Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Me and Mine - April

April was an exciting month for us, and we began it 1600 metres above sea level in a little ski resort in Puy St Vincent.  These photos were taken on the third or fourth of April as we were on our way to enjoy some French Cuisine.


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'Let's have an adventure'

I have to admit to being a soft play convert.  Whilst we still love days out at the park and the beach, there are times when soft play is exactly what we need - a secure space to climb and explore (with coffee and cake).

soft play, 14 months old

Soft play is still a treat rather than a regular thing, but the boys love it and it really encourages Dylan with his climbing and co-ordination.  The most well used phrase whilst we are there though?  'Let's have an adventure'.

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Helly Hansen Ski Wear Review

This winter marked our first skiing trip and we were very lucky to be provided with some lovely ski jackets and thermals from the guys at Helly Hansen.  Helly Hansen is one of the biggest names in the outdoor clothing industry and is synonymous with quality.  Not only do their jackets look bright and on trend, they also feel well made with top of the range materials and all the technology you want for the slopes.

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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

First Steps

Archie took those first wobbly steps on his own at only 10 months old and we watched on in shock as this tiny little boy giggled and tottered.  He had cruised before he crawled and where Archie was, trouble was not far behind.  

After Dylan's lazy approach to movement, this child who was so desperate to explore was a shock to the system and his mischievous personality meant we were kept on our toes.  It seems that those wobbles were enough for my little man though, as he soon changed his mind and went back to crawling.

He turned 11 months, 12 months and 13 months still able to take about 5 steps before falling to his knees and crawling off at speed, but as Archie turned 14 months last week, he decided to up the game and push his little legs to the limit.  He took a few more chances, let go more often and by the second day he was walking across the room on his own.  His smiles show how proud he is of his new skill and I know this summer is going to be eventful and energetic with two little boys who will most likely be running in opposite directions!

first shoes, clarks doodles, baby's first shoes, new walker
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Saturday, 26 April 2014

14 Months Old

This last month I have been thinking a lot about how I would describe Archie.  In so many ways he is still a baby and being so much smaller than his big brother this is emphasised even more.  A friend said recently that all the while you count their age in months they are a baby and in that case he definitely still is.  On the other hand, Archie is now walking, making an effort to speak and learning new skills all the time.  He is starting to show definite toddler traits from the way he shakes his head to let you know that he knows what he is doing is wrong (but he is going to do it anyway), to his determination to do everything his big brother can and more.

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Friday, 25 April 2014

As They Change


These two boys are changing so fast that I am struggling to keep up.  Archie is reaching new milestones and mastering new skills, whilst Dylan is losing the baby side of his features, and getting taller and stronger every day.  Their relationship is changing as Archie becomes more adventurous and determined, but more fun as a playmate at the same time.

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Maui Jim Sunglasses

Maui Jim were kind enough to offer me some sunglasses to take on our recent ski holiday and I picked a pair of unisex Kipahulu glasses that looked perfect for enjoying the apres ski.  Unfortunately I didn't get to wear them as much as I liked and was left with my inferior cheapy sunglasses as the bloke took rather a liking to them!  Somehow they were a good fit on both of us which is rare as he has a particularly large head.

maui jim, sunglasses review, kipahulu sun glasses
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Thursday, 24 April 2014

M&S Holiday Essentials Review

You may have seen that we have recently spent a fantastic week on a family ski holiday, where we enjoyed the sun, the snow and some time away together.  The lovely people at M&S sent me a few bits to pack in my suitcase and it was lovely to have some little treats whilst we were away.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Go Green with Tots Bots Giveaway

Today I have a fantastic giveaway, and an opportunity for you to win a set of 5 Tots Bots Cloth nappies, a Baba Sling, a voucher for Frugi, and Aleva Naturals gift set, a Calafant paint your own treehouse, a cocoon towel and a drool monkey!

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

First Time Skiing


Our holiday in France with Snowbizz was the bloke and I's first time on the slopes and I was amazed at how fast we progressed.  I won't be signing up for the Olympics quite yet, but to progress from struggling to put on my skis on day one to zooming down the blue runs by day six was exhilarating and our fantastic instructor Sam was friendly and helpful at every stage.

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Bugaboo Buffalo Review

The Bugaboo Buffalo is an all terrain pushchair with big air filled tyres, a spacious seat and the biggest basket we have come across on a pushchair.  It seemed the obvious choice for us to take on our family ski holiday and it definitely served it's purpose well.


Bugaboo buffalo, buffalo review, all terrain pushchair

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Eggs

For us, Easter is much like Christmas.  Family plays the biggest part, with a huge roast on the main day - Yorkshire puds, cauliflower cheese and roast turkey followed by a homemade crumble.  The day is characterised by jokes with siblings, doting grandparents and very worn out children.  We chat, we eat, we play card games into the early hours and we definitely consume more than our fair share of chocolate.

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Mummy Adventure

I do my best thinking when I am walking.  It seems so cruel that I feel at my most creative when I don't have an opportunity to record it and I often compose whole blog posts in my head that I cannot recreate at all when I finally put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  This is one of those.

After two years and three months of recording our lives, I thought I would explain why I called my little space on the internet 'The Mummy Adventure'.  I have touched on it in the past, but I wanted to try and put into words the thought behind the name.

I don't think being a mother is a job.  I don't see it as a role or an occupation.  I see motherhood as a journey, an adventure.  It doesn't matter if your child was planned and longed for or a careless accident after a few too many tequilas on a Friday night.  It doesn't matter if it took 10 years of trying, hormone treatments and IVF or those two blue lines appeared completely unexpectedly.  It doesn't matter if your child has your genetics or not.  That first time that you touch those tiny little fingers, the first time you see those ten precious toes, the first time you hear those little lungs announcing his arrival, that is the very first day.

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Kiddicare Sleep Diary

At 13 months I had really expected Archie's sleep to have fallen into a routine, specifically one where he doesn't wake at night, but unfortunately this is not the case.

Whilst there are nights he manages a full 13 hours uninterrupted, there are also times he is awake before I have even made it to bed, refusing to settle for anything less than milk.  During the day sleep is still not regular and whilst Dylan had his nap at a set time, Archie can fight sleep until 4pm some days, but collapses by eleven on others.

Kiddicare asked me to keep a sleep diary for a month, noting both Archie's and my sleep and moods and I started to get the message after only a few days that maybe it may be my own fault rather than Archie's that I am tired in the mornings as 2am is not the most practical of bedtimes when you have two children under 3 in the house.  



As much as I would love to get a full 8 hours each night, or even a nice solid 6, I am not prepared to do any real sleep training with Archie.  When he wakes up he knows exactly what he wants and there is no chance whatsoever he is being fobbed off with a cuddle and a rock.  If I want to night wean then I need to be prepared to listen to hours of screaming and I just can't do that yet.  On a normal night, Archie wakes only once for a feed at around 5am and I know plenty of mums who would love sleep like that.  Our nights of sleeping through seem to be slowly increasing (with a few hiccups of course), so I am ever hopefully that Archie will get there on his own soon.


If you want to see more then check out the Kiddicare Blog

Disclaimer:  This post is in collaboration with Kiddicare


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Sunday, 13 April 2014

5 Things not to miss on a Snowbizz holiday

A ski holiday is first and foremost about the skiing, but of course there are so many other things to enjoy other than the bright white snow, and this is my pick of the top 5 not to miss on your Snowbizz holiday at Puy St Vincent.  For our full review, take a peek here 

Swim

There is something so ridiculously indulgent about lazing around in a beautifully warm pool surrounded by snow, and the new outdoor heated swimming pool in Puy st Vincent is stunning.  It is only a 2 minute walk from the apartments and at 30 degrees the water is perfect for relaxing in.  It is open from 3pm-7pm but the earlier in that time that you go, the more sun is on the pool and of course the more sun, the warmer the bits of you that aren't under water are! We went up on one of the first days when we were not as confident skiing on our own and fancied doing something different, and it was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.


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Packing for a Famiy Ski Holiday

We have just returned from our first family ski holiday thanks to the family ski specialists, Snowbizz and we had an amazing time! We asked a lot of questions in the lead up, and the lovely team were more than helpful and I thought I would put together a little list of what we packed.  I wrote this before we went but there have been a few updates since.


In the Suitcase

Thermals
I have packed a pair of thermals for all three of us, including some beautifully soft merino tops from Helly Hansen.  I have been told one pair is enough as you hang them up to dry every night.  I have got a spare pair for Dylan though as we only recently potty trained and whilst he hasn't had an accident in quite a while, I don't want to get caught out

packing for a family ski holiday, ski essentials, helly hansen thermals

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Very First Picnic of the Year

He refuses to keep either socks or shoes on, and any exposed skin looks grubby, covered in a thin layer of mud.  He crawls, cruises and explores every surface, touching everything he sees.  He is inquisitive, adventurous and determined and he is loving the weather getting warmer and the excuse to spend as much time as possible outside.


Archie is in his element in the park, and although he isn't quite walking yet, he loves the freedom when I let him explore his own way.  The warm weather meant we spent the first of many long days at the park, and the picnic blanket made its way out of the cupboard for the first time in months.

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Our Family Ski Holiday with Snowbizz

We have just returned from a week in the beautiful resort of Puy St Vincent in the French alps with the family ski company, Snowbizz.  Neither the bloke or I had ever attempted to ski before, and with two children under 3, we hadn't seen it in our future for quite some time either, but Snowbizz have everything covered and the four of us had an easy and fantastic holiday.

sledging, snowbizz, family ski holiday



I feel like I am giving away a little known secret, as everything in our resort was so perfectly laid out, that it seemed strange that we often found ourselves with the mountain just for us, no-one else in sight.  Not only were the slopes quite literally on our doorstep, but the chances of crashing into someone else were so slim that I felt much more confident on the snow than I imagined I would.



From the very beginning, our trip was well organised which is what you need with two small children.  I used to love planning my own holidays but nowadays I just want the stress taking away and the lovely ladies in the Snowbizz office sorted everything out ready for us.  We left Gatwick incredibly early on Sunday morning knowing that everything was booked and ready for our arrival.  We were greeted by a 'pink lady', one of the team of qualified and ofsted regulated nannies that look after the children in the creche, and the coach took us directly from Turin airport along the windy mountain roads to our resort at 1600m.



Our apartment was spacious with everything we needed right on hand.  Our bed was comfy, and the boys shared a room with bunk beds in.  There was a cot already set up for Archie too and plenty of space for their toys on the floor in there.  The living area had a well stocked kitchen with hobs, a kettle, a microwave and a filter coffee machine so we could prepare pasta, risottos and breakfasts ourselves.  There was a dining table, TV, board games, a sofa that pulled out into a bed and a huge balcony where we sat every morning to enjoy our croissants.  The apartment was clean and most importantly, was almost directly on the slopes.



We collected our hire boots, skis, poles and helmets and the guys in the shop where happy to spend a bit of time making sure we had the perfect fit.  This was all booked in advance so we just had to turn up to try them on before taking them away to our locker.  After a few hours to explore and enjoy, we had a welcome drink where we could meet the other guests, the pink ladies and Michel the owner and head of the ski school as well as finding out about all the fantastic activities that the company put on, from pirate treasure hunts for the kids to quiz nights for the adults.



It took us about 30 seconds to get from our apartment to a small section of cafe's, shops and facilities and we had plenty of choices of where to eat as well as a supermarket, a bakery, a delicious sweet shop and a place to buy souveniers.  




The next morning the boys were due to start in the creche and I was nervous as they don't attend any childcare at home.  The children under 3 can book in for morning, afternoon or all day sessions in the creche and once they turn three, they can start taking ski lessons too.  The pink ladies in the creche, led by head nanny Maria were happy and confident and I was reassured that we could come and see them at any time and take them in and out as we pleased.  I left two happy boys who were heading towards some paint and stopped in the little bakery next door for some fresh croissants to eat in peace on our balcony.  I need not have worried as the boys loved the creche.



I felt more than happy leaving them there, as every one of the nannies was brilliant with the children, outgoing, friendly and competent.  Every day Dylan came home telling me that he had done painting, drawing, playing in tents, singing, going for walks in the snow to see the horse, baking and all sorts of other things and Archie was smiling and happy too.  The creche had plenty of space for the boys to have naps and we soon realised that by 1 o'clock when we finished our lesson they were far too tired for lunch, so we sent them in with a packed lunch and the lovely ladies helped them eat that before putting them down for a sleep.


As for us, on our second lesson we were taken up in a two man lift to do a short green slope and every lesson we progressed trying new things, bigger slopes, and progressing to the blue runs that were faster and steeper.  Our instructor Sam was brilliant, offering lots of advice, and happily going back a stage when my confidence failed me.  As we were there in the quiet season, it turned out to only be the bloke and I in our class so it was fantastic to have so much attention.  Snowbizz classes are known for being small so it seemed the perfect place to learn.


helly hansen, snowbizz

I am proud to say that I fell only a handful of times in the whole week and on the last afternoon I was going down quite steep and very long blue slopes quite happily alone and building up quite some speed.  There is nothing quite like the freedom, the beautiful surroundings and the sun on your face as you swish and turn on the soft snow.  I never expected to love skiing as much as I did but I am sat writing this just desperate to get back out there!



I never imagined that going on a family ski holiday with two young children would work so well, but we all had a brilliant time.  The bloke and I got to learn an exhilarating and exciting new sport whilst the children had a great time playing inside and out and we changed our afternoons, spending some skiing on our own and others with the boys - sledging, snowman building and playing in the snow.  Next year Dylan will be old enough to join the totons -  a special ski school just for 3-4 year olds with an instuctor and one of the nannies in every lesson.  Snowbizz have a fantastic reputation for teaching the youngest of skiiers and I would love to take him back to try skiing on his feet (he is certain that sliding down the hill was called skiing on his bum).



We were so impressed with every aspect of our holiday.  The customer service was second to none, from the packing advice before we went, the fantastic pink ladies and the personal service from owners Wendy and Michel.  All the stress was taken away from us and we could enjoy an energetic and exciting family holiday and the beautiful sunshine and snow in Puy St Vincent.



I would highly recommend Snowbizz as a ski travel company, as they not only looked after the big things, but all the little details too.  If you have always fancied learning to ski then now is the perfect time!

Discliaimer:  Our holiday was courtesy of the incredibly lovely people at Snowbizz but all thoughts, opinions and photos are completely my own and I cannot recommend Snowbizz highly enough.


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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A Three Generational Holiday

Our trip to Butlins was not only brilliant for the children, but it was an exciting and relatively relaxing experience for the bloke and I too thanks to the presence of my lovely mum and dad.  The three generations travelled down in the same car and we were in rooms next door to each other, giving the children the option to spend time with us both as they wished.


The culture of multi-generational holidays seems to be increasing and I can really see why.  Not only do the children have so much attention and more options, but my parents love spending time with the boys, getting to spoil them, read them bedtime stories and see the special moments and of course the bloke and I get some time alone - the possibility of a date, or more importantly a solid 8 hours sleep!


Archie had his first 'sleep over' whilst we were away - the first time I had left him at night but I was reassured knowing he was no furthur away really than when we are at home, but far enough for someone else to be listening out for him whilst I could really relax and enjoy a cocktail or two.

We enjoyed time all together and time seperately.  My parents had time to explore together as did the bloke and I and the children were incredibly spoilt as rather than having to share my attention as is normal during the week, they had four of us to play with, four of us to read stories and carry them and four of us to buy cakes!

Here is what my mum thought of the experience:

"My daughter was appointed a Butlin's Ambassador and asked whether we would like to go on holiday with them as a family. My first thought was yes - it would be great to spend time with our two Grandson's and my daughter and partner of course. My second thought was 'Oh no, I hope it has changed a great deal!' A school visit when I was young had tainted my memory with a dirty chalet, food not to my tasting (although I was fussy with my eating) and the loud speaker every morning telling us to get up!

We arrived at Bognor and were greeted by the Red Coats doing the Macarena and the children were excited. We parked up with a one minute walk to the hotel, booked in and then up to our room. Well what a relief, the room was very well decorated and extremely clean. There was an area that the boys could stay in if their Mum and Dad wanted us to babysit - which we did take advantage of. The rest of the room was spacious and there were chairs so we could sit and read or watch television if we needed some quiet time away from the family.


After a small walk around the site - we didn't have time to go round the whole site as it was so large - we went into dinner in our hotel! Wow, I should not have worried - the choice was fantastic for children and adults alike. We had not taken a cup for Archie but on asking for a straw for him - I was told not to worry by a member of staff  - 'they were here to help so we can relax on holiday'. Onto a show for the children to watch and then an early night.

Day two, after breakfast, which again had a great selection, Becky and her family went to see what was what for the children. We had a leisurely morning walking round and spying out the various restaurants. We found the family and sat down to watch a show while eating some lunch, then onto the rides -  cars, bugs, and aeroplanes. In fact there was so much for them to go on, watch, see,and play it was a pleasure. As the majority was included in the price it was great as you didn't have to say 'No'. Dinner that night at Papa John's was really good but a little too dark for my liking and I was glad I was under the light! The men went off to see the football in the bar!

Day three, a walk off the site down by the beach was brilliant with the boys, a look round the local shops and then back for lunch. Off to the swimming pool in the afternoon. Unfortunately we had not taken in that it closed at 5 and so it felt like we had been cut short. Dinner was in an amazing restaurant - The Deck - the best by far. The choices were absolutely brilliant and the boys were happy too. Becky and Ed wanted to go out so we babysat for the boys but in our room. It was very special having them to ourselves and they slept all night!


Day Four, another family breakfast and off to the swimming pool - it was very busy but still plenty of room. A great time was had by all. Scooby Doo in the afternoon and then back for dinner. Again a glorious choice. Archie is not the cleanest when he eats and when he has had enough it's on the floor. We were never made to feel this was a problem! The boys stayed a second night - not so successful as the previous night but you can't have everything.

Day Five, time for breakfast and to clear our rooms. We were allowed to stay on site till 12 and so we had a leisurely walk round  still enjoying the free rides!

The journey home was very quiet as the boys fell asleep from exhaustion. I may have had a small snooze too. The week was a fantastic experience which we certainly enjoyed. It was brilliant spending time with family at such a chilled out place and whose staff could not be more friendly if they tried. I would certainly recommend any grandparents to to take children up to the age of about 10. There is so much for them to enjoy and so much for a grandparent to enjoy with them!

I don't think we would ever go without the family but hopefully they might invite us again - hint, hint! The answer next time will just be YES PLEASE.

Thank you to Butlins for a great adventure."



Disclaimer:  As Butlin's Amabassadors we were sent on a 5 day/4 night break for the purpose of this review, but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Monday, 7 April 2014

13 Months In

Not only has a whole year passed since Archie's entrance into the world that cold February morning, but another month as well.  Archie is leaving behind the baby days and hurtling towards toddlerhood at a level I am not altogether happy with!  Being a second child, he seems desperate to be running around like his big brother, and he watches the toddlers playing with envy, trying to join in at every possiblity.

This month Archie has been doing more steps unaided and can do around 8 before falling on his bum.  He keeps letting go of things and practising and I don't think it will be long until he is walking properly now.  He has been getting up the stairs with no problems for several months, but recently he has been climbing down as well (supervised of course), and loves sliding on his belly.


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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Butlins Bognor Regis Review

I mentioned in my previous post just how much we loved Butlins, but there are so many reasons why that it needed more than one post.  From the accommodation to the customer service, we were so impressed and often it was the little things that made the holiday so easy and enjoyable

Accomodation


Our room in the Shoreline Hotel was on the fourth floor and our floor to ceiling windows looked out onto the skyline pavilion, some shops, the kiddies park and the sea.  It was perfectly set out for parents of toddlers, with a 'den' down one end with bunk beds, plenty of storage and a TV, and the parents end was the other side of the bathroom, with a TV, and some comfy chairs and a table in the window.  We all found the beds particularly comfortable, and the biggest little one couldn't resist testing out the mattress springs as well.  With a corner protector on the sharp edge, a step in the bathroom and a little duck too, the room made travelling with toddlers much easier.  The decor was fresh and modern and we were all really impressed.  


Getting around

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