Monday, 27 February 2017

Cora's Holiday Must-Haves

When asked to list 10 travel must haves, it seems that all six of us have different ideas - The biggest members of the family want wifi, cocktails and a good book, the middle two want kids clubs and swimming goggles and the smallest two are led with their stomachs - it is all about the ice cream.  Mark Warner are looking for ambassador families and we would love to share what an MW holiday is really like and see how they would cope with our crazy tribe.

So to make it a bit simpler, I have collated Cora's travel must have's into our own special mood board below, and a little video explaining more.


Here is what Cora can't travel without:

1) Muslins - This is one baby essential we never forget to pack - lightweight blanket, makeshift bib, dribble catcher or even a funny little hat with knots in the corners.

2) Pretty summer dresses - I imagine this will be the summer she starts toddling and after three boys I am a little bit excited about all the sweet little outfits she can wear

3) Wet suit - Because this baby was born to splash

4) A beach bag to carry all her essentials - I don't know how long the only little girl in the family will take up the least amount of space in the suitcase,  I doubt it will be long!

5) Suncream - Cora's hair is coming through so blonde so I imagine she will need a high factor sun protection.

6) A beaker - Everyone needs a poolside drink

7) Mummy - Because she is going through a VERY clingy phase at the moment

8) Sunhat - To protect her gorgeous little head.

9) The sun - Cora was just a tiny newborn last summer so she hasn't had much experience of the sun.  (This is definitely not something we will be bringing from home)

10) Don't forget the baby!!!



This is our entry to become a Mark Warner Ambassador
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Holiday Wardrobe Must-Haves



Inspired by Mark Warner's competition to be an ambassador, I have spent my evening putting together a mood board of Cora and Finn's must have holiday wardrobes.  I love all the bright styles, there is some subtle twinning in there and lots of our favourite brands are featuring.  I used Polyvore to pull it all together and the quality of the pictures isn't great but each individual picture underneath links to the item.

If we were to win the chance to represent Mark Warner one of the first things I would be doing is shopping for the perfect summer clothing for all four children, especially the youngest two who have less of a say in what they wear!

So here are my picks for Finn - he will be 2.5 this summer so it is our last chance for little rompers and dungarees!



Finn's dream holiday wardrobe





And here are my choices for Cora - little rompers and sweet summer dresses.  She will turn one at the end of June so I imagine she will start walking around then!


Cora's dream holiday wardrobe




I have had so much fun planning their holiday wardrobe must-haves! Have you started shopping for summer clothes yet?

This is an entry to be a Mark Warner Ambassador
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Bedtime with Johnsons // The Results


It has been just over a week since I started trying the Johnson’s 3 step bedtime routine and I have been really enjoying the bonding experience. Cora loves the bath and it is wonderful watching her splashing around and squealing in delight. All the techniques I learned in the baby massage classes that I did with Dylan have come flooding back and we have both been enjoying that quiet time to wind down together before bed.


With last week being half term for us, I have struggled some nights to stick to the routine. There were two nights where I just couldn’t fit it in, one because I was doing solo bedtime for all four children and the other was Archie’s birthday and we had family round until late so Cora was too tired for anything other than milk before bed. I think that going forward there will always be some nights like this due to the craziness of having a bigger family and the freedoms we like to have. What I did notice was that bedtime, when we did follow the routine, was so much easier. Cora was never that difficult to get to sleep before, but the night’s that we followed the routine she was into a deep sleep very quickly. She has been so sound asleep that I have almost been tempted to try her in her own crib - but I haven’t quite braved it yet.


We have been using the Johnson’s Bedtime App to keep track of how we are doing and I completed the sleep analysis tool at the beginning of the week and at the end of it. Whilst the improvement may look minor so far, any sleep deprived parent can tell you that any improvement is pretty major, and I’m sure we’ll get there!

I love the feature on the app that allows you to create your own lullabies and soothing sounds. I remember finding YouTube videos of people hoovering in an attempt to get the boys to stay asleep as babies but this app has a variety of sounds (including a hoover) that you can layer together to find a combination that works for you. I have been using the Lullabies with Finn as he enjoys falling asleep to music and ‘Lullaby and Goodnight’ is his favourite.


Whilst following the three step routine hasn’t been a miracle cure for my growing eye bags, it has made bedtime more relaxing and enjoyable and I know that Cora will eventually start sleeping for longer periods at night time. Cora loves her baths, is chilled out for her massage and falls into a deep sleep very quickly as she drinks her milk.  The app is a great companion and I know it will come in very useful when we are away from home and Finn still wants the comfort of a lullaby.




This is a sponsored blog post by the Johnson’s brand. I have received payment incentive and samples but all opinions are my own. Johnson’s clinically proven bedtime routine consists of bath, massage and quiet time, tested on babies 7 months+, 1 week+ use.
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Friday, 24 February 2017

Tomorrow you are Two

Every family has different parts that make it whole, every member brings something unique and indispensible and you, Finn, are our smile.  I don't doubt there will be years where you are a moody teenager, that your tantrums will get worse, that you won't always be the way you are now, but right now you are the sunshine in our days, you brighten up even the darkest Monday morning and we couldn't love you more.

One to two has been a busy year, you have learned to walk independently and as with everything, you did it your own way.  It was your brother's birthday and after months of confidently cruising you were still refusing to let go and attempt it alone.  When you finally did, it was with a big audience, an even bigger grin on your face and you walked right out the room like you had been doing it for ages.  It took you a little longer than your brothers, but we didn't doubt you would get there.


This year you learned to talk and I have found it hard not to compare your progress to your brothers.  You are unique and you are communicating in your own way.  Your language seems to have started snowballing since Christmas and every day you are learning new words.  There are still plenty that I 
don't understand yet, but you understand me (other than when I say no or stop).

At nearly 2 you are strong willed and defiant.  You have refused to just slot in like I was told third babies do - we know you are around! You are interested in everything, put off by nothing and everything is a climbing frame.  You are a little whirlwind at times, but you can also sit and play beautifully for ages.  You are desperate to be big like your brothers but you also want to be a baby like your sister.  You adore her, she is your favourite person and I love watching the two of you interact.  


I still think of you as a baby but from the outside you are starting to look less like one.  Those wispy baby curls that framed your face have gone, you race confidently into new situations, you make your choices known, you are growing and changing.  You still insist on your 'daddit' (dummy) to fall asleep though, and you lay with your arms tucked under you and your bum in the air as only babies and small children can. 

One was the age you became a big brother, just two days after you turned 16 months.  You loved your sister immediately and you two have a special bond.  You watch how close your big brothers are and you get impatient to have the same fun with Cora - I think you two are going to cause so much mischief once she is really on the move!

I am constantly reminded of quite how far you have come, the odds you have beaten and the mountains that you are still desperate to move.  You will always be a little miracle to us.


Happy Birthday baby boy, Happy Birthday Finn.  You are loved more than I ever knew you could be
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

10 Reasons to Choose Cloth Nappies

10 reasons to choose cloth nappies


Dylan was about 2 months old when we discovered quite how far cloth nappies have come from the terry squares our grandparents used to boil.  Reusable nappies these days are easy to use, easy to clean and they looks pretty damn cute too! We have now been using cloth nappies for over five years and with two under two, I still have two little fluffy bums in this house.

I know many people won't even consider reusable nappies, but I wanted to write about why we love them, so here are our top 10 reasons for using them.

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1. Disposable nappies take over 500 years to decompose, which means that had Henry VIII wore them, they would still be sitting in landfills now.  Cloth nappies last for years and we have some that have been worn by all four children and are still going strong. Their environmental impact is miniscule in comparison to their disposable counterparts.

2.  They save you money - the amount you save depends on how many children you have, but once you have paid out for an initial kit, there is nothing else to buy (unless like me you get tempted by pretty new prints).  They can also be sold on once you are done with them (you definitely can't do that with disposables!)

3. You never have that panic when you have run out.  We never have to do a last minute dash to the shops as we always have plenty of nappies, or we can just put on a wash when we are getting low.  For last minute people like us who have to run to the shops for milk far too often this is a great benefit.

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4. They look pretty cute! I can't wait for the summer - Cora in pretty summer dresses with a cute cloth nappy poking out underneath.  There are so many gorgeous styles - The babies are wearing a print called Kaleidoscope from TotsBots in these pics and it is really stunning.  Our whole collection is colourful and fun.

5. One size fits most which means I can have one stash of nappies and use it on both the children, I just adjust the poppers at the front to get a smaller fit on Cora.  If we were using disposable nappies they would both need different sizes.

6. They aren't full of chemicals and I know exactly what is going next to my child's skin.  We have all seen those disposable nappy horror stories of children getting burnt - I know my babies have natural breathable fibres next to their little bums, most of ours have a bamboo core which actually keeps them cooler in the summer than a disposable would.

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7. I don't have to empty the bins all the time.  Dirty nappies get tipped into the toilet and then left in a lidded bucket until they are washed.  Disposable nappies fill up the bin so easily (especially with two in them!) so we end up having to empty the bins daily which is just a hassle!

8. Newly mobile babies have a bit of cushioning! When Finn was learning to walk, I knew that falling over would be softened by his squishy cloth nappy!

9. It doesn't have to be all or nothing and you don't have to make a complete switch.  We still use disposables on holiday (and for the week we get home whilst I catch up on washing) and for long days out.  Even swapping one nappy a day to a cloth nappy makes a difference to your environmental impact.

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10. They are as easy to use as disposables - gone are the days of having to fold  a terry square and pin everything into place, we use all in one nappies which means there are no fiddly parts, you just do them up around the baby exactly as you would a disposable nappy.

So there you have it, 10 reasons why we use cloth nappies.  It didn't take us long to slot them into our routine and after 5.5 years of having at least one child in nappies at all times it has become second nature!
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Friday, 17 February 2017

Bedtime with Johnsons

Somehow my children have got progressively worse as sleepers. I don’t know whether we had a better routine with the first ones or whether it is just their personalities, but at 7 months Cora still has a long way to go before she is sleeping through, and at nearly 2, Finn doesnhave it mastered either. The team over at Johnsons have sent us some of their bedtime bath goodies and a guide to their 3-step routine to try and help us all get a better nightsleep.

This week I will be trying their routine every night and I will be reporting back to let you know how it all went. Neither Cora or Finn are good sleepers so we are going to be trying it on both of them.



Step 1) Warm Bath
Johnson’s have sent us their bedtime baby bath which is perfect for both the little two (and their big brothers too). Studies have shown that babies bathed with a fragranced bath product spent nearly 25% less time crying before sleep and whilst mine dont tend to cry, I am willing to try anything to keep them happy and asleep that bit longer. They both love to splash at bath time too, so I think it is a great way to get out the last of the days energy.


Step 2) Baby Massage
I went to all the classes for baby massage with Dylan, but having older brothers so close in age meant that the younger three didnt get the same experience. We have Johnsonbedtime baby oil as well as their baby cream and hopefully the touch and bonding time will help both little ones feel secure, loved and ready for sleep. I know that a massage always relaxes me and I think they are both going to really enjoy it, although Finn is rather tickly now!


Step 3) Quiet Time
With warm, soft and calm babies, I don’t really need an excuse for a cuddle so I know this step will come naturally. The Johnsons Bedtime baby sleep app has a selection of relaxing lullabies which I think Finn will love as he has always liked to fall asleep to music. Cora is still breastfed to sleep which is one of my favourite parts of the day as we snuggle up quietly together. At the moment she is still fed to sleep but the app is suggesting I try to get her to fall asleep on her own, so feed her until she is drowsy and then put her down. We may give it a go this week as she may then settle better in the night when she wakes.


We are really excited to be trying out this new routine and hopefully feeling the benefits!




This is a sponsored blog post by the Johnsons brand. I have received payment incentive and samples but all opinions are my own. Johnsons clinically proven bedtime routine consists of bath, massage and quiet time, tested on babies 7 months+, 1 week+ use.

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Before you turn Four



At three you can still be considered a toddler, but Archie, when you wake up you will be four and I will have to admit that that phase of your life has passed.  The countdown to school has began and you are ready for it in so many ways.  Really, you stopped being a toddler quite a while ago but behind the excitement of each new stage, I am reluctant to let go of the last one.


Three was the year we cut off your beautiful hair and I cried real tears in the middle of the hairdressers.  I have found peace with your new style and it suits you.  You are never mistaken for a girl anymore, it doesn't get in your face as you run and hair washes are so much easier.  It was the right choice (I will begrudgingly admit) but I did love your long blonde locks.

Every year you change so much and I can see quite how much you have grown since I wrote to you one year ago.  You are still exactly the same though, unapologetically you, determined, loyal, loving and wild.  I wrote as you turned two about how you were happier with your brother around and that is still true - you fit in perfectly in our big family, a playful little brother and a loving big one.  You and Dylan are the best of friends (although you fight like only brothers can), you and Finn are becoming real playmates now and you are so caring with Cora.  I look at the photos from the day before you turned one and I still recognise those expressions, that you.


You are happiest naked and have refused to wear any form of pyjamas or clothes around the house for a while now.  You have no problem snuggling under a blanket with me though, warming your icy feet on my skin and cuddling in close.  You still love to cuddle and I have to admit you give the best cuddles.  You can cheer me up in seconds with you arms around my neck and I dread the day you stop wanting to be so close. 

Your imagination has really developed this year, you talk absolute nonsense sometimes and you and Dylan are often in your own world together.  I love listening at your door after I put you to bed as you stay up and chat and watching you playing with your Lego, singing made up songs as you do.  This imagination did lead to the 'Mystery bandit' in our house who was responsible for all kinds of mischief and was never seen at the same time as you.  He has thankfully gone now although things are still blamed on him (by all members of the family).


As a three year old you became a big brother (again) and took it all in your stride as you always do.  You are wonderful with Cora and she is a lucky little girl to have you as a big brother.

At three you were bright, sociable, loving, energetic and bold.  You have learned to concentrate on things a little better, sit still a little longer, climb a little higher and communicate a little clearer.  I can't wait to see what adventures four has in stock for you.

Before you turn four, as I kiss you goodnight for the last time as my three year old, I just want you to know how truly loved you are


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