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Wild Berry Kids Photography Photo Shoot

Wild Berry Kids Photography Photo Shoot

Those of you that follow Papa Pete on Facebook may have seen that we managed to bag a free photo shoot with Wild Berry Kids Photography. It’s a common thing that people who win cool stuff say “oh we never win anything” but it’s true – we don’t really win stuff (perhaps that’s because we don’t enter competitions but hey ho, got to be in it to win it right?). All we’d done was add our details to a mailing list at a fayre where Wild Berry had a stall and hey presto, winner winner chicken dinner.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the people at Wild Berry we finally found a date to suit both sides and got the shoot booked in. We knew that it would only be about an hour (in fact the actual shoot turned out to be about half that time, as we all know kids have the attention span of, well, a small child).

We’d had an introduction from the fine-art photographer, Stephanie (who is absolutely lovely) over the phone so we knew who we were going to meet. She has a well established business around London and moved to Yorkshire a year or so ago and has been getting her name out there ever since. With PG being 8 months old, it’s a while since we’ve had a proper photographer take any snaps (apparently I can’t call professional photos snaps, I hope it’s not too derogatory, just some blogger/Yorkshireman slang!!) so this was a perfect opportunity to stock up the home photo gallery, and as we are moving house we’ll be in need of some extra prints to hang on the walls!

On a sunny Sunday morning we drove to the studio, not really knowing what to expect. We’d had some info on what to dress PG in, nothing with patterns – just simple clothes – so we picked out a white dress with limited detailing. It worked perfectly. Stephanie is properly brilliant and PG was so comfortable with her she even gave her some cuddles in between “being papped.”

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She’s a bit of a diva too, and was loving being in front of the lens! There were a few different sets so the background on the photos wouldn’t be all the same, all of which were really nice. Phoebe even managed not to fall off the massive bean bag despite her new rolling around skills that she’s constantly “practising.” Stephanie works quickly and knows how to keep kids attention. Obviously I’ve only got our own experience to go off, but judging by some of the other work she’s done, she knows her sh!t (sorry Mum). Me and Wifey could have left them to it without any problem – Phoebe G probably wouldn’t have realised if we walked off for a bit.

After around half an hour the little miss hit her limit and started to whinge (which made for some interesting photos (or mean, depending how you look at it)), which brought the shoot to an end. We got ready and headed home, knowing we’d be back in a week or so to look at the pictures.

Fast forward exactly a week and we went to meet with Stephanie again to look at the photos and endure the painstaking task of which ones we wanted. In half an hour we ended up with 44 truly stunning photographs.  Here’s a sneak preview, and we’ve carefully selected which prints we want, ready for the new house!!

Wild Berry Kids Photography
Wild Berry Kids Photography

I’m obviously biased, but PG is a stunner, and very photogenic too! Anyone need a baby model?!

Steph gets a 10 out of 5 (yes, really) and we’re already talking about booking a cake smash shoot for Phoebe’s 1st birthday.

Thanks Steph. Can’t wait to get our prints up which will really complement the huge newborn print we’ve already got on the wall from our newborn shoot. To contact Wild Berry you can check out there website at www.wildberrykidsphotography.com or on Facebook

Ttfn

Pete

Disclaimer: Remarks made for blog humour. Steph is a professional and definitely not the paparazzi, nor is Phoebe G a celebrity, although the way she’s going she will be soon!

The Deep – Hull

The Deep – Hull

Having been planned with our chums for a while, yesterday was the day we went for a visit to The Deep in Hull. Dubbed one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world and having a motto “for conservation, not profit” we wanted to go see what all the fuss was about. To be honest, at first I thought it might not have been worth taking a four-and-a-half month old. Would she really get anything out of it? We didn’t really have much to lose given that Phoebe G was free and we wanted to go anyway as I’ve never been and Wifey hasn’t been since she was a little tinker so couldn’t remember much.

Whenever it comes to days out with a little one it seems to require a headache inducing amount of effort to decide various things like, what time shall we go? How many bibs do we need? Will she be warm enough in this? No probably not lets get her changed into something else. How many feeds do we need to take etc etc. Our chums recommended going for opening time after speaking to the staff on the phone, so we took their lead (they’ve got a 2 year old so have done this before) and arrived for the time it opened at 10am. We joined a very quiet queue in a pretty chilly wind so make sure you’ve something warm on if you go early as it might not be very warm!! A short wait and the doors opened bang on time. I’d definitely recommend going for opening as it’s very quiet so you get a really good view of everything as you’re first in.

A big win for us is that your tickets are valid for 12 months and you can revisit as many times as you want so you can really get your money’s worth. Make sure you give the ticket staff your details so you can come back for free! They’ll take your photo at this point so make sure you’ve got plenty lippy on and a posh frock if you care about that sort of thing. We’ll definitely go again when our mini beast is a bit older as she’ll be even more in awe of the sights she’s seen today (she loved it and stayed awake the whole time we were there). Kids under three go in free anyway and adults are £12. Armed forces chaps and chappesses also go in free. Booking in advance saves you some brass too, and it’ll mount up if you’re a big group. More money to spend in the gift shop at the end! Buying tickets was painless and off we went with our (free) trusty guidebook (we didn’t read this though, I won’t lie. But if you’re into reading stuff it’ll suit you!)

Once through ticketing you’ve two options, get fit and healthy and climb up what feels like three million stairs or take the lift. We took the stairs and had to whip out the inhaler at the top. Then it’s on to the main attraction…

Fish, stingrays, fish, sharks, penguins, starfish, jellyfish, eels and another 3000+ creatures await. Phoebe G was so alert walking past the giant tanks which are designed really well so kids of all heights can see. There’s lots of information to read throughout the exhibition and so much to look at. There’s also various activities at scheduled times of the day too, from feeding demonstrations to dive presentations. Throughout the venue there’s plenty toilets so it’s not too important to go at the beginning. I’m sure this will be great for all those emergencies when we’ve ditched the nappies!! There’s a soft play area once you’re round so the little ones can run off any steam they’ve got left whilst mum and dad (and whoever else!) look at snakes, ants, frogs etc. When you come back out from your under the sea adventure you walk through a really spectacular tunnel right underneath one of the big tanks so there’s fish swimming all around you. This makes a great photo opportunity (#SelfieWithNemo anyone?). Once through the tunnel you get a similar choice to when you first started, to take a lift or take stairs back to the surface. We’d reccomend taking the stairs as you go up the side of one of the tanks and there’s viewing stations on every level (there’s three of four flights so you’ll need the rest!). The lift does stop but you’re limited to how much time you can spend in it, whereas on the stairs you can hang around on each level as long as you like. Once back at the surface, you’ll head out towards the very reasonably priced gift shop. Wifey was super surprised at the prices. A lot of gift shops are overpriced but the one here is really good and there’s something to suit all budgets. Let the kids run wild and spend all that spare change you saved by booking your tickets online!

Look out for special events that happen fairly regularly at The Deep to make your visits even more exciting.

With it’s ease of access (just off the M62/A63) and just over an hour away from where we live, once Phoebe G is a bit older we’ll definitely go again. She loved it this time so it’ll be even more fun in a few months time!

A quick stop off at Frankie and Benny’s with our chums for a yummy lunch (we got starters served in mess tins and chips served in a bag which had mixed opinion! Sorry A!) and then we headed home.

Enjoying lunch with her chum!
Enjoying lunch with her chum!

5 stars to The Deep. Thanks for a grand day out. Phoebe slept all the way home, dreaming of fish (probably not sharks, she didn’t cry). She then slept all evening, properly zonked look..!

Tired Out After The Deep
Tired Out After The Deep

Ttfn

Pete

Geocaching

Geocaching

Looking for something free to do? We came across geocaching before Phoebe was born but didn’t really do any. Did a bit of messing about but never got into it. We did however enjoy our weekend walks, until poor Wifey got poorly during the pregnancy. Fast forward until Phoebe is born and we are out strolling again whenever we can, and we’ve picked up on geocaching too now (we even dragged Nana along!)

The concept is simple. Find a container or something similar hidden at specific GPS coordinates. When you find it, sign the cache and replace it for the next person. There are lots of geocache trails, which are a series of caches that normally take you on walks through villages or towns, so it’s a good way to make walking fun, especially where little ones are concerned. I can’t wait until Phoebe is a bit older and can join in too. She will love trying to find things in bushes and trees I’m sure!! I’ll have to keep her out of prickly bushes though. Some of the caches are in hard to reach places, but it makes it more fun.

Today we went geocaching and followed a trail near the caravan in a lovely village called Wilberfoss. There were 8 caches in total and we found 6. One was going to be awkward with a pram. Whilst retrieving another cache I was spotted by a muggle whilst in a bush and I think he thought I was having a tinkle.

A geocache has various attributes to give an idea of how difficult it will be to find. The first, size, gives an indication of how big the geocache is. It could be anything from a tiny metal container that barely fits a ball bearing, to a big lunchbox. Cache creators often put little trinkets in the caches, which can be exchanged for something else when you find it. The second is a rating on the terrain you need to tackle to find the cache. Lower scores here mean it should be easy to get to, higher numbers can indicate rough or uneven paths, or even involve you being a bit more agile. The final attributes is an overall difficulty rating. Again lower ratings mean it’s an easier cache. The geocache community is all inclusive so the less difficult caches include everyone, the old and the young, the agile and the less able, so it’s fun for the whole family.

Phoebe with her first geocache find!
Phoebe with her first geocache find!

It’s great fun and gets you outside, away from the TV or games console and it’s surprising how much time you can actually spend doing this without even realising. I’m absolutely adamant about Phoebe growing up to appreciate nature and learn how to play with something other than a phone or tablet. It irritates me how many people walk about with their head in their phones all the time, and I’ll be the first to admit I spend too much time on my phone or laptop too! People don’t seem to know how to socialise any more!

You can get started by downloading the geocaching app from the App Store on android or iPhone devices, and start exploring today! The Geocaching website also has plenty more information! You can pay for the app which gives you access to lots more geocache trails, but the free version is perfect for testing the water to see if you enjoy it.

Get outside and go join the world’s biggest treasure hunt! Enjoy. We do 🙂

Ttfn

Pete

Baby Sensory Review

Baby Sensory Review

From the minute your child is born, they start to learn. In fact they’re probably learning before they enter this big bad world. The more you can stimulate their senses – sight, smell, touch and hear (skip the taste for newborns, the poor things only get milk to start with!) – the more they’ll learn. These tiny humans are unbelievably curious, and a lot smarter than you think!

Me and wifey decided before Phoebe was born that we would sign her up to various classes, one of which was Baby Sensory. Here is my review (and I would absolutely recommend this class…)

Baby Sensory is an international (yes international) franchise that by its own definition, is a “magical world of sensory learning, wonder, exploration, and extraordinary delights!” Backed by years of baby development research, the weekly term time classes are specially designed to stimulate a baby’s senses in a multitude of ways.

Phoebe enjoying the "Under the Sea" sensory session
Phoebe enjoying the “Under the Sea” sensory session

The first big win is that the classes are a sensible (and safe) size, no one is falling over one another. The classes are split into three sections of around 20 minutes each. The first part alway starts with the Baby Sensory “Say hello to the sun” song which has lots of actions that you definitely won’t remember (I still can’t remember them now) and parents are encouraged to learn them and get their babies to join in. Activities follow and then there is a 20 minute free play section. This middle “break” is a wonderful idea because of your baby needs feeding or changing now is the time to do it, and you can usually get through the 20 minute activity sessions without any whinging. It’s also a really good time to make new friends and chat to the other mums (and dads if you’re lucky, though most of them are normally at work. I had Friday’s in April as annual leave so was really excited to be able to go to these sessions). During free play there is loads of choice, and the things to do with your baby change every single week. Some of the toys etc also fit with the theme. There’s everything from twirly whirly ribbons to bouncy air beds (babies seem to love both these!). After 20 minutes everyone regroups for the final activity session before singing the Baby Sensory “Say Goodbye” song. This one is a bit easier as everyone knows how to wave!

It’s not the cheapest baby group at £7 a session, but it’s worth every single penny and if there’s a choice between this and another class I’d choose baby sensory every time. We go to Baby Sensory North Kirklees and the energy the class leader puts in to every single class is wonderful, and she’s always got time for you and wants you and your baby to have the best time, which we do.

Definitely gets 5 out of 5 stars from us! Phoebe loves it. She even stays awake for the full hour now!!

Ttfn

Pete

Let’s Go Swimming

Let’s Go Swimming

When Phoebe was born we decided we’d try and go swimming once every couple of weeks. Neither me or wifey were confident in the water as kids and wanted to make sure Phoebe was comfortable in a pool.

It’s worth waiting until at least the first round of jabs is out of the way so your little one has at least some immunity against the big wide world. We took Phoebe for the first time at 3 months old. Obviously you can’t just throw your baby in the water and hope she doesn’t sink, and armbands look a bit ridiculous on tiny babies too. After a short hunt on Amazon we found a product that we would definitely recommend – Zoggs Trainer Seat. There are a number of cheaper trainer seats but they often have scratchy or sharper edges where your baby will sit, so it’s worth spending a few more pounds to get a decent one. It’s a bit of a bugger to blow up, so make sure you’ve plenty puff. There’s multiple inflation points so it’s a bit more involved than blowing up a set of armbands. Nevertheless, it’s easy enough to get up and running, plop your baby in and off she goes. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got some Swimming Nappies which are designed to catch solids (liquids just run out, but we’ve all peed in a pool at some point in our lives). We used Huggies Little Swimmers which are cheap enough and do the job just fine.

We phoned the pool before we went to check times and went early doors. We only had to share the pool with one other couple which was great to do the little introduction to swimming. The pool staff recommend only staying in about 20 minutes for the first few sessions so that Phoebe wasn’t exposed to chlorine for too long. If you are in West Yorkshire, Brighouse Pool is lovely. New facilities and very clean too. At around £9 for two adults and a teeny one, it’s also a cheap morning out. Don’t forget a quid for a locker. Whichever pool you go to, ensure it is heated. It’s handy if they’ve got a separate training/small pool too so you can be well away from the serious swimmers.

One problem we quickly came up against was spick (if you don’t know what that is, read my first ever post!). When this appears from nowhere, for no reason, in the middle of a swimming pool you suddenly find yourself with limited options. You can either:

  • Catch it in your hand and quickly exit the pool to deal with it or
  • Mix it in the water (it soon disappears. Seriously, seems gross, but a quick Google shows plenty other mums and dads doing the same thing, and after all, that’s what chlorine is for!)

We became savvy to this for the second visit and wifey stuffed a few baby wipes down her swimming costume which came in handy. Just make sure you don’t lose them ladies otherwise they’ll float off and the lifeguard probably won’t thank you for it.

The first few swimming visits will tire out your baby. We spent 20 minutes in the pool – plus changing time – and Phoebe slept like a log for a few hours and was pretty out of it for most of the day. The proof is in the pudding, no difficult working out which is the before and after shot!

Before and After Swimming
Before and After Swimming

In summary, swimming is great and the earlier you introduce your baby to pools the more confident they’ll be

Ttfn

Pete