Looking to spend a day in the Cotswolds? We visited places in our home county Oxfordshire before heading onto some of the best Cotswolds towns and villages in Gloucestershire with our seven-month-old son, Theo, in tow.
Wrapped up snug on a chilly November day, here’s where we visited on our day out in the Cotswolds:
Our first stop was St Oswald’s Church. Slightly off the beaten track, St Oswald’s Church is a beautiful minuscule English Gothic church nestled amongst lush countryside in the Windrush Valley.
The church’s main construction is said to be from the 13th century but it also has 11th-century remnants. To our surprise, the church was open and you can wander inside and see its wonderful interior.
Nearby, you can find the outlined remains of the deserted medieval village of Widford in crop marks.
Burford, West Oxfordshire
Next, we visited the town of Burford, often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Cotswolds.’ It’s a charming place with a rich history of wool production.
Visitors can see its beautiful church, medieval bridge, the Tolsey Museum, and thriving town centre.
Church of St John the Baptist, Burford
The impressive St John the Baptist Church was the first thing to catch our eye as we arrived in Burford. This Grade I listed church has gone through many restorations, with building starting in the 12th century.
Inside, you can view memorials of Burford’s great families, a 100AD carving said to depict the Celtic goddess, Epona, the tomb of Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield, and a memorial tablet of Burford mason, Christopher Kempster.
Burford town centre
Along a hill sloping toward the River Windrush, Burford’s High Street is booming with quaint old stone cottages, independent clothing, gift, and antique shops, as well as numerous old pubs and places to eat.
Our next stop, the picturesque village of Bibury. Famed for its quaint Cotswold stone houses, Arlington Row, Rack Isle, The Church of St Mary’s, Bibury Trout Farm, and Arlington Mill.
Arlington Row is a beautiful row of weavers cottages of honey-coloured Cotswold stone on one side of the River Coln. It is one of the Cotswolds and England’s most photographed sights.
You may have even seen Arlington Row featured in films such as Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary!
On to, Bourton-on-the-Water, dubbed ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds.’ Bourton-on-the-Water is a charming village, centered around the tranquil River Windrush, crossable by five stone arch bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water offers a wealth of things to do. From tea rooms, shops, restaurants, to attractions such as The Model Village, Birdland, Dragonfly Maze, and the Cotswold Motoring Museum.
The Model Village
The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must-see. It’s the only Grade II listed model village in the country.
It offers A one-ninth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water in intricate Cotswold-stone, allowing you to navigate it in its entireity.
There’s a lot of fun to be had pointing out the storefronts and buildings you may have seen earlier in the day, as well as wandering the city like a giant. Interestingly, there’s even a model village within the model!
Visitors can learn about the history of the mill and bread making and see the inner workings of its machinery.
Finally, Stow-on-the-Wold, a bustling and charming market town. It offers a lively Market Square, brimming with independent shops, delicious tea rooms, and fine British pubs, alongside a beautiful church.
As it was getting late in the day, we grabbed some pastries to go from Huffkins before heading to St Edward’s Church.
St Edward’s Church
St Edward’s Church is famed for its mythical tree-framed doorway, dominated by two ancient yew trees.
The door is said by locals to be the inspiration for Tolkein’s Doors of Durin, who was supposedly inspired during his many visits to the Cotswolds.
When Mini Ravers popped up on my TikTok feed, I had to know more. Clubbing with a baby? Surely not!
I immediately found their website and realised they were hosting a daytime event only 45 minutes away.
After checking out their frequently asked questions, I discovered their events are suitable for babies, are quieter than your standard club and full of colour and fun. Plus, they even have character appearances!
Taking your baby clubbing
On arrival, we were greeted and headed upstairs with our family exclusive wristband.
Grabbing a coke, the club welcomed us with bright lights, confetti cannons and many happy faces toddling about. Mini Ravers events are suitable from age 0-12 years, alongside the watchful eye of parents and guardians at all times, of course!
We’d decided to bring along some baby ear defenders for Theo despite the quieter music as we didn’t want him getting overwhelmed – he didn’t.
To get the party started, I pleaded with my partner that he needed a light-up flashing stick, which he absolutely loved chewing on to the beat.
What is Mini Ravers like with a baby?
I thoroughly recommend Mini Ravers with a baby in tow! We had a great time bopping along to many a 90s and noughties classic during the day.
It was the perfect event for parents who are looking to do something different with their children. To make some truly unique memories!
Theo got to say hi to Woody from Toy Story and even enjoyed some dancing under a giant parachute during the festivities.
We left sweaty and happy, much like your usual nightclub. I agree with my partner who said, “I think it’s important to say the parents enjoy it as much as the kids.”
We cannot wait to attend another event when Mini Ravers next comes to the South East!
Squid Game has taken the world by storm. This gripping Korean drama has become a pop-culture hit, with critics and viewers celebrating it in their masses.
For those who haven’t seen it, Squid Game invites hundreds of cash-strapped contestants to compete in a series of children’s games for a life-changing cash prize, with some deadly stakes.
So, if survival and/or post-apocalyptic TV series and films take your fancy, you’ve come to the right place.
Why are we so obsessed with survival as a genre?
Portrayals of survivalism and its themes have been heavily influenced by wartime, nuclear weapons races and political discord. The genre highlights the moral panic of societal collapse and offers social commentary on important issues.
It is so gripping in many cases because it is believable. Outside of fantasy themes such as zombies etc.
With the Coronavirus pandemic testing the world’s resolve, the appeal for dystopian survival shows has sky-rocketed.
Perhaps we’re empathetic with the loss of control we’ve had recently in our own lives. Perhaps shows like Squid Game temporarily make us feel that little bit better.
Alice in Borderland
Alice in Borderland is a Japanese sci-fi drama TV series that focuses on troubled gamer, Ryōhei Arisu.
Stumbling through life, Arisu and his two friends find themselves in an abandoned and unknown Tokyo.
To survive in this new world, the trio is forced to compete in a series of sadistic and lethal games.
The MVP of the survival-horror genre. This 2000 Japanese cult classic film paved the way for many survival films and TV series that followed.
Battle Royale sees a class of children sent to a deserted island by the Japanese government. Tired of the societal discord among youths, the group is forced to brutally fight to the death. The last one standing is free to leave.
Given essentials and various weapons, they must battle their way to victory. Meanwhile, an explosive collar is fitted around their neck to ensure no rules are broken and control is maintained.
3% is a Brazilian thriller TV series detailing a fascinating tale of elitism in a dystopian world. Candidates from the impoverished ‘inland’ face a process of elimination to gain access to the utopian ‘offshore’ island – those who succeed, are the lucky and worthy 3%.
The story follows protagonist Michele Satana as she makes her way through ‘the process’. She believes its head has murdered her brother. Working alongside the revolutionary party ‘the cause’, she aims to destroy the unfair and immoral process from within in vengeance.
Snowpiercer is a US sci-fi TV series that explores social inequality in a post-apocalyptic world.
The Earth is frozen and the last surviving humans live aboard a giant train that circles the world. However, with classism thrown into the mix, the struggle to coexist worsens with some harrowing consequences.
The Babymoov Cosydream has been an absolute lifesaver. This soft jersey cot insert offers ergonomic support. It’s a cosy and breathable sleep saver which guarantees your little one feels reassured and snug.
The headrest prevents flat head syndrome with its anatomical inverted dome cutout, allowing baby to freely move throughout the night.
The leg support roll is easily adjusted as baby grows, secured with velcro. In addition, It also raises baby’s legs to aid digestion.
You’ll get solid use out of the Babymoov Cosydream till baby starts rolling at around 4 months.
The best thing? This newborn essential is machine washable. So, no worries when it comes to night time spit up.
Dubbed a ‘sleep miracle’ and rightly so, we could not live without the Baby Shusher. This sleep soother uses a real human voice that shhh’s your little one to sleep! It has a 15 minute and 30 minute timer setting alongside volume control at its base.
This white noise device not only keeps baby asleep, it will also help you lull into a deep sleep! Use it at bedtime, as well as when baby stirs throughout the night.
This cot allows for bedside sleeping, either for side sleeping or as a standalone crib. One side features a breathable mesh panel which lowers via a drop rail. This allows you to easily see and access your little one for night feeds.
The cot comes with a foam mattress. Its height is easily adjusted and it has an incline feature if required.
It folds flat in 30 seconds to allow for easy travel. It comes with a handy travel bag, allowing you to take it wherever you go!
Not only is it super affordable compared to other pumps, this double breast pump is super effective. It has four modes and nine different levels of suction. Its silicone covers on the pumps flanges also ensure pain-free pumping.
Its electric component has a built in battery that is easily charged via USB and offers a long battery life.
The Bellababy Breast Pump is easily assembled and taken apart for sterilisation.
If you’re looking for good quality affordable breast pump, look no further than the Bellababy Breast Pump.
I’m always so surprised that so many people haven’t heard of TopCashback.
To me, it’s now a way of life when online shopping and the easiest way to save money on my everyday spending.
So, what is TopCashback?
TopCashback gains referral commissions for directing its users to partner retailers. In return, they offer you cash back incentives. These include percentage discounts and small payments for using these well known retailers.
TopCashback is free to join and each time you shop with one of these high street or online retailers, you get money back!
What’s the catch?
There is none! They work alongside over 5,350 retailers worldwide to offer you a percentage of money back when shopping via their website or application.
If you have your doubts, they are currently running a national TV campaign and their Trustpilot reviews speak for themselves.
The only annoying thing is cashback can take some time to be authorised by retailers. Expect up to 12 weeks in some circumstances!
How much can you save?
To date, I’ve saved £162.44 since November 2020. This includes shopping for things like my latest Christmas presents, moving house costs and when buying baby stuff for my baby boy due in March 2021.
You can save money on switching energy and gas or insurance providers, buying takeaways, redecorating your home and buying the latest fashion and technology!
Once authorised, this money can be paid to you via bank transfer or PayPal, whichever suits you best.
Okay, so pregnancy is a minefield in itself, more so when you don’t really know what to expect as a first-time mum.
One thing you can expect, is a ton of (often unsolicited) advice. However, no one really goes into the weird (and dare we say at times wonderful) parts of pregnancy.
Hello morning sickness
Firstly, you’ll welcome the most well known symptom of pregnancy, morning sickness. Sickness and nausea will plague your first trimester. Let’s be honest, there is nothing pleasant about feeling sick for weeks straight.
However, if you’re lucky, you won’t experience physical sickness and constant nausea in tandem.
To ease sickness and nausea in pregnancy:
Eat little and often
Make sure to keep hydrated
Rest when your body needs it
Avoid foods that make you feel unwell
Avoid strong smells that make you feel unwell
You’re going to feel tired a lot and you need to just roll with it and listen to your body. In your first trimester, you’ll likely fall asleep every few hours (for a few hours). Most people find they can not physically stay awake.
Your boobs are going to change – a lot
Nothing prepares you for the changes you will see in your breasts.
They’re going to get bigger and your areola is going to change shape, size and colour. It’s normal, please don’t panic.
Aches and pains
This is a given. You’re growing a tiny human that is stretching your body in ways it’s never had to comprehend. Be kind to yourself, rest often and be sure to unwind.
Massages and soaking in the tub (being careful not to overheat) really helps to naturally ease aches and pains.
Constantly needing the bathroom
You’ll need to pee constantly. As for pooping, that’s going to be a lot more difficult. Be sure to continue to eat well and if you need some additional support to go – liquorice is a lifesaver.
The feeling of seeing your ultrasound scans
Nothing can really prepare you for seeing your baby during your ultrasound scans. It’s shocking to see how much they can wriggle despite you not feeling anything in the earlier stages.
You can expect to have a minimum of two ultrasound scans throughout your pregnancy. However, some women have three.
Here’s what each ultrasound scan means:
12 week ultrasound scan – your dating scan predicts your little one’s arrival, looks at their development and screens for possible conditions
20 week ultrasound scan – this scan will check the development of baby (you may also request the sex of your baby)
36 week ultrasound scan – this scan will check that baby is in the correct position for delivery
How scary it is being pregnant during Covid-19
Being pregnant or a first-time mum during a global pandemic isn’t easy. Many woman have missed out on face-to-face interaction and reassurance from their midwives and doctors, as well as appointments you’d usually get under the NHS.
At times, it can be quite isolating, so do your research and most importantly, don’t worry about leaning on others with experience.
The amount of clothes and toys people will buy/gift you
Everyone says, do not buy loads of things. Do mums-to-be listen? No.
You can expect lots of kind family members and friends to buy/gift you clothes and will have a fully prepared wardrobe by the time the little one comes.
Further resources to support first-time mums in the UK
Here are some useful websites and apps you can download for first-time mums:
NHS – The NHS website is brimming with healthcare advice for mums-to-be
Looking for a quirky rooftop bar in London? Say hello to Bar Elba, your new favourite tropical destination in central London.
This bright and colourful bar in Waterloo is perfect for breezy summer cocktails or wintertime drinks.
Open year round, this gorgeous rooftop bar offers panoramic views. Once inside, you will find affordable cocktails, ciders, beers and quick bites aplenty.
Bar Elba offers a lovely and chilled vibe for everyone, be it an evening with friends, a date with your other half or someone new, or even for a boozy afternoon with your mum!
Decked out with vibrant benches and tables, you could lose hours in this tropical themed bar. Most importantly, if you head down for happy hour, you can even take advantage of 2 for 1 cocktails!
However, as the sun sets, the fun starts. Get in the mood as great music, friendly laughter and excited chatter buzz in the air. Bar Elba is as perfect for daytime meet ups as it is for evening drinks.
In addition to cocktails You can also get involved with Bar Elba events, including brunch dates, movie nights and afternoon picnics!
Love the look of Bar Elba? Why not check out their oh so pink sister bar, Tonight Josephine which is round the corner.
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