Thursday, 29 August 2013

A 90th Birthday

Family is so important to me and I feel incredibly lucky to come from such a big and loving one.  I have lots of Aunties and Uncles both close and far, and although my grandparents are sadly no longer around, I do have a Great Aunt who celebrated turning 90 this week.

90th birthday cakes, personalised cupcakes, 90th birthday party

Cue a big party, cousins, cupcakes and baby cuddles.  The party was held at a relatives house and their beautiful garden had a gazebo full of goodies to eat, chairs and tables for chatting and plenty of space for the little ones to run around.

giant football, family birthday party

toddler with giant football, 90th family party

Uncles and cousins kept the children amused with giant footballs and a pinata filled with sweeties, and everyone enjoyed a good catch up.  We gathered from all over the country, and my Aunty from Australia even managed to time her visit so that she could be there.  There are not many occasions that bring us all together but 90 years is a pretty impressive achievement!

pinata, 90th birthday party, pinata at children's party

Growing up with such a close extended family was an amazing experience and I really hope that my children get to benefit from having so many wonderful relatives around too.  Dylan loves seeing his great aunties and uncles and playing with my cousin's children (and grandchildren).  Archie had other babies to sit and chew things with and I got to eat 6 different deserts(the sign of a good day)!

children's party bag, child at 90th birthday, family party, party horn, the mummy adventure

It happened to be my birthday on exactly the same day but my 26 years is nothing in comparison to the 90 that my great Aunt was celebrating.  It was lovely to spend the day with the people that are important to me though, those that have known me my whole life and who love and care for my babies.

the mummy adventure, family photo,

I hope that my Aunty had a birthday to remember and I hope that in 64 years time I can get quite as many loved ones together to celebrate my special day too!  I hope that my boys grow up surrounded by people they love, and that they learn the true importance of family.

great aunt, turning 90, 90th birthday, family
My Mum and her Aunty

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Ready to Go!

Archie is now confidently rolling around the room and can sit unaided for quite some time, so the next step in his physical journey is learning to crawl.  I am loving the stage we are in now, and Archie looks so content sat surrounded by his toys but as with every stage, it is fleeting.  Dylan was over a year old before he crawled but I can already tell that Archie is desperate to be on the go and he won't still be sat still in six months time.

Dylan is a particularly chilled little boy and despite our house not being particularly baby-proofed (we still haven't put up stairgates!), he has never come to any harm.  He is happy to step over wires, ignore the coal fire and wait for a parent before ascending the stairs.  I can already tell you that Archie will be different.

The boys are opposites in so many ways and I think having an older brother will encourage Archie even more. I can already see a cheeky glint in his eye and I know that before long we will have to be raising everything up a level and preparing for chaos.

My main priority is avoiding a serious injury, and after Dylan's broken leg and our hospital stay this summer, I am certainly not taking any risks.  The stairgates will be going up in the next few weeks, the kitchen cleaning cupboards will be getting locks put on and the wires will have to be tucked away somewhere.

Dylan is still not much of a climber (even less so with a mending leg), but I have visions of Archie half way up the curtains everytime I turn my back and I am worried about how I will cope after having such an easy time with Dylan.  I don't want to be looking for head injury advice every other week when he is jumping off the mantelpiece!

Our back garden is not ideal for children as it is set on three levels, but at the moment Dylan is happy to play on just the one, ignoring the stairs completely all the while there is a bike and a paddling pool to keep his attention.  When friends bring their children round to play though, it is a different story and they are always off exploring.  I know that Archie will be like that in the not too distant future and I have no idea how we can babyproof the garden.

Our babyproofing (take 2) adventure is about to begin as I can already see that at 6 months old Archie is just desperate to be on the move.  Wish us luck!

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What Are Little Boys Made Of?

Curled up toes on soft tiny feet

Squelchy knees hidden by the layers of fat

Chunky thighs with so many rolls and creases

A big squishy bum

A tummy button that took a while to heal

A kissable neck that just makes you giggle

Rosebud lips and a squashy nose

Beautiful blue eyes with long long lashes

Light blonde hair that grows tufty on top

A gummy grin that is completely and utterly irresistible

That's what my little boy is made of.
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Cow and Gate Fruit Pouches Review

This is a Netmum's sponsored review.To find out more click the button:

Despite being a self confessed chocoholic, I am very fussy about what my children eat.  Dylan is now 2 years old and considers raisins and strawberries a treat and dried fruit is still 'sweeties'.  I don't add sugar or salt to cooking and try to give him as balanced a diet as possible.

Cow and Gate fruit pouches, Nemums review, weaning,

When we started weaning Archie, I had the same outlook and am very cautious about what I feed him.  We have taken a mixed approach with elements of baby led weaning as well as some spoon feeding, and we were sent a set of Cow and Gate's new 100% fruit pouches for Archie to try.

Arriving with a white bib (which is unlikely to stay that colour for much longer!), the new pouches look great and I felt happy feeding them to my son knowing there were no nasties in there. Being a little on the gummy side, there is no way he can eat a pear or apple quite yet, so the pouches are the perfect way to get him used to different flavours. 

Strawberry and banana were a big hit with Archie and I had a toddler who was more than happy to finish off anything he couldn't manage (especially the pear).  Dylan gave every single flavour the thumbs up, and he loved having them as a snack straight from the pouch.  If you don't have a toddler hoover nearby though, the pouches can be kept in the fridge which is perfect as at 6 months, one packet will last more than one meal for my little guy.

These pouches are reliable, tasty (according to my 2 year old) and so easy to use.  I don' leave the house without one in my nappy bag as they make an easy meal for a baby and a great nutritious snack for a toddler.

“I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.”
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Monday, 26 August 2013

6 Months In

Half a year has passed since Archie entered the world and things have certainly changed.  Whilst I still have a lot to learn, I feel like I have the 'mother of two' thing pretty sorted (for now at least).

This month has been full of change and Archie seems to have grown up almost overnight.  As well as competently rolling all over the place (and quite often across the room), the little man is now sitting unaided.  He loves to play on his tummy but since he found his balance, he is happiest on his bottom and I tend to put a V cushion behind him to soften any falls.  He loves his new view point and watching the world go by.

We have also started weaning, and after an uninterested start, Archie is now incredibly interested in food and desperate to get at anything we are eating.  We started with a mixed approach but are finding that he much prefers the baby led style.  He has moved quickly and this week we are introducing the third meal.  His favourite food is breadsticks and he seems to prefer vegetables to fruit so far

Archie has moved out of the crib next to my bed and is now comfortably settled in his very own room.  He is out of the moses basket and so has his day time naps up there as well if we are in.  He seems quite happy in his cot and as much as I miss him being right there next to me, it is also lovely to reclaim our bedroom and not spend my evening creeping around by phone-torch light.

Generally Archie is a pretty happy little chap.  He loves having his nappy off and is the most smiley when he is naked.  He is definitely teething now and we don't leave the house without our trusty companion Sophie le Giraffe.  He is still comfortably fitting in his 6-9 month clothes but I don't think it will be too long before we are reaching for the next size up.  He is still such a mummy's boy and happiest in my arms. 

Despite the introduction of solids, he still wants to breastfeed often and nights usually include a 3am and 5am feed, with him generally coming into our bed for the second as he won't settle back in his cot.  Sometimes he still adds in a 12pm feed too but not as often anymore.

This month has been the most difficult with both the boys and Dylan seems to be struggling with the concept of gentle.  Sometimes I think he is just over excited, but other times I think he lashes out for attention.  Most of the time he just wants to talk or play with 'Bubba' and he loves blowing raspberrys on his tummy to make him laugh.  I remember very clearly what it was like to have a younger brother, and I am not expecting it to be plain sailing but I am hoping this is just a little phase.

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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Baby Wearing with the Ergo Stowaway

I am a huge lover of babywearing and now that I have two under twos, I honestly don't know how people get anything done without a carrier! I have a variety of slings and carriers, but the Ergo Stowaway is perfect for me at the moment.  It is a soft-structured carrier suitable from birth up to 44lb toddlers and I have been wearing both my boys in it.  The handy part is, that it folds in to its pocket and it incredibly compact when not in use.

babywearing, ergo, ergo stowaway, fold up carrier, baby sling, baby carrier

I usually take out a double pushchair, but Archie is not the biggest fan of buggies and he won't fall asleep on his back so I rely on a carrier when he gets tired.  The Ergo Stowaway fits easily under any pushchair, even with all the other bits I like to carry around and my baby boy is asleep within seconds as he cuddles into me.

The stowaway is comfortable for both parent and child and keeps baby in the best possible position for carrying, with their knees higher than their bottom and curved towards me.  Babies should ideally have knee to knee support to keep their hips in the ideal position and this carrier is suitable for babies with hip problems such as hip dysplasia  

Although Dylan is no longer knee to knee in this carrier, I find it incredibly supportive considering he is 35lb and he loves having a stroll on mummy's back.  I have carried him for two hours without having any issues or strains and he had no complaints either.  The beauty of this carrier is that whichever child wants to be picked up can fit and I don't need to carry two separate slings around with me.  He loves being able to see over my shoulder and as we walk we can see all the same things and chat as we go.

ergo stowaway, toddler in Ergo, toddler in sling, toddler carrier, toddler wearing, baby wearing a toddler

The carrier is softer than the regular Ergo carrier and although it doesn't come in the same variety of designs, I like the simple green and it is very dad-friendly so perfect for families where both parents baby-wear.  Unlike the standard Ergo, the stowaway doesn't have a storage pocket but I very rarely use the pocket on my Ergo so it wasn't something I missed.

It has a black sleep hood that can be tucked in during normal use, but when baby falls asleep, it attaches by poppers to your shoulders and stops their little head rolling back.  It is also perfect for encouraging sleep as Archie found it very calming and dark with the hood on.

I can see us getting a lot of use out of this carrier as it is perfect for quick trips and I have also done full days with only a single pushchair and the sling for Archie.  I have actually found myself reaching for this carrier more than any other as it is incredibly comfortable and unbelievably practical.  I would recommend it to both experienced baby wearers and new ones as you really can't get it wrong!

Disclaimer:  I was sent this carrier free of charge for the purpose of this review but all thoughts,
 pictures and opinions are completely my own.
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Friday, 23 August 2013

Don't Let Me Forget

Don't let me forget the little things,

The smile on Archie's face when I go and get him up from his nap.

The way Dylan sings Twinkle Twinkle at every possible opportunity.

The smell of Archie's head- that wonderful milky baby scent that makes you want to just cuddle them all day.

The Cheeky smile Dylan gives when he is asking for a biscuit.

The way Archie starts shaking with excitement as you lower him into the bath.

The way Dylan cuddles up to me when the Rhyme Rocket is on.

The desperation with which Archie waits for milk and that sigh of relief as he latches on.

Hearing cries of 'Cold blue milk' as I wake up coming from Dylan's cot.

Listening to Dylan blowing raspberrys on Archie and hearing them both laughing together.

Their beautiful faces as they sleep, so unbelievably peaceful

These special everyday moments.

Life is a series of moments, each one as important as the other.  Some may seem big, and some insignificant but every single one is shaping the people our children will become. I know I will remember the holidays, the broken legs, and the birthdays, but I want to remember the smells, the sounds and the special things that made these early years so precious.

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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Kiddy Click'N'Move Review

We are huge fans of Kiddy, and have already shared how much we loved the Evolution Pro, the City'n'move and the Phoenix Pro so I was very excited when I found out about the launch of their new travel system.  I was sent one to test and we love it.

kiddy click'n'move, kiddy pushchair, kiddy travel system

From the classy black frame, to the reversible seat to the ingenious raincover, I find this pushchair easy to use, light to push and comfortable for my babies.

The Click'n'Move 3 comes in a variety of colours, and I went for the Cranberry as I am a huge fan of buggies that stand out.  The colour is red bordering on pink but my boys can definitely pull it off.  The seat can be both parent and world facing and is very easy to switch - using the two clips on the side it clicks out, can be turned and pushed back in.  The seat unit is comfortable and a good size although my large toddler doesn't have much growing space left so I would have loved it to be ever so slightly bigger.

Kiddy travel system, toddler in kiddy pushchair, kiddy clicknmove

The hood is large and has a viewing panel which is great for checking up on the boys when they are world facing.  The bumper bar has a zip along it from which a raincover/ footmuff pulls out.  I absolutely loved this feature as I find raincovers can be quite bulky in a basket and typically as soon as you forget one it starts raining! The cover is loose enough to let the child still kick their legs around, but the elastic means that they can't pull it off.  The hood offers plenty of shade and so the child stays dry without having their face covered - perfect for toddlers who are not that keen on being covered up.  I have wondered how well this would work in a storm but we haven't yet had to deal with that.  I have discovered that the Kiddy raincover for their stroller does fit over this buggy though so I think we will use that if it comes to it.

The black frame looks great and is very easy to fold and unfold.  The basket is deceptively big and I have fitted my twins pink lining bag in alongside jumpers for the boys and I.  The basket can be zipped up and this keeps the pushchair looking great and neat, as well as protecting your possessions (I have a habit of losing things out the side of baskets!)

kiddy clicknmove, kiddy travel system

The handlebar is fully adjustable and suitable for parents or carers of any height as it goes low enough for a child to push and high enough for a very tall man to still be comfortable.  The steering is incredibly light, in fact one of my only criticisms of his pushchair is that sometimes I found it too light, even with a 15kg toddler in the seat.  Generally this doesn't cause any problems though.  The brakes are very handy and are activated easily by pushing down with your foot and pushing down on the other end to take them off. I have found this feature perfect for the summer as I often struggle with traditional stroller brakes in my flip flops.

We were also sent the Carrycot for this pram which was invaluable during our hospital stay as it also doubled as Archie's bed some nights! As it happens, he slept better in there than he ever did at home so I think it is fair to say it got a thumbs up from him! The carrycot is traditional yet modern and looks great on the travel system.  It was spacious enough for my long 5 month old to still be comfortable although by 5.5 months he was well and truly out of it.

kiddy carrycot, 5 month old in carrycot, kiddy click'n'move

This travel system takes the Evolution Pro car seat which we love for so many reasons (you can read my review here) and I found it so useful when we needed to pop out from the car that (with adaptors on) the carseat could just slot in, and that Archie could lie flat as we walked.

Overall we loved this travel system and have found it difficult to fault.  I think it looks great, it is easy to push and both boys love using it.  There is a great variety of colours and accessories and it is perfect from birth upwards.

Disclaimer:  We were sent the Click'n'move free of charge for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Monday, 19 August 2013

Happy Half Birthday Baby Boy


I was warned how fast time would fly with a second baby, but it has still shocked me to wake up and realise you are half a year old already.  Six whole months have passed since that beautiful moment when you entered the world and although it feels like you have always been in our lives, it also feels like no time at all since we became a family of four.

Six exciting, exhausting, emotional and amazing months I have spent watching you grow from a helpless curled up newborn into a curious, smiley baby who is desperate to be on the move.  For six months I have been the proud mama to you two beautiful boys and every day you challenge me, educate me and make me so proud.

You are nothing like your brother, you are eager to be on the move and happiest on your tummy.  You still sleep on your tummy with your squishy little bum high up in the air and it makes me smile every time I see you snoozing away.

We started weaning a couple of weeks ago, and you are finally coming round to the idea.  You have already decided how you want to be fed and we have termed it 'Archie led weaning' as it doesn't seem to fit into either of the common approaches.  You want proper food, but you want it fed straight into your mouth rather than feeding yourself.  It isn't easy and we are trying to convince you to either hold it yourself or take the food from a spoon but you are a determined little man!

At six months I thought your brother was so big but you seem so little still.  Dylan was in his own room by 11 weeks old yet it took me over 5 months to let you sleep in your nursery and I still found it hard.  At 6 months Dylan was wolfing down meals, open to every new taste and desperate for more.  You are not bothered and it takes you quite a while to get used to every new flavour.  At six months, Dylan was sitting up unaided perfectly, yet you can only manage a few seconds before you decide you are happier on your tummy.  You are so much more interested in what is going on around you though and I see your eager eyes taking it all in.  You won't still be sat content at 12 months like him and I can already see you longing to join in with his games.  Despite this comparison to your brother, I am in no hurry for you to grow up.

You are well and truly a mummy's boy and I wouldn't have you any other way.  Your eyes follow me, no matter what else is going on and you are happiest in my arms.  You want to be worn in a sling rather than sat in a pushchair and I find it difficult to leave you knowing that I am the comfort that you always desire.

Baby boy you are perfect just as you are.  Everytime you catch my eye and offer me that beautiful smile I remember exactly what is important and why I have the best job in the world - being a Mama to you.

Happy half birthday Archie
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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Folk Week Fun

This past week, a local town have been hosting their annual 'Folk Week'.  The bloke and I got together during Folk Week and are both huge fans, as we have always taken the week off of work to enjoy it fully.  Bands play, stall holders sell their wares, Morris dancers line the seafront and there is a general atmosphere of summer, relaxation and good company.

We spend time with friends in beer gardens, getting up to dance with the boys when the folk bands play.  We pop down to the beach and enjoy building sandcastles and paddling in the sea.  We wander along taking in the magicians, jugglers, dancers and buskers and we most certainly indulge in some 'folk week fudge'.

We watch the parades, point out the hobby horses and feed our pennies to Clarence the dragon.  We took Dylan's little bike and zoomed around the quiet roads, strengthening the little dude's legs after his break.

Once the little ones are safely tucked up in bed, we take it in turn to enjoy an evening out on the busy seafront, sitting outside with cider in plastic cups and catching up with friends old and new.  Some nights we kept the boys out later, an evening picnic on the beach or in the park followed by live music at the bandstand until we are all ready to retire to our beds.

Dylan learn to walk again, and more importantly, learnt to dance again, loving the kids club put on every morning and the stick banging music.  We spent every day out, as a family enjoying each others company and meeting up with friends.  

Folk Week is our favourite week of the year, the atmosphere, the location, the familiarity, the smells, the sounds and of course the delicious fudge.

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Win a Cath Kidston Changing Bag

I have teamed up with the lovely folk at Nelsons to offer you the chance to win a gorgeous Cath Kidston Changing Bag complete with changing bag and insulated bottle cover along with a bundle of Nelson's goodies. 

 Nelson's Teetha is certainly a staple in my changing bag as Archie is teething away, soaking through bibs and chewing anything and everything that comes near his face.  Teetha is a simple to use powder that helps relieves the symptoms if teething and it made such a difference to Dylan.  

Nelsons Teetha is the only teething brand to offer consumers the choice of both granule and gel formats. Nelsons Teetha Granules (£5.10), a homeopathic remedy, is specially formulated for the soothing and calming relief of the symptoms of teething. Contains Chamomilla 6c. Always read the label.
Nelsons New Teetha Teething Gel (£4.95) has all the benefits of the Nelsons Teetha Granules in a handy gel format. It is a homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of teething pain and the symptoms associated with teething which are sore and tender gums, flushed cheeks and dribbling. Contains Chamomilla 12c, Belladonna 12c, Aconite 12c. Always read the label. Suitable for babies over 3 months. 
For more information, click here

It couldn't be easier to enter, just follow the instructions on Rafflecoper below (if you need any help entering then click here)

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Learning to Walk (Again)

Being a boy isn't all about climbing trees and mud under your fingernails, but that is definitely part of the fun.  Dylan has been busy discovering his new found mobility; climbing, exploring and generally getting grubby.

Not being able to walk unaided means
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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Neal and Wolf Haircare Review

As parents, we are great at spoiling our children, but often not so good at treating ourselves.  Neal and Wolf offered to send me some products and I was very excited about something for 'me'

Bath time is just about the only time I switch off.  I am either looking after the children or listening out for them through the baby monitor, but when I am in the bath, the bloke has full responsibility and I just sit and enjoy the bubbles.  I shower or bath in the evenings as keeping the little ones occupied and out of trouble in the morning sounds like an impossibility and I look forward that little bit of 'me time' all day.

Despite baths now being my biggest indulgence (never imagined that 3 years ago!), I rarely buy myself those lovely products I like to sniff in the supermarkets.  I tend to go for the haircare that I have tried and trust which happens to be very reasonably priced.  The Neal and Wolf products are more than I have spent on hair products for quite some time, but as I am always complaining about how much TLC my hair needs, I can't explain why I haven't invested before.

The Harmony conditioner was thinner than I expected but left my hair feeling super soft and tangle free.  I have previously found that the more expensive the conditioner is, the less effective (go figure!), but I was pleasantly surprised when my hair felt like it had had a mini treatment after only one wash.

HARMONY Intensive Care Treatment

I have also been testing the blow dry cream and the heat protection spray.  As I tend to wash my hair mostly in the evenings and then sleep with it wet, I haven't used the blow dry cream as much, but it is non-greasy and leaves my hair feeling lush.

SILK Smoothing Blow-dry Balm

The heat protection spray is my favourite of the three products however, and the smell is divine.  My hair feels protected and not weighed down and I definitely think it leaves my hair in better condition than other sprays I have tried.  I straighten my hair near enough every day and so have used this product so many times, and I still look forward to spritzing and smelling.

GUARD Heat Protection

The products are a luxury for me as I don't have the money right now to buy lots of fancy things, but the straightening spray doesn't feel so much like an indulgence as it lasts for so long and smells so good! I will definitely buy the spray again and the conditioner as well as a treat.  I need to try a shampoo next and I have high expectations after getting on so well with the other products.

The Neal and Wolf hair care range is great quality, beautiful smelling and really not that expensive when you work out how much you get from each bottle (around £10-£13 per product).  As a mother who rarely buys for herself, this may well become my guilty pleasure and I would recommend it to other mums who may not look after themselves the way they once did.

Disclaimer:  I was sent these products for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Monday, 12 August 2013

Our Family, Right Now

This is our family, right now;

Mummy Likes:

Summer dresses
Days at the beach
Sweet and salted popcorn
Hearing my boys giggling together

Daddy Likes:

Time off of work
Bahlsen Jaffa Cake biscuits
Teaching Dylan to walk again
Cold beer on a hot day

Dylan Likes:

Singing '10 little monkeys jumping on the bed'
Playing with water beads in the paddling pool
Showing things to 'Bubba'

Archie Likes:

Having his tummy tickled
Being carried in the sling
Standing on his feet.

Today will only happen once, this part of our lives is fleeting, 
so this is just a little reminder our family, right now.

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

How Summer Should Be

Summers shouldn't be spent inside, and certainly not in a hospital.  The days should be long because we see so much sun, not because they drag and there should always be ice cream.

Now we are free, we are enjoying the beautiful weather with picnics in the park, afternoons at the beach and paddling pools in the garden.

brothers, summer, picnic in the park brothers

Suncream is applied, suncastles are built and shells are washed.  A mini milk lolly stops being a treat and fast becomes a necessity to keep cool.  Hot feet paddle in the cold sea and Mummy braves swimming in the waves.  

sandy toddler toes, summer at the beach, building sandcastles

watering can in paddling pool, paddling pool at the beach

Bags of scotch eggs and strawberries, and a big stripy blanket.  Swings, slides and stickers for those of us who can't run around at the moment.  More suncream, more ice creams and more fresh air.  

toddler eating strawberries, picnic in the park

matching brothers, toddler and baby matching T-shirts, picnic time

Days with friends, days with family and days spent playing in the back garden.  Water beads, paddling pools, painting and playdough.  Homemade ice lollies whenever the mood takes us, with washing drying on the line as we play.

paddling pool, water bead play, garden in summer play

Laughing, splashing, butterfly spotting and of course dining al fresco. Sandy toes, hooded towels and yet more ice cream.  Wearing just a nappy (the children, not me), strolls along the seafront and fish and chips on the beach just because we can.  

family of four, family at the beach, shoulder rides at the beach, my beautiful family

This is how summer should be, this is our August. 

stroll on seafront, pink lining bag, double buggy at the seaside

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