Thursday, 5 January 2017

Keeping Warm // Bundle Bean

Winter has hit but we aren't letting it get in the way of our adventures.  Over the Christmas and New Year period we have alternated between cosy indoor time with new toys and running around outdoors burning off some of the boxes of chocolates we have been consuming.  We are lucky enough to have the beach on our doorstep and it is the perfect place to let the children explore.  

flamingo footmuff, bundlebean go, carseat cover

Cora loves being outdoors, but being non mobile means she feels the cold a lot more than the rest of us.  We have been sent a Bundle Bean to help keep her warm whilst we are out and it is ideal for the changing transport modes we use.  

bundle bean go, footmuff, carseat cover

Whilst a traditional footmuff is great, the Bundle Bean has the benefits of adapting and I can use this one on a buggy, car seat or sling thanks to the adjustable velcro straps.  It isn't just a winter product either, the waterproof outer means it is an ideal picnic blanket or outdoor play mat in the summer too. 

The one in these pictures is the BundleBean Go, the most versatile of their products, but if you are looking for a specific babywearing one, then there is another option with a detachable hood specifically designed to fit all slings and carriers.  We actually have a babywearing version too and I can highly recommend it!

bundle bean, babywearing cover, footmuff for sling

Our winter adventures will continue, the bigger boys will carry on running free and my little lady will stay snug, whether she is in a buggy, car seat or sling.

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Monday, 2 January 2017

What's in my Changing Bag // What Daisy Did

Leaving the house with four under fives takes a little longer than you expect (even after six months practice) and I need to be prepared.  I try to stock my changing bag the night before so that if I am running late I can grab it and go.  I have a wonderful leather changing bag from What Daisy Did, a fairtrade company creating sustainable fashion and working closely with the artisans in India.

Using natural materials and offcuts, What Daisy Did designs unique bags that outlive the short trends and last well.  They employ skilled workers, pay them a fair wage and offer flexible working hours as well as working with homeless charities to help tackle poverty.  Every part of this bag's journey is sustainable and well thought out and the bag is beautifully made, strong enough to cope with everything we stuff it full with and perfect for using long after the babies are out of nappies. 

what daisy did, ethical fashion

And to show you what I keep inside my changing bag on an average day . . .

changing bag, what to pack in a changing bag, cloth nappy mum, cloth nappy changing bag

Enough nappies for two children - both are in birth to potty sized now, so I tend to take out 6 for a half day and 8/10 for a full day, along with my wet/dry bag to store them in and a pack of baby wipes.  We mostly use TotsBots (pictured)

Two muslins which are used for a multitude of things including thin blanket, makeshift bib and something to mop up sick and dribbles.

A fabric bag to carry any shopping

Two fabric drawstring bags each with a set of spare clothes for the youngest two.  The older two don't really need spares any more.

Pen and paper to jot things down.

Snacks for hungry children - usually raisins or snack bars as they are small.  I have a packet of dairy free buttons in my bag too which can be useful for bribery!

A few little plastic toys for distracting overtired toddlers.

A pack of tissues and a hairband

A wipe clean bib (I need to add another one too now that Cora is weaning!)

My purse and keys

A roll up TotsBots fabric changing mat

And mostly that is it! I try to remember a sports top bottle of water and it won't be long until I need a little beaker for Cora too. If I have the bag packed with all these bits then I feel ready to go in the mornings.

I usually use the front pouch for some of my bits like the tissues, hairband, notebook and my phone and everything else goes in the main section.  As this is not designed as a changing bag it isn't full of pockets but I find it easy to use as I have all the nappies in the TotsBots bag and I use drawstring bags from Smafolk at Funky Little People for spare clothes etc.

This is the perfect nappy bag for us and I love reading all the details about how it is made and who made it.  This is the 'oak weekend bag' and there are lots of other great options including some beautifully colourful bags - check out What Daisy Did

Thank you to Ozric and Daisy for sending me this wonderful bag, we have been using it for a few months now and it is still as beautiful and strong as when we first got it.
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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Me and Mine December // Me and Mine 2017

Today is not only the last day of the month, but the last day of the year too.  I feel like December crept up on us out of nowhere and I am left wondering quite how we got here.  2016 has been both a great and terrible year.  Whilst in the wider world we saw many deaths, Brexit and Trump, in my smaller world we saw first, third and fifth birthdays, we welcomed a new baby girl, we celebrated as Finn learned to walk, run and climb, Archie started preschool and Dylan went into year one.  

This year has been busy, it has been chaotic at times, messy, disorganised but always wonderful.  We have all grown and learned alongside each other, we have developed new relationships, expanded existing ones and my little family is bigger and better than ever.

December has been a mixture of festivities and outdoor adventures as we have made the most of the milder winter weather.  Christmas was celebrated many times over with different parts of our families and we will be seeing the new year in surrounded by our friends.  

As I mentioned, the end of this month has crept up all too quickly so this post is both an end of the month and end of the year round up.  

This Month Mummy is loving buying Christmas presents, the look on the children's faces on Christmas morning, watching the sunset at the beach and starting running again

Daddy is loving Cora being more interactive, time off over Christmas, buying a new computer and getting back to the gym

Dylan is loving Christmas crafts, Christmas tree chocolates at Grandma's house, his new 'colour with mum' book and doing treasure hunts around the house

Archie is loving snuggling up in his dressing gown, his new haircut, his Hulk Smash hands and having his big brother around more.

Finn is loving being allowed chocolate now (the real stuff), dancing to everything and anything, pushing his new dolly and pushchair around and watching Blaze

Cora is loving her first tastes of food, bouncing in the jumperoo, sitting up to play and blowing raspberries on the back of her hand.

I have put all of our me and mine photos from the year together too - I love seeing how we have all changed and grown as my bump became a baby, as Finn found his feet, Archie lost his hair and Dylan learned to write.  

 I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.  There is so much I want to do, so many places I would love to go, so many books I want to read and things I want to learn.  2017 will be the year Cora turns one, Finn starts to communicate more, Archie will start school and at the end of the next year we will be applying for Dylan's Junior school place!

Goodbye 2016, you have been wonderful.

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Friday, 30 December 2016

The Week in the Middle

Christmas day has come and gone, the new year has yet to begin and we are stuck in a strange place, not quite here or there.  We have no concept of which day of the week it is, mornings and bedtimes are later than usual and biscuits are an acceptable meal.  I love this week, the one with no routine, no schedule or deadlines or school runs, the one where we make our own rules.  We eat when we are hungry which isn't always at the traditional mealtimes and we go out when we get bored indoors.  

The Christmas break is so short, not even two weeks for Dylan and in the midst of the mayhem this week feels unusually calm.  I love waking up in the morning with no real plans for the day, playing it by ear, enjoying lazy mornings in my dressing gown and watching the children play with their new toys, their imaginations taking them to new lands each day.  

The Christmas tree is still up, the sun sets so early, the weather is getting colder and no resolutions have yet been made.  The kitchen side is piled high with goodies and we are drinking more cups of tea than ever with the excuse that we really should get through those biscuits soon.  

Today we have had a lazy morning, a late lunch, a long play and a glow stick disco in the living room with just the twinkly tree lights and our flourescent sticks stopping us bumping in to each other.  The children got to stay up just a little longer and we are eating leftover pizza for dinner.

I took a few photos of the boys at the beach in their new Muddy Puddles coats, they loved the sand all piled up and we were surprised at how busy it was for a December afternoon.  The beach is our go-to place to waste an hour or two and it doesn't matter what season it is, they never get bored of it.

muddy puddles, baby waterproof suit

School and Preschool restart on Wednesday so we only have a few days of this limbo left to enjoy.  This week in the middle is definitely one of my favourites.
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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Half a Year Baby Girl

Somewhere in the mayhem of Christmas and New Year, in between the mince pies and Prosecco, my baby girl turned six months old.  Her half-birthday was spent in a Christmas comedown, we were too busy finishing the boxes of chocolates and playing with new toys to really notice it, but like it or not, Cora is now six months old.

Six months old means the newborn days really are gone and we have replaced that tiny newborn with a baby that sits up and rolls around and shouts at us to get attention.  She chats away in her own little language, she chews everything in sight and her personality shows through more each day.  My little lady is a Mummy's girl and wants to be in my arms all day.  If I hand her to anyone else she needs to check constantly that I am still there, still within her sight and ready to take her when she lets us know she has had enough.  She still wants to sleep curled up next to me and I can't imagine her anywhere else.

On Christmas day we started weaning and I have a feeling it will be a slow process.  2 days off of the recommended six months and we offered Cora carrots on her tray.  She picked them up, she licked them, she pulled a face of utter disgust and she left them alone.  We are following the principles of baby led weaning so I am confident when she is ready she will eat a little more.  I am quietly hoping it will improve her sleep (without holding out too much hope) as she has recently taken to feeding every hour.  She can sometimes do a 2-4 hour stretch when I first put her down, but after that she likes to wake and feed very frequently, sometimes just being awake for a few hours in the middle of the night.  

Cora is pretty average sized and we are starting to pack away some of the smallest of her 3-6 month clothes and bring out some of the smaller fitting 6-9 month bits.  I will be washing her stretchy wrap this week ready to pass on as she is so curious and heavy that I find her more comfortable in a more structured carrier.  We swapped the carrycot for the seat unit reclined on her pushchair about a week before she turned 6 months (although she was back in the carrycot tonight) and she loves being able to see a bit more of the world.  

The boys still adore their baby sister, they know how to make her laugh, and they are incredibly gentle at times.  Finn is desperate for her to join in with his games still and he is a lot less gentle, Cora adores him and I can already foresee the mischief they are going to be causing together once she is on the move.

I can't fathom how these six months have passed so quickly and I am desperately hoping that the next six are a little slower.

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Our Christmas

There are people with their Pinterest perfect Christmasses - all colour schemes, co-ordinated place settings and beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree.  And then there is me, writing this sat next to a Christmas tree covered in a mismatch of baubles and after Finn has pulled the beads off for the hundreth time they have literally been thrown back at the tree.  The presents were in all sorts of paper, using up what we had last year (and the year before) and all four children had their own paper so that I didn't have to write labels for each gift.

Our Christmas is beautiful though, the excited faces, the wonder in their eyes, the beauty of generosity, the love of family and friends and the table stacked full of delicious food.  No matter how much or little is under our tree, my children have all they could ever need - Love, support, strength, people who love them, food, drink and a home.  They aren't yet at the age where the value of gifts matter, a colouring book can be as great as electrical toy, chocolate coins are the ultimate stocking filler and their wish list is short.  

Every year we spend Christmas morning at home, enjoying time as our little(ish) family of six, we open gifts, we eat breakfast, we pack our favourite toys and we head over to my Mum and Dad's for the day.  They cook lunch and dinner and we stay the night.  We put the boys down in the evening and stay up late playing cards and eating cheese boards.  On Boxing Day we see the Bloke's family for more food, family, gifts and fun and then we usually head back to my parent's house for a quiet evening together.  Family is the focus of our Christmas and we are lucky to have two great ones.

One of the best presents is that my Mum and Dad take the children in the morning when they wake and let us have a leisurely lie in - these things are worth more than money can buy!

This year was magical, it was Cora's first Christmas and she got her first tastes of food.  In typical baby style she was more interested in the wrapping paper than what was in it.  Finn got to have his first go at opening presents and he wasn't content to stick to only his own.  Archie was more aware of everything that was going on and insists that his best bit of Christmas is 'everything', and Dylan totally gets it all, he loved everything he recieved, he was excited and thankful.

I didn't take many photos this year, I was too busy enjoying the moments, but these are the ones I did take, little moments from our Christmas.

Dylan's favourite gift this year

Fourth baby life

We Facetimed my sister who is in France

I am sad it is all over and we have so many new toys to find homes for.  We also have a kitchen side stacked full of tins of posh biscuits though, so it isn't all bad!
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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

What the Kids Wore // Geggamoja

Geggamoja is a brand that I hadn't heard of until very recently, but we have been won over by their gorgeous colours, simple styles and comfy pieces.  We were sent a few items from their newest collection and I just love this pink vest on Cora.

I was adamant in pregnancy that I wouldn't be dressing my little girl in pink, but it turns out she looks pretty cute in it, and I love this shade.  The vest is simple but beautifully made, soft and stretchy and a great fit.  It goes so well with so many of her clothes that it is quickly becoming one of her most worn items! 

Many of the pieces in their extensive collection are designed to mix and match, with common colours running through.  This hat mixes the pink with a brighter pink and you can buy matching trousers and tops too, as well as the same design in different colours (perfect for twinning siblings!).  I find the sizing pretty accurate - Cora is wearing age 3-6 months here at 5 months old.

Geggamoja, swedish kids clothing, kids fashion blogger

I was also sent a couple of items for Archie but so far I haven't managed to get any good shots of him - I will update when I do! Geggamoja make clothing for newborns up to age 12 and they also do a collection of home bits and accessories.  I was sent some gorgeous bunting perfect for a nursery, soft muslins and a toy for Cora which she has become quite attached to. The colourful teddy is perfect for a newborn to snuggle up with (and chew).

geggamoja, organic swedish clothing,

Geggamoja is one of the only GOTS (Organic) certified companies in Sweden.  Their clothes are designed to be worn and played hard in and the company are passionate about being sustainable and environmentally conscious.  Every season they bring out new designs and the SS17 is full of neons, pastels, zig zags and classic stripes with some brilliant prints on their hats.

Check out Uni and Jack, the UK stockist or the Geggamoja site for the full collection.

Keep an eye out for more photos soon!

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