Mumbler Blog Oxford

Ideas & Advice

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7 Top Tips to Get You Moving

It’s January, Christmas is over and your inbox is full of ‘loose weight’ and ‘get fit’, and those ‘quick fix’ plans are everywhere. Well, we buck the trends in the fitness industry, we don’t mind if you over indulged, drank a bit more than you should and forgot about all those healthy eating tips – you’re meant to, it’s Christmas and you are busy organising and making memories with your family. (more…)

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Being a Mum Boss

After having my son in 2016 I decided that I wanted to retrain as a yoga teacher. I started training when he was ten months old and now run yoga classes, events and pop-ups in Bicester and beyond. Being a mum, and running my own business has definitely put my balancing skills to the test! (more…)

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Storybeans’ Top 5 Books that Bear Re-Reading

Sponsored guest blog by Kirstie Mahony of Storybeans

Most people would agree that reading and telling stories to your children is important. These activities help children to grow in so many different ways, impacting upon language development, imagination, even fine motor skills as children work out how to use their little hands to turn pages. (more…)

5 Tips for Helping your Parents as they Start to Get Older

Guest blog by Jessica Silver from ElWell.

ElWell is a local service here to help people live the life they want as they get older and support their families. They make home visits across Oxfordshire and provide tailored help for mobility, balance, overcoming loneliness, managing memory loss, making home adaptations and nutrition.

We’re the sandwich generation – and we don’t mean we’re fans of Pret A Manger! Instead, this term explains the rise in people looking after their kids and also helping to care for their parents as they get older. There are currently an estimated 2.4 million people in the UK doing just this, and with life expectancy increasing (in Oxfordshire and across the UK, the 65 and over age group is growing at the fastest rate), this is set to go up. (more…)

Christmas Present Ideas for Kids


Driving Home for Christmas?

Christmas is a time for friends and family, and for many of us that means travelling a good distance. That used to be fine… nice, even. Sling a couple of bags in the back and off you go, maybe stopping for a coffee or two along the way, if you fancy it.

With kids? No. No no no! Between remembering to pack everything, somehow fitting it all in the car and arriving without anyone having cried/shouted/been sick, it’s a bit more challenging…

But never fear, the good people of the Oxford Mumbler Facebook chat group have kindly offered their top tips for keeping little people (and therefore their big people) happy on long journeys. Read on for some really great ideas and get your Christmas off to the best start:

‘Snacks snacks and more snacks. Try to time part of the journey to overlap with naptime. Take a bag of toys (sometimes I wrap them up like presents) but always have one or two things they haven’t seen before to keep them interested. We try to withhold the iPad as long as possible and only use it when they start getting really fed up – in a 3 hour journey up to Leeds this is usually the last 30-45mins. Make a playlist or have CDs with their favourite songs on. And take plenty of wipes and spare clothes if you have travel sick children like I do!!’

‘Just got an in car DVD player – seriously AMAZING.’

‘In car dvd player here too. New small toys, magazines and snacks. With little children we used to coincide trips with nap time. Regular breaks too and in car games for older children … things like I spy, the number plate game, colour car game etc. You can find lots of ideas here. I used to have a list of about 20 games that I printed out and took with us – was great when I had a mind blank.’

‘We have done lots of long car journeys with my two year old. She enjoys having a pile of books by her car seat, which she quietly ploughs through. Snacks work well but I try to limit them otherwise she won’t be hungry when we stop and/or could be sick depending on who is driving/what the roads are like. Stop after a couple of hours and make sure the stop is more than just a toilet stop. Plan to eat together, play a travel puzzle or with a water colour book then set off again. We also talk to her about where we’re going and who she’ll see, so she gets excited to go. Singing songs works well, you can put children’s songs on in the car. Car games like looking for different animals/vehicles also seem to be a hit for us. She rarely sleeps on the journey, but we try to do some kind of activity or walk before we go and that sometimes tires her out and gets rid of some energy before the car journey.’

‘We bought some cheap DVD players that fix to the back of the headrests. We found reading caused problems with headaches etc. An endless supply of snacks helpful too. It’s the only thing that keeps everyone sane when we go on long drives to Cornwall. I’ve also read about looking up national trust spots (if you are a member) for the route then stop there (free parking) for a run around and something to eat to break up the journey.’

‘CD of songs, singing, playing spot the lorry/motorbike/bird/horse/bus, snacks, dummies and spare dummies (I have two nearly 2 year olds). Driving during naps.’

‘Try timing the drives around nap times… Leave at nap time or bedtime have worked best for us. Bring entertainment, toys and lots of snacks. I found if we left during a morning nap, I could then feed them in the car, plus entertainment which usually gives us 3-4hrs.’

‘We did a couple of super-long drives in the summer (about 7 hours on the road, not incuding stops) with a 2 year old. As well as books, CDs, snacks etc, we put together an activity bag with some new toys, and hid some toys a few weeks before so that they felt new when we pulled them out of the bag. Travel jigsaws went down well, as did magnetic shapes on a biscuit tin lid to make pictures, sticker books, and magnetic drawing boards. We also found it helpful to make sure that the next day was low-key, with plenty of time to explore wherever you are staying, and time to run around outside if you can possibly manage it. Taking familiar bedlinen can help. At airports, on ferries etc, remember that people are usually happy to help small children so do ask. We were recently late for a flight so didn’t have time to buy the lunch we had planned at the airport, and the staff on the flight were so kind. They radioed ahead to get us onto the flight that we thought we were going to miss, then opened up the food trolley early so that we could get snacks, water etc and gave our little girl some chocolate.’

‘We always do the long journey north setting off after lunch at naptime with an overnight stop at a Travelodge or similar. And we do the last hundred miles the following morning arriving by lunchtime. I imagine it’s easier with another adult in the car! Otherwise just too long and tiring in a day.’

‘I like audible. You can downloads lots of different audio books for kids. Mine love listening to them. It’s got all the modern titles as well as the old school stuff like Enid blyton which I like. I use my phone and connect it to the car speakers via Bluetooth. Audible has titles in other languages as well if you need that.’

Good luck and everything crossed! Wishing you all a very merry Christmas (drive home) with your loved ones.

All parents and carers in Oxford are welcome to join the friendly and supportive Oxford Mumbler chat group on Facebook.

Oxford Mumbler’s Christmas listings are here:
Christmas Events and Markets
Meet Santa
Christmas Shows and Pantos

Oxford Mumbler is your LOCAL parenting community – a website packed with information for families in and around Oxford. Visit for everything from what’s on over the holidays, days out, weekly clubs and classes in Oxford, to support groups and services for pregnancy, babies, parents and more. Follow us on Facebook here.

Easy Picnic Ideas from Crafty Cooks

With summer time coming and picnics in the park around the corner I thought it would be nice to share some ideas with you for something other than just a standard sandwich. (more…)

Halloween Spooky Snack Ideas

We’ve just thrown a small party in honour of a special birthday, and because of the timing thought we’d go Halloweeny with the food. I spent a great deal of time trying to find things that would look good but be very easy to do – and thought I’d share the results for anyone else in the throes of planning a Halloween party, or wanting to spooky up a dinner this week! (more…)

How Mindfulness Can Help Us Lose Mum Guilt

The situation.

Becoming a mother is an incredible gift. Fact.

Another fact is that it also brings with it a thorough emotional and physical overhaul which can leave us wondering where and who we are and what our shoe size is. (more…)

Letters from a Teacher

I started as a fresh-faced NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) in Reception with the very youngest class, the ones that were all Summer borns, and stayed in Reception for 4 years before I moved on to teach Yr1, mixed aged R/Yr1, Yr1/Yr2 and Year 2 classes. (more…)

Preparing Your Child for School

This is a topic that is very close to my heart for two reasons:

1) My eldest daughter started school last year and is about to go into year 1 (blub)

2) I am a primary school reception class teacher

I therefore couldn’t let August end without offering some words of advice for any parents who will be waving off their little ones on the first day of school in a couple of weeks. (more…)

Questions, Questions

When reading with children, parents and carers are often advised to ask children questions to help children think about or understand stories, make them look more closely at pictures, or to build in other learning opportunities such as asking children to find numbers on a page. (more…)

Slings & Hot Weather






Babywearing can be an easy way to carry on with daily life no matter what the weather and may be more convenient than pushing a buggy in the heat. This is because: (more…)

Supporting Oxford Charities this Christmas

From donating unwanted toys to dressing up as santa and running a couple of miles, there’s lots you can do to help others in Oxford this Christmas… (more…)

Teacher Gift Ideas

As the end of the school year draws near, many parents will be wondering what they can get their child’s teacher to say thank you… what to get for that person who has been a massive part of your little one’s life for a whole year – a person who you know really well in some ways, but not at all in others?! (more…)

Top Tips for Cooking with Children

Sponsored guest blog by Gemma Allen of Crafty Cooks – a cookery club for children as young as 2.5 years of age where they are given the chance to cook a little more than the standard cupcake! (more…)

Where to Buy Christmas Trees in Oxford

This is our first year having Christmas at home and our first EVER Christmas tree!  We did have a micro 6-inch fake one from Wilko for a while, but I don’t think that counts… This year we’re going for it and I’ve researched all the places I can find in and around Oxford that sell real trees. Here they are for anyone also in the market!

If you know of others please email and I will add it – thank you!

Aldi, Botley Road and Horspath
I only saw smallish (2-3 feet) potted trees there.

Appleton Christmas Barn, Appleton
Special shout out: according to their website they’ve got two reindeer!

Bunkers Hill Nursery, Kidlington
Santa’s reindeers are hiding round the magically star-lit nursery, and there is a prize and certificate for every child who can seek out Rudolf and his friends in order to find the hidden word. All the family are welcome to join in the festive fun. Only £1 per child with all proceeds going to Mind and Restore. 11th-24th December 2018

Cutteslowe Horticultural Therapy & Garden Centre, Cutteslowe Park

Edward Feild Primary School, Kidlington
Order by 23rd November 2018. Anyone outside of school can order via email:
Small £30, Medium £37, Large £44

Farmer Gow’s, near Faringdon

Fir Tree Farm Christmas Tree Farm, A40 between Eynsham and Witney at Barnard Gate, OX29 6XE

Frosts Garden Centre at Millets Farm, Frilford

The Garden, Covered Market

Homebase, Botley Road

Norcutts Garden Centre, Nuneham Courtenay

The Oxford Christmas Company, Nicholsons Nursery, North Aston, OX25 6HL

Oxford Garden and Shopping Village (was Yarnton Nurseries), Yarnton

Oxford Sea Cadets, Donnington Bridge
Available from 30th November 2018

The Post Box, Godstow Road, Wolvercote

The Tree Barn, Christmas Common, Watlington

Waitrose, Botley Road and Headington
Small and medium size potted ones

Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley

Oxford Mumbler is your local parenting community – a website packed with information for pregnancy and for families in and around Oxford. Visit for everything from what’s on, days out, weekly clubs and classes in Oxford, to support groups and services for pregnancy, babies, parents and more. Join the Mumbler community on our friendly Facebook chat group and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Why Singing is Good for You and Your Family!

Guest blog written by Bella, who runs the brilliant Raise Your Voice Family Choir (for parents and children age 4-11) and Moms and Pops Choir (for parents and babies/bumps)…

I started writing this blog on Blue Monday. I’m sure you heard of it, the third Monday in January when we are supposedly at our most miserable – money is tight, the days are dark and all the Christmas chocolate has run out. My social media feed was full of people telling me how to cheer myself up, as well as people commenting on the fact that the day was originally made up by a company to sell more products and is actually based on complete fake science. (more…)