Why I love living near the coast

Why I love living near the coast

Just last night i was reminded of how truly lucky i am to live where i do. I have never been one of those people who complain about their home town because quite frankly i do like my hometown. I have experienced living in a few over places around the UK such as Glasgow and i have to say my favourite place has to be where i have grown up.

Where we live is on the outskirts of our town and there is easy access to the centre of town where you can access trains and buses to anywhere really by connecting trains/planes and more. I will say however although i don’t live on the door stop of a coast we do only live a twenty minute drive from many different beaches/coasts. We are lucky enough to have wildlife walks on our door step and plenty of parks, rivers, beaches and fields to walk through all in our hometown or surrounding areas.

The thing i love most about living near the coast is being able to just get in the car/bus/train and drive there. It is such a short journey and it feels a bit like a holiday every time. I love walking along the beach and watching the waves crash into the shore over and over. I have been teaching Elijah to throw rocks into the sea which he loves doing also. I enjoy when the sun comes out and licking on a very fast melting ice cream and kicking my feet over the pier edge and people watching. It’s a great location for date nights too. There are many different restaurants along the seafront and they’re all very cosy and lit nicely. The whole beach is lit with lights ad fairy lights and it just looks so calm and pretty. Like you’re not in the UK but somewhere new entirely. I have always since being a kid loved the amusements too. I have always tried my hand on a claw machine or two and played games to win tickets. Playing mini golf or bowling with friends and family or even a competitive game of pool or air hockey. We love that our son loves the 2p machines so we get him a step and hes so excited to put a pound or two worth in the machine and watch it go. Most of all i like the breeze and fresh air. When i am a little stressed out and we go i always come back feeling calmer and more relaxed. Especially when we go late afternoon/evening time. It just feels like a home away from home.

I think it really is a gift to have such a beautiful world around us and to be able to repeatedly enjoy its natural beauty for no charge at all. I often feel sad for people that have to drive for hours to be able to experience what is so close to us. It’s somewhere our little boy can grow up enjoying too. From learning to crab to running with a kite with the sand in between his toes i am looking forward to sharing it all with him.

How long away is the nearest coast/beach to you and what do you enjoy most about them?

Why I love eating out with you

Why I love eating out with you

I love eating out with my little buddy as I think it is so good for not only bonding but I use it as a teaching opportunity. I use it to teach him how to behave in public to not tantrum and how to eat nicely at a restaurant. We use it as a treat for being good being able to eat out and if he’s been really good he may even get a dessert. I love eating out together because I love being able to spend time with him be it just us two or with friends or family. I think it’s really good to help with not only my social anxiety but to get him used to social and public situations.

Elijahs started to sometimes sit at a chair (if tall enough) instead of a high chair and no longer try’s to run away. Sometimes if he’s being a bit grumpy because he is over hungry or tired we get some toys out, do colouring and if everything else fails we allow him to watch educational videos until food arrives. If we’re somewhere child friendly we will go play till dinner time. Elijah knows there is no play or electronics when dinner has arrived and toys and phones go away. He used to have a issue with this but because we always go out he has now support the tantrums.

I love being able to share my love of food with him too and watching him try new things. I love that when we eat out he’s always so excited by his food and shows his appreciation. I do love it when he talks to other people and they smile and wave back. I love trying new places with him and finding out what he may like and don’t like. I love that we go to eat out every weekend as a family of three and love spending time out the house the three of us.

It’s important to have time as a couple after having a child

It’s important to have time as a couple after having a child

Having a child inevitably creates a shared responsibility and lack of time together as a twosome. Although you wouldn’t change it for the world your life quite simply becomes a little more hectic. There’s no last minute trips to the cinemas at 8pm to watch a film, no more Staying up till 3 am chatting or out for dinner all the time. It’s finding childcare and enjoying a few hours of peace where you just unwind and spend half the time completely exhausted.

Sometimes it’s really important to just have time together! Be it when the child’s in bed shoving a movie on and snuggling up together on the sofa, or going out for dinner. It’s important to have some time just the two of you. If you can get childcare then utilise it as much as you can and try to make time to spend just the two of you. It’s important to remember why you fell in love in the first place. It’s important to remember what you where like as a twosome before you came more than that. You need grown up conversation even if the conversation always comes back to the kid.

So make time for each other, love each other and don’t take each other for granted.

Eating out with a toddler.

Eating out with a toddler.

Ever since Elijah was little we’ve eaten out together. I used to feel really nervous about how others would feel when I took Elijah out to eat. Would he make a mess? Would he be loud? Would others stare? Then I remembered I too was a baby once apon a time and everyone else was once a baby too, surely not everyone was kept out of restaurants out of fears of a possible tantrum?

Taking a baby into a restaurant is all calm and relaxing. Baby sleeps, feed change and back to sleep. People think they’re adorable sleeping or when they first sit in a little highchair and eat tiny meals when they start weaning. The older they get the more tantrums they have when they are hungry or bored. The cause of a tantrum is normally either of those two things and sitting in a restaurant isn’t the easiest of places to entertain a toddler and they must wait for their food.

I personally love taking Elijah out for dinner he always has fun and it’s something where we sit around giving each other our undivided attention and chatting. Sure we still have the odd meltdown here and there but most of the time it can be calmed down with distraction. Colouring pencils and paper or singing songs normally helps. But when he is particularly bored I do let him watch nursery rhymes on my phone till the food comes. I don’t normally let him have my phone in public but if I feel it’s going to upset people eating their meals if I don’t let him quietly watch nursery rhymes until his meals comes out then I don’t mind.

When the meal comes he always eats very well and tells us when he is done. We have even taught him to tidy away his mess and give us the plate. He’ll then wipe up his hands and face with help and we’ll wait for the bill. He will normally go back to colouring or will wait nicely if we tell him where we are going next. We do have our moments we feel judged when we are out like any other parents. When people stare because your child’s on your phone like you let them on it every single second of the day. Also sometimes Elijah will get upset because he can’t express himself and is hungry or bored and people always turn around to have a nose and I then feel how I approach his tantrums will be judged whatever happens.

I always say don’t stop enjoying meals out because your toddler may cry because every single last human being was once a toddler them self’s and should have a element of understanding. When you eat out you are teaching them how to behave in public too so if there being naughty teach them that it is not right. Remember tantrums are short and will be over soon and that it is ok to distract them with your phone if that helps. And if they cry? Remember your in a family restaurant and the people judging you who don’t have kids have no right too. Enjoy meals out, enjoy your food, enjoy your family time and enjoy your life!

Learning resources for toddlers.

Learning resources for toddlers.

Trying to expand your toddlers mind and teach them skills at the same time can be difficult, but there are resources out there you can use to help. Here are a few items i have used and found effective in teaching my son that might help other parents and toddlers stuck in a rut. If anyone else has anything they can recommend do please get in touch with a comment or check out my instagram @lifewiththehazelwoods and send me a dm there.

First up flash cards. I cannot rate flashcards enough because they are such a brilliant tool for learning. Remember revising for tests and you made flash cards? Well they work the same for toddlers. They’re brightly coloured and have pictures. They have the word under so you can teach your toddler the word for the photo which eventually they will learn with daily practice. Everyday we’ve used these since a little before his first birthday. Hes learnt a lot of animal names, foods, objects,weather and more. He can now basically say a whole pack of words now which makes us insanely proud. We have several packs which i have brought which Elijah loves doing you can get themed or basic first words, we have some ones that show counting objects for when hes older as well.

Puzzles are great too. We have quite a few types. We have some which are wooden boards where you take the shapes away and put them back in which are quite easy to do but teaches shape sorting. We also have vehicle, animal and letter ones to teach him words too. We have words to words to object animals. We have wooden puzzles also where we match the body parts. Puzzles are so good for making your child learn more, gain more skills and also strengthens their muscles using their motor skills. It also helps their memory including muscle memory.

Lacing beads. This teaches your child about colours and shapes. This also teaches how to thread through beads into the lace and counting as you do it. Teaches hand eye coordination and muscle memory again. This is also one of the things they access where children are too to see how they’re able to use their joints.

Arts and crafts products.Colouring books and crayons, Jumbo and thin crayons can be great for the wrists and finger development. We use it to teach colours and patterns and try to get him to copy us when we do shapes. We love painting and exploring patterns and objects and how we use things to paint. We do themed painting and use objects we find such as toys, objects from the outside or pasta. We love doing stickers which Elijah loves them and sticking them on the paper or on things.

Word books, i cannot stress how important reading is to children. They are sponges from when they are born. We have read to elijah since he was in my tummy and we make a effort to read atleast 4 books a day together. Word books with pictures and words are really good because they teach them the word for things. Elijah was so proud of himself when hes learn all the words in a book and would bring them to show us all day long.

Play dough. Teaching your child textures, making things and just using their hands and objects are a great tool to use. They come with good play sets too so as they get older you can make them explore more play. Like a dentist set, beach set, food making set. Playing together is lovely too.

Bricks, counting and balance all come into this. They have fun building towers and learning balance. You can also use them to count.

Magnetic fish teaches hand eye communication and team work.

Food is probably the best one! Teaching them too cook is such a fun experience and lots of messy play! Put food colouring in cooked spaghetti and let them go wild! Bake cakes and shape cookies! Colour pasta shells and rice for necklaces and arts and crafts activities!

The possibility’s are endless, just enjoy learning and having fun together!

Parent shaming and why you shouldn’t do it.

Parent shaming and why you shouldn’t do it.

Here’s a blogpost I wrote on my old blog which I wanted to share on my new blog as I think it’s important. Parent shaming!!

Nothing boils my blood more. Example… you’re eating your dinner and a child has a little hissy fit. The child is one and can not control or understand their emotions, their parents are visibly stressed out that they are causing a scene they try everything they possibly can, toys, snacks, drinks, songs and sometimes their phones ( just because they get their phone out does not mean it’s all their kid does is watch tv and phones no some parents just use it to distract them as a treat). But you sit there loudly moaning about that child. You comment on the parenting and rip them apart and end with the child’s a spoilt little pain in the ass which is not true.
Let me educate you. You where a child. You cried the same you where a pain in the ass. You’re parents also didn’t do that great of a job to teach you how to be a decent human being to not over look that a baby is being a baby and ruining your experience in a family pub where there will obviously be children if there’s a high chair somewhere. And that parent is stressed they feel awfull, you don’t know what sort of day they’ve had or what’s happening. Today I was that parent who was ripped apart as my child screamed because he was in pain. Not hungry, not being a little pain in the neck. He was in pain we learn after he was quite unwell which required a trip to the doctors and admissions into the hospital and X-rays. I tried to calm him down whilst also leaving him with his dad so I could call the doctors to get a appointment while we finished our dinner as he looked quite unwell while we where eating while you also picked me apart for that. Then you had the nerve to smile as I left as if you haven’t spent the whole time moaning about my child because he gave you his biggest grin and said goodbye to you and you realised he is just a poor adorable little baby.
My point being before you judge a mum or dad for how they parent or their child having a breakdown just think how stressed they may be and how exhausted they are of the constant criticism. Have a bit of compassion and remember the world is bigger than you and while some (not all) parents try their absolute best to not be loud and try to calm their child to create a enjoyable experience for all whilst also teaching them manners and how to act in public it is bloody hard work and don’t need you tearing them down.
Rant over.

Did school/college really help me in life.

Did school/college really help me in life.

In someways I could argue yes it has helped me. I mean it’s taught me to behave and how not to behave. It’s taught me how to make friends and stay in contact with some of said friends. It’s taught me how to read and write. I’ve learnt about our history and heritage. I’ve learned who I am and what I will become. It enabled me to have a education which I can use in life. It’s enabled me to work in my field and get further because of it. I’ve got the option to go to university if I wanted to train to do things I may want to do as I have the grades.

It hasn’t however taught me basic lessons. Yes I may be able to work out change for a tenner if I buy something but it hasn’t taught me the most important lessons. I wasn’t taught how taxes work, how much I’d have to pay. I wasn’t taught about how much childcare would cost and that I may have to leave my job as the pays not worth it. It doesn’t teach you how to look after a child. The health and social project where I was given a toy doll at 13 to hurdle around everywhere like a teen mum taught me shit all. It didn’t teach me how to be a mum. It didn’t teach me how to wash, bath, feed and comfort a Ill child. The food tech classes taught me basic cooking and not how to make meals. I can make a good salad or cake from recollection but that’s where it ends. I did however learn to wash up what a shitty life skill that is!Wood tech taught me how to saw and shape wood but I’ve never had the need to make a wooden key chain. Graphics taught me how to design but very badly, terribly and not from scratch using other people’s bits and bobs to make my own work. I never learnt to take photos and learnt myself from just doing. In citizenship I didn’t learn that if I vote there’s basically no point as democracy is pretty much screwed in this country.

I was never taught how to run a house and clean, I taught myself to sow and cook and clean. I wasn’t taught how much my bills would cost or what I would need for a house. I was never told how to turn on the heating and the cost that would incur. I was never taught how to fix a leak or paint my house. I was never taught nutrition. Sure we’d touch on it but we where never told how to look after ourselves and what to eat to feel good and be healthy. I’d go shopping when I first moved out and buy pure unhealthy crap and rack up a massive bill. We where never taught to talk about our feelings, we never had support for emotions. We were allowed to be bullied so that our adult lives would become hard and untrusting. We where never taught how to save for a mortgage and work. We where never taught about trolls. We where never taught how to be good wife’s/ mums / people. We were told to address teachers as mr/sir/miss/mrs and not by their names when you never do that now which was supposed to make you unrelatable to the teachers. Something I find bizarre considering they’re looking after you all day you’d think they’d crack a smile when you may be going through some personal stuff at home.

Although I earn a lot to school and am grateful to of received a education. Something I’m extremely proud of that is free in this country. There is so much we should of been taught so that adult life doesn’t hit you with a cold hard slap when you start your first job. So when you move out you’re not stressed out of your mind working everything out in your own way. I will teach Elijah about saving, tax, housekeeping and everything I wish I was taught about as he grows so I know whatever school doesn’t provide I can. Hopefully one day this will change and children will know more than us! Until then teach and share tour knowledge and whilst you learn share that with others too.