Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Me and Mine September

September has been such a busy month, with a long weekend down in Cornwall, a week away in Denmark and Dylan starting school!  Despite the fact we have done so much, it seems to have disappeared pretty fast and whilst October is a little quieter, there is still plenty going on as we adjust to full time school.

These photos were taken right at the very beginning of the month, and whilst I intended to take some more nearer the end, September has just been so busy that it hasn't quite happened.  We were in Cardinham woods at Badger Forest school, the boys were in their element with all the mud and water to splash in, the bloke was warm and snuggly with a small person attached to his front and I loved watching my little family so happy.

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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

From Carrycot to Pushchair

It feels like such a big move, I blame it on last baby syndrome, but I have been putting off moving Finn from the carrycot to the seat unit on his pushchair.  

I am planning on using both over the next month or so, as he is still happy in his carrycot.  He loves lying there playing with his feet, and he still has 2 or 3 naps a day, so is most comfortable lying down.  At 7 months he is more aware of the world though, more able to hold his head up and he can sit unaided.  He likes to watch, especially when it means a better view of his brothers.  

As a non driver, I tend to use a parent facing pushchair as it has so many benefits for both parent and child, and all three of mine prefer it to being world facing.  As Finn is still so little, I feel that having a nice buggy liner helps keep him cosy and protected in his new environment.  I have shared before how much I love our Betty Bramble footmuff, and their liners are just as stunning.

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Monday, 28 September 2015

Beach, Beach, Beach

Autumn has definitely hit, and whilst we are still resisting the central heating, the slippers have definitely re-emerged.  For my family this means our weekends are still spent doing the same things, just with different clothes on.

The beach is one of our favourite places to go, all year round.  Shorts and t-shirts in the summer with bare feet and the essential ice cream and now waterproofs and wellies followed by fish and chips snuggled in the beach hut.  As the weather changes it means we often end up with the whole beach to ourselves and my little buddies just love the freedom.

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Quinny Longboarder

We have tested our fair share of buggies over the four years I have been a parent, from simple strollers, to bulky doubles and the odd sports buggy too.  The Quinny Longboarder is like no other though and I couldn't resist borrowing one to have a go.

Quinny longboard, Quinny review, sports stroller, skateboard buggy

It comes already built so it was ready to go as soon as it arrived and I couldn't wait for the bloke to get home so that I could take Archie for a spin in it.  It is suitable for children over 1 and under 15kg so Archie was perfect for my passenger.  

The Quinny Longboarder isn't designed for going around the town, you need a nice flat surface to really get the most from it, and we are lucky enough to have a beautiful wide promenade just around the corner from our house.  A large park would work just as well - wide paths are easiest when you start off (if you are as bad at steering buggies as me!).

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Thursday, 24 September 2015


Dylan's school was one of the last in the country to start and so we decided to take this opportunity to go on a last minute break.  Term dates will soon rule our plans and there is something much easier (and usually cheaper) about going away out of season.  We chose Denmark as both the bloke and I have always wanted to visit Scandinavia and Copenhagen looked beautiful, child friendly and ideal for our family.

The flight was less than two hours and it is a surprisingly easy country to navigate even with the language barrier.  We chose to use airBnB for accomodation so that we had some space to stay up once the kids had gone to bed and we picked a great host for our week.

There is so much to do in Copenhagen, from amusement parks and aquariums to hiring bikes and exploring the city like a local.  It certainly isn't a cheap city to explore, but you don't have to spend a fortune to see it well and we had fun finding the best budget restaurants, walking instead of taking transport and making the most of the city's natural beauty.

I have a couple more posts coming up with more detail on our trip, but here are a few photos from our week:

I love Scandinavian kids clothing - it is full of colour and their belief that children should be children was evident everywhere.  Babies through to toddlers were pushed around in traditional prams, cosily wrapped up with duvets and children below school age were almost never in jeans.  The trend to dress them as min-adults hasn't hit over there and they looked comfortable and fun.

molo, kids fashion, Copenhagen, danish fashion

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Monday, 21 September 2015

Badger Forest School - We Love Rain

I have always loved the idea of forest school, so when Helly Hansen gave us the opportunity to attend one whilst down in Cornwall we were all excited.  Badger Forest School is set in Cardinham Woods near St Austell (and close by to our accommodation at Natural Retreats) and is run by qualified primary school teacher Claire.  Natural retreats was the perfect place to stay to explore the woods as there was a washing machine in our villa and two gorgeous balconies to dry our gear - it definitely needed a wash after the day we had!

The boys fell asleep on the way there and were reluctant to be woken up and changed into their saloppettes and welly boots, but as soon as their feet squelched down into the mud, their smiles came out and Claire did everything she could to make sure they were enjoying themselves.

The boys and Bob the Badger

Helly Hansen, we love rain, forest school

We waded in the river, throwing in stones, splashing our feet and exploring the stunning environment.  Our wellies keeping our feet dry, and their trousers making sure the water kicked up didn't make them wet.  We squelched through puddles seeing who could jump the highest (with only a few Peppa Pig mentions) and covered our boots in wed mud only to wash them off again in the river.

We sat around the camp fire heating hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows on long sticks.  Claire had talked to the boys all about safety near the fire and they were cautious and careful as they roasted their treats.

helly hansen, we love rain, forest school, toasting marshmallows

We discovered a den that had been built that morning and played inside.  The boys loved the shelter, especially as the rain decided to start falling - perfect timing really as we were perfectly dressed for it.  Hoods went up and we stayed dry.  The rain didn't put anyone off having fun and we went back to the river.  Forest school is very child led and my children were fascinated by the stream, so Claire led us back there to explore further.

With Claire, the lady behind Badger Forest School

The boys were in their element, they thrived on the freedom, the space and being able to explore with no limits.  They could sit in the mud, crawl on the floor and jump in the biggest puddles knowing that when we got back to the car they could take off their overalls and be dry and comfortable again.  Our Helly Hansen gear was bright enough that we could always spot the boys in the greenery and them us.

Forest school, helly hansen, rainwear, badger forest school, cornwall

Archie wore salopettes and jacket in age 3, Dylan wore jacket and salopettes in age 6 and Helly Hansen wellies, I had a Helly Hansen jacket, leggings and wellies and the bloke was wearing their waterproof boots and jacket.  Every piece was well fitted, comfortable and waterproof and it seemed perfectly designed for childhood adventures like forest school.

Finn snuggled up in the sling and protected by Daddy's jacket

If you love rain as much as us then pop over to instagram where Helly Hansen have a fantastic competition.  Share a photo of how much you love rain to enter.  This may not be rain, but I just love the movement, how much Dylan is loving being outdoors, getting wet and dirty and just being free.

helly hansen, forest school, muddy puddles,

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Best Pregnancy Blog

When I started blogging over three and a half years ago, I had no idea what would come of it.  I needed to use my brain after five months talking to a baby and my love of writing meant a blog seemed the obvious thing to do.  I was a first time mum looking to have my say.

I had no idea at the time that blogs could become commercial, I didn't knowing that rankings and awards existed and I wrote in my own little bubble for the first few months.  I joined twitter, set up a facebook page and started discovered other mums like me.  I felt a connection to people across the country who were sharing my sleepless nights, weaning messes and love of prams.

It has been nearly four years since I wrote those first words and I have never looked back.  Blogging has become such an important part of my life, I have made many new friends, had amazing opportunities and found a hobby that I have finally stuck at!

It seemed only natural to share my pregnancy with Finn and I loved coming up with a unique way to share our happy news.  I recorded a fortnightly diary about my growing bump and baby and shared our gender reveal.  At 39 weeks my little Pretzel became my baby Finn and I wrote my birth story and about our struggled in SCBU.  I was over the moon to be nominated in the MAD blog awards for my pregnancy writings and amazed to find myself one of six finalists amongst some of my favourite blogs.

On Friday night I attended the MAD blog awards ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington and I am finally starting to get over the shock of winning my category!  I picked up the award for Best Pregnancy Blog 2015!

I want to say a huge Thank You to everyone that reads my blog, that follows me on social media and that voted for me - I couldn't have done it without you. 

Now I need to work out where to put my award that my little monkeys can't reach!
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Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Wild Child

Archie was born with a glint in his eye that immediately set him apart from his elder brother.  He was calm, wide eyed and curious and whilst he may be a lot less calm at two and a half, he still has the same bright eyes and that desperation to see everything.

At two and a half he is a typical toddler in many ways.  He wants to learn everything using all of his senses, he doesn't understand his limits and high up is a challenge rather than out of bounds.  He will argue with you all day that he is actually four and 'big enough' for whatever you tell him he can't have and he is learning at a rate so fast I can barely keep up. 

I love this age, I love his developing sense of humour, the 'shows' he puts on to delay bedtime each night and the way he expresses himself.  I love that he is starting to assert his independance but he is also still a baby, needing more cuddles and physical contact than either of his other brothers.

Archie is struggling with Dylan being at school.  He isn't happy to leave him at the gates and he is so excited when he collect him.  I hear their little conversations as they talk about how they missed each other and declare that they are still best friends. 

This picture sums up Archie at the moment.  I told him that he needed his wellies on to go in the puddle - he thought otherwise.  Once he had run through it once, there seemed no point stopping him, and I spent the next few minutes watching him in his element, running through, jumping, stomping and splashing.  He ended up soaking wet to his waist with a huge grin on his face all afternoon. 

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Friday, 18 September 2015

What the Boys Wore - Maxomorra

Maxomorra has been one of my favourite children's clothing brands for a long time.  The Swedish company makes wonderfully vibrant clothes that encourage kids to be kids.  All their products are certified organic which means you know exactly what is going next to their delicate skin.

All three of my boys have plenty of Maxomorra in their wardrobes, but their latest collection features these adorable beavers and both Dylan and Finn were sent an item in this print. 

I am gutted that all the photos I have of both boys are blurry as I can see their relationship so clearly in them.  Dylan is always on the floor playing and talking to Finn.  He was so excited to match his baby brother and Finn just adores his eldest brother.

Finn has the zipped all in one in size 74/80 (6-12 months).  It is still very big on his, but I know it will last him all winter.  It is super soft and looks very comfortable.  The colours still stay vibrant after washing and the fit which is slightly longer and slimmer than high street brands is perfect for his shape.

Dylan has the raglan sleeved top which I prefer for him over all over print now that he is that bit older.  The colours contrast perfectly, and it looks great on him I think.  The fit stays slim and long with plenty of length in the body and sleeve.  The sizes are intermittent so jump from 3-4 to 5-6 and the 5-6 is a perfect fit on him.

One of my favourite things about Maxomorra is how easy the prints are to match for siblings as each one comes in several styles of clothes.  You can buy these beavers in dungarees, vests, trousers, rompers, t-shirts, hats and bibs and there is also a pink version if you wanted something more girly.

Maxomorra remain one of my favourite brands for all three of the boys, and their are plenty of UK stockists.  Some of my favourites are Kyna Boutique, JuicyTots and GrowingNeeds.

Disclaimer:  I was sent these Maxomorra pieces for the purpose of this review
 but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Thursday, 17 September 2015

The First Day

I feel lucky in a way that we are one of the last to start - I have watched all Dylan's friends pop up on facebook looking smart in a new school uniform and heard off for their first days.  Some have run in and not looked back, some have had to be peeled off of parents, and nearly all of them have come home exhausted after their half days.  I have managed to fit in a couple of last minute family trips - the last we can really take during term time and I have spent every day with this boy who is on the cusp of change.

I have had to watch them all though, knowing we are on a countdown until I help him put his smart black shoes on the right feet, and pack his water bottle into his new book bag.  I knew our day would come, and now it has.  My baby boy, who I am sure was a newborn just last week is now four and it is time for his next adventure.

I know things may not change all of a sudden, but I am under no illusion that they won't.  His friends that I carefully chose for him have gone to other schools, and he will be able to pick his own.  I won't know what he is doing for the most part of every day. He will be exposed to words and stories and actions that I can't control, he will learn things that I don't teach him, he will run to someone else for a cuddle when he gets hurt instead of me.

My baby boy has just turned four, he is still so young, so full of innocence and trust.  I have tried to explain the foreverness of his life, that infant school will be followed by Juniors, then secondary then either more education or work.  It will be seventy years before he can contemplate spending every day as he does now - carefree and with no concept of time.  

I think most of my apprehension around him starting is selfish.  He has been by my side for four years, my little buddy.  I love that we can do what we want, stay out late when the weather is nice, jump in every puddle and then run home to put on a onesie and have hot chocolate.  I am not known for punctuality and I am dreading the 9am and 3pm school run every day.  I will miss him and I know that his little brothers will too.

I hope he enjoys school.  I hope his teacher recognises what a wonderful little person he is.  I hope he makes friends easily, that he likes the lunches, that he can get changed into his p.e kit on his own, that he comes out telling me all about it.  I am so proud of him, my biggest baby boy.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

We Love Rain

I like to believe there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong shoes.  Even on the wettest days, my boys still need to get out, they still need to run and jump and climb and explore and so long as they have waterproofs and welly boots, there is nowhere we can't go.

These boys are not afraid to jump in the biggest, muddiest puddles (Even if the water rushes straight over the top of their boots), and they think nothing of sitting on a swing for hours in the pouring rain as long as their hoods are up.  The rain means there are new things to see, from watching the way the water droplets hang on the leaves at the park to asking if the sea will fill up from the rain and overflow when we are down the beach.  It ignites their curious side as they check to see whether the water makes the slide more slippery and they love coming home at the end for hot chocolate to warm us back up.

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Friday, 11 September 2015

Playmobil Take along Zoo and Lifeboat station

As the boys get older, they are moving away from flashing lights and creepy American voices and towards toys they can narrate themselves and Playmobil has always been top of the list.  It captures their imagination and they can spend hours enthralled in play.  As part of our ongoing role as 'Playologists', we were sent two new toys, and they haven't stopped asking to play with them since they arrived.

Archie was sent the Take Along Zoo and Aquarium (£29.99) from the 1.2.3 range (suitable as a first introduction to Playmobil for children aged 1.5-5 years old).  It is perfect for storing and travel as the two halves fold together to form a case and all the parts can be safely stored inside.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The iCandy Apple2pear with a Newborn

We have had our iCandy apple2pear for about 2 years now and it is still our favourite double buggy.  It has carried all three of my babies at different times, and when Finn came along I knew that we would use it for him.

iCandy kindly sent us the newborn carrycot and for the past 6 months Finn has been testing it out.  The carrycot is soft, with no solid frame.  You have to remove the seat unit from the metal frame to attach it, and it hangs down from poppers and velcro at the top.  This makes it ideal or popping in the car boot as hard carrycots take up much more space.  It isn't easy to take off the seat fabrics, so this isn't something you can swap over daily, but once it is on it feels very secure.

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Cute Cardigans for Little Boys

Finn has such beautiful clothes that it seems a shame to start covering them up, but as September progresses I see autumn on its way and we are starting to think about jumpers, cardigans and layering up to keep warm.  Here are some of my favourites from Melijoe

Baby Cardigans

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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Last Summer Adventures

September seems to have brought with it colder temperatures, but the blue skies haven't completely disappeared.  We spent a day at Mevagissey in Cornwall this weekend, a little seaside village based around a harbour, and we had glorious sunshine all day.

The village is nestled in a small valley around 5 miles from St Austell.  The streets are cobbled and narrow, the views vast and blue and the ice cream authentic and Cornish.

There was plenty to explore with the small folk, dylan loved the rugged cliffs that were so different from the white chalk we have at home.  There was plenty of opportunities for climbing, which we made the most of whilst Archie and Finn were snoozing in the buggy and sling.

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Monday, 7 September 2015

Things 1, 2 and 3

It was at the end of last August that we first saw our little pretzel on the sonographer's screen and the excitement of adding a third little person to our team began.  I ordered the boys special t-shirts to make our announcement and I stopped trying to hide my bulging belly.

One year on, and we have a six month old.  The year has been busy, it has been nothing like we planned but it has been an amazing journey that led us from that place a year ago to the one we are in now.  It seemed only apt as Finn turns six months to celebrate in a similar style to the way we announced his presence all those months ago.  

A little t-shirt arrived for him and the big two still had theirs (I had ordered them big originally so that they still fit once the baby had arrived).  The day was wet and miserable which of course means pent up energy and a lack of co-operation but I did manage to get a photo where you can see all their tops.

Dylan is giving me his fake cheese smile as he thinks there may be something in it for him.  Finn has noticed his brother's hair, and the next photo on my camera show him pulling it rather hard.  Archie heard the word strawberries and is suddenly a little more interested in taking part (an interest that lasted around 1.5 seconds).

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Friday, 4 September 2015

BabyMoov Floor Mat

Ever since we discovered BabyMoov, they have been one of our favourite companies, and their activity nest is just perfect for a small baby.  It is soft and padded around the outside, and comes with a newborn insert to help keep their delicate head protected and in the right position.  The mat is simple but entertaining enough for Finn still at 6 months.

Babymoov floor mat, Babymoov, activity mat

We found this ideal in the early day as Finn seemed overwhelmed by the colours and noise of other playmats.  He was content on his Babymoov mat and as he got bigger, stronger and more coordinated he started batting the toys and eventually grabbing them so he could really explore them - with his mouth of course.

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Half a Year

26 weeks old, 6 months, half a year.  We have reached this milestone without me really understanding how the time has passed.  My newborn has become a baby and this baby is growing up, learning new skills and changing constantly.

Finn is still such a content baby.  He loves to cuddle, he wants to know I am close, even if we aren't touching and he adores his big brothers.  He is starting to teethe and is constantly chewing his hands.  We have introduced a few teething toys now that he has the co-ordination to get them in his mouth and Sophie the giraffe is already proving to be a favourite.

He has started sitting unaided, although only for short bursts and he still leans quite far forward.  He can roll from his front to his back, and lying on his back he seems to turn in circles as he lifts his bum in the air and moves round.  I am not convinced this is on purpose, but he isn't usually facing the same way that I left him anymore.  He isn't showing an interest in crawling yet and I am happy for him to stay that way  -  Archie crawled at around 7 months and I remember how much trouble they can cause! 

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

An August Bank Holiday

The August bank holiday is always one of my favourites.  It always falls around the time of my birthday and seems to be the perfect time to say goodbye to the summer, even if we are hoping for a few more weeks of sunshine.  We managed two days out of three where the temperature was above 20 degrees and we didn't need raincoats and welly boots so I think we did well!

There always seems to be lots going on locally over the weekend, and we chose a small fun fair right down by the beach on Saturday.  It was perfect for little ones like mine as they could go on almost everything and I think the teacups were definitely the favourite.

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