Sunday, 31 January 2016

Me and Mine January

It is our third year taking part in the Me and Mine Project and I am so glad that we started taking our monthly family photos.  Not only have our boys grown, but so has our family and by the end of this year there will be an extra child to squeeze into the shot - we do like to make things difficult!

January has been a busy month for us, we announced our fourth pregnancy as well as sharing a little gender reveal video.  We headed to the alps for a week away skiing with Snowbizz and Dylan and Archie had their very first ski lesson whilst Finn had his first experience of the snow.  Dylan started his second term of school and we have started preparing for two little birthdays next month.

Our photos had to come from France, although leaving it until the afternoon of the last day meant the boys were not feeling particularly co-operative and a mixture of the sun starting to set and me still not feeling particularly comfortable with my camera settings in the snow meant that our skin seems to look particularly grey and the snow a little blue.  This is us though, as we enter an exciting year.

family photo, family in the snow, snowbizz, me and mine project

Mummy is loving the 2 weeks she seemed to have energy amidst all the pregnancy exhaustion, finally being able to show off her bump, quiet mornings reading whilst the boys had their ski lessons and shopping for a baby girl.

Daddy is loving getting his skis back on now that he is more confident on the snow, finding out he is going to have a daughter, catching up with old friends and spending more time with the children.

Dylan is loving learning about space at school, making friends on the ski holiday, seeing Aunty NatNat and having packed lunches at the Snow Creche.

Archie is loving learning to ski, telling me all about what his baby sister is up to, playing Vikings and dragons and finding new hiding places.

Finn is loving learning to crawl,  all the attention that he got in the creche on holiday, eating chips and roaring.

 We are looking forward to a calmer and cake filled Febraury now.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Travelling with Four

I caught the travel bug as a student, when working part time alongside uni studies I realised I had enough money for the odd European weekend break.  I realised how easy it was to travel, how it didn't need to be expensive and I learnt how to pack for a weekend into a hand luggage sized bag.

After Uni I went travelling around the world and that time is full of amazing memories of those once in a lifetime moments.  I knew by then that travel would always be an important part of my future and when we found out we were pregnant with our first baby I was determined that children would not get in the way of me seeing the world.  A second baby followed and then a third and we still found ways to explore with them.  Finn has been on three foreign holidays and several UK breaks  before his first birthday and we love showing our children the world.  Baby number four is due to arrive in the summer and whilst I am expecting things to only get more difficult, we are still planning on travelling with our young brood.

Whilst there are certain things that are off limits with little people in tow, you also manage to see parts of a country that you otherwise would have missed.  We search out parks and attractions that they will enjoy and often they are the highlight of the holiday for all of us.

We wouldn't plan anything too big for the early months and possibly years of being a family of six, and we may take this opportunity to see more of the UK, a country I am embarrassed to say I know little of.  The bloke and I would love to head north and spend some time in the lake district - Somewhere we can have the comfort and ease of being able to drive there, but with completely new scenery to the seaside that surrounds us down on the Kent coast and with so much open space for the boys to explore.  We wouldn't need to worry about getting a passport for the baby or packing a suitcase with everything we need for a newborn as well as three small boys but it would still feel like a break.

We definitely want to go skiing again next year as I found it really frustrating this year being surrounded by snow and not able to slide down the mountains.  It is going to be interesting taking four children to the snow, but I am sure that we will find a way to make it work.  

Travelling with four small people is going to be challenging I imagine, but I can't wait to show them the world, help feed their curiosity and  desire to explore and see the world through their eyes.  

Where do you like to travel with your children?  Where is next on your list of places to visit?

Disclaimer :  Collaborative post
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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Our Gender Reveal

When we found out that we were expecting baby number 4, two thoughts went through my head,

'What if it is another boy?'
'What if it is a girl???'

I quite honestly didn't mind, we were either going to have the wonder of a fourth baby boy or a new baby girl.  I know boys, I love raising boys and I could see my house full of them.  A daughter would be the unknown but a new challenge.  Either way I felt far more impatient to find out this time and I ended up booking an early private scan to try and determine the gender. 

At our previous scan, the sonographer thought she knew the sex based on the nub theory, but I wanted a better look to know for certain.  Last Saturday we went down to a local place and saw our little Britney bump on screen and we got confirmation.

We are expecting a . . .

We are so excited to be welcoming our sixth and final member of the team in July this year!

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

What the Boys Wore - Tootsa MacGinty

It is fair to say that the lovely November and December weather we have had is a distant memory now that the January rain has descended.  Dylan is back at school and on the two days he has off each weekend, the weather is rarely nice enough to do much outdoors.  We try not to let it stop us and this weekend we took the scooters and Smartrike down to the seafront to blow off the cobwebs.

Things didn't go to plan, as they often don't this time of year,  The long stretch of seafront we were planning to walk along was shut off as they were doing building works and as soon as we got down there it started raining.  The walk from our house down to the sea was lovely though and we found our favourite little cafe on the prom for some cheesy chips and a hot cup of tea.  

The boys were sent some beautiful clothes from one of our favourite brands, Tootsa MacGinty which I have been trying to photograph for a couple of weeks but the rain seems to always get in the way.  The shots I was hoping for by the sea had to be rethought so I have only a few from the journey down there to share.

Tootsa clothes are designed to be unisex, well made and perfect for handing down to siblings and with three boys and a fourth baby on the way this is really important for us.  I absolutely love their knits, especially Archie's cardigan and the boys cords are matching but in different colours and both have little foxes poking out the back pockets.  The trousers are fully lined in a warm jersey cotton, have adjustable waists and look and feel so comfortable.  For my active duo they are perfect, offering flexibility and comfort as well as being hard wearing.

Finn was sent a beautiful outfit too, although it was too cold to get his jumper out.  His leggings are covered in clouds and rainbows (I find it hard to resist anything with clouds and rainbows on) and two different coloured cuffs.  I love how unique they and the jumper he has goes so well.  Keep an eye out on social media as I will be getting some photos of him as soon as it is back out of the wash!

Tootsa Macginty has a huge sale on at the moment so you can grab a bargain.  All the items featured here are now half price.  If you are in between sizes I would suggest sizing up.

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Baby Boy or Baby Girl?

With three boys already I am sure you can imagine the comments I am getting as I announce this pregnancy.  Wouldn't it be lovely if this were to be a girl, surely we must want a girl after three boys, were we trying for a girl?  The truth is we would love a baby girl, although the concept seems alien to me after four years of raising boys.  We would love a fourth boy just as much, although yes, maybe it would be a shame to have never known any different.

I really had no preference when I was pregnant the first time, it didn't even occur to me to want one or the other, but when we found out we were pregnant with number two I was secretly hoping it was a second little boy - with the close age gap I could imagine myself with two little boys, driving trains around the living room, kicking a football together at the park and sitting under a blanket together watching films one day.  

Finding out about our third little baby was a shock, and what I wanted more than a choice of gender was a baby who would stay small that bit longer.  Dylan grew so fast and Archie grew up so fast, I wanted a baby.  I got my wish, maybe too much as Finn took so long to grow, but at 10 months he still feels very much like a baby.  He still fits perfectly in my arms, still sleeps cosily on my chest and he has the calmness of a baby much younger than himself at times.

After having Finn, with this baby, my one wish if I was to be granted one is that he or she is born healthy.  That I can spend those precious first weeks enjoying my little bundle rather than worrying whether he would survive and what quality of life he would have.  I want a baby I can have at home with me, who can settle straight into his or her place in our new bigger family.  Whether this baby is a girl or boy really isn't my priority, I fully understand the fact that healthy is the most important thing.

Somedays I think I would really like a little girl, I spot something adorable that a boy just couldn't pull off, I think about my favourite girls names that we have never had an opportunity to use and I wonder what life with a daughter would be like.  Other days I think a little boy would complete our family, a little buddy for Finn, a quad of boys that will grow up so close together.  I naturally gravitate towards the boys section in shops, I love my sons and another would be amazing.

I don't feel like I 'know' as much as I did with the other three.  I was so certain they were boys, and whilst my head still tells me this is another, I haven't bought anything yet, I don't have the same conviction.  In many ways this pregnancy is very much the same.  I have escaped the nausea and sickness again and my biggest symptoms are tiredness and a rapidly expanding waistline.  My cravings are still a mix of sweet, salty and dairy with macaroni cheese, ready salted crisps and flake bars coming top of the list - very similar to the others.  There are differences though, noticeably in that the tiredness this time has been exhaustion and debilitating at times.  I have had my first tastes of heartburn (probably because I lay down for most of the day) and the skin on my face is suddenly incredibly dry.

We will definitely be finding out, I don't have the patience not to, and I am tempted to book a private scan and find out early this time,  This is most definitely our last pregnancy (I know I said that last time but it really is now) and so I almost feel like I want to try a new experience - a private gender scan and finding out early.  We don't have a great nub shot and Britney seems to fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to skull theory.  Opinion seems to be split as do the old wives tales.  I still think this is our fourth baby boy but the bloke thinks it is a girl - we will be finding out in the next few weeks.

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Friday, 8 January 2016

What the Boys Wore - Little Nutkins

A certain small person of mine is having a birthday next month and I can't wait to start planning it all.  When Little Nutkins offered us the chance to try an OrganicZOO top with the cutest bow tie on, it seemed like perfect timing.  The top looks really smart but is made of super soft organic material.  There are buttons at the back of the neck to make it easy to get on and off and it is lovely and stretchy.

I did worry originally about what I would pair it with as Finn's clothes are often covered in pretty bold prints but I love this simple smart look on him. (The leggings are from the baby girls section of Next and are also navy and white).

The sizing is perfect for my growing boy and this 6-12 months is definitely more of a 9-12.  He has plenty of growing space at 10 months old and I know it will last him to his birthday next month. 

Whilst this baby boy of mine is definitely growing up, I plan to keep him in these soft clothes for plenty more months.  He is on the cusp of crawling, is starting to pull himself up (although he has only managed it twice) and is definitely on the move.  I want his clothes to aid his development and I love soft waistbands, organic fabrics and plenty of stretch.  The OrganicZOO line at Little Nutkins ticks all my boxes with stretchy bottoms and playsuits alongside the tops. 

Little Nutkins sell lots of our favourite brands including Little Green Radicals, Blade and Rose and Lilly and Sid.  Our top came beautifully wrapped and packaged and arrived really fast. I love the personal touches you get when shopping with an independent company and Rebecca really gets it right.  You can find them over on Facebook too.
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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Family Planning - The First 12 Weeks

This pregnancy has been by far the hardest.  Whilst I felt tired with the others, this time it has been complete exhaustion, where staying awake for longer than a couple of hours at a time can be a challenge.  I spent most of those early weeks in hibernation as I didn't have the energy for much else and everytime I thought it was easing, I would be hit again.  I am 14 weeks now and it is definitely easing, but I still need a nap every day and still spend most of every day feeling shattered.

I intended to write regularly in the early weeks, but as you can imagine it dropped down my list of priorities.  I managed four little entries though that sum up how the first trimester went.


Despite the fact I had never felt more nervous, I couldn't help laughing to myself as I walked into the 'family planning' section in Boots as my family has been anything but planned.  

The bloke and I met just over five years ago and our first little surprise was born less than a year later.  One planned baby and one more surprise later, and I found myself wondering whether my body had taken matters into its own hands yet again despite the contraception.  

Those two little lines appeared almost automatically, and in such a dark shade of pink I knew there was no doubt about it.  Baby number four is due in July 2016, and will be the youngest of four under fives!

It isn't the first time I have had to come to terms with a huge life change that I wasn't expecting, but it seems only to get harder each time.  I made no secret of the fact I would have loved a fourth little person to complete our family, but I never thought that would happen now.


7 Weeks (ish) - The tiredness is so overwhelming, I can't physically get through the day without a nap now.  Whilst we used to be out doing so much, I am finding I need more time at home where I can lie on the sofa 'supervising' the smallest two.  I feel so guilty as Archie brings me puzzles and games and asks me to play, but there are days I struggle with just the school runs.  I am finding that being out is the best way to get through the day, it is just the temptation to stay in is overwhelming.  When I am out I can't nap, when I am in I can't stay awake.

My dreams have definitely become more vivid and I wake up remembering them so clearly.  People and places that haven't been part of my life for years have reappeared in my sleep despite not having thought about them recently.

I am definitely starting to show, although I know it is only bloat at this stage.  My jeans no longer do up, and whilst I may squeeze them shut before, I now find it too uncomfortable.  Maternity jeans aren't yet staying up so the hairband trick is getting me through, but I think I might be turning to trusty leggings for a few weeks until I am ready for the big reveal.


As I move closer to the 12 week safety point, this growing baby is getting harder to hide.  The impatience is kicking in and I want to scream it to the world. The wonders of winter are that baggy jumpers can hide most things, and with all the extra layers I am wearing, I don't think the bump is so noticeable - on the other hand, the lead up to Christmas is full of events that involve wearing nice dresses, and occasions where I have to pretend my coke has some alcohol hidden in the bottom.  The fact I have a baby who still wakes up in the night helps as my excuse for keeping the party nights mild, but I am looking forward to the freedom of being able to explain properly.

The tiredness is still pretty bad, although like most things, you learn how to manage it better the longer it goes on.  I can get through some days without a nap now, but I know a long day or a big night is followed by a day where I feel so ridiculously hungover and ill despite the lack of alcohol.  My diet consists mostly of mashed potato and flake bars and I am suffering from heartburn some evenings - a sensation I am experiencing for the very first time.


The bulging stomach is getting harder to hide and the fact I haven't been drinking at any of the Christmas parties is making people start to question.  Our NHS scan isn't until after Christmas so we decided to book a private 12 week scan to make sure our little Britney is growing well in there.  Thankfully, he or she is and as we took the boys in with us, the sonographer turned over to a 4d screen to show them our little bean looking more like a real baby.  It was amazing seeing him wave at the screen and even sweeter when Archie waved back.  We had pictures printed in 3d and I have never seen anything like it before.  I never knew it was possible this early, but those four perfect little limbs, a bud that will turn into an ear, little fingers and toes and everything else is visible.  Our baby is growing and I have started to tell family and friends.  With Finn we made an announcement almost straight away, but this time I have decided to have Christmas and the new year to ourselves, to tell people at our own pace before it all becomes public and online.

Symptom wise, I am still feeling pretty tired, although I think things are starting to ease up now.  My skin is still dry and spotty, my hair is looking limp and I am so far from 'glowing', I am not convinced I will ever get there this time.  The bloating seemed to subside a little although I still have a very definite bump.

pregnancy announcement, creative pregnancy announcement, painted bump

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Monday, 4 January 2016

Oops I Did It Again

Life has a way of not going to plan, and that isn't always a bad thing.  I often feel like my life is one big adventure, full of moments you can really feel it, like when I went skydiving or white water rafting, as well as the moments that don't seem quite so exciting but are part of it all the same, like cuddling a teething baby at 3am or watching How to Train your Dragon for the tenth time time that week.  

If you had asked me at 21 as I backpacked across the world where I would be 18 months from then, pregnant would certainly not have been a word you would have heard and if you had asked me to describe life at 28 then the life I am living would not be it.  The twists in this adventure have led me to this place though and I couldn't be happier.  

I have three beautiful boys, my first born, the one who made me a mama, who teaches me every day and asks the questions I struggle to answer.  My wild one who makes his own rules, he explores life with his whole body and who shows his love so fiercely.  My dinky one, who is getting less dinky by the day, who has taught me my own strength and who needs me so much.

This summer our three babies will become four.  A new twist in this adventure we are living, a new chapter in our story and a new child to love.  A final sibling for my three boys, the final piece in our puzzle.  We have lovingly nicknamed him (or her) Britney, as in ' Oops I did it again' as his entrance will mean 4 children under 5 years old and a new challenge for us all.

Who has got something in their tummy?

Mummy has!

Due in July 2016

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Saturday, 2 January 2016

What the Boys Wore - Me and I

I first discovered the Swedish brand Me & I at a Baby Show when Dylan was small.  I had a chunky baby who wore cloth nappies and their clothes were perfectly designed for him, with a generous fit, long bodied vest and some brilliant prints.  We still have those first items I bought and they will be worn by their third child this winter.  Everything lasted so well that it is one of the few brands I know I can pass down through all three boys and Finn will still look great in.

We have bought much more Me & I since then and were recently sent this beautiful vest and dungaree combo for Finn.  I just love the colours (I can't resist anything yellow) and the print is so unisex and childish that I know it will be easy to find a new home for once it is outgrown.  The quality is superb and after several washes this is still looking as bright as ever.

The fit for the dungarees is wide and even the chunkiest tot will fit comfortably.  Finn is certainly filling out now and I love the relaxed look on him as they seem to hang just right.  The cuffs at the bottom of the legs mean it doesn't matter if they are a bit long and the vest is printed on the inside of the cuff so you can roll the sleeves (like I have in these pictures) and they still have apples all the way down.

Me and I consists of an organic baby collection, unisex kids clothing up to the age 12 and then a seperate section for women's clothing too.  The prices reflect the quality, individuality and are at the top end of what I would pay for my children.  It is knowing how well they last, that we have clothes that are on their third child and still looking as good as new that makes me keep going back to them.
At the moment Me&I is sold through sales representatives that can offer parties or personal orders, but they are looking to make a UK webshop in the new year.  You can find all the details on how to host a party or find you local representative on the website under the 'how to shop' section 

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