Little Miss at 23 mths

It’s hard to believe but our little lady is almost a 2 year old. She is growing up so fast lately and while I normally just do an update every 2 months, she has already changed so much in the last month that I want to record it all, as I can see her being very different again by the time she turns 2 next month.20160923_155849

The most important thing I want to record is her speech. As with last month she is chattering away constantly and she obviously means what she says (even if we haven’t a clue) but there are more and more recogniseable words and they are so adorable. She says ball, shoe, chick, chair, share, book, hat and “it’s too hot”  in addition to “I wan dat”  and “It’s all wet.” She also makes some amazing animal sounds, for a long time she has done a great lions roar (and a fab pirate’s arrrr, thanks to her pirate loving big brother) but she now makes fab noises for sheep, cows and pigs too. She even mooed at a van that had a picture of a cow on the other day haha. She also loves numbers, and though the only recognisable one is 2 she loves to imitate counting, pointing at things and saying ah, two, bar, jee, da. She’s also very cute with hide and seek and she loves joining in with that. She doesn’t really even cover her eyes properly but loves counting then looking for people haha.

LM playing hide and seek, counting then looking for Daddy & Monkey

LM playing hide and seek, counting then looking for Daddy & Monkey

Much as I haven’t been in a rush for her to start talking (as I know she won’t stop when she’s started) I will be glad to say goodbye to the grunts and whines to indicate what she does or doesn’t want!

She has shot up recently too and I think I was in denial about how much until I put her in a pair of leggings that only reached her mid calf haha. Definitely growing up. We’ve had some interesting time with clothes in the last month though. Largely due to the heatwave we had she spent a lot of time running round in the back garden naked and enjoying the paddling pool… Which has led to a slight aversion to clothes. She just doesn’t want to get dressed at all some days, and spends ages trying to pull them off. Thankfully she hasn’t mastered that skill yet as it definitely isn’t warm enough for nudity anymore!photogrid_1474655653893

She also has a serious aversion to shoes at the moment. I’ve had her feet measured about 3 times in the last month and keep checking her toenails to see if there’s a problem as she just keeps moaning about them and wanting them off! With her boots and wellies she can get them off herself and no matter how many times I’ve put them back on they have come off again so she has spent a lot of time running around our local area in socks I’m afraid. With her actual shoes she is less good at getting them off herself so thankfully I can get her to keep them on.

One thing she doesn’t have an aversion too is a good hat though. For my little lady shoes may be optional but oh a hat is essential haha. She rarely leaves the house without a hat on or a hood up, regardless of how weather appropriate her choice is hehe. She does look cute in a hat though so she gets away with it!photogrid_1474656426951

Another repercussion from all the nudity was that she started weeing a lot in the paddling pool. As our girl has never liked being in a wet nappy and now walls around holding her crotch and moaning if she has done a wee, we thought we would try and introduce the potty. She basically sat on it for a bit then got up and wandered into the paddling pool to do a wee. She does the same in the bath now. We have a special seat for the loo and she likes to sit on it before bathtime at night. But she just sits on it then gets off and does a wee in the bath haha. So we are trying to pick her up when she starts weeing and put her on the seat as at the moment she clearly has more association with weeing while standing in water than she does with sitting on a potty or a loo. She’s still so little though so I am not in a huge rush. I know many girls are potty trained by around 2 but Monkey wasn’t until he was about 3 1/2 so while we will encourage her I’m not going to push her if she isn’t ready.

Food has been interesting lately. With some absolutely mahoosive meltdowns at the table and the complete refusal of some foods. After eating a cheaper brand of beans at my aunts which were apparently not to her liking, madam now refuses all beans and any meal with them in. Which is such a shame as I used them to encourage her to eat other meals too (not always very successfully mind you but at least she would eat the beans) but not any more. Sometimes it was totally unspecific, she would barely look at the food and the screaming would start. So even food she actually really likes was being refused just for the sake of it almost. Oh and the screaming and the writhing to get down from the table. Such hard work. Other times so will dissect the food that again I know she likes. Pulling it apart or mashing it all up. I try and ignore as long as she is eating something but it is so hard. This last week has been a bit better so I’m hoping the upward trend will continue. I am also comforted by the fact that Monkey was very similar at her age but as at least grown out of it now and with the right encouragement he eats pretty well. So I am hanging on to the hope that this is just a phase that LM will grow out of!photogrid_1474660602873

The good news related to food is that she has been doing really well with the move to cutlery. She still eats with her fingers most of the time but when she does use cutlery she is doing so well with it. She’s really got the knack of scooping her brother’s her brother’s leftover porridge out of his bowl and eating our poached egg and toast from Mummy and Daddy’s fork! :)

Another big change recently was that we moved her from a cot to a big girl bed. It was something I was really nervous about, but with her brother moving from his toddler bed to a big bed it made sense to do it now. So we made the change and prepared for the worst. Which basically meant hubs was to deal with it while I sat down with a wine glass. We read her story and put her to bed and waited for the inevitable patter of tiny feet getting out of bed again. But they never came. She kicked the wall a bit and wriggled about and went to sleep. For the whole night! I couldn’t believe it! She was still in her bed the next morning and waited for us to come get her before she got out.photogrid_1474722327679

I’ve been waiting for the bubble to burst ever since, but it hasn’t. She’s been such a good girl and she just loves that bed and was clearly ready for the move. She fell out a couple of times the next day bless her but even got herself back in the last time. The other issue was that she has discovered the socket next to her bed where the monitor is plugged in so she has turned that off a couple of times. We’ve covered it over though and so far no more problems thankfully. She loves her bed, yay!

Now that her brother has started school it is nice I can concentrate on this little lady a bit more and do things just for her rather than trying to accommodate them both at the same time. I’ve started taking her to a gymnastics group which so far she loves and it’s just lovely seeing her play. Her fine motor skills are really growing and this week she has mastered hanging monkeys from the tree on the monkey games she loves. She was so proud of herself with that!

She’s such a girly girl and given that I’m not I have no idea where she gets it. She loves dolls and playing with people and houses and things. She also massively loves pink and if you sit her down with crayons she will get all the pink ones out and lines them up or just holds on to them which is lovely. She is getting into actually drawing though and is doing really well with holding pens and pencils. She also loves bracelets and bangles and anything sparkly too which is very cute. On the flip side though she absolutely loves climbing and is obsessed with balls, particularly kicking balls at the moment. She’s incredibly active and is constantly wanting to get outside to run, scoot (albeit a bit slowly still) , climb, and she has even wanted to sit on her brother’s bike a lot lately,cheeky madam! She loves books and constantly wants a story to be read to her and as she likes people toys she also loves all her brother’s lego and the little people in particular. photogrid_1474723590773

She’s also a massive show off and loves attention. Whenever any family comes round she gets hugely excited and goes into serious show off mode, being ultra cute and running around like a loon. She’s already learning to love the school run too for the attention she gets from other mums in the playground while we wait to pick her up. She adores all Monkey’s friends too and desperately wants their attention to… Which they usually give her haha. Her extremely loud greeting hasn’t changed either and she does it to anyone she is happy too see or wants attention from now. Loud girl! (See this post to hear for yourself!)20160924_145213

On the whole I think she is doing so so well and while she drives me potty at times with the toddler tantrums and whinyness I do generally adore her and I can’t quite believe my baby girl is going to be 2 soon!

Running update, completing the couch to 5k and buying new running shoes

You may have seen that I recently started running, despite never thinking that I would ever be a runner! So I thought I would share a little update on how it’s been going. As you may have guessed from the title, I have completed the couch to 5k program….well, sort of.

Why sort of? Well I shall explain. The couch to 5k program concentrates on running for longer and longer periods of of time, building you up from running for 60s up to 30 minutes as they found that on everyone by the time people are running for 30 minutes that they would be running about 5k.

In my last post I had run for about 20 minutes. The next step was 25 minutes, then 28 minute runs before going for the 30 minute run. Each step was so hard but I managed it and got to the end of week 8 and was running for 28 minutes. The podcasts in the couch to 5k programme were so good but by the end of week 8 I wasn’t enjoying them. There is a real mixture of music in each podcast but the end of the week 8 one just had some really monotonous dance music that really did not motivate me at all so I struggled to get to 28 minutes.

Week 9 started, the final week, but my first run was on a day I was tired and grumpy and the podcast started with the same monotonous music from week 8. Not a good start and yep I gave up at about 13 minutes. Argh. I was determined not to let it demotivated me though or ruin my progress but I figured the time had come to stop using the podcasts. So I created my own playlist and off I went and hit the 30 minute mark. Wahoo! But then on my next run I was slightly hungover, more hungover than I thought was,  and had to stop at about 25 mins as I was shattered.

So week 9 didn’t go brilliantly but again I didn’t want it to stop me so I tried again a few days later and yep I hit 30 mins again. So I have completed the couch to 5k programme but, here is the biggy, even though I have run the full 30 minutes, I haven’t quite reached 5k :/. My pace is pretty slow and in 30 mins I run about 4km. I’m still dead proud of myself but also feel a little weird that I have finished the programme but can’t actually run 5k! Still, I am sure I will get there.

I’ve also noticed an annoying little niggly pain in my foot as I have been running for longer periods so decided that perhaps my old trainers aren’t quite as supportive as they could be. I looked into buying new running shoes but where the heck do you start? I’ve been reading about a neutral foot print and over pronation and different types of shoe but honestly I was completely lost.

Thankfully I found a really great shop in Peterborough called Advance Performance who have a gait analysis service to help you find the perfect running shoe. I was so pleased I went as they were so helpful. I took my old trainers and the assistant (ryan) filmed my feet while I ran on the treadmill. We could see straight away that my old trainers were just not supporting my foot and ankle at all when I ran.photogrid_1474552410334

Ryan then got some newer trainers with a similar support level to my old ones that were past there best. These ones were better but still not that supportive. In total we tried 4 pairs of trainers, each time filming my feet as I ran on the treadmill to see how they fared. We whittled it down to 2 contenders and then it was down to me and how comfy they felt. I had a little run outside (and felt a bit stupid running round an industrial area) and made my choice. Hooray for me I chose the cheaper ones without having anything more than an average price range.

I was so pleased with the service and hugely relieved to actually get some advice from someone who knew what they were talking about. There is a £25 charge for the gait analysis if you decide not to buy shoes at the end but free if you do. For me, even though I may have been able to get the shoes cheaper somewhere else, online or something, it was good to know that these trainers are the right trainers and it was totally worth potentially paying a little more for my shoes (they were £100 eek, so much for running being a free hobby ha!). So if you live in the Peterborough/Cambridge area I definitely recommend a visit. (This isn’t a sponsored post in any way I was just impressed with the service!) img_20160921_170837

So I now need to break in my new trainers, and who knows maybe they will help me get to that elusive 5k!

Social Awkwardness and the School Run

So Monkey started school last week and there are big changes in store for him and for all of us. He did so well and is loving school. I am getting used to the school run but I have never looked forward to the whole playground mums thing. The social etiquette, the cliques and just figuring out how to navigate it all makes me very nervous.

I’m not the most socially confident person. I wouldn’t call it shyness really, more a social awkwardness. In certain situations I can hide it. I can make small talk, I can strike up a bit of a conversation with another parent at play area or baby group. I can be polite and friendly. But in a bigger group I find that much much harder. And taking it beyond politeness and small talk and I really falter. It’s one of the reasons I don’t feel I’ve connected with many bloggers and why you won’t find me at a blogging event. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m terrified I will say something stupid. That people will sort of “see through me” and put simply, won’t like me. So in general I keep people at a certain distance.

I’ve always been a little like this but it has gotten worse over recent years, in part due to the disintegration of my friendship with the girls I at one time considered my closest friends. The breakdown of any relationship can leave scars and this one definitely did. I’m not going to go into all the why’s and wherefores. I know I wasn’t blameless but I also know it wasn’t entirely my fault. It was a disintegration that happened over the course of a few stressful years, in the run up to my wedding, immediately after it, all throughout my difficult pregnancy with Monkey and through those hard first months with him.

Whenever we arranged to meet up I would be anxious in the days beforehand and generally have a sleepless night the night before, imagining all that could go wrong, what I would say that would provoke that response. The meet up itself would never be quite as bad as I feared but there would be barbs and thinly veiled insults that I would then relive for days wondering what I could have said or done differently. Wishing I had the guts to give as good as I got. These were my closest friends. Nuts eh? It just wasn’t healthy and eventually I walked away.

The trouble is that they were so ready and willing to see the worst in me. To believe the worst. It made me question myself, to question if I really was this awful person they seemed to believe me to be. These were some of my oldest friends, surely they knew me better than that? Or was I really, actually like that?

Thankfully they weren’t my only friends and I grew much closer to some of my other friends who had kids around the same time. Friends who couldn’t understand what was going on and who dubbed the others my “frenemies.” Friends who thankfully like me the way I am and don’t make me second guess myself all the time.

It’s all about 4 years ago now and I have moved on, I’m no longer terrified of running into them or seeing them somewhere. But it has affected me a lot. I struggle to let anyone in and am constantly worried about saying the wrong thing to a friend and the same thing happening again. One of my newest close mummy friends went a bit funny with me recently and I over analysed everything and thought I had ruined another friendship. Faced with those feelings I do one of 2 things, I try and over compensate for what I think I have done wrong… Or I back off completely to try and maintain a bit of pride and sort of not show I care. It turned out my friend’s dad was ill and she was very worried about him. I of course supported her and kicked myself for assuming the worst and assuming it was about me. But that’s what I do.

During those few days (which were also in the run up to Monkey starting school) I had a dream where I was talking about it to my brothers and they laughed in my face and said “yeah but that’s what you’re like isn’t it? You always say the wrong thing!” and it was horrible. I felt so rubbish and I don’t think they do actually think that about me but subconsciously I clearly do. It’s so annoying and self-defeating and self-centred to always make things about me and to assume it is always my fault and I try really hard to break the cycle but it isn’t easy.

I was supposed to meet up with a very lovely blogger recently and we couldn’t make it unfortunately due to various reasons and I have to admit that much as I wanted to meet up and get to know her, part of me was relieved. I was so worried she wouldn’t like me or that I would say something stupid and we wouldn’t get on.

The school run means challenges like this daily and I guess just reminds me of my anxieties. There are 60 kids in Monkey’s intake and though they are split into 2 classes, they are all sharing the same huge foundation stage area. So that’s 60 sets of parents I will see twice a day, every school day, for the next year, and beyond. As I said I can do the smile and small talk (even though doing so makes me feel horribly uncomfortable)… But not beyond that. I know some of the mums of Monkey’s preschool friends, but not many. Even there I struggled to have the confidence to talk to any of the groups of mums who already knew each other and it’s even worse now. There are so many opportunities for me to make a complete idiot of myself!

Ive umm-ed and ah-ed about whether to actually post this post as it feels quite self indulgent and wasnt really the post I intended to write when I started out. I don’t think I had realised how my apprehension of the school run and the social etiquette of the playground had  brought back all my feelings of inadequacy to the extent that it has. Maybe I needed to write this as some sort of cathartic experience and then move on. I was chatting to a lovely mum when I dropped Monkey off earlier and nthing terrible happened… I don’t have to be best friends with these people immediately, if ever so the lesson to me is to stop wrrying so much!

Does the school run make you nervous? Are you a social butterfly of the playground?

Monkey’s first week at school

So this week saw a big change in our little household. A change we have been preparing for for a long time, yet still seemed to creep on us. Monkey started school!  It’s just mornings this week, and afternoons next week before going full time the week after that. Doesn’t he look so grown up though?20160916_140615

After a few tears on arrival at all of his settling in sessions in July, we fully expected the same to happen in the first couple of weeks. We had done our best to enthuse about school and to focus on all the great things he would do, and though we knew he would love it when he was there, we really thought there would be some initial tears.

So we were hugely surprised when the time came and he gave us each a big kiss and a cuddle, smiled and said “see you later!” before getting stuck straight in to playing with connex. Hugely surprised and obviously hugely proud too. Our boy! He had said on the walk to school “I won’t cry, I cried before because I didn’t have my uniform, but now I do. So I won’t need to cry!” I don’t care what his reasons were but the fact remained there were no tears and by all accounts he loved every minute. photogrid_1474031586082

It’s notoriously difficult to get out of kids what they have gotten up to at school, and having experienced this at preschool too, we try to ask a number of questions through the rest of the day to prompt him (what song did you sing? Do you read any stories? Did you do any drawings? Etc.).  Not like an inquisition just as part of conversations through the rest of the day. So it was we discovered he had sung a song and had an apple for his snack (or a couple of bites at least haha). We also knew he had played with the water wall outside as he came out in a different top to the one he went in wearing!

The drop off on day 2 went just as well and that day he was due to stay for lunch. I’m obviously nervous about how much he would eat but his teacher had said they encourage them to eat a good amount of their mains before letting them turn their plate round to eat their pudding. He was very enthusiastic when he came out about his meatballs and pasta and carrots bless him so I think that went pretty well.

On the 3rd day he read a book about a diver, built a pirate ship out of a plank and wheels “and everything else” outside. He ate a banana for his snack (only teeny bites apparently but still better than we can get him to do) and he also got a badge for his “house team” and his team is yellow. He adores his badge and is so proud to wear it everyday haha.20160916_141757

Unfortunately that night at bedtime as he was running in to LM’s bedroom to say goodnight to her, he tripped and fell face first on the floor. There was blood everywhere and he went into school the next day with such a swollen lip that I had to tell his teacher. I managed to get Monkey to tell me later that she had asked him and found out he had told her what had happened. Then he did a drawing of a hospital and a Dr’s note. He then announced at dinner that night that the drawing was in his pocket. On inspection of his trousers (which had been swapped for shorts as soon as we got home as it was a hot day) I found a very screwed up piece of paper that was indeed his drawing. 20160915_172216

It was a hospital with a person in a window who was “daddy when the Dr bandaged his knee but he’s all better now though he can walk now he can’t run but he can walk.” Love his verbal diarrhoea descriptions of things.

That afternoon playing on our neighbour’s trampoline Monkey’s friend landed on his head and his sunglasses cut his cheek. Thankfully it didn’t look too bad the next day as starting to worry the school will think we are harming him or something!

Friday morning we thankfully got him into school before the rain started and by all accounts he had a lovely time. He apparently played outside in his splashsuit twice and sang a new version of humpty dumpy which he loves and thinks is hilarious.

The afternoon school run was pretty miserable with the rain but I think I will just have to get used to those! Next week is going to be a bit odd as he is just going for a couple of hours every afternoon, but then the week after it will be full time. I’m so so proud of our boy though, he has handled it all so so well. I’m proud of us too as obviously we did just the right amount of preparation for it with him to give our boy, who can be very nervous of change, the confidence to go in happily. We have a schoolboy, seems a bit hard to believe really.

As for how I coped.. well I was more emotional than I thought I would be for the first couple of days, which I wondered whether was because I was so geared up for tears from Monkey that I didn’t know what to do when he was fine! I was so proud but it was also a bit of an anti-climax. I’m not much of a crier, or that good at showing my emotions at times and I was just so so focussed on making sure Monkey was fine. So when he was fine and didn’t actually need my help or reassurance I just felt a bit odd! So I had a few snappy irritable days and feeling like I wanted to cry over absolutely nothing… then eventually talked through how I felt with hubs and a couple of friends and as often happens with me, felt like a huge weight had lifted and I have been alright since really. I need to learn not to bottle things up I really do! Enough about me though as this is Mnkey’s adventure and we are so so proud of how he has taken it all in his stride!

How did your little one settle in to the first week of school?

MaternityMondaysLittle Hearts, Big LoveMummascribbles
Ethans EscapadesBest of Worst

Siblings September 2016

We’ve had such a lovely summer holiday and the last month has seen so many gorgeous moments between our lovely pair that I don’t really know where to start. As such I apologise for the glut of images but I can’t help snapping away when they are being adorable with each other, and this linky does give me the opportunity to show those images to the world.

So, as ever, my children love to mess with each other. It’s pretty equal and both usually give as good as they get, and are tolerant of each other, resulting in lots of lovely giggles. There are times when one isn’t in the mood but those times are rare and they generally have so much fun together. photogrid_1473602607206

They love playing together and although there are times when LM messes up what Monkey wants to be doing (like running over to stand on the picture he was painting when we were painting outside last week, before running off with a huge cheeky grin on her face!), there are more times when she just plays alongside him. I particularly love how they sit and play lego together in his bedroom. So cute! photogrid_1473603516697

Monkey is so overprotective of his sister and always wants to make sure she’s ok. Sometimes I have to tell him that he should go and have fun as I am there to look after her. He doesn’t always think I am doing a good job though, so I am not sure what that says about my parenting haha. In truth though he thinks he is a parent too I think which is lovely but I do wish he wasn’t such a worrier sometimes. Still, it makes for some lovely moments where he says he is looking after her. photogrid_1473685688524

The loveliest recent development is that LM, who is not the biggest of hand-holders at the best of times, now loves to hold her brother’s hand. It started on a recent outing where we had a stand off going and LM would not walk the direction we were going. We were trying to move on so she would catch up when she wasn’t getting our attention for her behaviour, but Monkey, with his over-protectiveness, did not approve of this method. He did not like that we were leaving her behind so I announced “I will go get her.” Now, if hubs or I had gone and taken her hand to lead her then all hell would have broken loose, but, miraculously she allowed Monkey to lead her by the hand. photogrid_1473604113753

From then on she has not only allowed him to hold her hand but actively demands he hold her hand sometimes, which we do find completely adorable.photogrid_1473607111665

Monkey doesn’t always want to comply with her demands, it has to be said, but is a bit of a softy and usually relents. I love this video of a very reluctant superhero gradually giving in to his little sister’s demands and holding her hand!

Another little development has been an addition to our bedtime routine. Once LM has had her stories read, it is time for her to say goodnight to her brother with a kiss and cuddle. Just adorable! 20160912_142002

I think that covers most of their recent cuteness together! When this post is published Monkey will have only just started his week of mornings at school and I think LM won’t really have missed him much. But I get the feeling that as he starts doing full days that she really will note his absence. I wonder how their relationship will change as a result.

dear beautifulEthans EscapadesBest of Worst

Hello Autumn!

Well, it’s official, we are now well into September and Autumn has well and truly arrived. There’s lots I love about autumn but if I’m honest there are some things I don’t love about it too.

What I love

Every outing can turn into a nature trail

Monkey is constantly on the hunt for acorns at the moment and I have had to explain it is still a bit early for conkers. In addition to the usual sticks that come home with us even after the shortest walk, we now have leaves and acorns and all sorts of other bits entering the house on a daily basis. Hubs is less than impressed by this haha.photogrid_1473574575444

Blackberry picking!

We have already been blackberry picking 5 times locally and once when visiting Auntie mags. We’ve had 3 blackberry crumbles already and a freezer filled with blackberries. Always great fun foraging with the kiddies and yummy free food afterwards, win win!photogrid_1473575030571

Crisp air and sunny skies

I’ve always loved a fresh autumn day and though we aren’t quite there yet this year I am looking forward to those crisp mornings.

Puddle jumping

While I don’t exactly love the rain that autumn can bring, the kids do adore puddle splashing and we’ll I adore their happy faces. Thank goodness for waterproofs is all I can say!photogrid_1473575386322

Kicking up leaves

Always one of the best autumn activities and I am looking forward to kicking the leaves with both kiddies this year, especially LM as she is older and I think will appreciate it more this year.

What I don’t love

Big horrible spiders

Yes at this time of year the big beasties find their way inside. We’ve actually been really lucky since moving in here and haven’t had many… But already 2 this year so our luck ha changed. I’m less terrified of them than I used to be and really try and put a brave face on for the kids, but in truth they still scare the bejeesus out of me and make me feel quite nauseous. Eurgh definitely not something I like about this time of year.

A big beastie running across the floor the other night

A big beastie running across the floor the other night

Getting darker in the day

We often get out in the late afternoon with the kids and have lovely evening walks in the summer so I’m not looking forward to the darker evenings. Especially not in winter when it is dark around 4pm! Just not the same being outside in the dark. Also, since becoming a runner this will really test me, not so nice running through the local woods in the dark is it? So I guess I will be pounding pavements with street lighting instead through the winter!

Germs

With colder weather inevitably come germs too. One of my friends’ little boy has already come down with croup this year and I so hope neither of ours get it again this year! Absolutely terrifying when your little one is struggling to breathe in the early hours and just hope we are luckier this year! Even without croup though we are bound to get a heck of a lot of germs, especially with Monkey starting school. The coughing through the night and covering everyone with menthol rub and just generally feeling rubbish while trying to parent a poorly and ratty child. Yeah not looking forward to that aspect of the next few months.

We’ve had a really wonderful summer this year, so full of smiles. While there are definitely downsides to the colder months so far we are having a fun autumn (it helps that the weather has still been really good, on the whole) and will no doubt have tonnes of fun over the rest of autumn and winter. I just hope we aren’t too unlucky with all the germs this year!

What do you love and loathe about autumn? What’s your favourite time of year?

MummascribblesBest of WorstMonkey and Mouse

Baking with our new bowl from House of Fraser

With the recent start of the new GBBO series, baking season is in full swing. We love baking in our house and it’s great to be inspired watching the brilliant bakers… Even if that isn’t so great for our waistlines! The kids love baking too, especially Monkey, so it is often a family affair in our house. Which is why I was super excited to receive this gorgeous new bowl from House of Fraser recently and couldn’t wait to try it out. 20160826_092723

The design is gorgeous, with a real country kitchen feel. Apparently Hubs’ Nana had a similar one growing up, and I’m sure mine did too actually so it conjures up lots of memories of yummy smells and delicious food. I’m sure I saw a very similar one in the Bake Off tent recently too!

The kids and I put it to the test with a simple biscuit recipe from the Queen of Bake Off herself, Mary Berry. As LM is mainly in a play and explore mode she had her own little bowl of ingredients to,  erm,  have fun with, while Monkey and I got on with the serious baking in our gorgeous new bowl. PhotoGrid_1473080336913

The bowl was perfect and once the dough was ready I rolled it out and the kids helped make some biscuits in the shape of stars and, um, stormtroopers. Haha, probably not quite the shape Mary Berry had in mind when creating this recipe! PhotoGrid_1473080736068

Once they had baked it was time to decorate with simple water icing and sprinkles. I was pleasantly surprised how LM did with the sprinkles actually and some actually made their way into the biscuits! By this point Monkey was far more interested in eating the ingredients than helping any more!PhotoGrid_1473081094949

I love baking with the kids but it can seriously stress me out at times too trying to actually end up with something edible by the end haha. Hence keeping it simple with the recipe, but don’t be fooled by the seemingly perfect serene images, I was definitely irritable by the end. The clean up too, argh! 20160902_104008

One of my favourite things about our new bowl though is that it can be washed in the dishwasher! Hooray! That is such a must for me these days. Even though Monkey had basically licked it clean it went in the dishwasher with all the other bits meaning I could give the kitchen itself a good clean up without leaving the kids to their own devices for too long.

Thanks House of Fraser, our new bowl is the perfect addition to our kitchen!

Disclosure: we received this bowl foc in exchange for this review, however all thoughts, opinions and images are my own.

Visiting Auntie Maggie

My parents are both from South West London and when I was growing up we spent a lot of time there visiting my grandparents and aunt and uncle. As such it holds a special place in my heart and there are lots of memories based there. My lovely Auntie Maggie still lives there and as we hadn’t been down for about a year we decided to take a few days down there.

We met Maggie at National Trust Claremont Gardens. Somewhere I had apparently been as a child though I don’t remember. (My memory for specifics is pretty awful!) It was a stunning place to explore and we had a lovely lovely day. PhotoGrid_1472762044121

Then it was back to Maggie’s and after the kids’ tea we took a walk over to the common. Cannon Hill Common is somewhere that will always hold a lot of memories. My grandparents lived on one side and my aunt and uncle on the other. We often walked between the two, went to see the ducks on the lake and to play on the play park. It was really nice to share it with hubs and the kids and we had such a nice evening walk. The kids particularly loved having a good climb on some fallen tree trunks as the sun went down.PhotoGrid_1472762350041

The next morning we decided to visit Deen City Farm which wasn’t too far away. A lovely little farm which is free to enter and has numerous lovely animals to see including pigs, chickens, cows, goats and even an Alpaca! You can cuddle some Guinea pigs, bunnies or ferrets for a couple of pound and there is a nice play area too. Unfortunately we had a pair of incredibly cranky kids that morning so we didn’t stay too long, but it was lovely!PhotoGrid_1472762803623

We decided to have a slightly chilled afternoon and our Little Madam really needed a nap (having gone about 3 days without one) so hung out at Maggie’s for a while. We did some drawing and tries to teach the kids to play boules in the garden.PhotoGrid_1472763062607

Monkey had a snuggle on the sofa with daddy while LM thankfully had a nap which she really needed. On our trip to the common the previous day we had seen lots of blackberries and had promised Monkey we would return to do some picking, so when LM had woken up a bit we headed back to the common. We got a fab haul and Monkey and LM had such a lovely sibling moment together, walking through the woods holding hands.PhotoGrid_1472818594080

We aimed for the play park on the common and were pleasantly surprised to find the paddling pools there filled, both with water and with children! We were totally unprepared but it was so hot there was no keeping LM out of there, and Monkey soon followed. Honestly it was the happiest I had seen the kids in days being able to cool off in the water, even fully clothed haha.PhotoGrid_1472820049939

That evening we had a bit of a disaster. While showering the kids (as Maggie doesn’t have a bath) Hubs unfortunately managed to pull a bit of the shower off the wall, sending water everywhere. He got it back together and we thought that was the end of it until water began pouring through the ceiling! Nightmare! After a bit of panic initially we had a glass or 2 of wine and had dinner and waited for a plumber to come out. He helped put our minds at ease that it was back together properly and there would be no more leaks. Turns out there was a screw missing which is why it came off so easily so it wasn’t entirely hubs fault!PhotoGrid_1472820111655

The next morning I went for a lovely run across the common while the kids had some scrumpy boiled eggs for breakfast. Then it was back to the common for a visit to the play area before packing up and heading home after lunch.

We had such a lovely few days, albeit with some difficult moments with some cranky children. But that’s normal really, especially when we were so busy and it was so hot and sunny! I thought Maggie would be glad of the peace once we left but apparently it is very quiet without us. We will just have to go again soon won’t we!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Best of Worst
Monkey and Mouse

Buying Boy’s School Shoes at Brantano

Well it’s that time. I’ve been putting it off for fear the Monkey’s feet would grow the second I’ve bought some, but the time has come to buy some shoes for school as he starts in just a couple of weeks.

Monkey’s feet didn’t grow for over a year but looking at him in his sandals I had an inkling that they had grown so we popped to our local Brantano to get his feet measured and have a look at the range.20160831_190147

We’ve been to Clarks most often before and they are great but they are also so expensive. I have discussed with friends before how you feel you have to get shoes from Clarks in order to be a good mum. Sounds daft when I write it down but then anything to do with parenting guilt often sounds daft in reality yet nonetheless feels very real. I must get my child’s shoes from Clarks so their feet can grow properly. Bonkers as of course other shoes are fine too but there we are. I was ready to try somewhere else though.

20160828_100250The ladies in Brantano were very helpful. Monkey did well with getting his feet measured, and yes, they have grown, he is now a size 11. Thankfully his width is standard now as that was another reason we used to go to Clarks as he had very wide feet when he was small and there were very few places that stocked shoes in his width. So much easier now they are more average width!

Measurement done we headed to the range of boy’s school shoes to have a look and try some on. There was a variety of different price ranges and some with cool characters on. I knew I wanted leather shoes as Monkey’s feet sweat in his non-leather trainers and he is going to be wearing these shoes a lot. The other thing I was conscious of was that the school had said that they must be black school shoes and not trainers. To he honest with the Velcro fastening and grippy soles they all look like trainers to me so I was scratching my head a bit!20160828_101135

Still, we tried a couple of pairs on and eventually went for a mid-range pair with leather uppers for £26. Not too crazy expensive but enough that I am pleased with their quality (and can quieten that mum guilt). They fit nicely and Monkey was really pleased with them, job done, phew!PhotoGrid_1472669050924

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I received payment for writing it. However all thoughts, opinions and photographs are entirely my own.

Me and Mine August 2016

I love my little family. We have had such a lovely summer and I just feel so lucky sometimes to be the mummy of my two gorgeous kiddies and partner of my wonderful hubby. Of course,  life isn’t perfect (as perfect doesn’t exist) but it is pretty close.  The kids drive me bonkers pretty frequently and hubs and I bicker about the usual day to day stuff and wind each other up, but in general life is good.

The kids are growing up so much and I know people say it doesn’t get easier, that the challenges are just different as they grow, and I get that, I do. But personally, I find the challenges of a toddler and a preschooler (almost at school, eek) easier to manage than the challenges of a baby and a toddler. I just do.

I feel incredibly lucky when our kids are just playing happily together and we are all having a lovely time together. It’s everything I’ve ever hoped for really.

Ok, going to stop the soppiness now and get to our Me and Mine shot for this month. Taken by our friend Chris, the lovely hubby of the equally lovely Sarah at Run, Jump, Scrap. We had a lovely day at their gorgeous Gremlin’s birthday party and Chris snapped this gorgeous shot of our little family. LM isn’t smiling which is a shame but that’s toddlers for you and it doesn’t detract from how lovely the piccy is. Thanks Chris! IMG-20160828-WA0018

The Me and Mine Project