Saturday, 20 January 2018

What Cora Wore // Angels Face

18 months is an exciting age.  Until recently I could still think of Cora as a baby and it was easy.  She is still quite petite, she still looks so peaceful when she sleeps and she isn't much of a talker.  I can't deny her toddler-ness (totally a word) any longer though and this little girl of mine is feisty, opinionated and growing up quickly.  She has learned to say no, to shake her head and assert her opinions.  She is cheeky, she teases and plays and solves problems.  She is following her big brothers around and learning from them and it is exciting watching her personality grow and blossom.

I don't know yet whether she will be a girly girl, I think she is torn between wanting to climb trees and scramble in mud and the love of a pouffy skirt and she is already drawn to a tutu.  We were sent this one from Angel's Face as well as the hat and she had a big smile as soon as I put it on her and she couldn't stop playing with it.


There is something so adorable about a toddler in a tutu and I love the fun, feminine style.  The waistband is soft and stretchy and the hat co-ordinates perfectly.  We teamed it with her grey wool coat and her snow boots to keep her snug and she has two lots of thermals on under her leggings.  I have plans to pair it with a band -shirt and converse as the weather gets warmer and I can't wait!


The tutu is incredibly soft and special and came in a vintage inspired hat box.  I think this might be one of the items I keep for a possible grandchild one day as it is just so beautiful.  I will have to print out some of these photos to keep in the box too.  Cora is wearing age 1-2 here and is a petite 18 month old so if you are torn between sizes I would suggest sizing up. 




Thank you to Angel's Face for sending us these beautiful items!

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Our Family Ski Holiday with Snowbizz

It was our fourth year travelling to Puy St Vincent with Snowbizz and there is a reason we and so many others go back year after year.  A lot of people wouldn't even consider a family ski holiday, but once you have tried it, you may well find yourself hooked.  We battle through the early morning airport meltdowns and the hyperactive toddlers on the flight because when we arrive in the snow covered resort, everything is so easy, so relaxed and just so much fun.

family ski holiday, snowbizz

The fresh mountain air is cold and takes a while to adjust to, the snow is unfamiliar to little hands but soft enough to sink into and the views . . . I don't think I could ever not be in awe of the snowy mountains that dominate the horizon in every direction.  The first day is always put aside for adapting, for preparing, for collecting our hired boots and skis, for take away pizza and early nights.

family ski holiday, snowbizz

The next day however is a different story.  Dylan and Archie were skiing for the third year and Archie has in the yellow group at ski school with Jean-Paul whilst Dylan was in the orange class with Benjamin.  They were up and dressed in their thermals and salopettes and raring to go.  Dropping them at ski school was as easy as walking down one flight of stairs as we are directly above it (I didn't even put my shoes on some days), and they can sledge and play outside or chill out with games in the lounge before their lesson starts.   It is a little further to drop off Finn and Cora but I can probably do the walk with both of them on foot in two minutes still.  We leave our apartment block, cross in front of a shop and we are at the welcoming Snowbizz creche where the pink ladies greet them every morning with smiles and cuddles.  There are always toys laid out inviting them to play and a craft or painting set up on the tables.

family ski holiday, snowbizz

And then we can ski, or read a book, or go for a walk, or eat a fresh croissant bought from the bakery next to the creche.  The morning is ours and we love the freedom, the rest, the adult time.  

family ski holiday, snowbizz

Our week is always a mixture of family time, adult time, skiing and some one on one time with the little ones.  We follow their lead and take it day by day and it works so well for us.  We love sledging and the creche has plenty of sledges that you can borrow to take to the little sledging hill next to the playground.  The restaurants all have tables outside so we can play in the snow as we wait for our lunch, and hot chocolate will never taste quite as good as it does from the Creperie after an afternoon sledging. 

family ski holiday, snowbizz

We had snow, so much snow and we had sunshine. It snowed for about 24 hours straight with around 60cm laying just over night.  The next morning the sun shone, the freshly pisted slopes could not have been more inviting and we couldn't resist stomping in the fresh powder snow, watching it rise up our legs, rolling around in it and throwing it up in the air.  We could not have asked for better weather and I will always remember Finn's face as the snow fell, the excitement and awe, the desperation to be out in it and the sheer joy as he ran through it with his tongue out to catch the falling flakes. 

family ski holiday, snowbizz

Dylan gained even more confidence skiing and on the last day we could barely keep up with him as he skiied down the blue slopes without fear.  For a child that has never been very physically confident, it is amazing to see how much he loves this sport, how well he is improving and the experiences it gives him.  Archie was the smallest in his class and needed extra help at the beginning of the week but we took him up on the lifts at the end of the week and were amazed at how well he could ski down, never falling over or struggling and smiling and laughing the whole way.

family ski holiday, snowbizz

Ed and I tackled harder red slopes, improved our skills and took in the views from the very top of the mountain where we really did feel on top of the world.  We made friends as did the children and it felt like we had our own little community by the end of the week.  Being a smaller resort, the children really make great friendships as do the adults and we all found ourselves seated together on the plane on the way home too.

family ski holiday, snowbizz

The boys loved the kids clubs in the evenings and award night at the end saw Finn awarded the 'Shining Star' for 'brightening up our day' whilst Cora got the 'Haribo' award for 'being a sweetie'. 

family ski holiday, snowbizz

There are so many reasons that we love going on a family ski holiday and I have written in the past about 

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

You can also check out our

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz

family ski holiday, snowbizz


We received a discount on our stay but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own 
and we are already looking into booking for next year!









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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Family Friendly Travel in Spain

Blue Monday has inspired me to think about our travel plans for the year and there are so many places I would love to visit with the children.  Having four aged six and under means we are most likely to stay in Europe and we need to choose places that have activities to suit all our small ones.  We visited Barcelona when Dylan was little and Spain is definitely high on our list of places to consider.

Hotels are pretty tricky now so we will have to check our Spanish mansions and villas to find the perfect accommodation for our family.  We prefer to stay somewhere that allows us to put the children to bed and still have a living space,  somewhere we can be a bit noisier, where they can spread out their toys on the floor and villas seem like the best option.  Spain is full of variety and I have been looking up some of the best places to take small children on holiday.  I would love to hear if you have visited any of these places or if there is anywhere else you think we should add to our list?!



Barcelona 

We visited Barcelona years ago and loved how much there was to do for families.  Park Guell was probably our favourite place and it features Gaudi's mosaic dragon.   There was something for everyone,  the stunning architecture, the beautiful colours and textures and the history fascinated us, whilst the fun grottos, the picnic area and playgrounds are the perfect places to let the children run free.  Barcelona is full of fascinating architecture, green spaces and child friendly restaurants.

Calpe

Beautiful beaches, child friendly restaurants and amazing ice cream.  Situated between Valencia and Benidorm you can make the most of all the city and resorts have to offer including an amazing aquarium in Valencia with a walrus and a beluga whale but you can also enjoy the quieter side. (recommended by Edspire)



Salou

Salou is the perfect place for a family holiday with it's golden beaches and busy strip with restaurants and shops. The Orient Express restaurant comes highly recommended and there is a huge variety of delicious food to suit everyone. Port Aventura is a huge theme situated close by and is easy to get to via coaches. (recommended by mum of 2point5)

Calella de Palafrugell

Such a typically Spanish place, the beaches are beautiful with calm seas and crystal clear waters, there's an ice cream parlour with 40 varieties of ice cream, you can buy stonebaked pizzas to eat on the beach with a blanket (and a bottle of cava for the grown ups) at night time and the staff in all of the restaurants here are so lovely and hug you like old friends. (recommended by North East Family Fun)



Ibiza

Not just for the clubbers, Ibiza is full of child friendly beaches with soft golden sand, lifeguards in the summer, crystal clear water and sun loungers.  Captain Bobcat has written about some of the best child friendly beaches on the island

Menorca

As well as the beaches that surround the island, Menorca boasts caves that are a little explorers dream, seas so clear that young swimmers can go snorkelling and plenty of waterparks for the big and little kids in the family.  Menorca is fantastically family friendly. ( Recommended by Truly Madly Kids)

Benalmadena

With a theme park, crazy golf, sealife centre, parks and a zoo this is a great destination for families that like to keep busy.  Situated on the Costa Del Sol and close to Malaga and Marbella, you can even take a cable car to the top of Mount Calamorro to take in breathtaking panoramic views of the Meditteranean. (recommended by Five Little Doves)


photo credit - BabyFoote

There are so many options to consider from beautiful beaches to pretty cities and the wonderful islands that offer quiet retreats.  I loved the Spanish attitude on our city break there, how even the teenagers would smile at my one year old, how it was never frowned upon to have your toddler in a restaurant and everyone would help us when we needed it.  Spain is such a great place to visit as a family and we will definitely be considering it for our summer holiday.

Where is your favourite Spanish destination?


This post is in collaboration with Luxury Retreats
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Monday, 15 January 2018

Aden + Anais Sleeping Bag Review and Giveaway=

Four children in and I am still learning.  Dylan was three months old when he found his thumb and it was a complete game changer.  Overnight he started sleeping and not just a good stretch, but 15 hour nights.  He would settle at 7pm and not wake until 10 the next morning.  He has always needed a lot of sleep and I felt like I had this sleep thing sorted.

Archie came along and he was another species altogether.  He didn't want to sleep in the day and he didn't want to give in at night either.  He needed to be held, he wanted to be close and there was always too much going on.  Eventually we got there and he started sleeping through the night.

Finn was a new challenge, breastfeeding wasn't possible past a few weeks and my usual fix of offering a boob at every wake up wasn't going to work.  Everything I had read told me that bottle fed babies would sleep through earlier, but Finn clearly hadn't read those books and it took him a long 
time to master staying asleep all night.


And then Cora came along, different all over again.  It didn't feel like she was ever going to sleep and we spent a year trialling different ways to encourage her from swaddling to white noise to changing the temperatures.  Sleeping bags didn't seem to work when she was little but we tried them again recently and they have been a game changer. She still isn't sleeping through every night, but some nights I can settle her at 7pm and not see her again until 8am the next morning.



Aden + anais sent us one of their sleeping bags and it is perfect for these winter nights.  It is made from their classic muslins with a polyester filling and come in a choice of thickness, this one being a 2.5 tog.  
Sleep is still a battle as this baby girl of mine really isn't convinced that she should be taking a nap in the day anymore, but we are getting there slowly, finding out what works for her and what doesn't. 


Sleep is the holy grail for parents, it is what we spend the most time thinking about and the least time actually getting (or so it seems) and I am hoping that Cora's new sleeping bag helps us both spend more time sleeping.



I have an aden + anais sleeping bag to give away to one lucky winner and you can choose which one you fancy! Just pop over to the aden + anais website to choose your favourite and fill in the rafflecopter form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Play Free with Petits Filous

Having had my children so close together, free play is something they have had to do out of necessity.  I am often busy with a sibling, clearing up or buried under endless mountains of laundry.  The children have learnt from an early age how to occupy themselves and it is such an important skill.

Petits Filous Play free

Free play is defined by Play England as “…children choosing what they want to do, how they want to do it and when they want to stop and try something else. Free Play has no external goals set by adults and has no adult imposed curriculum. Although adults usually provide the space and resources for Free Play and might be involved, the child takes the lead and the adults respond to cues from the child.” and whilst it can be hard at times to let them get on with it when 'it' involves mess and noise, it is often the best thing for them as they nurture their creativity, learn cause and effect and develop physically.

We have just come back from a week in the mountains where the only TV around spoke to us only in French and it forced the children to play free even more than usual.  We broke up time in the snow with indoor free time and despite the limited toys we had managed to pack, the boys made their own games, they got lost in imaginary worlds and they played without distractions.  

Petits Filous Play free

Free play can be indoors or out, surrounded by toys or with just the natural world.  It can look different everytime or be very similar and I love when I get invited to be part of it.  Petits Filous created this lovely video showing a little girl jumping in a muddy puddle and then her Mum and Grandma following.  She is learning cause and effect, she is having fun and her family is supporting her.




I am going to be working with Petits Filous over the coming weeks to embrace playing free, to let my children get bored and to see what happens when they push past it.  I am going to be chatting with Anita Cleare, parenting expert and co-founder of The Positive Parenting Project, and I am looking forward to the challenge!

Petits Filous is the no.1 kids fromage frais brand in the UK and each pot is fortified with extra vitamin D to ensure that even in these darker months, little bones stay strong and healthy.  The  Change4Life campaign launched by Public Health England recommends Petits Filous – with less than 100 calories per serving – as a healthy snack for kids.*   Dylan and Archie think that snack time is a great excuse for free time and they learned about how long their tongues were as they tried to lick it off their noses!  Petits Filous now do snack pouches as well that can be out of the fridge for up to 5 hours and don't need a spoon so they are perfect for out and about!

Petits Filous Play free

This Post is in collaboration with Petits Filous and Britmums

(*on specific variants: Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Apricot Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Banana Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry Fromage Frais 6 x 47g,Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Fromage Frais 4 x 85g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Apricot Fromage Frais 4 x 85g,My First Petits Filous 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Magic Squares Strawberry & Vanilla 4 x 80g, Petits Filous Magic Squares Raspberry & Vanilla 4 x 80g, Petits Filous Strawberry Pouch 1 x 70g, Petits Filous Raspberry Pouch 1 x 70g,Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Yoghurt 4 x 100g



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Monday, 8 January 2018

What Cora Wore // Kite from Growing Needs

Cora is finally heading into the next size clothing and it has given me a new reason to shop.  I love buying pretty things for her and I have a few brands that I always go back to.  I recently discovered a new one though, thanks to the lovely Rebecca at Growing Needs.  Kite make organic kids clothing for newborns to eleven years old and their designs are fun, comfortable and bright.

From soft knits to the best designed rompers and an amazing rainbow cardigan, their clothes are brilliant for this mini toddler of mine.  

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

I love babies and toddlers in dungarees and the look like the comfiest thing to wear.  The Kite designs are fun and bright and have poppers for easy changing and they are stretchy enough for all her climbing and squatting.  I can't wait to see what designs they have next season as they will be first on my list to check out.

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

I can't resist rainbow clothes and this cardigan is amazing! With rainbow stripes on the front and a rainbow on the back, it goes with so much of Cora's wardrobe and it feels thick and warm.  (she loves to carry apples around the house). 

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

 One of my favourite pieces from this collection is their rompers.  I will be honest, I saw them online initially and dismissed them but after holding one in my hands I am sold.  This is thicker than a sleepsuit and perfect for my little girl who feels the cold.  The cuffed legs and arms mean it can be worn even when it is a bit too big and the poppers make changing easy.  The neck is cuffed in the same way as the arms, meaning it slips over their heads easily and can be pulled off downwards if they have an accident.  The whole design is perfect is perfect for busy babies and toddlers and the prints are adorable.

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

With this windy, wet weather we have spent more time inside than usual and cosy clothes have been a must.  This two part knitted set is so easy to put on and the leggings look warmer than any others she owns.  The leggings are a grey and white stripe and have plenty of growing space on my petite child.

Kite Organic clothing from Growing Needs

Kite is a lovely brand, the colours and styles, the organic cotton and the fun characters and designs.  I have loved trying it out and I know we will be ordering more in the future.  Growing Needs stocks a great selection as well as lots of our other favourite brands like Smafolk and Albababy.  You can see all these items and more on the Growing Needs website
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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The Last Two Weeks

The Christmas holidays are unlike any others.  There is relaxation and exhaustion, excitement and calm.  The time between Christmas and New Year we all seem to forget the date, routine goes out the window and we spend more time in our pyjamas than we should.  The lead up to Christmas is so busy, so fast paced and loud that this quiet in the middle couldn't be more needed.  New Year's Eve comes and goes and then the back to school rush is upon us, time is up and a new term must begin.

In the midst of it all, the mince pies and mulled wine, the party poppers and champagne flutes, the stockings full of gifts and the fireworks, we get to be us.  Just us.  We get to be six for two whole interrupted weeks, we get to turn off our alarm clocks, curl up on the sofa together and run around on the beach without a care in the world.

Four little people who are full of excitement, four little people with their own language and games, who get to spend two weeks playing, laughing and fighting together.  I took some photos as they raced down the sand mountains and explored the deserted landscape.  In matching jackets (because it makes head counts a lot easier!) they couldn't keep the smiles from their faces.



This is my favourite place to be at this time of year.  I love it in the summer, but when it is empty, when the sea rages and the wind blows, when the sand is piled up high to protect the coastline and forms the perfect slide, when our cheeks turn rosy and our noses pink, this is my happy place.  It felt like the perfect place to play during this strange in between time.








Tomorrow the big two go back to school, the day after Finn has nursery and our routine starts again.
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