Our Summer of ’16 in a Living Arrows nutshell

I’ve just realised that it’s almost been a month since I last posted a Living Arrows post; capturing a photo of my boy each week ! My bad!

With the whole routine thing out the window due to the school summer holidays, it’s been too easy to let things slide. So as I prepare to ease gently back into school day mode, it occurred to me that I may I’ve relaxed the reins of routine a little bit too much!

Annnnyway, here goes; my favourite snaps from my summer holibobs covering the last 4 weeks in one epic Living Arrows post.

the hippy chic toddler seat was an absolute life saver during our annual folk festival

My cheeky chappy rocking his trusty converse and shades in a perfectly modelling Hippy Chick hip seat during a day trip to the Sidmouth Folk Festival. It was was too busy to let him walk around and to try navigate a buggy but this is a boy with the need to explore and a limitless amount of energy to burn so this was the perfect option to rest him for 10 minutes while we watched some of the street entertainment.

cute feet! don't you just love a pair of chubby legs on a toddler

We are so close to the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary that I often completely overlook it when trying to plan a day out. But an impromptu trip really caught his eye as he charged around and climbed the fences to get a better look. (Until they started braying, by which point he dived into my arms completely spooked by this strange and unfamiliar noise!)

sunset om the beach after an epic regatta week

Summer evenings on the beach are the creme de la creme of living by the sea. But in true British style, summer evenings turn chilly pretty quickly. I can assure you that the scarf was his idea and absolutely not to the entertainment of hid nanny. Much.

summer garden fun, can't beat it. the last in my living arrows collection for August

we aren’t blessed with a flat grassy garden, I tend to justify it by reminding myself that we live by the sea and that’s pretty awesome. But I still pine for my guys to experience the long hot summer days playing in the garden like my siblings and I had. Luckily though, I managed to time a visit to my sisters’ house (who has the perfect child friendly garden) with a run of stunning weather. I’ve got to add here that our Frugi sunsuit has been the most worn outfit of the summer!

It all seems to long ago now, the summer of ’16 in a nutshell.

Living Arrows

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This is a collaborative post

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Summer Evenings On Our Devon Pebble Beach

There’s something about living in my little Devon village which makes everything seem a little slower paced. I love how we can live a more simple life, enjoying back to basics fun right in our doorstep, just a short stroll and I’m right here, on my local Devon pebble beach.

Don’t get me wrong, I do get modern life envy at times, when I hear what’s on the doorstep for others. Even pizza delivery seems exciting! But on a summer’s evening, when the only sound you can hear are the seagulls dominating the sky, looking for unsuspecting tourists to steal chips from. I’m always a little reluctant to let go of the day, so it’s on with the flip-flops and off for a walk to grab the last few ray’s before it slips down behind the chalky white cliffs for the night.

The simple life and a back to basics childhood living on the East Devon coast. I took these photos one summer's evening on our local Devon pebble beach
Some days it’s a few moments throwing pebbles in the sea, others we (the kids) brave for a paddle. Then it’s up the hill back home for the usual bedtime toddler shenanigans. hoping for another sunny day tomorrow so we can do it all over agin.

And it’ fair to say we always sleeps a little better, toddler included, after an evening dose of sea air.

Natures sleeping pill in the purest, most wonderful form!

The simple life and a back to basics childhood living on the East Devon coast. I took these photos one summer's evening on our local Devon pebble beach

Living Arrows – You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

 

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Creating a Safe & Healthy Bedroom For Your Toddler

I’m trying to pair back our life to a much cleaner, healthier, natural  way of living. It’s not that I’m adverse to the odd chocolate bar or packet of crisps, it’s just that I’ve come to the realissation that we don’t need all the extra chemicals and processed rubbish in our lives. My home is my temple and I am on a mission to make it the healthiest I possible can.

That said, please ignore any thing I’ve just written if you ever set eyes on my teenager’s room. That’s a whole science experiment in it’s self up there.

No, I’m starting with our newest and purest member of  the family, The Toddler. Untainted by the lure of technology, he can survive a days sans the iPad with being a quivering mess in the corner, so I’ve decided to create as safe and natural bedroom as I possibly can.

It’s not the biggest room in the house and neither is it over loaded with toys, he has a little toddler bed, a wardobe, a toy box, a book box and a really cute fox cushion  stuffed with his old baby blankets. But it’s what he sleeps on that was the focus of my healthy bedroom makeover.

With SIDS being related in the past to using 2nd hand mattresses the current advise from The Lullaby Trust is

 You should use a firm and flat mattress that is protected by a waterproof cover. This will help keep the mattress clean and dry, as the cover can be wiped down.  Make sure your baby’s mattress is in good condition and that it fits the Moses basket or cot properly.

(There is some research that found an increased chance of SIDS when using a second-hand mattress although the link is not yet proven.)

I have never taken any chances with each of my babies and even now as a toddler I’m still following the guidelines as he makes the transition from cot to toddler bed. We’re using a a quilted latex mattress from Natural Mat. Handmade here in Devon, they use organic materials which are naturally breathable and self-ventilating to help regulate their body temperature.

creating a natural and healthy bedroom for a toddler bedroom makeover

Layered with Coconut fibre for support and breathability, organic lambswool for softness and insulation & a quilted cover for softness and comfort

Why Use Natural Products?

I was first introduced to Natural Mat at the local Devon County Show where they had a stand showcasing some of their products and got chatting to Rachel who told me all about their benefits;

– Hypoallergenic and anti-microbial – perfect for asthma and eczema sufferers

– Essential oils of lavender, lemon and eucalyptus for anti-dust mite protection

– they’re chemical free, non-toxic and naturally fire retardant.

So for a baby, child and toddler bedroom they seem the perfect choice. (If you’re looking for a complete organic and chemical free bed set, Naturalmat also sell bedding from sheets to duvet covers. )

creating a natural, healthy bedroom as part of our toddler bedroom makeover

Removable machine washable cotton cover (60°C) and you can just make out the layers which make up the mattress through the cotton cover.

And Continuing The Natural Bedroom Theme;

So that was  the mattress taken care of, but I’ve gone one step further in ensuring the Toddlers bedroom is the healthiest in the house by using a wool based duvet from  LANACare, filled with organic untreated merino wool. Believe me when I tell you they’re extremely light and soft, providing the ultimate comfort.

This is the first time the Toddler would be using a duvet and the lightness of our  LANACare one meant there was no grumble from the toddler who dived under the minute it was on. It’s actually lighter than the blankets which I’d used in his cot which he wasn’t a fan of sleeping under. Its only seeing how much he loves jumping in his bed and pulling them up over his head every night thats made me realise how much he prefers them. (and that we probably shouldn’t have waited so long to make the switch!)

I’ve also noticed that with the breathable make up of the nautral mattress and the wool duvet he’s not waking up sweaty in the night, big yay for using natural products. I’m not a fan of sleep training, preferring my children to find their own sleep pattern in their own time but after 2 years of co sleeping part of the night, the 2nd night of sleeping in his new room he slept through for the first time ever.

Now if that isn’t testament to the choices in products we’ve used I don’t know what is!

creating a safe, natural bedroom for our toddler bedroom makeover

Wool absorbs moisture, keeping baby dry & comfortable.

The Importance Of A Wool Duvet?

Being a totally natural material, the wool duvet feels more familiar to the human body. The wool fiber is built similarly as the human skin and is dust mite resistant due to several natural features. Natural lanolin in the wool makes it naturally resistant to dust mites and mould.

creating a safe, natural bedroom as part of our toddler makeover

filled with organic untreated merino wool.

Organic wool is antimicrobial and antibacterial, due to the natural lanolin in the wool and it’s fire resistant and actually acts as a natural fire retardant. Like Natural Mat, LANACare also merino wool based products,  like the super soft merino wool pants the toddler is modelling below. Breast feeding mums should also check out their natural wool, washable breast pads (no scratchy plastic noises on these you’ll be glad to know!)

So we’ve sorted the basics out, we already have a wool carpet, wooden blinds and furniture decorated using natural chalk paint  and along with researching for a low or zero emissions monitor and some organic bedding we’re almost complete.

creating a safe, natural bedroom as part of our toddler makeover

Baby Pants in soothingly soft organic wool

 

Disclaimer

The mattress and duvet were sent to me for the purpose of creating a safe, natural sleeping enviroment and to share my thoughts of the quality and effectiveness of the products. All words and photography are entirely my own and I can thoroughly recommend them to anyone looking for gentle, safe bedding. I would only endorse products which I am 100% happy to use myself. 

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Keeping Toddlers Safe In The Sun With Frugi

The times they are a changing and I love that we have finally stopped waving the helicopter parenting flag over mums and dads who chose to up the stakes in skin damage protection and raise their keeping toddlers safe in the sun game. It’s now perfectly acceptable to dress your children in sun protection suits to give them the added much-needed cover and that rocks!

Once upon a time what you could buy was quite limited (I’m talking 16 years ago when I was a young whipper-snapper of a mum to my now hulking great teenager.) I think I had one top which was quite thin and I doubt did much to stop the sun’s harmful rays filtering, it’s only comparing what’s available now that I can see how far they’ve come on.

And as  we’ve always spent lots of time at the beach, I’ve invested in a sun safe top each year for my boys. We keep the lotion topped up too but when they’re in and out the water, it’s much easier keeping shoulders and backs covered with clothing than it is for me to be running after them yelling “sun screen” like a woman possessed every time a bit of skin’s on show. I know how painful sun burnt is being a freckled Frieda that once upon a time thought baby oil was an amazing sun tan enhancer. <stupid, pink teenager that I was>

This year The Toddler will be sporting a super cute long sleeved top and shorts combo from Frugi. This sun safe suit boasts a UPF of 50+ matching and beating any sun protection I tend to use as it doubles up blocking harmful UVA and UVB rays.

keeping toddlers safe in the sun with this cute little set from Frugi

It Reminds me of a old style victorian bather with it’s nautical stripes and the high neck of the rash vest doesn’t annoy or irritate my boy.  He’s got a little bit of love thing going on for it right now and has been making a regular appearance from his wardrobe most mornings  as he asks to wear it!  I’m guessing it’s the soft feel or maybe the freedom of movement or it could simply just be the fish picture on the front, all I know is he likes it!

 

And so do I.

All we need now is a long hot summer to put it to good use!

ALI_1301

If you’d like to see more of the new Frugi swimming and beach range pop over to Dolly Dowsie

Frugi-Family-Logos_1

Disclaimer

We were sent this Frugi sun safe suit as part of the Frugi Family programme, all words and photos are my own, if you’d like to read my full disclaimer please visit this page 

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Grabbing Life With Both Hands – Living Arrows

I wasn’t sure how to introduce this photo, or whether it needed an introduction at all. It caters for everyone; a lovely view of a tranquil beach at low tide with the stunning Jurassic Coast sweeping out into the horizon, for those with little interest in cute kids. And a toddler taking it all in for anyone who does love to see what my bonkers son has been up to this week.

But what I love and you may or may not have noticed is the look of wonder on his little face. This is one little boy who is grabbing life with both hands, who touches and fiddles with everything just to experience it, process it and store it away in his busy brain for the next time he needs it and who experiences life at such a bewildering speed, taking in and doing as much as possible that he’s rarely still.

We used to call them ‘flitters’ at work. Those kids who flitted from one task to the next, we were even given advise on how to encourage them to stay at one activity. As a parent, I see this enthusiasm and inquisitiveness as a gift. Life’s just too dull to sit at one toy and play with it over and over again. My boy is testing the waters of everything in his path until somethings grabs his fascination.

And once he’s found that momentary fascination he will do it over and over again until he’s worked it out in his little brain. (look up schemas if you want to elaborate on that one)

Some weeks he wants to help with the household chores, others its trying to get into his brother’s bedrooms to copy what they do. (it’s quite a sight seeing a toddler sat on a computer chair, typing a key board and babbling through a mic!)

Lately it’s puddles. Muddy, road side or a spillage in the kitchen. He loves them all. Wellies or no wellies, a puddle, what ever the shape or size, is for jumping and stomping.

So when I caught this moment of brief wonder on a trip to the beach, I suspect he was psyching himself up to the biggest puddle jumping session ever known to man. I watched as he took a moment pausing to work out if it was a puddle at all.

And then charged towards it without a care in the world.

With a very nervous mum running after him!

standing on the beach in Sidmouth, this week's living arrows

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