Birthday Celebrations

My word this week is a great one, it is Celebrations, because we have had a week full of birthday celebrations!

Last week my little big boy Monkey turned 3! Sadly the poor thing was terribly poorly (believe me, poorly could easily have been this week’s word too as we have all been suffering) with a stonking cold and conjunctivitis, so it was a very chilled out birthday at home with a visit from his grandparents for lunch and an uncle & aunt in the early evening.

Monkey birthday 1

Saturday was the big celebration though with lots of family round for his party. He was so excited bless him and even though he was nowhere near 100% he was feeling a lot better, though by then poor hubs was really suffering. I made a Lightning McQueen cake, which didn’t work out quite as I hoped it would, but you could tell what it was meant to look like and Monkey loved it (and everyone said it tasted nice) so that’s all that matters.

Monkey's birthday party

It was a lovely family day with yummy food and lots of fun :) Monkey was a lucky boy with lots of very lovely pressies and lots of attention from all his favourite people. We spent most of the time inside until Monkey commanded that we all went outside. “Let’s go outside, with Mummy and Daddy and Lots of Family!” When people weren’t forthcoming he stood in the doorway shouting “come on everybody!” lol love him.

Sunday was a fairly chilled day at home then Monday saw more birthday celebrations for my Father-in-law’s birthday. Another lovely happy family day at Grangranny and Granddaddy’s house.

Before we left we had got out a bag of hand-me-down clothes for LM who is growing all the time and found this gorgeous little tutu. I just couldn’t resist dressing her in it and she looked so cute in it! Granny loved her little pink princess and LM was so good even though she was really coming down with the cold by then and had conjunctivitis too.Granddaddy's birthday

Thursday saw the celebrations continue with one of Monkey’s friends turning 4 and a birthday party at a soft play centre. It got off to a very bad start with Monkey throwing the mother of all tantrums as he didn’t want to go. He screamed continuously in the car and made himself sick. I was so stressed and so angry…. but thankfully he perked up a little when he saw some friends and a piece of cake later he was much better and had great fun on the soft play. All that stress and hassle for absolutely no reason, toddlers eh?

Thankfully two of my best Mummy friends were there (we missed our very heavily pregnant friend that makes up our foursome but at nearly 40wks pregnant she understandably couldn’t make it!) and they helped remind me that they have had days like it with their kids recently too and as always it’s just nice to support each other. LM was cute again in her tutu and it was fun, though obviously ever so slightly chaotic with a bunch of kids at soft play! I was shattered by the end of it but Monkey was happy and we did have a lovely time so I am very glad we went.

soft play party 2

This marks the end of a couple of months full of birthdays of family members and friends. In April we have 6 and in May there are 8! (there may be a 9th depending on when my friend’s baby arrives) So it is full of fun but also is a lot of birthdays in a short space of time. There are only 2 in June and none in July so I have to admit it will be nice to have less birthdays to think about for a while.

Do you have a time of year where there are more birthdays than any other?

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Children’s clothes from House of Fraser

We have quite a lot of friends with slightly older kiddies so get a lot of hand-me-down clothes for Monkey and LM, which is great as so many are barely worn. But sometimes it is lovely to choose clothes for them myself. To pick something I want them to wear. So when House of Fraser got in touch and asked me to review some clothes for the kiddies again I couldn’t resist.

House of Fraser as a department store says luxury to me, and so traditionally isn’t somewhere I have thought of when looking for children’s clothes. But boy was I wrong as they have so many lovely bits to choose from and the prices are not astronomical either.

With Monkey’s birthday coming up I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Little Criminal shirt he could wear for his family birthday party. He is in t-shirts a lot of the time and it was lovely to see him in this lovely shirt as he looks so grown up! I love the colours too and it looks perfect with his purple trousers.

Little Criminal shirt

For LM I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Pumpkin Patch dress. Two of my favourite colours are purple and teal (and these colours were the theme for our wedding in fact) so I just thought this was gorgeous.

pumpkin patch dress

I tend to prefer jersey dresses for her day to day as they are a bit more flexible and comfy but for a special occasion this is lovely and with it being cotton it is very lightweight so is perfect for a warm sunny day.

Even with these two little beauties I still had room in the budget they gave me for a third item! So I chose this cute little octopus t-shirt by name it, a brand I had not heard of before. It is such a lovely t-shirt and is a lot more closely fitting than any of Monkey’s other t-shirts.

name it tshirt

It’s a lovely fit actually and more like the fit hubs wears with his t-shirts, so it makes Monkey look so grown up! We love it :)

I am so pleased with the quality and fit of all of these lovely clothes, and the best bit, all together they come in at under £30, which is brilliant!

We received these clothes free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all words, opinions and images are my own.

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Launch of the new changing bag range from Babymoov

Last week I was very lucky in that I managed to get some real Mummy me-time, a day in London! Not just for anything, but for the launch of the fantastic new range of changing bags by Babymoov. Being mid-week I didn’t think I would be able to go, but knowing I was in need of a break Hubs took charge of the kids for the day and off I trotted to London, very excited to see some lovely bags.

Before the launch I got to have a bit of a mooch round by myself (such a luxury) and had yummy falafel in a very cute Lebanese restaurant near Carnaby Street. All very peaceful and pleasant :)

London

Anyway enough about that, and on to the Babymoov bags, which I am really excited to tell you about because I truly think they have such a fantastic range with something for everyone.

My Bag, My Style

‘My Bag, My Style’ is the theme for the new range, with the idea being that your changing bag should be your bag, your style. A bag that you would have chosen just for you that doesn’t feel like a frumpy changing bag, but that is still every bit as practical. They have designed the range with Mums and Dads in mind and I really think they have a bag for just about everyone and for all occasions.

There are 29 styles in total, ranging in price from £29.99-£79.99 with 7 models each coming in a number of colours and/or patterns. From uber-glam bags that don’t feel like changing bags at all, to large holdalls and some styles which make perfect changing bags for Dads to use.

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The whole range of bags come with the essentials, an insulated bottle holder, soother holder, wet clothes bag and the changing mat, which always has it’s own outside pocket/storage space which I love. It may sound daft but any parent will know it is not always easy getting a changing mat back inside a very full bag, so having a place to put it without having to do that is a real plus in my book. All the bags come with a lifetime warranty as standard too.

My favourites

WP_20150519_15_08_48_Pro (2)My absolute favourite in the range has to be the Glitter bag, and I was lucky enough to be able to take one of these beauties home with me (cue girlish squeal!). It is just gorgeous and does not feel at all like a changing bag.

It looks and feels like a luxurious handbag and some of my non-Mummy friends have said that they wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a bag.

Inside though it is every bit the practical changing bag with plenty of pockets and space to keep all the nappies & other bits and bobs . Plus of course the coordinating essentials and shoulder strap.

It is so roomy and although it looks very similar in size to my current changing bag, when I transferred everything across it felt a lot more spacious and much less crammed in! (With two kiddies still in nappies I have a lot of stuff in there!)

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WP_20150519_13_37_19_ProAnother style that I absolutely love is the Messenger bag. I think this style is so perfect for Dads as it is so unassuming and again just looks like a normal bag.

I know Hubs would much rather carry round one of these than the girly bags I prefer so we may well have to get him one. It’s not just for Dads though as it comes in different colours and styles to suit different personalities.

glober-changing-bag

image courtesy of babymoov.co.uk

The Glober bag is also worth a mention as I love the idea of a backpack changing bag. I think this bag would be perfect when you are out and about with active toddlers as you can have your hands free but still have everything you need.

This would also be perfect for anyone with back troubles as the weight can be distributed more evenly. This would have been perfect when I was pregnant with LM because of my SPD.

I was under orders from my physio not to carry a bag on one shoulder so used a my normal backpacks, but it just didn’t have the necessary pockets and useful bits so this would have been much more handy. Again it comes in a variety of colours and patterns, from an assuming grey to lovely bright patterns.

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The range also includes:

  • The City bag, which is another glamorous handbag style changing bag which also comes with a handy change purse. and stroller harness.
  • The Traveller is a large holdall which would be perfect to take away on holiday,or to use as a hospital bag.
  • The Essential bag is a simple design which would be great to use on days out to the beach etc.
  • The Style bag, which is a lovely handbag design in gorgeous patterns and colours.

I had a lovely day in London and really enjoyed hte launch of this fantastic range of changing bags, perfect Mummy me-time!

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I received the Babymoov Glitter bag in return for attending the launch of the range however all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Little Miss at 7 months

Another month has gone by, it is amazing how quick they are flying, and how big LM is getting now! She is so lively and inquisitive and though still hard work at times, we are getting to the fun stage of playing and her being able to entertain herself a little, even briefly! I’m obviously biased but she is just gorgeous too :)

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The biggest development this month has to be that she is now sitting and is much more stable. She still topples occasionally (as she did a couple of days ago, boinking her head on the floor, making me feel like a terrible mummy) but for the most part we surround her with cushions to help her and then she can sit happily for ages. It makes her feel much less like a tiny ‘baby’ it really does.

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She is so fascinated by the world around her and while most things still end up in her mouth, she will sit and inspect things too. Anything within reach, even a pack of baby wipes, is intriguing to her! She was sat in the conservatory the other day and she was absolutely mesmerised by the trees outside, and when we got caught in the rain on a playgroup run she was absolutely fascinated by the water droplets on the rain cover on the buggy.

The less positive big change this month is the return of her reflux which regular readers will know has been causing me some problems. The gaviscon we had left over from the last time helped the reflux but made her horribly constipated, poor thing, but the Dr really didn’t want to try anything else. Giving us the ‘they’re not constipated unless they haven’t pooed for 3 days’ line and telling us to give her plenty of fluids. A bit of pushy parent persuasion later and she finally agreed to trying ranitidine (she insisted that the side effects are the same but I thought it was surely worth a try). And whaddaya know, no reflux and no constipation (touch wood)!

So we shall see what happens with that. We are moving forward with her weaning and doing a combined purée and baby-led approach. I know many BL weaners will argue that it isn’t babyled if you are doing it this way, but as with anything I think different things work for different babies and parents and this seems to work for us. She is hungry so often needs some purée in her tummy so she doesn’t get frustrated but then loves picking up the finger food and figuring out how to eat it, and she is so good at chewing already too.

She still adores her brother and beams as soon as she sees him. He makes her laugh much more than we do and he doesn’t even have to try!

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She loves being in her walker, scooting about the house, following her big brother and just having a bit of freedom to move I think. Plus I’m convinced that it is helping her tummy s she has even pooed in her nappy a few times now, which is very unusual for us (yes, odd I know, she prefers to do it with her nappy off!).

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She’s awake for longer and longer periods now and I am hoping she will settle into a two nap routine with the way things are going at the moment… but it is too soon to tell and she has a bit of a cold at the mo which is affecting her sleep too.. so we shall see I think! Fingers crossed though as that would be amazing!

A few other random bits, her second tooth is well on the way now, she hates having her feet touch grass (and lifts her legs if you try and put her feet down which I think is really amusing), and I swear she is the loudest baby on the planet when she starts chatting away or moaning. Honestly, she likes to make herself heard! I carry her around on my hip a lot and sounds weird but I almost forget she is there if I am talking to someone else, so she has learnt to make her presence felt by joining in with the conversation!

I think that is about everything I cna think of.. I havent had her weighed yet this month, I was going to go on Thurs but Monkey was so so poorly it wasn’t an option!

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The Yorkshire Coast: Whitby & Runswick Bay

When  you think holiday, you very often think seaside or beach. Not all holidays of course but they do seem synonymous. For our holiday to Yorkshire I knew that most of our days would be spent exploring the countryside inland, but, Monkey does love the seaside so I wanted to see what the Yorkshire coast offered us in terms of beautiful beaches, and we were not disappointed.

We kept an eye on the weather forecast and chose the best day weather-wise to head to the coast, as we knew it may be a little chilly or breezy compared to inland. First stop was Whitby. Hubs had been before many years ago but I had never been and it was a gorgeous day and Whitby is a lovely seaside town and really picturesque.

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It is also very hilly! We were in Yorkshire so I know I shouldn’t be surprised but pushing the buggy up some of the steep hills definitely gave my legs a good workout compared to the flats area that we live in! We loved the view from the clifftops down to the lovely beach below and across to the aAbbey. After visiting Fountains Abbey we decided not to see Whitby Abbey up close and focused on the town itself, having a lovely wander round, and we stopped at a gorgeous child friendly café for lunch.

Whitby

We then headed a little further North up the coast towards a little place I had found called Runswick Bay. A lovely small fishing village in beautiful enclosed bay with a gorgeous sandy beach. It was a lovely day and with the bay being enclosed we were very protected from any coastal breezes and had a lovely time.

Runswick Bay

It was LM’s first time on a beach and she was good as gold lying in the shade of our wind protector while Monkey and Daddy had a whale of a time making castles and exploring the beach.

Runswick Bay 2

It was such a beautiful spot and I was so glad we found it. The hill to get to the beach is massively steep though so worth bearing that in mind when thinking about carrying things/children.

 

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Monkey turns 3…

My little Monkey turns 3 this week and I can’t quite believe it.

Monkey is 3

Three years since I became a Mummy! I look at him running around and chatting and singing and lolloping like a teenager and I wonder where he came from. Do you ever feel like that? My friends look at me like I am potty when I say that, but sometimes I find it hard to  reconcile him with the baby that was created inside me.

Don’t worry I am not going to get all deep or profound, I just want to make a little record of everything that makes Monkey Monkey, as he turns three. The good and the bad. As he simultaneously amazes and frustrates me on a daily basis!

A lot has happened in the past year and he really has grown up so much, sometimes he seems so mature… but of course he is still a little tot really. Considering the fact that he was barely speaking at all this time last year, his speech is incredible now and improving all the time. We are suddenly realising that a lot of his babyish pronunciations are being replaced by the correct word. For example “cuityet,” became “biscuityet” and is now “Biscuit.”

He now questions everything ‘What you doing?’ ‘Where’s daddy?’ and my most recent favourite ‘What’s it all about guys?’ to hubs and I – not sure where he picked up that one! Like a sponge he is picking up words and phrases all the time and parroting them back, sometimes in the right context but not always! He is really trying to grasp the concept of time too, and sometimes he gets it right ‘we saw Uncle Simon yesterday’ and other times not ‘I went to play group tomorrow’ or ‘we going to the traypark (playpark) yesterday ‘

His imagination is amazing and just growing all of the time. He held up a piece of bread the other day and announced ‘look it’s a whale’ (and it was very whale shaped) then took a bite and said ‘now it’s a boat!’ In the same way that he saw a whale in his slice of bread, he sees letters everywhere too, in shapes that form in his bath bubbles, in the sand pit and in the lentils we play with. He loves letters but has retained his love of numbers too, randomly counting to 40 on a family walk, and reading the side of a measuring jug we are playing with, so he recognises numbers in the hundreds and thousands!

His imagination is helping at playtime too, playing with trains the other day he grabbed some cuddly toys and announced ‘tickets please’ and made them all give him pretend tickets, and he gives all his toys voices too which is just adorable. On another occasion, we had loads of fun playing with his motorbike outside where he wheeled up to my ‘petrol station’ (the swing) and paid me to fill up the tank (using a bubble wand) then I had to give him his keys, hehe. Almost everything has the potential to be a rocket ship too… with crayons, toy screws, cars and all sorts being vooshed around the house until I made him a very basic rocket which he loves!

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He sings all the time and at the moment his favourites are the Postman Pat and Bob the Builder theme tunes, which he knows pretty much word perfectly (even if it does sound a little like ‘Postman Pat is a black and white cat’ sometimes).

He is such a caring little boy for the most part frequently giving us all (including LM) cuddles and saying ‘I love you so much’ which melts my heart everytime. He quite often asks us ‘are you ok?’ and when he is playing with cars now tells me to be careful so I don’t slip… potentially as a result of seeing me slip more than once!

He loves helping (which is great as it is often a good way to persuade him to do something) and particularly loves helping Daddy in the garden.

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He also loves making his sister laugh, which is lovely.

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On the flipside he is going through a fearful phase and seems to have a little separation anxiety. He has been having ‘bad dreams’ and getting scared of things he isn’t usually afraid of, including episodes of Postman Pat that he was watched many many times before.He says he misses us when he goes to playgroup and gets upset about going even though he does have fun when he is there. He is increasingly jealous of LM now and wants our attention when we are looking after her. Again getting upset at times which is hard.

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He had to go in the buggy so he could play with the toys that are there for LM!

 

But then he is so contrary too and sometimes when we give him our attention he doesn’t want to know… but of course when we are busy he desperately wants our attention. He would swear black is white sometimes and if we say no we don’t have something, he will insist we do, which when we really don’t is incredibly frustrating! Though I suspect he is just being a normal three year old so try not to let it irk me too much.

Although we have times where he drives me a bit crazy, for the most part he is such a lovely little boy and I am so proud of him and I can’t quite believe he is my little boy.

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Making some positive changes

Positive changesRegular readers will know that I didn’t have the best week last week… by a long shot. I was feeling lower than I have felt in a long time and couldn’t see what my next step should be I felt I was sinking fast but a bit of a breakdown including much crying, and a very cathartic blog post… and I feel much better.

Friday was a pivotal moment. I got so angry with Monkey about not eating his lunch and really flew off the handle, which just isn’t like me at all. Hubs came home in the midst of this and took Monkey to playgroup, at which point I sat and sobbed as I felt awful. I didn’t like my behaviour at all and I think I knew I couldn’t allow myself to be like that all of the time.

I think it was a bit of a shock for hubs too seeing just how upset and angry I was and he really realised how much I have been struggling recently. Since then my mood has gradually improved and all I can say is that I don’t feel the same. I feel lighter and much more positive.

I have to give a huge thank you at this point to all of you wonderfully supportive readers out there. You have to take a lot of credit for helping me put things in perspective. I am so so grateful for the support of the blogging community and I don’t know where I would be without my blog. The tips, advice and just moral support I received from everyone has buoyed my confidence and helped me move on from the hole I was in.

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Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire

One of the things I was really looking forward to on our little holiday to Yorkshire recently, was visiting some good castles. I love a good castle, the scale, the history, I just find them fascinating. Our base for the week was near Thirsk so we were not far away from the North York Moors. On the southern border of the moors is the small town of Helmsley, home to Helmsley Castle. I thought it looked like a good place to visit, especially as it was only around 20 mins from our holiday cottage.

What I hadn’t realised, from the little research I did, was quite how close to the town it was, with the ruin of one tower very much looming over the town – this tower was an addition, actually built solely to intimidate the residents of the town.

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I have to admit we struggled a little to find the castle. Obviously we could see it as we drove into Helmsley but was very unclear how to actually get to it. Signs for parking in a couple of places but nothing that actually said parking for the castle, which would have been helpful! So if you go, look out for signs for “Long Stay” parking and that will take you to the right place.

On arrival there is a lovely model of how the castle used to look, and there are a couple of different routes you can take to enter the castle – with LM in the buggy we were advised to take the slightly longer, accessible route, which led us to the barbican where there are some very cool bronzed statues.

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Monkey had a fab time running around, exploring and climbing on the castle walls.

Helmsley Castle 1

There were places where hand-holding was a must, especially walking around the edge of the moat, and inside the fallen tower, to make sure he didn’t do himself a mischief. It was a grey morning when we arrived but the sun thankfully came out and after looking inside at some of the well preserved rooms we had a nice little picnic.

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With the sun fully out and LM having a nap we then had a lot of fun spinning in the sunshine, chasing bubbles and generally just having a lovely time with Monkey.

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We then wandered into Helmsley itself which is a gorgeous little market town with lots of lovely little shops and tea rooms where you could happily while away some time.

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Visitor Information

Helmsley Castle is managed by English Heritage and you can find the opening times and prices here. At time of writing it was £6 per adult, £3.60 per child and under 5s go free (perfect for us). We thought this was an ok price was as we didn’t find there was enough there to stay the whole day.

There is a shop but no refreshments available so take a picnic, or you can easily walk into Helmsley itself where there are plenty of tea shops and cafes to choose from.

As mentioned above the parking signs are terrible and don’t mention the castle at all, but follow signs for “Long Stay” parking and you should find it!

Do you and your kids like exploring castle ruins?

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