Friday, 23 February 2018

What Cora Wore // Kite Clothing

Is there anything cuter than a baby in dungarees? (yes, I am still calling her a baby).  We were sent this beautiful pair of Kite dungarees from Growing Needs and I love the pretty print, the great fit and the soft organic cotton.

Cora is a climber an explorer, a risk taker and incredibly cheeky and these dungarees are perfect for her as she can move freely, they look comfy and they have poppers on the shoulders as well as around the legs to make nappy changing easier.  I took a few photos whilst she was playing and I love how they capture her cheeky grin, her little pigtails and the way she always squats to play.

Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,

Growing Needs sells lots of our favourite brands and she has lots of Kite organic clothing including some other dungaree designs!  Cora is wearing the 12-18 month size here which she is normally just growing into and she has plenty of growing room so I would say they are quite true to size and a great style for long legged babies.

Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,
Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,

Expect to see lots more pictures of Cora in these adorable dungarees over the coming weeks!

Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,

Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,

Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,

Kite dungarees from Growing Needs,

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Creating a Child Friendly Bathroom

I have decided it is time to make adjustments to the family bathroom to ensure it is safe for the children to use alone. Although I would really like to fully redecorate the room unfortunately we are too busy for the room to be out of action so I will be focusing on what I think is the most important part to change, which is the shower.

The current shower in the family bathroom is prone to being freezing then boiling as soon as I turn the notch what feels like 1mm. I know part of the reason for this is because of my impatience whist waiting for the boiler to work. I was still keen to buy a shower with a temperature block so the water would never come out too hot for the children.

Knowing that I did not want to spend an absolute fortune on a new shower mixer but wanted to buy high quality products led me to search for highly esteemed brands such as Grohe and Hansgrohe. The main reason for this is because they have automatic temperature locks that prevent the temperature ever exceeding 38 degrees. Meaning the kids can use the shower safely without risking burning themselves with really hot water.

Another great way of creating a bathroom space that the kids will take more pride in using and looking after is by assigning each child a named towel hook. I have found that by having their own personally named place to hang their towels after use they are more willing to return their towel on the hook and not the bathroom floor or in the bedroom. I think this is due to the personal touch giving them a sense of responsibility early on.

I would love to hear your tips on how you have created a family friendly space in the bathroom.

Collaborative Post
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Friday, 16 February 2018

Before You Turn Five

You have reminded me all day that you won't be any different tomorrow, just a bit bigger but tomorrow you turn 5 and today as we ventured into London I was reminded of the little changes that will bring.  It was the last day you will travel for free on public transport because tomorrow you will be counted as a child rather than an infant.  As with everything, you are taking it all in your stride though and you told me 'kid tickets are only a pound Mummy, don't worry'.

Four was the year you started school and you have grown and thrived.  You settled in so easily, making friends, learning lots and finding your place.  You are neither desperate to go or reluctant, you have just accepted school and you enjoy it.  Four was the year you got glasses and you accepted them easily too, after picking just the right pair (and dismissing the other 100 as 'not cool enough').  They have Avengers on the side and we now have three pairs the same dotted around the house.

I have been reading the letter I wrote to you this time last year and it still describes you completely.  You are still exactly the same, unapologetically you, determined, loyal, loving and wild.  You are happiest with company and you and Dylan are definitely a pair, playing so amazingly together, sharing imaginations and scrapping constantly of course too.  You still adore your baby sister and you play with Finn as a last resort, but when you do give in, you play so lovely together.

You make us laugh every day,  you burst into song when we least expect it and you are still naked at any possible opportunity.  You love Pokemon, scooting, cheesestrings and family and we all love you. 

Never stop being you.

Before you turn five, as I kiss you for the last time as a four year old, I just want you to know how truly loved you are.
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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

An Ordinary Half Term Day

It is half term which means a week off of school and nursery and we have a week full of little plans rather than big ones.  The weather is set to get wetter as it gets on, so we made sure we got outside whilst we could.  It was one of those rare winter days where the sun blinded us as we drove over to a seafront park and it warmer our faces as we explored the ruins of an old castle built right on the cliff top.

The playground next door had a castle theme and the children loved it.  Some of our local ones are a bit of a struggle for Cora's little legs but this one was perfectly designed for children of all ages and I could sit back and relax as they ran around.  The cafe served fresh cake and hot coffee and it felt like half term got off to a great start.

Of course there were tantrums as we had to leave, a child who refused to eat any of his lunch and the day certainly wasn't perfect - it very rarely is, but we had fun and I took a few photos that I wanted to share to look back on.  I know that one day they won't all be so content with a seesaw and roundabout but for now, this is their perfect start to half term.

There they are, my baby girl with a fringe that just won't stay out of her eyes, my toddler boy who goes one way whilst we all go the other, my four year old whose tongue can't help but poke out his mouth when he is concentrating and my big boy who looks so grown up with his two front teeth missing.

It was just an ordinary half term moment, but it was just as worthy of recording as the big moments.

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Friday, 9 February 2018

Why We Travel

It wasn't until I became an adult that  found my passion for travelling and it has only grown since having children.  We didn't let one child stop us exploring and we aren't going to let four either.  We travel for us, for them and because there is a whole world out there to be seen and experienced.

We travel to explore

We want new experiences, whether those are new skills, trying a new sport, tasting a new dish or seeing new creatures.  We love the novelty of something new and filling our children  with wonder and experience.

We travel to escape.

We want time off work, off of school, off of laundry and cleaning and cooking every day.  We want to sit back and relax and not worry about everyday things.  We want to escape and enjoy being away.

We travel to reconnect.

With school and work, preschool and playgroups, going away gives us a chance to be all together without distractions.  We love watching how our children interact with each other and how our relationships with them change.

We travel for luxury

Let's be honest, who doesn't want to get into a freshly made bed that you didn't make yourself! We want to wake up somewhere beautiful, go swimming every day and feel looked after for a few days.

We travel to learn.

A new language, a new way of doing things, a new skill, a new culture.  Every holiday is a learning experience, sometimes big, sometimes small but we always come away having learned something new.

Simpsons Travel are looking for bloggers and we would love to try out one of their stunning destinations.  As a larger family we know self catering villas are perfect for us and their holidays look perfect for us with a mixture of sun, sand, sea and family.
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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Let Them Be Bored // Petits Filous

We have been working with Petits Filous on their Free Play campaign and for the last week we have been on a mission to push past the 'I'm bored' stage and encourage the children to play rather than turning to technology.  The biggest challenge has been after school as the boys are often tired and I am guilty of thinking an hour in front of the TV is what they needed after an intense day.  What I have discovered this week is that actually after a day of structure and stretching their minds, what they really seem to need after school is a chance to exercise their imaginations instead and some playing with no structure, no learning goals or adult input is so much better for them.

The first thing I noticed was how school is influencing their play.  Archie's topic for the term is Space and Dylan's is explorers, the overlap being astronauts.  They had a visit from Helen Sharman (the first British Astronaut to visit the MIR space station) at school the week before and as soon as I sent them out in the garden with no instructions, they declared it to now be the moon.  They chatted as they played about all things space, getting lost in their conversations until they needed an answer.

free play, playing free, petits filous

They turned to me and asked how people walk on space and I gave them my best man on the moon impression.  I was expecting to be invited into the game here, but they turned away and carried on with their new information. They were space rockets, astronauts and explorers, finding moon rocks and aliens (apparently younger siblings make ideal aliens!)

free play, playing free, petits filous

The easiest way to start this new habit of letting them play free with no structure or input seemed to be sending them out in the garden but the British weather doesn't make that possible everyday and when we are stuck inside, I observed their new favourite game 'pets' that involves every cuddly toy in the house.  

The boys started playing this game weeks ago, but given the time with no distractions I found them going back to it time and time again.  I spoke to leading play expert Anita Cleare and she said that children often return to the same game, evolving it slightly each time they play to get something different out of it.  On the second wet day when they wrote a list of names and ages of all their 'pets' and on the third wet day when they celebrated one of their pet's birthday parties I could really see what she meant.  Many aspects of the game stayed the same, but it adapted and grew, the imaginative world that they were immersing themselves in became more detailed and intricate and each time they played they seemed less aware of me even being in the house.

free play, playing free, petits filous

After school playing is apparently much more hunger inducing than sitting infront of the TV and we had Petits Filous yoghurts on hand for a snack (the pouches are perfect for eating in the garden or at the park as they can be kept out the fridge for up to 5 hours).  Each pot (or pouch) is fortified with Vitamin D for healthy bones and these pouches have less than 100 kcal per portion too.

free play, playing free, petits filous

I remember playing free as a child, shops, schools and overturned coffee tables becoming rabbit hutches.  I grew up before technology was everywhere and I love watching the boys having those carefree experiences too.  Technology plays an important part in our lives, but playing free is even more important for them and something we need to make time for everyday.

 This has been an eye opening experiment and I have loved watching their imaginations and getting a new insight into how their brains work.  There is still a time and place for the TV but we are going to try and do more free play everyday too.

free play, playing free, petits filous

free play, playing free, petits filous

free play, playing free, petits filous

The importance of free play, unstructured play,

I’m working with Petits Filous and BritMums promoting the #PetitsFilousPlayFree campaign 
about the importance of free  play.
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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

An Ordinary Moment - Winter Walks

It isn't as easy to get out every day in the winter, but it makes such a difference to us all and the excitement on their faces when I suggest we put on our wellies is so worth it.  Archie got a new scooter for Christmas which means that his old one has been passed down to Finn and Finn has not left it alone since.  He wants to scoot everywhere and he is pretty good at it too! 

These are a few quick snaps from an ordinary day for us, just a Tuesday or Wednesday.  I take the big boys to school and then the little two and I start our morning properly.  We went for a walk and they insisted they didn't need their coats for all of five minutes (they have plenty of layers on underneath) before they both decided that they may actually be a good idea. 

There is no real story to this blog post, just some photos to remember these ordinary mornings where we squelch in mud, giggle on the swings and race up and down the same path in the park on a scooter.   These ordinary moments that are the highlight of their weekdays.

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