Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Me and Mine in May

Another month has passed and it has been a good one, with more sunshine than we were expecting.  Our family photo for April has us all wearing jackets but May's is full of bare legs and shoulders as we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at our favourite beach cafe for my Dad's birthday over the bank holiday weekend. 

The highlight of our month was probably our weekend glamping with Ready Camp where we all got a taste of camping without actually having to pitch a tent and we are definitely planning on going again.  We weren't organised enough to actually get a family photo in the tent this time but maybe next!

So this month,

I have been loving getting away and trying out glamping, welcoming a new tiny nephew into the family, getting all our shorts back out and the huge storm we had overnight recently that I couldn't stop watching.

Ed has been loving the first bbq of the year, the fact that Cora can say jump,  watching Finn dance and getting a new x-box

Dylan has been loving collecting Lego cards from Sainsbury's, his new bedroom,  his first wobbly tooth and his school trip to Tesco

Archie has been loving throwing rocks into the sea,  his new sandals, cheese strings in his lunchbox at pre-school and playing with his cousins at the family picnic.

Finn has been loving playing on the scooter, having Aunty NatNat around more,  joining in with more of his brothers' games and sharing his food with Cora.

Cora has been loving singing 'I had a little turtle', clapping her hands every time we call her a clever girl, walking around holding our hands and waking up for playtime at 1am.

We don't have many plans for June other than a certain little girl celebrating her first birthday! I am happy if the next month goes really slowly!
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Monday, 29 May 2017

What the Boys Wore // Five Boys Clothing

Hooray for half term, it couldn't have come soon enough!  The boys were starting to get so tired from school and preschool and they really miss each other too so a week off of school, a week where we don't have to leave the house before 9 am each day, a week where they can play together as much as they like and a week to enjoy the sunshine is very well timed.  We started it off by collecting Dylan from school at 3:15 on Friday and heading straight down to the beach.

five boys clothing, cheetah t-shirt

Knowing that a whole week of freedom stretched ahead of us meant I didn't mind if we stayed out a little later, if they had fish and chips for dinner or if they waded a little too far into the sea.  It was lovely spending the late afternoon building sandcastles, collecting rocks and enjoying the glorious weather.

five boys clothing, cheetah t-shirt

five boys clothing, cheetah t-shirt

The big boys had been sent some lovely tees from Five Boys Clothing featuring cheetahs (they are really interested in how fast animals can run after our day at the zoo this month so they were a big hit).  Five Boys teamed up with a  young designer, Bronte Adam
five boys clothing, cheetah t-shirt

to create a range of t-shirts for kids aged 3-11 to raise awareness of conservation and support endangered species.  These tees are made from organic cotton and £1 from each sale goes to ARKive.  They are the perfect weight for summer, light and airy and the designs are brilliant and bright.

five boys clothing, cheetah t-shirt

We met friends and shared fish and chips crowded around our picnic blanket.  The boys ran barefoot, chasing the waves and running back out in delight and Cora was mostly content inside her UV protective tent (which is good as I think she has her Daddy's pale skin).  We stayed out until all four were exhausted and we went home ready for bed.

baby at the beach, ubang babblechat

Our bank holiday weekend has been busy, we have been outdoors for nearly all of it and we are looking forward to the rest of half term, more beach days, more sunshine and plenty of ice cream to keep us cool.

five boys clothing, cheetah t-shirt

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glamping with Ready Camp

We have been meaning to try camping for a while, but with four children aged five and under, glamping was starting to sound like a better idea.  Ready Camp invited us along to their bloggers weekend at their Tamworth site and it seemed the perfect introduction to life on a campsite.  Ready camp tents are no ordinary tents, set on decking they have beds, a mini kitchen and electricity so you can start the day with a cup of tea before you even venture outside.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping tent

Having never been glamping, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  I was so impressed when we arrived that I filmed a quick video tour of our tent over on my facebook page.  The tent was spacious and cosy with everything we needed and there was plenty of space for all 6 of us.   There were two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with bunk beds ( - a single on top, a double on the bottom and an extra pull out bunk). The living area had a sofa, a dining table with 6 chairs and then a mini kitchen equipped with hobs, a kettle and toaster and all the cooking equipment we needed.   The shower block was close by and it was modern and clean and most importantly warm.  There was a baby cubicle which had a baby bath as well as a changing station and plenty of space.

Cora and I arrived first and the boys not long after and they immediately began running.  The site has so much open space as well as a playground and the boys didn't once mention being bored, they never asked for something to do or somewhere to go, they just reveled in the freedom, soaked up the fresh air and explored to their hearts content.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping with four under five

Our first night was chilly, but we were prepared with sleeping bags and fleece blankets as well as the heater that was part of our tent. We all slept well (once we finally got a certain two year old to actually sleep) and the boys woke the next morning desperate to go back outside with their friends.  It took them all of maybe thirty seconds to secure new best friends and they were inseparable for the weekend.  They had never met before, but they bonded quickly in a way that only children can and they collected pine cones, played hide and seek and coloured-in on the veranda.  We had planned to explore a local castle that morning, but watching how happy the boys were on the campsite, we decided to just relax and enjoy our surroundings.  Each tent had six camping chairs so I sat out the front with my book and put Cora on a blanket with a few toys and we had a perfect morning.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping

Our afternoon was spent taking part in a tipi designing challenge which some of us took more seriously than others.  Dylan's side had a few drawings, Archie's had a blob of glitter glue, Finn's had some beautiful 'mark making' and Cora decorated hers with flowers (with a little help from a parent).  It was such a fun creative challenge using plain tipis bought from Hobby Craft and it would be a great activity to take on a glamping trip, boot space permitting. Be warned that you will find pompoms EVERYWHERE for the next few days though!

We had a bbq dinner (because quite frankly, what else would you possibly want to eat when you are glamping?) and as the children ran off the last of their energy, we enjoyed a cold beer straight from the fridge sat under the outdoor lanterns.  It felt cosy, calm and relaxing which isn't how you would usually describe a camping holiday with four small ones. The boys finally settled for the second night with rosy cheeks and worn out legs.

drayton manor ready camp, Tamworth glamping

The Tamworth site is right next door to the Drayton Manor theme park so is a great place to stay if you are visiting.  There are Ready Camp sites all over the country though, including Alton Towers and more local to me, Canterbury.  I love the fact that it can make visiting a theme park more affordable for larger families, as we wouldn't have been able to squeeze us all into one hotel room, and you can have the glamping experience as far away or as close to home as you like.

We had a fantastic time glamping with Ready Camp and are already looking to go back to a different site. We loved the freedoms of camping and being outdoors but the creature comforts that we rely on so much too and it was a great way to travel as a bigger family.

ready camp, drayton manor camping

glamping at night, ready camp

We were invited along for the weekend with Ready Camp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Baby Bundle Giveaway

One of our favourite classic stories is The Hungry Caterpillar and it inspired Archie's nursery as a baby as well as his newborn photo shoots.  Even at 4 and 5, my big boys love the tale and it is one we read regularly.  Sainsbury's have released a Spring collection featuring images from Eric Carle's iconic story which are available in sizes 0-12 months.  The unisex collection is bright and fun and available in stores as well as online.

Very Hungry Caterpillar baby grow

Cora has been snuggling up in the sleepsuit and I love the vibrant colours and that there are little grips on the bottom of her feet now that she is in the bigger size.  

I have a prize bundle to give away to one lucky reader, consisting of the entire range - a sleepsuit, vest, summer romper, bib and towel.

To be in with a chance of winning, follow the instructions on the rafflecopter form below.  

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Monday, 15 May 2017

What Cora wore / Little RO London

I can't wait for summer, partly for the long days at the beach, partly because Cora has such wonderfully chunky thighs and I am excited to show them off.  Little bubble rompers are going to be her summer staple as they are easy to crawl and cruise and look adorable. 

Little RO makes beautifully hand crafted baby and children's clothes and I couldn't resist this beautiful houndstooth romper for her.  I originally thought it was too nice for everyday wear, but actually I think it looks adorable for a trip to the park as much as it would for a party or christening. 

The Spanish inspired clothing range for 0-4 year olds is full of timeless classic pieces that are practical, unique and easy care for busy parents.  This romper is going to look adorable in the summer on its own, but for this in between weather, Cora is wearing it with a plain white vest underneath and white tights on the colder days too.  Little RO sell adorable t-bar shoes that would look perfect with it on a walking baby too.

You can feel the quality of the romper immediately and I love the little details, the comfortable shape and of course how much baby thigh is on show.  There are poppers on the bottom making it easy to change nappies and there are buttons on the back.  The whole thing is lined and machine washable.  Cora is wearing size 12 months here which fits her really well at 10 months.  If you are in between sizes I would suggest sizing up.

I love this romper so much, it is so elegant and sweet and perfect for this newly mobile baby.  The collar is a pretty paisley pattern which makes this traditional shape more feminine.  There are a selection of rompers available and some would look so sweet on a little boy too.

This romper costs £57 which I think is quite reasonable considering it is unique, hand sewn and the kind of heirloom outfit that can be passed through generations.  The postage charges are quite significant though so I would suggest emailing for measurements if you are unsure of sizes.  

And here is one final photo because I just love this outfit so much! Thanks to Little RO for sending Cora this beautiful romper.

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

What the Kids Wore // Ubang Babblechat

I love dressing my children a little different, picking things that their friends aren't wearing, shopping small from independent retailers and finding fun new brands that inspire our imaginations.  We have been working with one of them over on instagram this Spring and I am loving their cute designs.

Ubang Babblechat makes child friendly clothing, everything is comfy and bright, the designs often have something really unique, a little star that pops out a pocket, lion manes around the neck, a long elephant sleeve.  We were sent a few pieces and I love these t-shirts for the little two.  

They look so cute together, but each t-shirt is really unique too.  I chose quite a few co-ordinated bits for the little two and the big two and I love how well Ubang cater for that.  You can buy matching shorts for these t-shirts (which Finn has but it wasn't quite warm enough for) as well as vests, rompers and trousers in the same prints.  The whole collection works really well together and we have been so impressed with how well it washes and keeps its shape.

Ubang Babblechat are known for their crazy and colourful socks too and we are huge fans.  If you want socks that can be shown off and that make a statement then check them out!

All the clothes are ethically made in factories that do not employ children and are made from organic fabric and Oeko - Tex 100 certified.  The Danish company  is committed to making fun and playful clothes that do not restrict children, but encourage their adventures.  Their ranges start at 3 months and go up to 8 years.  The sizing is pretty true (Cora wears a mix of age 9 months and age 12 months and is an average 10 month old, Finn is a petite 2 year old and wears some age 18m and some 24 months, Archie is an average 4 year old in 4-6 and Dylan is a very tall 5 year old in 6-8 years.

If you pop over to my instagram you will see plenty more of the SS17 collection . . .

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Little Tikes Eco 'Go Green' Playhouse review

If you are anything like me, then you dream of being able to open the back door on a summer morning and let the children run around until they get hungry / thirsty / tired.  I want to drink a cup of tea with my feet up whilst they run around wearing themselves out, exercising their imaginations and making the most of whatever outdoor space we have available.

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

Realistically with four under six this may stay a dream, but the children were sent the Little Tikes Eco Playhouse and it has certainly allowed me more time to sit and drink tea than before.  The playhouse is everything you would expect from a Little Tikes garden toy - strong, well built, easy to assemble and colourful, as well as having some interesting features to help children learn as they play.

It took two men around an hour to build after coming flatpacked in a huge box but was easy enough with just a little drilling.

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

The boys are no strangers to recycling and love collecting their rubbish for Grandma who takes part in several recycling schemes beyond the standard blue and red bins.  The house has two recycling bins that can be removed and emptied and they have naturally sorted their rubbish as they play.

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

You may have noticed what looks like a solar panel on the roof - it actually is a solar panel, powering a light inside the house! There is also a gutter along one side that feeds down to make a working tap inside.  

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

The brown area to the right is for growing flowers in, although we haven't yet started on this project.  The area is quite shallow so our plans to grow tomatoes were thwarted but we will be giving flowers a go very soon.

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

I love the eco side of this playhouse, it is refreshing alongside all their battery operated toys and technology.  The simplicity of a playhouse allows them so much freedom and they have used it in so many ways for so many purposes.

I am hoping that the magic lasts all summer and I know that this is a house that will last our family for years as the younger two grow into it even more.  It is an investment that will hopefully yield ours of tea drinking with my feet up on a chair enjoying some sunshine. 

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

eco playhouse, go green, little tikes

Thank you to Little Tikes for sending us this wonderful house, it has had many hours of play and I think we will have many hours more.  All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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