When I was pregnant with Ethan, we started our search for a local nursery early as we wanted to really find out what was on offer in Birmingham and make an informed choice in plenty of time. It really is a big decision to make (I've written before about how the cost of childcare is a big debate but there's so much value on the care nurseries provide for our children) and Ethan absolutely loved his time at nursery

* Collaborative post

At the time, I was working in Edgbaston and considered whether having a nursery close to work would be more convenient. And boy, how nice it would have been to have had BrightMinds Daycare there when we were looking for the best place for him!

It's a recently launched state-of-the-art, innovative and engaging nursery facility for children up to 4 years of age living in and around Birmingham. The magnificent Edgbaston setting includes a beautiful garden complete with a chicken farm, a technology and sensory room, alongside a modern baby yoga studio and performance room with a Yamaha baby grand piano.

Yes, baby yoga! How amazing does that sound?

I am going along to see the nursery for myself, but in the meantime, here's some details you might like to know if you are searching for a great nursery in the Birmingham area:

When we had Ethan, both Ste and I knew we didn't want to find out the sex of the baby. We just knew we wanted the excitement and with it being our first child, we wanted to experience the whole journey and keep the mystery right up to the point of meeting them.

At the time, I wrote this brief post on the topic, six months before Ethan's arrival:

The second question everyone has asked us after announcing our news, following 'when's your due date?' has been 'are you going to find out what it is?'.

It's wonderful to see how excited and eager all our friends and family are about our little bundle but for us, the excitement really is in the not knowing.

So much of our lives are planned to the letter and information is at our fingertips, literally, whenever we need it. One thing that can remain a mystery is whether you are having a son or daughter.

From a practical standpoint, I totally understand why people want to find out as soon as they can - after all, sleepsuits aside, finding gender-neutral outfits for baby is quite a task.

But for us, we want to keep that piece of information a surprise, even to ourselves.

After all, it won't change anything one way or the other. As long as bubs is healthy, it doesn't matter one bit if it's a boy or girl. From the trend of women I have known over the years who have had babies, it's 99.9% certain to be a boy but it's one of life's great mysteries and we'll wait until May to find out what Mother Nature has in store.

Long-distance friendship is hard for the both of you. You both need to get used your everyday routines without the other being there. You want your friend to know you’re still there for them, and they might be homesick. A care package could do them the world of good. What should you put in it?

* Collaborative post

Alas, it's the last week of school; the PE kits finally come home, sports days and parents' evenings are being held up and down the country and we have the possibility (and realisation) of six whole weeks of summer holidays stretched out before us. There's a lot to reflect on, to celebrate, to remember, and to be thankful for.

Of course, as well as being super proud of our children - whether they are working hard at their writing, turning into a mathematician, showing a creative streak or heading for a more sporty path - and rewarding them, it's also really important to thank those people who have helped our little ones learn over the past school year.

On the first day of Reception, Ethan declared his love for his teacher and all year long, he has come home with stories about how nice his teacher and TA are and how much fun he has had at school.

So, I've been thinking about gift ideas to say thank you - beyond giving chocolates or flowers as I am sure they get plenty...

Last year, I gave Ethan's nursery workers a gift bag with an artificial sunflower and sunflower seeds, with the message 'thank you for helping me grow', and a few other thins and this year, I have had some help from Find Me A Gift in coming up with some teacher present inspiration.

We've ordered this personalised mug and this bath bomb set (which currently has 40% at £7.79) in particular, but they have lots of different ideas to suit your preference and budget too.

Just one week to go until the summer holidays start for us, who else is excited? Or worried about how to keep the kids entertained for six whole weeks?! Hubs and I are alternating annual leave to cover off the whole holiday and I want to enjoy lots of things with my little man, as well as having some time to relax too (we do have a bundle to prepare for after all!).

I've shared a few ideas for things to do over the summer holidays in the Midlands already - Cadbury Character Breakfasts, Octonauts: Shark Mission at Sea Life Centre, Drayton Manor, Conkers, Park LivesSymphony Hall Inside Out - and now have some news from Merry Hill to share in case this is something else you want to add to your must-do list...

I turned 18 weeks pregnant on Saturday and I'm getting closer to that all important 20 week scan, which we are really looking forward to. We didn't find out what we were having when we had Ethan and I think we will be the same this time around, but the next scan is just so important to make sure that everything is progressing well.

Here's an update on how my pregnancy is going so far...

I am into my second trimester and bump is cooking along nicely, hopefully, without there being too much to complain about. Although of course, we've all had this heatwave and it is a real treat to have so much nice weather for such a length of time, everyone asks pregnant women like me how we are coping.

I'm doing ok - it's hard to tell if I feel any hotter than I normally would in this weather, with bump in tow - and I'm using a few things to help keep me cool and refreshed as I go through the second trimester during the summer months.

I'm proud to have worked with Town Hall Symphony Hall as an ambassador for a couple of years now, with the next event to be reviewed being the new Kevin and Karen Dance Live Tour 2018 on Saturday (tickets still available, read my review of last year's show), and I wanted to share with you a new free event that they have just announced....

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