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Drusillas Zoo – family fun! Blogtober day 26

Day 26 of #blogtober is ‘Zoo’ – which is handy, as we only recently went to a local zoo – Drusillas in East Sussex. 
Read on for some top tips if you’re planning a visit! 

First off, I recommend seeing if you can get bargain tickets – if you’re a Tesco Clubcard member, you can use their Clubcard Boost scheme to trade your Clubcard vouchers in for tickets to all sorts of places – including Drusillas! As under 2s are free (and Squid was at the time… just!), and we had £6.50 in Clubcard vouchers, we only had to pay for one adult ticket (£19.50). I have to say, we had a brilliant day, but I’m really glad we didn’t pay full price – it would’ve been nearly £60 for the three of us had we paid full price and had Squid been just 3 weeks older! 


I’d hugely recommend packing your own lunch to take with you – there are plenty of places to eat in the park, but it saved us loads by packing our own sarnies – and it meant we could eat whenever we fancied!

Definitely take swimming gear for your sproglets – there’s an excellent water park there and Squid absolutely loved splashing around! 


The zoo itself is a little bit underwhelming animal-wise. This is the first bit you enter when you go in, and it’s set out Ikea-stylee: it’s kind of like a maze. There are safari animals and farm animals, and at various points in the day, there are feeding opportunities (though we somehow managed to miss them all!). Highlights for me were the otters and Squid loved the camels!

There is a train which tours the zoo, so you can see a few of the animals again. This was great fun! The queue was long around lunch time but died down after the rush. 

The park and adventure playground are fantastic – and there are 2 parts to it: one for older kids and one for pre-school aged little ones, which meant no being knocked over by the big kids! We loved the banana boats and the windy slide! 


Then there are loads of toddler and young children-friendly rides, and this really was the best bit. Being over 1m tall, Squid was allowed on them all, though had he been under 1m, there would only have been one ride he couldn’t have gone on! I thought this was great – it really is all geared towards under 5s and it made for a very enjoyable day!


We’d definitely return – when we’ve got enough Clubcard vouchers, of course!

Have you ever been to Drusillas? What did you think?

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Wet Weather Autumn Activities with a Two-Year-Old: #blogtober day 23


Day 23 of #blogtober is ‘weather’ and with the miserable weather that the UK is currently experiencing, I thought I’d share some photos from our rainy day! It’s been cold, windy and drizzly – a typical autumnal day in England really. But if we let every wet and dreary day put us off venturing outside, then we’d never leave the house! And after all, we’re not made of sugar, so a bit of rain won’t hurt. 

I’ve been looking forward to this half term week since I went back to work after the summer holidays, so today we donned our wellies and rain macs and went exploring! This is absolutely our favourite wet-weather activity – it’s free which is a huge bonus, plus it gets you out in the elements and enjoying all weathers!

Firstly we splashed in puddles: no matter your age, who doesn’t love splashing in puddles?! We had a little rubber ducky with us so he joined in with the puddle splashing! 


Next onto leaf-kicking –  a great way to burn off some energy if your toddler has l been stuck in doors (and it may just guarantee you a rest if said toddler naps afterwards!) 


We saw beautiful patterns today – raindrops on leaves and an intricate spider’s web. I love seeing the world through Squid’s eyes – everything is amazing! It really helps me to stop and take it all in when he is so awe struck!


We collected lots of different leaves and twigs – Squid was incredibly selective about the leaves which met with his approval! 


Squid was most unhappy to pose for photos, but here are a few!


Obligatory mummy milk – so mummy got the wet bum sitting on the bench and Squid was nice and warm! 


Back at home, after a hot chocolate to warm up, we created what can only be described as works of art! Leaves and flowers make excellent paint brushes and stampers, and we painted lots of pretty autumn patterns, then glued some of the leaves onto the picture too. I had some orange cellophane which made a great noise and looked pretty as well! 


And then we did some leaf embossing by putting a leaf under paper and using a crayon to mark the top of it! 


We still have half a bag of leaves left – so suggestions on a post card for what to do with them would be appreciated!

What’s your favourite rainy day activity? We have the rest of the (presumably rainy) week to fill, so hit me up with ideas! 

See you tomorrow – only 8 days left of blogtober to go!

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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#blogtober day three: birthdays on a budget 

So #blogtober day three’s prompt is ‘cars’, and I thought I’d merge two ideas into one! The link to ‘cars’ may be very tenuous, but bear with me!

Squid turned 2 a few weeks ago, and as anyone knows, birthdays can be very expensive! However, with most of my wage going straight back out of my bank account to pay for child care fees, we like to save money where we can, and for us, birthdays are no different! Most of our furniture and clothes are second hand, and I get a real buzz from finding something lovely!
I absolutely love searching through charity shops and boot sales for bargains, and so Squid’s 2nd birthday presented an excellent opportunity to hunt around the local charity shops to find some cut-price presents. We’re not fussed about ‘new’ things – so long as I can clean up a pre-loved item, if I want it, consider it sold!

Squid’s birthday goodies!

We did buy one new thing, which was this Aldi puppet theatre – and at £29.99 I thought that was a great gift to invest in – plus we purchased it in June, so it was a nice bonus for us to have that stashed! I think this will be the kind of gift which lasts for years and we will get lots of play from! I made some Gruffalo puppets to use with it – printables from Twinkl, on lolly sticks!


Squid is an avid fan of all things Julia Donaldson and so I jumped for joy when I picked these books up for 20p at a car boot sale! These books complete our JD set and Squid absolutely loves them. The rhymes are so fun and child friendly, Squid knows ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ and ‘The Gruffalo’ word for word!


Next I found this Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler interactive magnetic farm book for £1. Absolutely hours of fun, and in excellent condition!


I thought this would be good for out and about – in restaurants when bored toddlers want to cause mischief!

This Early Learning Centre aeroplane was also just £2 – complete with 3 little characters! A great addition to our Happyland sets.


Finally, I found this. A beautiful, vintage wooden farm (£2!) and stable (£1). They go perfectly with the wooden farm animals we already have – also a charity shop find!


Squid ADORES this farm set and has spent many happy hours playing with his animals, feeding them hay and herding sheep!

£37 well spent, I’d say! Considering how much money all of these things would have cost new, I was really pleased to keep the costs down.

Birthday boy!

And the ‘car’ element of today’s post? Well, Squid’s beloved ‘Daddad’, my dad, turned up with THIS monstrosity… I can’t exactly put this on the Kallax next to the wooden farm can I?!

Where I am supposed to keep this?!

What’s been your best second hand bargain?! Share it in the comments!

Join me tomorrow for another post, and on Instagram and Facebook to see what I’m up to!

Love, Squidmamma x

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Top Toddler Toys – things my toddler loves

First off, exciting news if you didn’t already know! I am now a regular blog contributor for Breastfeeding World, so although I’ve been quiet here, I have been writing! You can see my first post here, and check out Breastfeeding World on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. Come and give us a like or follow! Lots of great posts about motherhood, shared daily!

Secondly, apologies for a quiet few weeks here. If you’ve seen my Instagram or Facebook page, you’ll know we’re about to move house! Incredibly stressful at the best of times, but even more so with a toddler who wants to ‘help’ with everything!

I thought I’d show you some of the things that Squid is enjoying playing with recently! He’s a few months off being 2 (HOW???!!!), so he is well away with imaginative play, which is so wonderful to watch.

So without further ado, these are our Top Toddler Toys of the moment! (I must add that all views are my own, I bought everything with my own money and I’m not sponsered by any of the brands or products I mention in this post.)

1. Egg Hunt!At Easter, Squid was treated to not one, but two Easter egg hunts, and since then, has asked regularly for me to ‘hide eggs!’ So I was over the moon when I found these plastic eggs in the reduced section in Tesco – they were only 37p for a pack of 6! Naturally, I bought about 90 packets (it’s the teacher in me!!) and we have spent many a happy afternoon, searching for the eggs in the garden. I’ve filled them with animals from our toy farm, stickers and even fruit, and Squid has just loved finding and opening them!

2. Cardboard Pirate Ship

I bought this nifty little pirate ship when I was pregnant, as well as a space rocket one. It’s essentially a book, which opens out to become a play mat for small world play, and then you can Velcro the sides together for it to become a sit-in pirate ship! It’s even got a little steering wheel, and Squid absolutely loves to sit and steer his boat! I got ours in Lidl, but I’ve found them here and here. It’s worth shopping around, though, as they were only about £7 in Lidl!

3. Bead Threading


Wow, this little threading set can keep Squid occupied for AGES. I love watching his little face, screwed up in concentration, often with his tongue sticking out. He loves to make necklaces with this threading set, and as well as being a great motor skill toy, it’s a good pathway to talk about patterns, as well as being a brilliant tool for counting. I also love shoving it in my bag for out and about – it’s saved us in the car and doctors’ waiting rooms many times! I found ours on eBay.

4. Small world wooden toys 

We spend so. many. hours playing with our growing collection of wooden small world toys, and I absolutely adore watching Squid’s imagination flourish. Wooden toys are so open ended, without any flashing, plastic adendments, and are so hard wearing too.

This little pirate ship was a car boot sale bargain and we love the cute pirate peg people. The dolls house is a carry case, which makes it perfect to take out with us. It was a bargain from Lidl, again! It came without anything inside it so I scored it for £5, and then I picked up the furniture in a charity shop the next day! This Melissa and Doug dolls house is almost identical, though more than double the price of the Lidl one (originally £14.99). This one from Asda looks like it could be a cheaper alternative!

Squid’s favourite small world toy has to be the Plan Toys allotment set, though, in the top right photo. It was in a flash sale on Amazon, so we got it for £4.79, and there are SO many parts. It’s not available at the moment, but this was the closest I could find – at 4x the price! It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the flash sales on Amazon, because you can really nab a bargain!

5. Story Sacks

Squid LOVES books. We read about 27,903 stories a day (well, it feels like it!), and I can just never resist those little arms thrusting a book under my nose as he plonks himself down in my lap for another book. Our favourites are all of Julia Donaldson’s stories (especially A Squash and a Squeeze!), Mog the Cat and any book to do with animals!

I love putting together story sacks to help Squid really get involved in a story. A story sack is literally a bag full of items to help a story come to life. This one was for the book ‘Farmer Duck’, so I used some puppets, and some wooden farm animals, to help us act out the story as we read it. Story sacks are super easy to throw together: I usually use toys and items from around the house! There’s loads of inspiration here and of course, Pinterest is your friend!

6. Dressing up!

Squid LOVES dressing up – any excuse to don a funny hat and he’s there! This is how we store our dressing up gear – on a children’s hat stand! It’s brilliant as it’s child-height and accessible, and easy to hang items on. Ours was a second hand bargain from a local Facebook page but I’ve found this one in Argos which would do nicely, too!

I pick up our dressing up things in charity shops and at car boot sales, making it cheap and easy! Squid’s favourite is his police officer hat – he says ‘Ello! Ello! Ello!’ when he wears it!

7. Grimm’s 12 piece wooden rainbow 

This is our all-time favourite toy at the moment. I wanted one of these wooden rainbows since Squid was born (or there abouts!) and I ummed and ahh-ed over purchasing one, because they ARE expensive. In the end, we bit the bullet, and I am SO glad we did! We have more than got our money’s worth from this toy, and it’s played with as much by us adults as it is by Squid! It is the most open-ended toy we own, and has at some point been, amongst other things, a marble run, a farm yard, beds for babies, a tunnel, a race track, a tower, a bridge, a house, a telephone and unfortunately, within 49 seconds of us receiving it, the rainbow also became a canvas for Squid’s masterpiece – ‘Colin the cat for Ramra’…

Money well spent as far as I’m concerned, and we will be getting Squid these semi circles to go with the rainbow and help extend our play for his upcoming 2nd birthday!

You can get a Grimm’s Rainbow in lots of places, but they’re often out of stock so you have to keep checking. We got ours here, but other reputable stockists are herehere and here.

I hope lots of the above toys will be favourites for a while, as I think they have longevity in that they’re durable AND can grow with Squid as his play and imagination develops.

What are your toddler’s favourite toys at the moment? I’d love to know – plus I’m still looking for one more birthday present for Squid!

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Love,

Squidmamma 🐙 x