As parents of a young child lockdown is interesting. It can be a challenge. It can be super fun. Overall it requires a lot of energy, creativity and entertainment skills. It can also be difficult to constantly provide stimulation and learning activities.

Annabelle is 2.5 years old. She is clever, bright and yet has a short attention span. It can be a challenging combination because it means she gets bored easily but if we don’t entertain her, or provide entertainment options she gets naughty. So everyday we have to have a variety if activities.

From painting and drawing to building, climbing and going to the park we try to mix physical activities with quiet more focused ones. We have to adapt based on her moods, her level of tiredness or the weather. We have also tried to be careful with not buying an excessive amount of new toys. Instead we try to rotate what toys we bring out. Sometimes it works really well. Other times it doesn’t and our lounge ends up with every toy strewn across it.

When we do add toys they have to be multiple purpose and when we were offered GEOMAG Confetti to review it fit the bill. A similar toy had been recommended to us as it is great for making shapes and constructing things. It takes building towers to the next level and can be incorporated into different games.

When we were invited to try Bubble Tea at Birmingham’s new Bubbleology we jumped at the opportunity. Neither of us had ever tried Bubble Tea so we had no idea what to expect. Turns out we aren’t the only ones. When we asked on Instagram Stories 54% of people hadn’t tried Bubble Tea.

Bubbleology Birmingham is located on the top of the Bull Ring shopping centre, opposite Victoria Secrets. The store is kitted out with a bar area and seating. Although the seating has been closed during Covid restrictions. Walking in the menu is on display by the counter allowing you to make your choice while you queue.

If Covid-19 has taught us anything it is to appreciate where we live, even more. This year we have been to see the lavender in The Cotswolds, the sunflowers at our local farm and the Confetti Fields in Wkye Manor in Worcestershire. It turns out flowers fields have a few benefits as days out with a toddler. Firstly they are wide open spaces, perfect for running around. Secondly they have beautiful flowers which mean you can distract a toddler with pretty colours. Thirdly they tend me cheap and have space for a picnic so it’s a cost effective day out.

The Confetti Fields started in 1997 and grow flowers that become natural, biodegradable confetti that can be used at celebrations – especially weddings! Our trip was on a hot August day as the fields opened later this year than usual. Our first visit was in 2018, two days before Annabelle was born.

Life with a toddler is never dull. That is in part because they are full of energy. Part because the energy required to keep up with them means you never sit still. We find that we are best with Annabelle when we have a plan. That’s not to say every minute is planned for but that we have a general plan.

Annabelle normally naps for an hour and half – two hours at lunchtime. That means our plans have to be morning plans or afternoon plans. Usually they end up being afternoon plans as neither of us are great at getting moving 🙂

As lockdown restrictions are being eased we are trying to take advance of getting out and about more. With the weather looking okay we decided to check out Balsall Heath City Farm. You can check out their website here.

The farm opened in 1980 as an inner city oasis to give children access to animals they might not otherwise get to see. There are over 50 animals on the farm, a great vegetable patch and plenty of other things to see.

Having an energetic toddler means we are always looking for ways to wear her out. When we were invited to check out our local trampoline park – Rush – we jumped at the chance (pun intended!). Checking out their website we noted the closet site to us was less than 10 minutes away. With a rainy weekend forecast we booked ourselves on to the toddler open jump session that started at 10am.

Trampoline parks seem to have been springing up over the last few years around Birmingham but we never had the opportunity to visit one. Then along came pregnancy, Annabelle and having a small baby and it didn’t make sense to check out what the parks had to offer. In all honesty this was probably a mistake.

This post contains an ad for Deliveroo. However, all words and opinions remain honest and our own.
Being busy full-time working Mums, we often end up eating ‘easy’ meals that lack creativity. When we were given the opportunity to work with Deliveroo, we wanted to use the chance to mix things up and enjoy something different -without the hassle of cooking!

With Laura finishing work at 4pm, picking up Annabelle by 4.30pm and getting home for 4.45pm, it gives us two options. Laura trying to cook dinner one-handed while entertaining Annabelle (who always wants to be heavily involved in dinner prep!) or waiting for me to finish work at 5.30/6pm before trying to whip up something by 6.30pm latest in order to feed Annabelle before bedtime.

It means we rely heavily on making the same rota of easy meals that are as healthy as possible. Salmon with sweet potato and veg, roast chicken with veg, spaghetti bolognese or Quorn chicken nuggets. There’s nothing wrong with the meals, but week in, week out, they start to lack excitement.

With Deliveroo we are able to easily search for restaurants and takeaways that deliver in our area by entering our postcode. We have 22 food options available to us, offering everything from sushi to pizza, healthy options and gluten free options, Chinese to Indian. There are filters available to help us narrow down our options, which is a really useful feature.

You can also search by fastest delivery time, top rated, top rated in our area, offers, favourite brands (we could get KFC, Subway, Frankie and Benny’s). Or one we thought was useful – new to Deliveroo – a feature for when you want to try something new!

After 20 minutes of heated debate over the options, we decided to go with Yakinori. The menu was jam packed with sushi and Japanese options.  It looked like a place we would go out to eat and definitely not the kind of food we would usually be able to make and eat at home. Sushi is something Laura loves but doesn’t get to eat often, so she was so excited that we had the option to have it delivered.

With a 30 – 45 minute delivery window, it was just enough time to get the table set and sit Annabelle in her high chair. Sure enough, at 41 minutes the Deliveroo driver knocked on our door, and handed it over quickly as Bisbee (our excitable Cockapoo) was very intent on getting her share of the food! Dinner was unpacked and on the table in less than 5 minutes – what more could you want?

We went for:

When Deliveroo say ‘Life is too short for average food,’ they are right. Our meal ticked all our boxes:

  • We got to enjoy food we wouldn’t usually, in the comfort of our home
  • There was very little clean up and no cooking hassle
  • We got to enjoy a healthy meal as a family without any stress
  • We had received, eaten and cleared away dinner by 6.15pm – so we had a full evening to enjoy with Annabelle

Looks like we aren’t the only Mum’s who feel that way – 89% of 130 Mumsnet testers would recommend Deliveroo to friends or family, qualifying them to win the Mumsnet Rated badge.

Whether you’re kick-starting your healthy eating, looking to try new things in the new year or want to treat yourself (you deserve it!) you can check out what Deliveroo options you have available at https://deliveroo.co.uk/

*Where we are paid to produce content for a brand, this will be plainly declared with ‘ad’ or ‘sponsored’. We only work with brands that we truly want to and do not post pre-written content on thesmithstory.com for any company. All content is created by us unless it is a guest post, which also will be declared as such.

For New Year’s Eve 2020 we wanted to celebrate somewhere new. We choose Krakow, Poland as our destination. We chose Krakow for two reasons: 1. There was a 50% chance of snow and 2. It is cost effective from the UK. In fact we paid £150 per person for return flights and accommodation for 4 nights was £400.

It is also turned out that Krakow was super child friendly!

We were lucky enough to be invited for a cider talk and tasting, as well as making pizzas (!!!) with some fellow Brum bloggers, at The Stable in Birmingham. We were really excited as we’ve visited The Stable before, for their pre-opening celebration as well as a few more recent delicious dinners out, and also because making our own pizzas sounded so much fun!

The Stable started in Cornwall, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients and forming relationships with lots of cider makers. This combination was such a success that they are now opening up plenty more in locations across the country!We headed to the restaurant’s Birmingham location, which is very well located between New Street station and the Mailbox, and found it immediately.