Where have we been?

Its been almost a year since we last published a post on 2 Bottles of Milk, so where have we been? 

Last Christmas I was so ill that I spent most of Christmas Day in bed asleep and it got me thinking about how hectic our lives were and how we needed to relax and let something rest for a while and that was unfortunately the blog! With everything that Leo had gone through and a new baby, as well as life in general it was the easiest thing to let go and allow more time for all the other stuff that was going on at that point. 

Continue reading “Where have we been?”

Top Tips for Flying With Kids And Toddlers.

All parents have been there are some point or another in their child’s life and that is the holiday flight.

Now whether it is a long or short haul flight the natural dread of your kids being asked to sit down and be couped up with at least 100 other people for any amount of time over 10 minutes is a real worry. The questions that tend to go through your head are simple ones really,

  • how are we going to cope?
  • What can I do to keep them entertained?
  • What about when they want food?
  • How do I stop them annoying every other passenger around us?

I know I’ve had those thoughts, so I thought I would throw it out to fellow bloggers to see what their advice would be.

Emma of Me and B Make Tea suggests: I found the iPad super helpful. Be sure to download everything you need and you’re sorted! Also anything “new” that they havent seen before.

Frances of You Have To Laugh suggests: SNACKS. ALL THE SNACKS.

Emily of Emily and Indiana suggests: Load up the iPad with games and episodes of their favourite programmes. A winner every time with my little ones!

Lyndsey of Me, Him the Dog and a Baby suggests: My daughter is obsessed with stickers. A blank book of paper and a book of stickers keeps her busy for ages!

Faye of Glossy Tots suggests: Buy a present from the pound shop or www.everythingsapound.com for every hour your on the plane and wrap them up.
Wrap little toys up and hand out at various periods.

Amy of The Smallest of Things agrees with Frances and suggests: Snacks snacks and more snacks

Polly of Our Seaside Baby suggests: Lots of snacks, activity books and favourite toys are essential. It’s worth looking at the entertainment on airlines. We went on Emirates when we went to India and their entertainment system is perfect for long-haul travel with kids, it had all my son’s favourite programmes! I find walking up and down the plane and stretching legs also breaks up the journey.

Lynne of New Mummy Blog suggests: A buckle toy and water colouring pad… she has also written a post on flying with a toddler available here

Nikki of Yorkshire Wonders suggests: You can buy some great travel games from the poundshop too, and can get simpler ones for toddlers (and more advanced if they are a bit older). Basically anything new that has novelty value will hold their attention for longer! 

Victoria of Lylia Rose suggests: We flew on Monday with our 5 year old and 2 year old and I was dreading it, but snacks for take off and landing, plus the iPad for entertainment kept them happy. No fuss at all from either of them.

Jodie of Maidenhead Mum suggests: Don’t try and cut corners when you’re booking transfers to and from the airport. Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the one that will keep you sane when you have toddlers and luggage in tow! So perhaps think about paying a little extra for parking nearer to the airport that doesn’t need a shuttle bus transfer, or book ‘drop off’ parking so you can literally throw everyone out of the car outside the departure building. At 5am in the morning, you will appreciate this wisdom, I have learned the hard way! 

Helen of Talking Mums suggests: Definitely an iPad loaded with their favourite shows/films. Snacks including fruit pouches (less messy than fresh fruit for travelling). A new toy that they get to unwrap on the plane.

Carrie of Flying With A Baby suggests:

Board last with the kids but have one parent board earlier with all the travel gear. there is no point in keeping kids waiting for everyone else to board – particularly if you are flying long haul.

Make use of airport soft play.

Order child meals

Research your airline choices- some have amazing facilities for kids- including cookie making in the galley and face painting- or a Sky nanny on board.

 

As you can see there are various suggestions, some of which we have used ourselves this summer. What are yours? we would love to hear them.

 

 

 

Watering Your Garden Whilst On Holiday!

I would like to start this post by stating that I’m not the best of gardeners or even the most successful, however I do like to have nice plants and flowers to look at during the summer months.

However due to the fact that we have a shared garden I’m not able to have a full garden full of plants and flowers in the soil that when we go on holiday have a chance of surviving. I’ve had to come up with a solution that gives the plants and flowers I have spent months growing, including the Sunflowers that the boys have grown and chance of making through us having a few days away.

I looked at the various water filtration systems available on the market, however they all needed access to an outside tap, which I don’t have, so I came up with a system that didn’t rely on the need for an access to an outside tap.

I decided that I needed to store water for a time so that the plants can access it over an extended period. The solution I came up with was to use old plastic bottles as water reservoirs. I used old soft drink, milk and juice bottles and used different numbers per tub/planter.

Here is what I did:

  • I washed them out and took the label off.
  • Then I cut the bottle of the bottle off and threw that away along with the lid.
  • Once this had been done I then half buried them in the planter of choice
  • Then I filled it with water before watering around the bottle and the rest of the planter.

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Why I Love Cycling!

We all know that exercise in general is good for us and it’s probably also true that everyone has a particular type of exercise that they prefer over the others, for me that’s cycling.

I just love cycling and although I haven’t done it for a few years it is certainly something that I would take up again if I had the free time to do it.

This time of year always brings back those memories of my early to mid teenage years, riding my bike with my brother and cousins across to local woods or along the seafront for a free day out.

This year especially since Oliver has started riding his bike that we got him earlier in the year I have been thinking a lot about how I would love to start up again. It would be very easy considering my bike is sitting in the shed awaiting an MOT.

This year also I have wondered where my love of cycling has come from! It got me thinking about my childhood before those teenage summers, between the ages of around seven and eleven I used to watch Le Tour De France with my Dad, well the highlights, and used to be amazed at the speeds those cyclists did and the ground they could cover. I remember racing my younger brother and us both pretending that we were participants in the Tour and I think those memories resurface whenever I do ride my bike.

One thing I am certain of though is that as the boys grow older and they start getting more independent and confident in their ability to ride I will be taking them out for bike rides and picnics as a way of making sure they learn to love cycling as much as I do.

This is a sponsored post paid for by Bike Discounts UK a comparison website for the cycling enthusiast.

Election Day!

By the end of today we would have been through three major election days all of which have been as important as the last, within a two year time scale, this is something unprecedented in my time of being able to vote.

Back in 2015 I wrote a post about the importance of getting out and voting, stating that regardless of which party you vote for it was important to use that vote. Well it is still very true today.

Although we have had three election days within a two year time scale we are very lucky in this country that we are able to vote. Regardless of age (with the exception of the under 18s), sex, faith, political ideology and dare I say “class” we all are able to have a say on who runs the country.

Today I will be going to our local Polling Station and casting my vote for who I think will be able to deal with the problems this country currently faces and the obstacles that we have to get through within the next five years.

Who I’m voting for is personal to me but it doesn’t matter in the long run who you vote for as long as you vote.

Did you know that it was only in 1918 that all men finally were able to vote and that women who were homeowners got the right to vote also in 1918, however it wasn’t until 1928 that the rest of the population were eligible.

However fast forward almost 100 years and people now seem to be less likely to vote then ever before. According to a Ipsos Mori Poll (figures correct of 2010) featured in the Daily Mirror in 2015, just over a third of young women aged 18 to 24 turned up to vote and only 50% of young men. Also across all age ranges in the 2010 election 9.1 million women and 8 million men decided not to vote out of 45,597,461 registered voters. That’s a lot of people that just either didn’t bother, couldn’t be bothered, or thought that there was no point. Granted a percentage of those who didn’t vote would have been people who couldn’t for various reasons, such as ill health.

In the EU Referendum last year the figure of people that voted was a lot higher at 33.6 million people voting.  However the likelihood of the same amount of voters turning out today is remote therefore people need to get out and vote.

As I said at the beginning it doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you use your democratic right and place that vote.

 

 

An Unfortunate Side Effect of Becoming a Stay at Home Dad! 


I’ve been a Stay at home Dad for a while now and when I first decided to do this, apart from the obvious reason of the amount of appointment Leo was going to have, I was looking forward to spending more time with my children and also doing things with them like going to the park etc, I was also looking forward to spending more quality time with my wife. 

What I wasn’t expecting though was to be fighting various forms of cold every couple of weeks!

Looking back on my life I don’t think there has been a time when I have literally had cold after cold after cold like I have for the early part of this year. I am usually one of those lucky people who very rarely catches anything and thus very rarely feels the effects of a cold and as such I hate the feeling (not that many people like it, most probably). If I do get anything it is usually a sore throat and that’s it. 

However since I left work I have been on an almost constant battle that this week has resulted in me aching from head to toe, feeling constantly queasy, a raging sore throat, headaches and more. 

This is the part where I blame the eldest…. 

Having fun at soft play

Oliver is now at prep school three days a week and therefore he is probably bringing home lots of colds etc and that theory would hold up if he was ill himself. The problem is he hasn’t been he’s been absolutely fine not so much as a sniffle, lucky sod! 

So why have I been so ill??? 

The only thing I can think is that before Christmas we were under huge pressure at work and also as a family at home and the sudden change in life from constantly running around doing stuff to slowing down a bit to take Leo to his appointments and look after the family meant that things caught up. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know but it’s certainly a theory. 

Anyway I’ve decided this week that starting from next things are going to change. My diet isn’t always the best it can be so I am going to be eating healthier and also I am going to take vitamins to help fend off any unwanted germs. I’ve also decided that as the weather improves I will get fitter by going for walks, spend more time at the park with my kids as well. 

The one thing that I do know is that I do not want another sick spell like this again ever. 

What’s In My Man Bag? 


I’ve been a Stay At Home Dad for just over four weeks now and in that time I’ve seen various posts on what a Dad puts in the Baby Bag or as some call it the Man Bag! 

So what do I pack for myself, Oliver and Leo when we head out and about? 

If I go back to when Oliver was first born almost 4 years ago I literally packed everything including the kitchen sink, much to my wife’s annoyance! 

I have however over the years realised there are things I don’t or won’t need, such as 10 Nappies for example. It’s been a steep learning curve but it is one that has also taken place more in the last four weeks then in the last four years. 

Now when I pack the bag I pack what I think we need for two boys and a daddy on a day out. 

Here’s what I usually pack: 

  • Three Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Spare Pants and Trousers
  • Drinks Bottles
  • Snacks (Fruit or a Barney Bear)
  • Spare Dummy

And that is it. 

If I know we are going to pop into a shop I will also throw in a canvas carrier bag. 

I’ve learnt that you really don’t need anything else unless it’s a full day out, even then though I don’t tend to pack much more. 

What do you pack in yours? 

DIY Daddy Blog

DIY Project: Refurbishing A Kids Garden Bench.

A couple of years ago we bought Oliver a kiddies sized garden bench. 

Well after two years of standing up to the great old British weather it was in need of a bit of TLC. 

So off to a well known DIY store we went to get some bits for the bench. 

Well the easy bit was the brushes, however when it came to what colour and product to use we struggled. The question was, Did we just sand it down and revarnish or paint it in a colour that the boys chose? 


Well in the end we decided to paint in a colour that Oliver chose which was blue. Shouldn’t have been a surprise really as it’s his favourite colour. Luckily because of he size of the bench we could paint it with a couple of tester pots so the price for this including the brushes was around £5 for the whole job as I already had sand paper at home. 

We started out by sanding down all the wooden slats, we should have really taken the bench apart but it was a knightmare to put together when we first got it and I wasn’t about to relive that knightmare after painting. 

So once we had sanded down all the slats I quickly wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove any excess dust and then the fun of the painting began. Oliver loves this bit and once I had pointed out that he had to do between the slats as well kept reminding me that I was missing them. 


It took us around 45 minutes to paint the bench and then we left it to dry in the sun. 
Next morning Oliver went out to check on the bench and called Leo out to have a look. Both the boys love their freshly painted bench and it should be good for another couple of years now. 

Back from a Break. 

Our last post was way back in June and since then all we’ve really done is post pictures to our Twitter and Instragram accounts. 


There is no reason for this beyond the want to spend more time with the family and enjoy summer, and it was a nice summer as for us as well. 

So what have we been doing in the 2 Bottles of Milk household this summer. 

Well a lot actually. Here we are going to give you a brief overview some of which will follow in bigger blog posts others will stay as that just an overview. 

LegoLand

In July we were lucky enough to go to Legoland thanks to the coupons in a well known National Newspaper and we had a wonderful time. 

Although Oliver and Leo were too young for a few of the rides there were more then enough to keep them amused all day and too be honest we could have had another day there and not got bored. 

DIY


One of the things we have wanted to do for a while is erect a wall between our kitchen and living room. As anyone with young children knows the last place you want them when cooking is in the kitchen under your feet. 

Well we finally got around to actually doing it this summer and the transformation it has made to the room is amazing. Although not painted yet it’s amazing how different the room looks as a result. 

American Speedfest @Brands Hatch


This was an amazing day out that both the boys loved. Oliver has need mad on Disney Cars and cars in general for as long as I can remember now and this was the perfect day out for him. 

The boys got to meet Mater, Finn McMissile and Lightning McQueen along with a host of other cars that were present and also watch some NASCAR Racing that is held at Brands Hatch every year. 

We’ve also had great days out at Hadleigh Castle, The Beach and Greenwich Park in London. 


Personally I’ve been busy with work (two weeks in Cambridge was not fun) and also marking 50 years since Star Trek first debuted by going to see the new movie Star Trek Beyond and looking forward to Destination Star Trek in October and Star Trek Discovery (coming next year to Netflix). 


As we look forward to the end of the year and the many things we have to look forward to and the things that come around year after year. We will be blogging as much as we can and we will also be doing our, now annual, ‘Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas’ from the 7th November onwards. 

Decorating Your Children’s Bedroom Part Two: Converting a Kura Bed

  
Ever since we found out we were pregnant with Leo I have been googling space saving bunk beds. 

All the ones I did like were well out of our budget until we visited my brother. My nephew has the Kura bed from IKEA and my brother had placed a double mattress underneath while we were there for somewhere for us to sleep. 

It got me thinking and a quick google showed me that a few people have had the same idea of turning it into bunk beds. 

We have had the bed nearly a year now and have decided while we are decorating we would start the transformation of the bed.
There were three things we wanted from the bed

  1. To have proper slats 
  2. For the chest of drawers to still be underneath 
  3. A guard so Leo can’t fall out 

We have changed the plans so much from the original plan but we are so happy with now it was turned out. Here is the final bed and photos of now we did it. 
 

Before Picture
 
 
Creating a False Wall to Box in the chest of drawers and to shorten the bed to the length of the mattress
  
We covered the ply wood in White sticky back plastic to match the rest of the bed..

 
The finished wall
  
 
The real end on the left and the one we created on the right. Not a bad match if I say so myself.
 
 
The finished bed