as Littlebit is now fully weaned (see my blog next week on weaning a preemie) so there’s no more of those expensive “special foods”. Just a few fruit bars and fruit smoothies each week but mostly she eats what we eat, and of course there’s the nappies and wipes etc. but her Child Benefit covers those.

The other way I’m saving money is by moving where I shop. Being led, hand tightly held, by my good friend Ruthie Roo I now do my weekly shop at Aldi. Gone are the days of bi-weekly Ocado deliveries (brilliant as they were) and now most things are purchased for half the price every week at Aldi. I do have to do top up shops in Wilkos and the Co-op as unfortunately Aldi aren’t yet there with the welfare friendly meat or the Pampers nappies. But other than that I have been pleasantly surprised. I am saving at least £50 a week, literally just by changing where I shop.

I now buy my fuel at supermarkets, which tend to be a few pennies cheaper.

Most of Littlebit’s clothes come from either Asda George or Primark.

I have bought the first 3 months birthday presents in the January sales.

We are eating out (or taking out in) far less too. Much better for the waist line and the pocket.

We are going on a cheaper holiday than normal this year. A week in a self catering cottage down South. Still not the cheapest holiday I could find, but a quality place that will be a relaxing home away from home.

I am currently planning this years veg plot. I aim for it to be better than last year. More tomatoes and less courgettes. Please less courgettes, seriously they were coming out of my ears last year. I’ve found Littlebit out a children’s trowel and fork that I won in a competition a few years ago so she can join in too. It’s going to be fun!

I am becoming thrifty. Not something I’ve ever been before, but I’m really enjoying it!

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