My Birthday Celebrations

I’m a bit late writing this up because we had a bit of a week last week with poorliness and I just wasn’t in the mood for blogging really. We are all still pretty poorly but I wanted to write again so here we are. Last week was my birthday! I turned 33 and honestly while on the one hand I don’t care, age is just a number and a birthday is just another day, on the other hand I do love birthdays. It is nice to have an excuse to treat someone you love (or be treated) and to celebrate and get together with the people you love most. So I will always celebrate my birthday.

The day before my birthday my stepdad baby-sat LM for me so I could get my hair cut which is always a real treat. My hair actually looks nice as it ha been styled by someone who knows what they are doing haha. That evening hubs and I went out for a meal. A Christmas present from my brother and sister in law was vouchers for Carluccios and the offer of babysitting for the evening. As we hadn’t used it yet we decided to use it for my birthday! PhotoGrid_1462218721835

We had a lovely time, yummy food, prosecco, wine, and really enjoyed ourselves. My sister in law was very surprised to see us home by 10 but let’s face it that is late for us haha! We had a nice catch up with them for a bit and it was a lovely evening.

The next day was my birthday and quite a lot of time was spent preparing for a bbq with lots of family and friends coming over. It was hard work and stressful and hubs did ask at one point of it was worth it. The answer? Yes of course!

We had wondered all week whether the weather would be kind to us, and for the most part it really was. There was one or two showers early on but they didn’t last long and for the rest of the afternoon the sun shone for us. Everyone seemed to have fun and enjoyed the food and it was just a lovely afternoon with nearly all of my favourite people. PhotoGrid_1462219213038PhotoGrid_1462219571416

The house was a tip afterwards and we write all shattered but it was so lovely getting everyone together and I was so glad the weather held out for us.

So that’s me another year older (even though I am sure I stopped aging at 24…that was a good age haha). Do you celebrate birthdays? And do you enjoy hosting get togethers, even with all the work that is involved?

And then the fun began...
Mummascribbles
Best of Worst

Seeing the world through her eyes

One of the things I love most about being a mum, and a Stay at Home mum especially, is being able to watch the kids grow and learn right in front of my eyes. With Monkey at the moment this is so tangible as his vocabulary is coming along so well, and he is learning to read and write. With Little Miss it is a little more subtle but she is learning so much every day about the world around her… And I love to see to see the world through her eyes as to her everything is new, and everything is fascinating.

She wants to stop and investigate every twig, bush, flower, puddle, feather, anything really. It is so cute, but does mean that it takes a long time to get anywhere!PhotoGrid_1462108592132

Especially as even when she has decided she has looked at something enough and walks away, she very often has to pop back for another look… Just to make sure haha. Definitely time consuming! Here’s a little clip to show you what I mean.

She’s also discovered more about herself lately. She loves investigating her tummy button and finds it hilarious, and wonderful, to see herself in the mirror. She’s so cute doing this and it’s lovely to see her kiss herself, give herself a high five and laugh at seeing her reflection.PhotoGrid_1462115581071

She’s also discovering her hands more and was so sweet on a walk a few days ago discovering that she could hide her hands in her sleeve and then find them again.

One last clip of her to show where I tried to show her a sticky plant.. And, well you will see her reaction.

She cracks me up.

Don’t you just love seeing the world through their eyes?

Ethans Escapades#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
Life UnexpectedCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Me & Mine April 2016

Another month over, blimey where is this year going eh? itsle it just doesn’t feel like it is nearly May as it is so cold out there. Makes the few warm days we’ve had feel like a dream or something!

Just a short one as it has been a bit of a week with hubs, LM and I all a little under the weather and coughing all night so not sleeping too well.

Anyway I had hoped to get some lovely shots of our little family from my birthday bbq last weekend, but that just didn’t happen as it was very busy and a lot of fun. Thankfully though I did get some shots of us all on our visit to the local Bluebell Woods at the beginning of the month.

They aren’t the shots I imagined in my head but they are sunny and happy with lovely bluebells in the background.20160409152431 20160409152350 20160409152307

Hopefully the weather will warm up this month and we will manage some more family shots for next months installment of me & mine.

The Me and Mine Project

Little Miss is 18 mths old

Wow, so our gorgeous, clever little lady is 18mths old. I can’t believe it as the last 6 months have seriously flown by and she really is growing into a little girl before our eyes. Our baby girl is just not a baby anymore and that’s a scary thought.18 mths

So what is she up to? Well in many ways she’s not changed that much since my update last month, but in other ways she really is developing and changing so much all of the time.

So similarities first. She is still fiercely independent and loves to go her own way when we are out on walks. She is still absolutely obsessed with puddles and it can be seriously hard to get her away from one she is having fun splashing in. Cue screaming and tantrums and kicking off wellies as she certainly knows how to let us know her displeasure! She’s also discovered daisies this month too which really slows down our walks!PhotoGrid_1461566330322

Her communication is one area where she has really developed this month. We still don’t have many words but it really feels like she is on the cusp as there are lots of *almost* words. Still duck, hiya, mama, da-de (somewhere between dada and daddy), dat (that) but also approximations of no (nananananananana at increasing volume), yes, wow, out, down, boots, and my mum is convinced she has said car too. Aside from the words she is really good at letting us know what she wants and getting us to do her bidding. She has an ‘ayow’ noise, which accompanied by a hand wave, means “get me that” or “I want that” or “hold my hand” or basically “help me with this” which we have to interpret depending on the situation!

We are getting good at this but she does expect everyone to be able to understand her too. She is such a little attention seeker actually and loves getting people to do her bidding. On play dates she will always try and persuade (by taking their hands, saying ayow and leading them to where she wants) other mums to help her, even when she doesn’t really need helping! She is such a flirt too and positively beams at people and is learning that helps her get what she wants. Especially with her softy uncles who all adore her!

She has also developed some other really cute hand movements. She loves playing hide and seek (thankfully as Monkey insists on playing at least once a day) and is so cute when she holds her hands up and looks around in imitation of us saying “where’s he gone?”. She also does a similar hand movement when she has done something she is proud of. So when she has put some puzzle pieces in, or I’ve helped her finish something, and it is lovely seeing her so proud of herself. The other hand movement she has learned this month is a high five. She loves giving people high fives and generally has to give a high five to everyone in the building!PhotoGrid_1461585348189

Her personality is developing so much and she loves to laugh and loves trying to make people laugh. She’s actually a bit of a show off, running around and spinning and beaming at people who come to visit. As I mentioned she is an attention seeker so she likes going up to people and messing with them. With adults she goes up with a big grin and almost throws herself at them, and with other kids, she likes trying to tickle them and messes with their hair. She constantly does this to her brother and it does make him laugh!

She loves being chased by her brother and by me, and will take any opportunity, especially at nappy change time or when I am trying to get her dressed, to run away giggling! I do indulge her quite a bit as it is gorgeous seeing her so happy while saying “Mummy’s gonna get you..” hehe.PhotoGrid_1461576088907

Because I have felt a bit like I baby her I have been trying to make sure I do lots of activities with her this month. I looked up the activities I did with Monkey at this age and have been trying to do similar with LM. So we have been painting and playing with play doh which she loves. I’ve also got some puzzles and very simple jigsaws out and she loves having a go at those.PhotoGrid_1461585495955

We’ve also made a bit of a change this month and have moved from the high chair to a booster chair at the big table.
She was in the high chair far longer than Monkey and has always been happy in there but lately less so. She loves sitting at the big table with us and positively beams at Daddy and I during dinner which is amazing. Food wise we are going through a bit of a fussy stage with her unfortunately. I had hoped that baby led weaning would have maybe prevented this but I really hope she doesn’t get as bad as her brother was at this age. So far she still adores fruit, ans she likes what she likes. So meals we have frequently, such as tortellini in pasta sauce, curry, Thai curry, falafel, cheese on toast, soups, carbonara etc, she loves and will tuck into. Anything we haven’t had for a while or anything new she just will not try and it generally ends up on he floor. Seeing a plate of lovely food fly across the room is so frustrating but I am trying to rise above and give her just one or two bits at a time to throw and hope she gets the taste for it! She’s even started pulling apart trusty fish fingers so she will eat the breaded bits around the edge but not the fish despite previously loving them. So frustrating! She does have a good diet so I am trying not to stress but it drives me mad too and I hate having such fussy eaters.20160412_170840

Anyway back to happier things, as I mentioned above she loves puddles but basically she loves water in all its forms. She adores water play and watering the garden. We have done water painting which she was brilliant at and she adores bathtime fun in the bath. To be honest she would be happy playing with water most of the day I think haha and at least it is an easy activity to clean up.PhotoGrid_1461581799751

She also adores just going for a walk. She frequently finds her wellies or a pair of shoes and is actually amazing at getting them on herself which I am dead impressed by. She then presents me with my shoes and I know it is time to go out. She can walk for ages and we have braved a few short walks without the buggy as she can walk a good long way now when she is in the mood. The buggy does help though if I need to get her away from a puddle!PhotoGrid_1461585791928

She loves visiting our friends next door who have a trampoline in the garden and she lives bouncing on there. Their 8 yr old is also really really good with her and gives her loads of attention which she also loves. We joke that she is going to be a gymnast when she is older as she loves being upside down and being flipped over and helped to do role poleys. It’s a bit barmy actually as she even likes lying back and being upside down in the shopping trolley, looney girl! She loves climbing and unfortunately after copying some older children now likes climbing up the slide, which means I have to really watch her and make sure she goes up the steps rather than the slide itself! She’s also teaching herself how to use Monkey’s scooter which is cute and a bit amazing to me as Monkey’s only really got good in the last year. They really are such different children.PhotoGrid_1461586218971

These updates are never the most eloquent of prose as I keep adding bits as I remember them, and I know that they are a bit picture heavy, but I hope one day she will like to read what she was up to at this age. She is a force to be reckoned with at times and has the loveliest smile that just melts the heart of anyone she bestows it on.18 mths 2

She drives me potty at times but I adore her all of the time.

Little Hearts, Big Love#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayEthans Escapades

Sunshine on a rainy day with Trespass

I have a new love. My new raincoat from Trespass, the Stormcloud Women’s waterproof jacket. It surprises me as I honestly never thought I would find a raincoat that I like as much as this one.PhotoGrid_1460982487665

I am pear-shaped, meaning my bottom and thighs are approximately 2 sizes larger than my top half. My top half is currently a 12, but my lower half is a size 16. This makes buying any item of clothing for my whole body incredibly difficult. With coats, it means that in order for the bottom to fit, the top section is usually incredibly baggy and unflattering. My previous rain coat I have had for around 10 years and it has been around the world with me, but it is so unflattering and makes me look huge. I have wanted a new raincoat for ages but honestly didn’t know where to start or whether to bother as any I’ve tried have been the same.

20160407_182211I am so glad that Trespass got in touch and invited me to look at their ladies waterproof range as I was so impressed. There were a couple I was tempted by but the shape of the Stormcloud jacket looked to be exactly what I was after. Long enough to keep me nice and dry, but still flattering. I have still had to order a large size for it to fit around my bottom, but the difference is that this coat gives me some shape. It has pull-cords at the waist which I can adjust to fit me and it means that for once I have a raincoat that doesn’t look like I am wearing a tent!It also has what I am calling a ducks tail. A little extra length at the back which I think is very flattering but also useful for sitting on soggy park benches with the kids. I always hate my legs as I feel they are huge but actually think the curved tail to this coat is so flattering that I think it even makes my legs look ok!

The other reason I am surprised how much I love this coat because of the colour. I have never bought a yellow coat before and not sure I would have been brave enough too. But the shape of this coat is what attracted me to it, so after some encouragement from hubs (who loves yellow) I decide to be brave and go for it. It is so bright and colourful and I have been complimented on the colour so many times already. I do feel it draws people’s attention (which isn’t always ideal for an introvert like me) but so far only in a nice way. It makes such a change from a black or blue coat and brightens up the most miserable of days. I had already bought LM a lovely yellow raincoat and it is sweet to be matching!20160407_182223

Features wise it has everything you could want of a rain coat. It is quite thin but that is what I wanted for the spring/summer. I have a winter coat but at this time of year it is too hot so this is perfect as it keeps me dry and helps keep out any cool breezes without making me feel too hot. The hood is perfect, not too big or too small as some can be. It also has an attachment at the back to tie it and make it smaller if need be. I have quite a big head and a lot of hair so for me it is perfect as it is but I do think that could be handy.PhotoGrid_1460984562674

The pockets are huge which is brilliant. I always wind up carrying so much stuff around with me, tissues, half eaten chewy bars, mittens, house keys, my phone and I can even fit one of LM’s drinks bottles which is very handy as we do sometimes go for a stroll without the big buggy and means I don’t have to take a bag. The material of the coat has a lovely texture and isn’t overly plasticky or shiny as some waterproof material can be. Monkey gave it a big seal of approval when he needed a piggy back at the end of a long walk, shouting in my ear “Your coat isn’t slippy! I’m not slipping! Yes! You did it Mummy! Your new coat is lovely and not slippy!” haha definitely the most important feature in his mind.

My one criticism of the coat is the sizing. I have had to buy an XL. I am not at my slimmest at the moment but my lower half is a size 16. Is that really Extra Large? I know labels on clothes don’t really matter and it’s how it fits that matters but if the sizes are as simple as 8 (extra small) 10 (small) 12 (medium) 14 (large) 16 (extra large) can we not just use the numbers rather than labelling the sizes as large or small? Doesn’t do much for the self-image and what if you are larger than a 16? That is the only criticism I can make though and is probably as much a criticism of the entire clothing industry as this particular coat and hardly a reason not to buy it.

So there we have it, my new lovely coat from Trespass, I honestly love it and would recommend it to anyone… In fact I think my best friend is going to get one as she is so impressed too.

I received this coat from Trespass for the purpose of the review however all thoughts, words and images are my own.

We're going on an adventureBest of Worst

Gardening with the Poundland Charlie Dimmock range

We love spending time outside with the kiddies, and not just on days out, but also out in our garden. Some readers may remember that we had a project a couple of years ago to completely renovate our garden. We have been so pleased with the results and spend so much time out there.

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It doesn’t usually look as tidy as this, normally there are toys everywhere but we are getting ready for my birthday bbq this weekend!

It takes maintenance though so there is a lot of time spent gardening which so far the kids love being a part of. So when Poundland got in touch about their new range of gardening tools, the Charlie Dimmock range, I was immediately intrigued. To be honest I was surprised initially as Poundland is not the first place I would think of to buy gardening tools, but the selection they have looked great. We chose a few things we thought we could put to good use and test out then got out in the garden.

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Monkey loves digging and his grandparents recently bought him a plant with his name so he and Daddy set to planting.PhotoGrid_1461244669904

Monkey and I then did some necessary, but let’s face it, unexciting weeding together.PhotoGrid_1461245017185

Even LM got involved and did some digging with her big brother.PhotoGrid_1461244750282

So how did the products do? Pretty good actually considering the price of them. The gloves are a good size and definitely do the job of protecting your hands from the dirt and prickles. The stitching on them isn’t amazing so I can see they probably won’t last you years and years, but then I don’t expect anything I can buy for a pound to last that long and spending £1 on a pair of gloves every now and then wouldn’t be too much of a hardship.

The scoops were really good for digging loose soil and will be very useful for all sorts of things. The brush is just what we needed for cleaning the weeds in the block paving. We had previously bought one from a leading diy chain for around £5 which snapped in two. This much cheaper version is already doing better than that one.

The trowel and other tools do what they say on the tin. As with the gloves the quality may not be amazing, the trowel is a bit bendy in hard earth or when digging vigourously, but again, for the price you really can’t complain and they do the job. There are a couple of bits that we are yet to try out but they see, to be of a similar standard and no doubt they will come in useful.

On the whole I am really impressed with the Charlie Dimmock gardening range from Poundland and am pleasantly surprised. I will definitely consider Poundland next time we need some gardening supplies.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallWe're going on an adventureLife Unexpected

I get by, with a little help from my friends

My word of the week this week, is friends, because I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful friends have in my life and honestly don’t know how I would cope without them!

Last Friday night my closest Mummy friends and I got together for a much needed catch up and meal out. We all worked together pre-children and since having our little munchkins we have gotten so close. We share the ups and the downs and though we really are all quite different, we support each other and are 100% there for each other. As one of my friends put it the other night, we are so lucky we found each other. It had been far too long since our last catch up without children and I hope we don’t leave it so long next time. We got things off our chests, shared the highs and lows of life lately and gave each other a good talking to where needed. Love my girls and I felt so happy and chilled afterwards.

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I’ve also had some lovely time with some newer mummy friends this week and play dates with their little ones. Since Monkey started our local preschool I have gotten to know a few of the local mums. I am a bit of an introvert so find the playground mums thing really awkward but there are a couple of mums I really get on with. One in particular introduced me to someone as the first mummy friend she had met who she would have been friends with pre-children, which I was really touched by. She and I really click which is lovely as her eldest will be in Monkey’s class at primary school, so I think we have many years of friendship ahead of us! Some of the other mummies I chat to on the playgroup run are equally lovely and sometimes just those few mins chatting at the beginning and end of the day, sharing trials and tribulations really can make so much difference to how I feel at the end of the day.

Screenshot_20160420-205641I have also felt incredibly grateful for the friendship and support I get online as a result of my blog and social media this week. Parenting can be so hard, and after sharing a particularly low morning on Instagram and Facebook, the support and encouragement I got from cyber friends was incredible. Many are women I have never met but thanks to the internet we are able to reach out and support each other through this motherhood journey, and I am so grateful for that.

My blog has connected me to so many wonderful people, and as I can be a bit introverted as I mentioned above, I don’t always make the most of this. I shy away from blog conferences and meeting fellow bloggers purely out of shyness and a lack of confidence in myself. But this week I have finally arranged to meet up with a blogger I have admired for some time. I am nervous but we get on so well in typing that I hope we will get on as well in person!

My blog has also reconnected me with people I have lost touch with over the years. A lovely lady I met travelling 9 years ago got in touch this week and told me how much my blog helps her through her motherhood journey, and well wow, what an awesome thing. Helping anyone with my ramblings is amazing and reconnecting with a friend from my past is always lovely. There are other lovely blogging mummies that I worked with in a previous life, and I’ve mentioned before how Sarah from Run, Jump, Scrap and I have become much closer through blogging. Our husbands have been friends since childhood so it really is great when we all get together. We have arranged to meet next weekend and I am so looking forward to that!  The friendship side was just something I really never expected when I started writing my little blog but it is a fantastic bonus.

The final reason that my word of the week this week is friends, is because Saturday is my birthday, and we are having a bbq in the afternoon (fingers crossed for kind weather!) with lots of family and friends over. Once again I am so grateful for having so many lovely people in my life who are coming to celebrate with me, please cross your fingers for good weather for me, otherwise we may have a slightly crowded house!

How has your week been?

The Reading ResidenceAnd then the fun began...Mummascribbles

Little Miss’s First Paintings – 17 mths old

I wrote recently about how I felt like I babied my Little Miss a little. I seem to forget that she is growing all of the time and I realised that I have held back from doing certain activities as I have felt she is “too young” when she isn’t really. So I have been doing what I can to remedy that and trying to be more creative and braver with what I do with her – including, dun dun dun, letting her loose with the paints. We did some water painting in the garden a few days previously and she was great with the brush so I knew she was ready to have a go with the real thing too.

We started off simple, just one or two colours – I went for blue and purple as I thought the least food-like colours would be the best idea to prevent any paint from ending up in her mouth! It was so cute seeing her dabbing the paintbrush in the paint and on the paper, she really is growing up!PhotoGrid_1460986196257

She started to explore the paint with her fingers, obviously, and I added a few more colours. There was a moment where a pink paint covered finger started to make its way towards her mouth but A quick but stern “no” thankfully stopped it in it’s tracks!PhotoGrid_1460986287817

She soon ended up with full on hand prints but she was loving every minute and I have to admit I loved watching her, despite the inevitable mess!PhotoGrid_1460986377973

She kept wanting more and more paint and seemed to be getting overwhelmed and frustrated so unfortunately we had to call time and head to the kitchen for the clean up operation so it didn’t end amazingly happily, but I know it was a good learning experience for her and lets face it, the first of many, many, many painting sessions to come!PhotoGrid_1460986437184

Just because I think she is incredibly cute, here is a little clip of her enjoying her painting session :)

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
Ethans EscapadesBest of Worst

A colourful week!

My word of the week this week is colours, as I have been enjoying all of the colours of spring.

At the weekend we popped over to one of my favourite spots, our local bluebell woods. I love going at this time of year to see the gorgeous carpet of blue up the slopes of the hillside in the woods. Monkey enjoyed exploring and so did LM though there was some big muddy puddles we had to keep her away from!PhotoGrid_1460552808015

Afterwards we headed to my mother in laws for her birthday celebrations, and Monkey and I had made her a rather colourful cake! We had a lovely time with family.PhotoGrid_1460552905975

We also did some gardening over the weekend and it is so lovely to see so much colour appearing in the garden and out and about!PhotoGrid_1460553012830

I’m also a little in love with my new bright yellow coat from Trespass… Review coming soon! It is not a colour I would usually go for but I am loving it so far!PhotoGrid_1460573962618

Finally you may have seen my recent post about bubble painting with Monkey… Well we have been at it again this week as he loved it so much. He was enjoying mixing the colours this time by blowing two at once! Such fun.PhotoGrid_1460574008936

How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Siblings April 2016

Wow I can’t believe it is time for another siblings post already. Seriously where is this year going? April, wowzers.

This month has seen the arrival of spring, which has meant warmer, milder days and lots of fun outdoors. It has also been the easter holidays, which because of chicken pox and tummy bugs beforehand, seemed to last forever in our house. It has meant lots of time together. In other words lots of fun but also lots of screaming and pushing and getting on each others nerves. Lots of of Monkey getting jealous over the amount of attention his sister demands and lots of tantrums on both sides.

So it has been tricky at times but there are still many many times where they melt my heart and I really couldn’t ask for them to have a better relationship.

They have so much fun together now, with lots of chasing and giggling going on and that’s where some of my favourite shots of them together come from this month.PhotoGrid_1460371765179

I also love these shots. Yes they are both glued to my phone (stellar parenting eh?) but I love the way they are actually sharing it for once… Or at least that they start off sharing it… And that even though Monkey tries to move it away, I like LM’s determination to keep her eyes on it, and I love the way they are sort of snuggled in the end. Cuties! PhotoGrid_1460374522635

And finally, just because they are adorable, some of the other random shots of my little pair together. Love them!PhotoGrid_1460375615397

There’s no denying that two kiddies are hard work and I have to admit to being glad to getting back to routine this week with Monkey being back at preschool. But I love them so much and I love the way they love each other too.