LM’s 2nd Birthday party and Pumpkin Picking!

Our gorgeous girl turned 2 on Saturday and I think it is safe to say she had a lovely birthday… even though I’m pretty sure she didn’t really get what was going on!

We started off with presents on our bed. The lighting for these shots is terrible and we’re obviously all very sleepy but I love the happiness nonetheless. There were some lovely siblings moments where Monkey helped LM open her presents (and play with them haha) and she was definitely very excited by them. photogrid_1477313258576

After a speedy tidy up of the whole house and finishing off the cake (which was the 2nd attempt, see here for some laughs about how the cake was created) it was time for a bit of a party. At this age we tend to keep it to just family as like I say she doesn’t really know what’s going on, and we are so lucky to have so many family close by anyway that even with just family we have quite a full house! She thoroughly enjoyed all of the attention from all of her favourite people and got lots and lots of very lovely presents. photogrid_1477313545981

It’s worth noting how well Monkey coped with the whole day. He had a great time on the whole and really wanted to help LM with opening her presents even if he was a bit overexcited at times, and definitely more excited than she was! We did have some jealousy though over some toys and I think it was quite hard for him. He’s never had to share the attention in quite the same way before as last year she was so little and he could play with what he wanted really, whereas this year she was more possessive over her toys, and we had to explain more than once that it is her birthday and they are her toys. All just part of the learning process when you have siblings but definitely interesting to watch!photogrid_1477313615391

With all the presents opened and fun had with all her new toys (though the paw patrol characters were by far her favourites, should’ve known!) it was time for some food. We just did a simple buffet and then it was time for cake, which was very nearly a complete disaster. Still, it tasted good!

After the party had wrapped up and LM had had a little rest (she rarely actually naps these days but does sometimes want to have some quiet time in bed) we really felt in need of getting out for some fresh air. After seeing so many shots on social media lately of pumpkin picking adventures I was keen to head over to our local pick your own farm to join in the fun. They had a Halloween trail which Monkey adored and they had hung some “ghosts” in the trees which actually Monkey found hilarious.photogrid_1477313811759

The trail also took us past some ploughed fields and Monkey loved balancing on the mounds of mud. LM tried too but she was less successful!photogrid_1477313888347

The Pumpkin patch itself was great fun. It was quite busy and it was lovely to see so many families out picking pumpkins and filling wheelbarrows. Monkey and LM loved looking at all the pumpkins and Daddy took the actual choosing of our Pumpkin very seriously while LM got distracted by some flowers!photogrid_1477314011580photogrid_1477314149585

It was a lovely day for our little lady’s birthday though we were all completely shattered by the end of it! I wonder what we’ll get up to for her birthday next year?

Best of Worst
Monkey and MouseCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

How NOT to make a Paw Patrol Lookout Cake

So your kids have asked you to make a Paw Patrol Lookout cake, or you have decided to try it yourself and that has led you here. Fear not I have been there and basically failed first, so you can learn from my mistakes as I share my wisdom and experience about how not to make a Paw Patrol Lookout cake.paw-patrol-cake

My first piece of advice. Just don’t do it. Don’t even attempt it. No matter how much your kids beg, whine, plead, cry etc. Just say no.

If you fail at this and the little blighters wear you down to the point where you acquiesce then read on and heed my advice.

1. Do some research online, and DON’T scoff at the wisdom of others or their attempts and think you know more than them. They have been through more than you know. Unless you are a professional cake maker, in which case you probably do know more than eejits like me online who have have no clue what we are doing and don’t really need to read on.

2. Don’t choose the sponge of your cake based on your preference. Base it on the structural integrity of the sponge. Something firm and close textured like a madeira may work but don’t quote me on that.

3. Don’t try and make the tower out of sponge. Even with dowels to support it. Some suggest using rice crispies and marshmallows, or use a plumbing pipe or something covered in icing instead. Trust me on this.

4. If you ignore point 3, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

5. Also, if you do ignore part 3, don’t just put the wider top cake on top of the tower… It will fall apart and slide down the tower of cake.

6. Following this, don’t try and put a cake board on top of the towels which are already struggling to hold the cake tower up.photogrid_1477162593134

7. Don’t ask for your partner’s help then get mad at him for trying to ‘take over’ it may lead to an argument of epic proportions.

8. When it all falls apart don’t throw cake all across the kitchen. You are the one who will have to clean it up and you may need some of it when you have calmed down enough to have a second attempt.

9. Don’t expect sympathy from friends and relatives when it all goes wrong. They knew you were bonkers for trying in the first place.

img_20161022_10074810. Don’t be too proud to admit defeat and try something different or even to buy a replacement cake.

To be honest my first piece of advice still stands, save your sanity and don’t even try to make this cake. We did manage to get something vaguely resembling the lookout in cake form but it was very much a plan B scenario.

If you really want to know how we did it I will tell you though I can’t stress all of the above enough. The base is a simple sponge and the tower itself is a cardboard tube wrapped in fondant icing. We wrapped the tube in icing before putting it in the cake and let the icing firm up overnight.

The top part is 2 different sized cakes on a cake board which we made 3 holes in for the wooden dowels, which keep the cakes on top in place and then go down into the cardboard tube and into the base cake for some added stability.

The top cake is then iced along with the board it is sat on, to hide it. We actually had the top cake resting on a vase to decorate it so it didn’t put too much pressure on the actual cake.

You could do more embellishments than we did but I wasted time by making almost all of the above mistakes (I didn’t actually throw the cake around the kitchen though it was tempting) and had lost the will to do any more than the basics.

We assembled the cake pretty last minute and it survived the walk into the living room… Just.

I managed to blow out the candles as the cake toppled towards me so at least I didn’t set myself on fire haha.

I’m not sure this will go down as one of my most successful bakes, do you? Have you ever had any similarly epic fails?

My Petit Canard
And then the fun began...MummascribblesBest of Worst

Little Miss is 2!

I can’t quite believe it but then again I can. Our gorgeous girl really isn’t a baby anymore. She’s a 2 year old bundle of lovely mischievousness.img_20161013_131335

She’s growing up so much all the time and really is a proper little girl now. She knows her own mind and boy does she like to make her feelings known. She has far more tantrums than her brother ever did at this age and whereas with him it was primarily food or tiredness related, with her it is more often stubbornness related or wanting something she can’t have. I have to admit I reached a point recently where I’d had enough as it felt like she was becoming a little tyrant ruling the house. So we’ve had to crack down on discipline a bit. Nothing serious but saying no more often (rather than just acquiescing for an easy life) and generally just treating her in a more age appropriate way. As she’s our youngest it’s easy to baby her and spoil her a bit but that’s really not something we want to do. Not when it comes to behaviour and getting her own way anyway!

Other than being a demanding toddler she is such a lovely girl. She loves cuddles and is so caring. I was starting stroking her back the other day then when I stopped she took my hand and put it back in her back. See I told you she was demanding haha but it was lovely. She loves to sit together too and will often pat the space on the sofa next to her saying “chair” more and more insistently until I sit with her. And who I am to refuse a sit down and a snuggle with my girl?photogrid_1477054918647

She loves getting out and about though thankfully seems to be growing out of banging the door down in her pj’s at about 7am. She’s always ready to go for the school run at 8.30 mind you! Thankfully though she’s also different from her brother at this age in that she is quite happy to stay in the buggy. She can be quite lazy and just doesn’t want to walk, whereas monkey almost always did. Sometimes it bugs me (when I want to tire her out for a nap) but on the school run it is handy that she is content to stay put without screaming or climbing out.

One difference I am less happy about (I don’t mean this to be a constant comparison but it is tricky) is that she is already dropping naps! Monkey slept for 3 hrs a day until he was well past 3yrs old. LM only ever naps for an hour and a half at the most and at the moment this only happens every few days :(. I’m so not ready to say goodbye to naps yet but I know I just need to get my head round the fact that they aren’t going to happen every day anymore. It makes some things handier as I don’t have to worry about fitting around naps, but I will really miss those quiet afternoons, especially as Monkey is now at school!

Anyway, back to my little lady. Her fine motor skills are amazing, she’s getting really good at building with duplo and even her brother’s lego. So much so that he wanted to get her her own lego for her birthday haha bless him. She’s brilliant at laying out the brio train track and also loves jigsaws now and is doing so well with them too. She’s doing great with colour sorting (especially pinks hehe) and I’m also amazed by how well she does with the shape sorter at granny’s house. She is brilliant at turning it round to find the right hole for each shape and putting them in.photogrid_1477053581968

Her favourite toys by far are people. Be it dolls, happyland, playmobil, lego, sylvanian families or even her brother’s action man doll she absolutely loves playing with people. Feeding them, undressing then, putting them to bed, walking them up stairs and sending them down slides. She adores them and I adore watching her play with them as she has such a sweet little imagination. She loves animals too and makes great noises for pigs, cows, horses, elephants, lions and ducks which I adore hearing. Her speech is coming on leaps and bounds now too and you can read more about that and see a clip of her chatting on this post.

Her gross motor skills are coming along too. She loves running about everywhere and has such a sweet bouncy/stompy run. She especially loves running down hills, and well who can blame her!photogrid_1477054477551

We do a gymnastics session once a week and she loves walking on the beam and along benches. She likes leaping from the top of the horse into my arms though actually it is more of a fall than a leap. Though I’m sure she has jumped before, ages ago, she definitely doesn’t have the knack at the moment. She sort of gallops around the trampoline rather than jumps bless her but her brother couldn’t jump at this age either so I have no doubt she’ll get there. She loves climbing and is utterly fearless at times. We’ve been swimming a bit more recently and she absolutely adores it, again in complete contrast to her brother at this age she’s also really good. She’s doing really well kicking her legs floating in her arm bands, she is great at blowing bubbles and likes going under water. She’s just great and it is lovely to see her enjoying it so much.photogrid_1477054049838

Honestly I could go on forever but I won’t. She’s such a little person now and is so lovely. The looks she gives us sometimes just melt our hearts. Playing hide and seek is possibly her favourite thing and she also adores watching paw patrol. Which is why I am about to attempt a paw patrol cake for her birthday… Wish me luck!

My Children’s Chatter, October 2016

Ever since Monkey learned to talk I have been trying to keep a note of all the lovely, funny or cute things he has come out with and I love looking back on them. Now our Little Miss is talking more and more every day and I want to make sure I catalogue the things she comes out with too. Because I struggle to post anything regularly these days I’m going to combine both kids’ sayings in one series of posts, My children’s chatter.img_20161015_063400

Monkey says

So Monkey first, I’ve been collating these for some time so there’s quite a few things he has come out with that have really made me chuckle! Monkey is 4yrs 5 mths

Monkey: “Ooh look LM I’ve got longer legs than you”
Me: “Yes you do have longer legs than LM”
Monkey: “Excuse me, I was talking to LM”

When I asked Monkey to put away all the toy cars he had got out:
Monkey: “But I haven’t got hundreds of hands”
Me: “You got them all out”
Monkey: (looking at his hands) “I can put them away 2 at a time” Bravo Monkey haha

Monkey: “I love you, I love you.”
Me: “Oh I love you too darling.”
Monkey: “No not you, the tv. Which is off by the way.”

Monkey:”You’ve got to see this. It’s amazing.”

There has been some real cheekiness lately too, and a great deal of imagination which you have to admire.
One day after playing with a toy phone: “I was on the phone to Uncle Simon. I just phoned him and he asked if I would like to go to his house in the morning in the afternoon when LM is asleep.” Oh did he now? lol This was followed by “I just spoke to Granny on the phone and she would like some wipes to clean the windows cos they’re really dirty. We need to go there now!” Look Monkey we know yu love going to Granny’s house but when have we ever taken wipes to help her clean her windows? lol

He also went through a (thankfully brief) stage of coming back downstairs after bedtime, and concocting the best excuses as to why. On one occasion at bedtime he had announced it was his dog Dougal’s birthday the following day and we agreed to have a tea party But shortly after bedtime he appeared down stairs and said “You know, it turns out Dougal birthday is today!”

On another occasion he came down with a cuddly swan to tell us “My swan is a bit hungry.” Ha, nice try darling, back to bed.

I love the way he interprets the wold and the way he thinks he can say things to us the way that we say things to him. He’s obviously used to us being a bit firm sometimes and bless him tries to do the same when we aren’t doing as he wants. he announces “you aren’t doing what I say!” Nope, sorry mate. One day he even yelled at Daddy “Go and get me a plaster right now, 5,4,3,2,1 Go on right now go get it.” As you can imagine it didn’t go down too well but I just wanted to laugh. Hearing the things you say parroted back to you by your child is always weird!

Also in regard to interpreting the world, I loved it when we were watching Star Wars recently, there’s a shot where you see the back of Darth Vader’s head without his helmet, and well it is funny colours, but I love how Monkey interpreted it. “I just saw an ice cream!” LOL

The frame with Darth Vaders' head in - which according to Monkey looks like an ice cream haha

The frame with Darth Vaders’ head in – which according to Monkey looks like an ice cream haha

There’s been some little gems of phrases since Monkey has started school too. I mentioned some of his healthy eating comments in a recent post but there has been some other cuteness.

Monkey: “At school yesterday I dropped the back of my badge down the toilet!”
Me: “Oh, did they give you a new one?”
Monkey: “They did! That was very kind!”

Monkey: “Can Daddy take me to school while you and LM get me some popcorn?”

“We learned letters and sounds today like ssss… Not suh, sssss”

“The teachers call Brown skin black skin sometimes. And they call pink skin like ours white. That’s very strange”

nd finally, because it amused me, one day when basically flinging himself around the room he announced:

“Oh my brain. It keeps telling me to fall over!”

Little Miss Says

With LM at the moment it’s mainly words that she is coming out with, though she does have a few very cute phrases too which she loves to repeat. LM will be 2 next week!

I’m going to list them all here mainly for me record but I’ve also put together a little video of her saying some of these as the way she says some of them is so cute and I want to try and capture them as I know this stage will be all too fleeting. Before long she will be speaking properly and coming out with gems like her big brother.

So, her most common words and phrases: Chick, I did it, Put it back, Moon, Boo (boots), A boo (spoon), Bu (blue), Buh (book), Bo(ball), Buh(bus) No (nose), Hair, Hah (hat), Hiya dada, Wee wee, all wet, Share, Chair, Shoe, Tea, Choo choo. Now some of them sound so similar so you really have to understand the context to get what she is saying sometimes! But she is trying so hard bless her. Now apologies for the quality of the video as sometimes the tv is on in the background and it will jump about a bit but like I say it is mainly a record for me so I remember the way she says them.

So that’s it for now, will be back with some more fun phrases soon no doubt :).

Little Hearts, Big LoveAnd then the fun began...
MummascribblesEthans EscapadesBest of Worst

Siblings October 2016

It’s been an interesting month for our little siblings the month. It’s the month that their relationship experienced a big change, with Monkey starting school full time. After a wonderful summer where they spent almost every day together this has been a huge change and I have noticed the difference in their relationship.

In many ways they are the same as ever, messing with each other and enjoying each other’s company. They just get to do this a lot less.photogrid_1476447680705

We’ve also all been ill quite a bit since Monkey started school and that hasn’t helped as what time they have had together hasnt been as fun for them. They just don’t seem quite so close at the moment though. There’s a lot more bickering and Monkey especially is more possessive over his toys and doesn’t want to play with his sister as much.

It’s not a big deal and they do still love each and have fun together biu their relationship has definitely shifted a little. I thought LM may miss Monkey with him being at school but although she is glad to see him at the end end of the day, if anything she is more excited about the friends we meet at the playground.

The after school, before dinner, time can be tricky for us. Monkey can be tired and basically wants to watch the TV or do some drawing, whereas having usually had a nap, LM can be full of beans and wanting to do something. So it can be a difficult time to manage both of their wants and LM definitely gets jealous when I try and spend a bit of time with Monkey or do any of his phonics homework with him. Which irritates me as she has had me all day and I feel for Monkey as he wants some attention too.

I guess it is still early days with school and we are all still adjusting. Their relationship is growing and changing all the time and as ever I look forward to seeing how it changes over the months and years to come. They are still a pair of cuties. photogrid_1476447956906

Did your siblings’ relationship change when the eldest started school?

Our obsession with weight and the affect on our kids

I’ve read a few things recently that have sent my mind a-whirring about this issue. It all started after a recent shopping trip where a visit to some extremely unflattering changing rooms left me full of self loathing. I came home and wrote a post about my post baby body which was really mean (only to myself). I never actually published this post as after a few days of rational thought and normal lighting I realised I didn’t mean all of it and I didn’t like what I had written. It got me thinking about the amount of time I spend worrying about the way I look though.  And it’s not just me, my husband, my friends, my in laws. It’s a frequent topic of conversation and when I really think about it, it’s just so stupid.

I then read this fabulous post from Morgan at Morgan’s Milieu about how she has had enough of fixation on her weight. She quite rightly says that the way you look doesn’t define who you are. I really admire Morgan for stepping off the merry go round. I have tried this attitude before but I always fail to maintain it and soon go back to the dieting and obsessing about the way I look.

I decided not too long ago that I was going to try and focus on being healthy instead and that is going fairly well. Since completing the couch to 5k over the summer I now run 2-3 times a week and I actually enjoy it. I had to miss a run last week as I was poorly and I actually missed it, I never thought that would happen. As much as I try to focus in that I have to admit I have been disappointed that I haven’t lost any weight. According to friends and family, you can see the difference in my shape but not according to the scales. I know I over indulge a bit sometimes but I don’t think my diet is terrible and I had hoped that the exercise would balance things out.

So have you noticed? So much for focussing on being healthy, here I am once again obsessing about my weight and the way I look. It feels almost impossible to break away from. It doesn’t help that on a recent trip to get a repeat prescription for the pill I was warned to lower my BMI as otherwise they’ll have to take me off it. Thanks for that! (I actually hate that we use the BMI as an indicator of healthy weight, as for so many people it is wholly inaccurate as it doesn’t take into consideration your body shape or muscle mass but I digress).

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, growing up I always knew my mum was battling with her weight and she tried various diets and exercise routines so the obsession is hardly a new phenomenon. The trouble for me is that this isn’t what I want for my kids. I don’t want them to go down the same road of self loathing and guilt if they over indulge. But then I also want them to be healthy and don’t want them to always over eat without a care in the world to the point where they cause themselves problems. It’s such a tricky balance.

Monkey starting school has added a new dimension to this. You see it isn’t only us who influence him now,  and he has already started repeating messages he has been told at school. They obviously talk about healthy eating and he has been saying lots of things about how eating too much sugar is bad and we are keeping a close eye on how this affects him as we want to make sure that he understands that everything is ok in moderation.

I read a fantastic post this week on The Parenting Game about the NHS programme of weighing children in schools. It was a guest post from Sam at A Testing Time about the terrible negative effect it had on her perfectly healthy child after he was branded ‘overweight.’ Now I know that Monkey will be weighed at school and honestly I gave it no more thought than when he was weighed as baby and I seriously hadn’t thought about any negative connotations at his age. Now though? I am much more wary and want to make sure I know what is going on and what is being said to him. As with Sam’s child, Monkey is very tall for his age and has always been at the top of the percentile chart as a result. He is very slim though so if they dare to suggest he is anyway unhealthy I will not be happy.

On the whole I do think that encouraging healthy eating and exercise at school is a good thing, but only if it is done in the right way and positively. If the message focuses on the negatives and causes very young children to worry about their weight unnecessarily then it does concern me.

Interestingly I also read a great post from John at Dadbloguk.com about the practice of sweets being handed out at preschool and school for kids’ birthdays. It’s a practice that bugs me too so it really struck a chord. What interested me most though was the way people responded to him on Facebook. Criticising him for being controlling over his kids’ diets. Um, I’m sorry but as parents isn’t it our responsibility to have a level of control over what they eat? John wasn’t saying his kids were never allowed sweets, just that surely it wasn’t the healthiest practice (especially as in his case about 40 kids gave out sweets in a week as a leaving gift when they left preschool, slightly excessive, no?) and that he would like to be the one to choose if/when his kids have sweets rather than having the decision taken out of his hands. What is wrong with that?

I also find this really interesting in relation to Monkey’s school and the fact they clearly have an emphasis on healthy eating. Monkey has only been there a few weeks yet has come home with sweets from a child’s birthday on more than one occasion. On the one hand I don’t worry too much about the occasional bag of sweets, but I don’t really like the choice being taken out of my hands either and it does feel a bit incongruous for the school to allow sweets to be distributed in class, while also clearly giving the kids the message that too much sugar is bad for you.

When Daddy told Monkey he would be having a donut for pudding as part of his school dinner, which we thought would be a nice treat for him, he immediately started saying he didn’t want to eat too much sugar. While I want him to understand the difference between healthy choices and unhealthy ones, he is only 4 and I guess I feel that it’s a bit of a burden when they are so young and feel it should be our responsibility as his parents to worry about this so he doesn’t have to.

Since I started writing this post Monkey has also said at home “fizzy drinks are bad for you” which is a difficult one. We only have sugar free fizzy drinks in our house but they are very much for us, the kids have the occasional sip but they don’t have it on a daily basis as I don’t like the idea of them having a lot of artificial sweeteners as I don’t think we really know the full story about the side effects they may have. As an adult it’s my choice but I’m not making that choice for my kids. I’m digressing again but it’s the point that we don’t want Monkey to necessarily think about foods in terms of good and bad as we really believe that anything in moderation is ok. It’s obviously more complex than that but then if it’s too complex for a 4 year old to understand then maybe they shouldn’t be given that responsibility yet? I don’t know and in truth no-one does, let’s face it one minute fat is terrible for you but now fat is ok and sugar is bad. I don’t always know what the right things are to eat so how can we expect 4 year olds to understand?

I guess though that the difficulty is that not everyone has the same attitude as we do. That for some kids knowing this stuff from a young age may help prevent them from following in the footsteps of parents who perhaps have an unhealthy relationship with food. I mean let’s face it, I struggle with my weight so why do I think I am equipped to prevent my children being the same as I am in years to come?

It’s such a difficult balance and maybe my wanting my kids to not join this merry go round is futile and it’s part of the world we live in. All I can think to do is to try and give them a good example to follow. To eat a varied and balanced diet and to enjoy getting out and exercising. To hope that my kids will follow that example and do the same.

How do you feel about this? Do you worry about your weight? Do you talk about that in front of your kids?

Monkey’s Star Wars Bedroom

Monkey has been in his little toddler bed since before he was 2, and he has loved his little bed… But it really was starting to get too small for him so we decided it was time to get him a proper single bed. We also decided that it was time to give his bedroom a new look. We moved into this house 3 weeks before he was born and his was the first room to be decorated and we didn’t put much thought into it really. We slapped some yellow paint on and some hungry caterpillar wall stickers and that was that. It was one of my least favourite rooms in the house so I was keen to do it properly this time.

It didn’t take too long to come up with a theme. This boy loves star wars and space so we knew that was what we were aiming for. We did look into paying a decorator as it is a time consuming job to decorate when you have 2 little ones around, but it was just going to be so expensive that I took it upon myself to get it done during LM’s naps and when Hubs was around to look after the kids.photogrid_1475502295400

We wanted to keep it fairly classy and simple so that the room can grow with him, so went for predominantly grey walls and one dark blue wall and used walls stickers to add the star wars touch. The great thing about wall stickers is that if he does grow out of wanting star wars we can take the stickers off and hopefully won’t have to repaint the entire room.photogrid_1475499165479

Monkey got a really cool set of planets for his birthday that could be hung from his ceiling so we knew we wanted to incorporate those. We found a fab sun light from ikea which looks brilliant and hung the planets around it, in a slightly random orbit but in approximately the right order in terms of distance from the sun.20160905_145202

With the room being mainly grey we had to get some colour in there somewhere while sticking to the theme, and I love his bright red chair, and the red drawers on his bedside cabinet. We also added one bright red wall sticker with the very star wars line of “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” and a gorgeous mustard yellow rug on the floor to make sure the room wasn’t too dull.photogrid_1475499536392

A star was lover Monkey has some star wars toys and star wars lego and they help to finish off the room… And are very much played with in there! We also found this awesome death star night light which is brilliant and gives just the right amount of nightlight glow without being too bright.photogrid_1475499752800

A couple of sets of star wars bedding for his lovely new bed finishes it off nicely. He sleeps so well in his big boy bed and loves it in there which is the most important thing!

Me and Mine Sept/Oct 2016 – an autumn walk

I’m a bit late joining in with the fab Me and Mine linky this month. In fact I wasn’t planning on joining up at all as the only shot I have of us as a family this month is one on our bikes, which isn’t the best.img-20160924-wa0000

But then today, after a slightly odd morning with ratty kiddies who are coming down with colds (and therefore slightly ratty parents too) we decided to get out and get some fresh air on a little autumnal walk. We found the most conkers I’ve ever seen in my life and had a good old nature hunt in general.photogrid_1475411475375

Then during a little game of family hide and seek we managed to grab a few very happy family selfies.
We had a lovely walk and as always a bit of fresh air did us all the world of good. So this is us, at the beginning of October, enjoying autumn.20161002_123809_000-268

The Me and Mine Project
Monkey and Mouse

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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!