For the last month or so we have been trying out Haliborange Children’s vitamins every day. I feel like a bit of a drug store as we have literally being trying them all – from multivitamins, to the baby toddler liquid, and ones specifically for Vitamin D, C, omega 3 and immunity. My kids have probably never being healthier, and as I write this,  I am now wondering if this is the reason they have so much extra energy at bedtimes? Boosted with all manner of vitamins!

Well they sound, look and apparently taste great, so lets see if they are as a good as they seem. Here are our thoughts and experiences.

Children’s Vitamins – Yes or No?

Giving my kids a vitamin supplement is something that I have never thought about doing, or felt a need for. We eat a very well balanced diet, rich in veggies, greens, fruit and calcium products, and eat them with Quorn or lean meats and pulses and wholewheat foods. Of course we have our fair share of treats but as far as nutritional value goes, i’d say we are doing well. And so until Haliborange got in touch I hadn’t ever bought them or looked at getting them.

I guess I was looking at children’s vitamins as making up for things rather than enhancing what the kids already are putting into their bodies and really giving them the best/most. Since getting into a habit of giving the kids daily vitamins I have thought of things that I previously overlooked that are a plus to them having them – Things like immunity (especially for Autumn/winter and back to school) and Vitamin D, which is now recommended by the government that we give in a supplement to children and Teens. I’ve thought about the benefits to little Alice (our 14 month old) who is quickly growing and developing, and her extra need for goodness and vitamins to enhance her protection and growth.

Having read more about children’s health and having them back into school now, where germs are ripe, I’d have to say that I think multivitamins, immunity, Vitamin D and Omega 3 (to support those developing little brains) get a Yes from me…I think there is a need for them alongside a balanced diet to give kids bodies the best health they can get.

Overall Look

Getting kids to take vitamins has never been easier. The Packaging is child friendly with a safety cap and Mr Men/Little Miss characters (or the little Softies berries), and each one resembles fruit jelly sweets. They smell appealing and look yummy, and I am rather jealous of that fact. How far kids vitamins have come on since when I was a kid, when we used to take those chalky type ones you’d wash down with a drink!!! So yes – We love the look of all of them and the packaging is fun too.

Guaranteed taste

Haliborange are so proud of their products and guarantee the taste to be yummy to all kids, that if your kids don’t like them, they will give you your money back! There is no issues here for us, as both Ethan and Megan LOVE the taste of them all (as does Alice with her Baby & Toddler orange flavoured multivitamin liquid)! In fact, I have found that vitamin time is a time of day that they go a little nuts about … it seems to be a treat to them, and their giddiness about taking them is like i’m dishing out sweets!

They come in Orange, strawberry & blackcurrant flavours and shapes, depending on what vitamin supplement they are.

Overall we are really impressed with Haliborange products. The range is as vast and different as each child and their needs, and they look and taste great (I may have scoffed a couple). They definitely serve a purpose in boosting kids immunity and helping them in their development alongside a healthy and nutritious diet, and they will be something we will continue to give the kids daily… for peace of mind, and as an opportunity to have regular chats about vitamins and what they do, general health, good foods and our bodies!

If you would like to try them for your kids, they are available in Boots, and online at Amazon. I think they are definitely a good idea for babies or toddler’s and kids back at school at this time of year. They also have a range for Teens if you have any, though as ours are only young so I couldn’t say if they’re as tasty (lets hope so!).

*Thank you to Haliborange for sending us several tubs of Vitamins to try in return for an honest review. All thoughts an images are my own. 

Family Fever
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On the Monday of our recent holiday to Tuscany, we decided to venture a little further afield and do Rome for the day. We felt it was a must see when we were already only a few hours north, so for the sake of a couple of hours by train, and £140 return for us all, we decided to incorporate the capital city and famous sites of Rome into our travels and it was a great family adventure and day out. Italy has high speed rail so from Pisa it is only about 2.5 hours each way and with that I guess we saw it as like going from Leeds to London which would be manageable with 3 kids! 

We woke at about 5.30am to be able to get the 7am train from Pisa station, which in hindsight was a bit mad. We wanted to make the most of our day trip and so we were aiming to be in Rome for about 10am and return about 8pm, getting back to Pisa 10ish! Seriously it was nuts getting out of the door that early with 3 sleepy head kids, finding our way to the station and suitable parking, but we did it and it was worth it for a day in Rome. 

Our first train from Pisa to Rome unfortunately was cancelled which initially was rather stressful too, but with some broken English and chats, they were obviously happy to reassign us to the next one. In the end it only put us back about 40 mins from our original arrival time, as the second one was more direct and faster so it was great and not even a problem.

We found the trains in Italy to be a little cooler than those here in the UK. They’re just bigger and more impressive I think! We found them to be really comfortable and each carriage has plenty of storage and toilet facilities. They are clean and the seats are set out in 4s with tables and electrical points at each table.

The morning train was packed and the kids were more awake and giddy, but it was fine. The evening one however was even better – it was empty, we had bought colouring books from Tiger and I read most of the way back, it was a great journey! 

Rome

Once in Rome we just made our way around each of the sites starting at the Colosseum. It was a very hot day and a very busy city, and we decided to just walk everywhere instead of using the metro or buses. I think we had high expectations of the kids, but they were so good and the thousands of fountains made the whole experience way more fun and exiting for them, and therefore way more enjoyable and bearable for us!

We saw so many things from there that were beautiful and made sure to call by the Trevi fountain, and of course the Vatican! Like Florence things cost money and ques are everywhere so we decided to just meander and look. The Vatican is free if you can stand to que, or you can pay about 40 euros and go inside to see the Sistine chapel and museum. I really did want to go in, and I was excited to go in too… I had dreamed of going in for years, but in the end the heat, ques and kids combo meant that I backed out and we sat and admired it all from outside whilst they went with their preferred choice of activity – colouring on the steps! It was great to do this still and just soak everything in and we had a lovely time. 

Rome was everything I expected and more. It is a beautiful city and I loved the incredible history and tales oozing from its streets. I think its a great place to take kids, as aside from a lot of walking and sight seeing that the whine about, there are fountains everywhere to drink from (or play in) and there are many impressive things that capture their attention. The stories you can tell them really educate and bring it all to life and its one of those places you can just wander for hours with no real purpose, but be greeted with beauty and famous places at every turn.

The train was easy, and aside from the morning, it was reliable and fast! If you are in Pisa for a few days its definitely a trip worth taking to save money on a separate visit at a later date – though a few days there would also be well spent too! Thank you Rome for having us, it was most hearty and we can’t wait to return kid free for the romantic side!!!!

Tips for Training it to Rome with Kids

Don’t promise them a paddle in the Trevi fountain the night before. You can’t even touch the wall let alone paddle and it will result in meltdowns!

Take a picnic and a crate of water – Kids are always hungry and especially thirsty with the heat and it saves lots of time and unnecessary stress. I took some pizzas in a tub and with all of the drinking fountains you can continually refill the bottles.

Don’t expect to be able to go in the Vatican if you save it til the end.

Don’t plan on a tasty Italian meal for dinner down a quaint little street because all they want is the blumming McDonalds next door!

Buy colouring books or something to keep them occupied on the train – I should have remembered from the flight!

Go at their pace and appreciate it as an opportunity to notice the little things you might otherwise miss.

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I am no stranger to a soft play, they are an ordinary moment of any preschooler or mum’s life, and love or hate them, they are a great place to catch up with mum friends and ditch the kids to let off some steam! With our initial years raising our family in the City, we were surrounded by them and had several at our finger tips, and whilst I rarely went in them with the kids (they gross me out) I loved to see them having fun and going nuts whilst I had a sneaky hot chocolate and lots of chats. We would spend hours at them, especially on rainy days and even now in school holidays we can occasionally be spotted at the ones for older kids!

Now Alice is 1 and toddling around, I guess we go full circle and start that all over again. The difference however for Alice is that she is on her own, and we are now living in a village!

Here in East Yorkshire, aside from family and school friends that I have to travel a little ways to, I don’t know as many local people as I did back when Ethan and Megs were younger, or even where the local soft plays would even be with out the help of a little google, so I was super excited to find out when we moved in that the village has their own soft play (yes really). I was kindly invited by a couple of childminders in our early days here, with instructions that it was a mile down the road crossing several fields to get there, but it runs twice a week, is cheap, and well…just perfect!

It is far different to what I have been used to but I love all the more so. Soft Play village style involves a mile walk across fields, through woodland and past some goats and chickens. It is a beautiful walk that I have enjoyed taking each week which leads you out over some tracks and finally to our destination of “Soft play” at the local sports grounds. It is a pop up one and therefore half the price of that in the city and has far less kids there too. It is super chilled out and everyone talks to each other over a free cuppa and is clean and easy to watch the kids at. It is just a cute little space for kids to have fun with the other kids they know from all of the other groups we all go to for a couple of hours twice a week! Its more of a club/playgroup than a business and I have thoroughly enjoyed going along each week with Alice.

I love our walk there and back with its stunning views, and I love to see her toddling and crawling with the other kids.

I love that such an ordinary thing as that of going to soft play has now for us become an adventure – A 2 mile round trip of little country lanes, horses, old windmills, fields and new friends.

The village soft play is now part of our weekly routine that we look forward to… an ordinary moment in our week to meet up with the other weekly soft play goers to have chats, drinks a little play!

I love that for Alice her ordinary will be this cute pop up soft play. It will be walks through the countryside to get there and it will be those little kids from the village that she sees at everything else. I love the slow and chilled pace of life here, our new ordinary and the little moments of quaint traditions that we can now be a part of together in this new chapter and stage of life…

 

The Ordinary Moments
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For the last week or so I have been mostly in survival mode – hence things have been a little quiet over here. My energies have been focused on purely doing what I need to make it through each day, and keeping our home in a clean and liveable state whilst making life normal for my kids! It’s a hard time of year for us and this one has been especially tough for one reason or another, and usually my instinct is to want to hibernate. I have a little, but I have also made the effort to be more sociable with new friends, and make an appearance on the toddler scene here in the village. As a result I have met some wonderful women who have embraced me and made me feel very welcome, and each one has accepted me in my loss without judgement  – it has been a real blessing.

 With each anniversary that passes, I find that I am learning ways to get through it and protect myself and my grief, and only focusing on the day to day essentials. Taking a break from stuff, walking during the day, and watching more TV on a night have certainly been the right decision for me this time round.

With staying more local I haven’t really had a lot of time to scrat around the charity shops and hunt for things, but I did have a lovely shopping trip with my sister yesterday and got some great deals to show you, as well as managing to finally get a pair of kitchen stools for our breakfast bar. There are sales galore starting and deals already on the shelves in preparation for Christmas (WHAAATTTT???!!!) so keep your eyes peeled, but for me in my little corner of the world, here are the frugal things we found this week.

Kitchen stools from Gum tree

When we looked round our house I loved that it had space in the conservatory for a dining table, but also a big enough kitchen to eat at one of the counter tops. I imagined Ethan and Megan eating breakfast together and doing homework whilst I made dinner… it was a lovely space and yet we haven’t been able to use it in that way yet as the previous owners kept the stools.

Thursday however things changed, when I had another scout on gum tree (as I have been doing weekly) and found a lovely pair, originally from Ikea for just 25 quid!

I was so excited (as were the kids), and they already make a huge difference to our morning routine and containing mess to one area. I have enjoyed sitting on them too and they completely transform the kitchen into a more sociable space. Thank goodness again for gum tree and another great bargain.

3 Chocolate Oranges for £2

Oh man I totally went a little nuts inside when I saw this offer the other day with my mum in Tesco but restrained myself. My husband however did not and rocked up after swimming last night with 6! I mean who doesn’t love a good chocolate orange? they are so tasty and a real treat, but 6??? really??? I’ve hidden them in my present box and will monitor their consumption!

So yes – right now (hoping it’s still on) you can buy one and get 2 free at Tesco. They are on at £2 each which is more that they are usually in places like home bargains and even the pound shops, but when you’re getting 3 of them for £2 its a really great deal (just 66.6p each to be exact!). So get down to Tesco quick and stock up for Christmas….if they’ll last that long!

Free Veggies

This week the schools clubs began and Ethan and Megs were both accepted into “Gardening club”! I will probably talk about it more on the blog because I think it’s brilliant, but basically it’s one of many free after school clubs their new school runs, and they were both super enthusiastic to join it and do something they have loved helping their grandma with over the Summer. I think it will be a fantastic experience for them to learn more about plants, nature, growth, harvesting, food, pruning, hard work, and so many other things along the way too.

This week in their little club they were in the school gardens doing harvesting! Each child brought home a bag of goodies for their hard work and I was so excited for some free onions, corn on the cob, cabbage and potatoes – several things for soups and stews for FREEEEE! You can’t really get more frugal than that now can you?? A free club reaping free veggie goodies for the fam – Brilliant!!!

Clearance stores at Princes Quay (Hull)

Hull shopping scene has changed A LOT since being a teenager and is a lot different to the whole host of places I enjoyed in Leeds too. But what it does have that I thoroughly enjoy is a new outlet floor in the Princes Quay shopping centre. Yesterday I went with my sister and bought a £34 jumper in Next clearance for £6 and a £56 Checked shirt in Jack Wills clearance for just £9!!!

The jumper is thick and has cool puff sleeves so will be great for the cooler months ahead, and the shirt is just plain cool. I have never had a rich blue like this one and I love the frill collar too – I am totally wearing it next week for Britmums!!

Okay so way more deals and frugally things than I initially thought, so if you’ve made it this far you deserve a chocolate orange… or 3… for £2!

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