Showing posts with label Archie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Archie. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Bedtime Routine with Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories

I thought that we had put the bedtime battles behind us when the children started sleeping through the night, but as the boys have got older, there have been new challenges and recently they have been struggling to settle at night. They have chosen to share a room and most of the time it is great as they have their own space away from the little two and they can play their own games up there. At night time it can cause issues though as if one of them isn’t in the mood for sleeping, they keep the other one awake.

Our bedtime routine has always been simple, with pyjamas, tooth brushing and a story, and then the boys can have a few minutes of quiet reading in their beds before the lights go out. We were asked if we wanted to try out the Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories app and it has made bedtime so much easier!

The app was easy and free to download (you can see how here) and there was a choice of a few songs and stories with the ability to unlock them all either for a month or for a year depending on the subscription you choose. It's a mix of story-telling and song thats designed to help your kids drift off at night.

The first night I was a little dubious as we have never tried an app like this. Audiobooks had been suggested to us before to help them settle but the ones I tried hadn’t worked. I set up a simple playlist with one story and one song which came to about 30 minutes. 

I use the app after the usual bedtime routine, they're all tucked up in bed with the lights off, I popped on the tracks with the screen turned off and told the boys I would come back to check on them after a few minutes.

I came back into the room after about 12 minutes and there was silence other than the ‘Sleepy Paws’ story that was still playing. I called out their names quietly and there was no answer. It couldn’t have been easier!

The second night took a little longer and Archie brought the phone back down to me after the half an hour asking for more sleepy paws. The next night I added another story and another song onto the playlist making it an hour long. After a week of later bedtimes due to the school holidays, we needed to start bringing bedtime back earlier and I knew the boys would resist that. They love listening to the app though and it has really helped them settle at night as it is so calm.

This week the sun has been shining and we have been outdoors so much more that they have barely got 5 minutes into the first track before both of them are fast asleep but I am hoping that continuing with it as part of our routine will help them as the evenings get even lighter and they are less convinced it is time for bed!

The app is aimed at children four years plus and you don’t need to know anything about the Moshi Monsters characters before hand to enjoy it. All of the songs and stories are calming and sweet and I imagine the app will be great for anxious children to send them to sleep.

I am hoping that with a good bedtime routine and well rested children we will be able to enjoy so much fun this summer as they will have more energy for after-school adventures in the sun!

This is a paid post in collaboration with Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories

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Friday, 16 February 2018

Before You Turn Five

You have reminded me all day that you won't be any different tomorrow, just a bit bigger but tomorrow you turn 5 and today as we ventured into London I was reminded of the little changes that will bring.  It was the last day you will travel for free on public transport because tomorrow you will be counted as a child rather than an infant.  As with everything, you are taking it all in your stride though and you told me 'kid tickets are only a pound Mummy, don't worry'.

Four was the year you started school and you have grown and thrived.  You settled in so easily, making friends, learning lots and finding your place.  You are neither desperate to go or reluctant, you have just accepted school and you enjoy it.  Four was the year you got glasses and you accepted them easily too, after picking just the right pair (and dismissing the other 100 as 'not cool enough').  They have Avengers on the side and we now have three pairs the same dotted around the house.

I have been reading the letter I wrote to you this time last year and it still describes you completely.  You are still exactly the same, unapologetically you, determined, loyal, loving and wild.  You are happiest with company and you and Dylan are definitely a pair, playing so amazingly together, sharing imaginations and scrapping constantly of course too.  You still adore your baby sister and you play with Finn as a last resort, but when you do give in, you play so lovely together.

You make us laugh every day,  you burst into song when we least expect it and you are still naked at any possible opportunity.  You love Pokemon, scooting, cheesestrings and family and we all love you. 

Never stop being you.

Before you turn five, as I kiss you for the last time as a four year old, I just want you to know how truly loved you are.
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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

What the Boys Wore // Nununu

Now that Cora is easier to leave, I have started getting more time with just my big two babies.  I know Dylan loves having time just him and I, Archie is very much lost without his brother and if I suggest we do something just us, he asks whether Dylan can come too.  We have been going on a few little adventures and it is so nice not having a pushchair or a toddler to chase after and being able to enjoy their company.  Last weekend we visited a local theme park and the boys wore their new trousers from Nununu.

Archie much prefers leggings when given the choice and I chose these skull print ones for him as I knew he would love them.  They look comfy and they are definitely his new favourites.  The print and style of these is great for slightly older children and I think they look great on him at nearly 5.  Dylan's trousers are more of a harem jogger with slim legs.  They look comfy and stylish and match with so much (including his Nununu top).

Margate is covered in bright graffiti, the perfect place for getting some 'cool' shots if these two didn't decide to poke their tongue out in pretty much every one! I think these clothes really match their personalities well and I love how stylish and fun the Nununu collection is from ninja hoodies (which Archie would LOVE) to statement shapes and classic black, grey and pink shades.  I have found the sizing pretty true and both children are wearing the right size for their age here. 

I am really enjoying these days out with my big boys, doing all the things that they miss out on  normally because of the little ones and exploring new places.  We have more adventures planned in the lead up to Christmas and I am hoping to make it a regular thing having a Mummy day with my big pair.

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Reading Eggs Review

Dylan is back at school tomorrow and Archie won't be long behind him, although their school waits another week and a half before the reception class begins.  We then have two weeks of part time hours and it will be October before I have two boys in full time school.  Archie is so ready for it, his brain and his body need something more and he can't wait to queue up outside the purple class door.

We discovered Reading Eggs at the beginning of the summer, but it is now as we prepare the boys to stimulate their minds in different ways again that we are really making the most of it.  The website is aimed at children from 2 to 13 years and consists of fun activities that help them learn.  The boys aren't allowed on the tablets or laptops often so they consider anything on there a treat and they have been really enjoying the reading eggs challenges.

Archie has started the 3-7 year old program on lesson 1 as we haven't really don't much phonics with him yet.  He is hurtling through these early levels though, picking up skills as he goes and it has been great to watch his concentration grow as sitting still is something he really struggles with.  The levels are just the right length that he can concentrate for one and then he needs a run around. The program is easy for him to follow without my help as everything is read aloud and it works really well on my touch screen laptop.

Dylan took a proficiency test at the beginning as he has just turned six and already has a good base of knowledge.  He started just a couple of lessons short of finishing the 3-7 year old section and is now ready to begin the next stage. The lessons are challenging him without being too difficult and are perfect for him to do independently.  Being that little bit older he can do two in a row with ease and he has been enjoying doing something academic before diving in to year two on Wednesday. 

As a parent, I like how Reading Eggs fits in perfectly with what they are learning at school, and it is used in many schools all over the country.  I can see their 'reading age' and offer them a fun way to learn alongside school and during the holidays.  I want the children to enjoy being at home and I like the fact their small school doesn't really give out homework, but this is a fun game for them and I don't think they really notice how much they are learning at the same time.

I think once Dylan and Archie are both at school, we will try out the toddler section with Finn as he hasn't really used technology much before and I think he will enjoy something different.  

 You can currently get a 5 week free trial (if you join before the end of September) and you don't have to put in any credit card details either.  If you want to test out the junior edition then click here instead
 .  We are really impresssed with it and I am hoping it keeps Archie occupied for the long two month ahead before he starts school full time.

Collaborative post
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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

5 Steps for Starting School

My second born baby is about to start school for the first time, and there is so much I wish I knew the first time around.  Starting school is such an exciting and nerve wracking time and with September right around the corner, I have written our five steps for starting school.

5 steps for starting school, startrite school shoes

- Get them feeling positive about school

A lot of how they react is down to how we do as parents, so speaking about school with positive language, sending them in for taster days where they can experience all the fun they will be having and even buying books about starting school can help them see it as the next big adventure.  Dylan loves school and it has helped Archie look forward to it hearing his brother so enthusiastic about learning.

- Teach them the life skills

Schools expect pupils to be independent in many ways they may not be used to and every teacher I have spoken to says the important things to teach them before September are not letters or numbers, but how to dress themselves, how to put on their own shoes and how to eat with a knife and fork.  The teachers are more trained than us in academics, but they aren't able to individually help 30 children get ready for a P.E lesson.

5 steps for starting school, startrite school shoes

- Buy the uniform

We made the mistake of thinking Dylan may get a couple of days wear out of a polo shirt before it needed a wash.  I now know better, I now know how messy a four year old can be eating lasagne, how badly marker pens stain and how dirty a reception year child manages to get at the end of every day.  We now have five complete sets of uniform for him and we will get the same for Archie.

- Find the perfect school shoes

Everyone has a different opinion on where the best school shoes come from and we have been sent these two pairs from Startrite ahead of the new school year.  Archie's have a large rubber front which I think he will need as it should protect them from scuffs and both pairs are velcro (essential unless your child can tie laces themselves).  I am really impressed with how they look and feel and I have high hopes for the year.

5 steps for starting school, startrite school shoes

- Let them go

This is the toughest step, I still remember sobbing as I dropped Dylan off on his first day.  He loved every minute though, his teacher was fantastic and caring and he is growing and learning and so interested in everything.  Archie is ready for school in so many ways and my last step to helping him settle in is to let him go.

If you have a little one about to start school, are you feeling ready?

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Friday, 18 August 2017

Two in School with Pep and Co

There are only three weeks until I have two school boys.  Archie will be joining his big brother at our local infant school and he can't wait.  He had outgrown the nursery by the time he left and he is excited for the new challenges, although I think once he remembers that it is everyday he may change his mind.  Archie has the same teacher that Dylan had in his first terms and I think she is going to be in for a shock.

Two school boys means two sets of uniform, two little blue book bags, two pairs of smart black shoes and two to get out the door on time five mornings a week.  School uniform can get really expensive and we are very impressed with these bits from Pep and Co which are ridiculously cheap.

pep and co school uniform, poundland uniform

It took me £3.20 each child AND a kinder egg to bribe them into their school uniform in the middle of the holidays and they then refused to take it off for the rest of the day.  The polo shirts start at £1, the trousers from £3 and the jumpers from £2.  Archie could buy his trousers and polo with the money I paid him and still have change!

poundland school uniform, pep and co clothing

pep and co school uniform, cheap school uniform

Of course no amount of money would actually persuade them to stay still or pull a nice smile for the camera, so I have funny thumbs up and some zombie poses. The trousers look a little long on both boys so definitely don't size up unless you are happy to turn them up as well. I am hoping the boys finish their growth spurt by early September so that these fit a little better. 

pep and co school uniform, uniform from poundland

The trousers have an adjustable waist which is good news for those with slim kids like Archie and the polo shirts have a really great fit.  Pep and Co have expanded their range and many items are 100% cotton as well as having  Teflon® and Always Smart® technology in the fabrics to make them easy care.  As I know all too well what a white polo shirt looks like after a 4 year old has eaten a school lunch in it, this is excellent news!

With the Pep and Co uniform you can definitely get More for Less which is going to make the sting of four after school clubs a bit easier (we have been letting Dylan pick two each term so Archie will get to do the same).  It is available in 289 Pep and Co stores including selected Poundland stores.  You can find your nearest store here

 This post is in collaboration with Pep and Co
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Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Ordinary Moments // Settling in Sessions

There are only 6 more sessions of nursery and then he has finished, for the summer, forever.  Next September Archie will be joining his big brother at school and he is pretty excited.  This week we had the final one of his three settling in sessions and I left him in his classroom for two hours.

The first two sessions involved me sitting in the hall listening to the head teacher and other members of staff and PTFA talking to us about the school and what to expect whilst Archie went off to his new classroom for an hour.  This final one was two hours though and I dropped him off and left the school.  

Archie never wavered, never looked back and I think (I hope) September will be just the same.  Unlike his brother who only turned 4 a month before he started school, Archie will be four and a half and that bit more ready.  I heard others speak of the boredom when Dylan was coming towards the end of preschool, but with a summer born baby I never really understood.  With my February son I get it though.  Archie seems to have outgrown preschool in many ways, he seems bored, ready for the next stage and I think school will challenge and encourage him in the right ways.

I didn't feel nearly as emotional when I dropped him.  I remember the worry with Dylan, counting down until I could collect him and constantly checking the time.  With Archie it felt easier and I don't know if it is because he is the second baby, or because he is that bit older, but we both enjoyed the session.

That was the last session until September now.  We need to buy uniform, shoes and a schoolbag and I know the time will fly until this baby boy of mine will be joining his big brother in the school playground at 9am.
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Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Future Biker // Kiddimoto Balance Bike Review

Archie has pretty much got his future sorted - he is going to ride a motorbike, never wear clothes and of course he is going to be hulk smash - that is a given.  He is a free spirit, a wild one, the most affectionate, the biggest daredevil and a little sweetie as well as being a future super-hero apparently.  The boys have spent many an hour planning their futures and one thing that doesn't change, is that Dylan will drive a car and Archie will ride a motorbike.

It seems crazy that Archie has spent 4 years as a future biker without owning an actual bike but Kiddimoto fixed that with their rather cool skulls balance bike and matching helmet.  Archie is a speed machine on his scooter so I was interested to see how he would take to the bike.  It took a while to persuade him to wear a helmet but with some encouragement from his best friend he finally put it and then insisted on wearing it all through dinner too.

wooden balance bike, Kiddimoto, learning to ride a bike

There was pride in his face as he whizzed off and he has only improved since, getting quicker and more confident.  The wooden bike is aimed at children between 3 and 5 years and the seat has different heights which we have since adjusted to make it a little higher for our four year old.  Archie just loves the cool pirate design.  We are lucky to live right on the coast which means there are wonderful long expanses of flat biking ground and a few slopes too - perfect for future motorbikers to practice.

I think that balance bikes are such a great introduction for children to help them gain balance and confidence and once Archie moves on to a pedal bike we will be lowering the seat on this and getting it ready for Finn - it feels so solidly made that I am hoping it lasts for Cora as well.

Kiddimoto make a few different styles of balance bikes, some more metallic and like a traditional pedal bike and these wonderful wooden 'Kurve' ones which include a police design, butterflies and an awesome Union Jack design.  I love the Heroes range too which really do look like little motorbikes.

kiddimoto wooden balance bike, skulls balance bike

wooden balance bike, kiddimoto

I love these photos below because of the look of pride and excitement on his face.  Check out the Kiddimoto website to see the full range of bikes and accessories.

kiddimoto, balance bike, wooden balance bike

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Monday, 3 April 2017

Dear Zoo Trail at London Zoo

On Saturday we were invited to the launch of the new Dear Zoo trail at London Zoo.  To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the childhood classic book by Rod Campbell, ZSL and Macmillan books have created a trail around the zoo where children can collect stamps for all the classic Dear Zoo characters.  

Dear Zoo was one of the first books we bought when Dylan was little and I think we all know all the words now.  I took Archie and Cora with me for our trip to the zoo as Dylan and Finn were both ill and we loved following the trail and finding the stamps for the animals that were too fierce, too jumpy and too grumpy to become pets.

We were really excited to meet Rod Campbell and listen to him read Dear Zoo to the children.  We loved the special birthday cakes and Cora got to wear her Dear Zoo dress (M&S did a lovely range last year).  

dear zoo trail, London Zoo, dear zoo at ZSL London zoo,

The elephants are currently at ZSL Whipsnade rather than ZSL London so our card came pre stamped with the 'too big' box, but the rest of the stations were located by their animal and the children could do the stamps themselves.  The Dear Zoo theme extends around the park and the restaraunts sell themed kids meals as well as having decorations baring the famous giraffe.  It made our visit to the zoo even more special and Archie was so proud to complete his card.  

dear zoo cakes, dear zoo at London zoo

giraffes, London zoo

dear zoo trail at London zoo, London zoo, dear zoo trail

As well as enjoying the trail, we loved the new Land of the Lion area which transported us into the heart of India with a colourful hands-on exhibit surrounding the mighty (and far too fierce) animals. Archie and his friend T loved playing in the vehicles, trying to pedal the bikes and exploring the different areas. 

The zoo is brilliantly designed to keep children occupied and we could break up discovering animals with areas like Land of the Lion to discover, parks to play in and plenty of space to run around. 

land of the lions, London zoo

land of the lions, zsl London zoo

dear zoo trail, london zoo

dear zoo trail, London zoo, ZSL London

The Dear Zoo trail is on from April 1st to April 17th at ZSL London and is included free with your ticket price.  We had the most wonderful (and exhausting) day.
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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The End of Winter

Somehow Winter always seems like the longest season.  I know that just like Spring, Summer and Autumn it lasts for three months, but when those months are cold, wet and usually full of snot, it can seem to drag.  Spring is on the horizon and the temperature seems to be picking up already so we have been busy enjoying it.

The beach is my favourite place to go, I love the space, the smell, the freedom, how it soothes my soul.  At this time of year it is pretty much deserted, but it still holds so much beauty, it still captures my children's attention for hours and we still come home with that sand in our socks, glow on our cheeks feeling that makes me think of the summer.  

There are things I love about each season and as Spring begins, I am looking forward to being outdoors more, rediscovering our favourite places, not coming home until dinner time because it is still light, shedding our coats and some of those layers and moving more freely, the beautiful yellows and greens that are suddenly appearing in the parks, bringing my Saltwater sandals back out and painting my toenails pretty colours.  

Winter is ending and I will miss the warmth of walking into a heated house after an outdoor stroll, the excuse to drink hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows every night, snuggling under blankets on the sofa and watching the frost settling on the windows. 

This was the Winter that Cora learned to sit, that she tried her first taste of food.  It was the winter Finn started sleeping better and putting more words together.  It was the Winter that Archie turned 4 and grew tall enough to press the buzzer at preschool.  It was the Winter that Dylan got his confidence in the water and wrote all his own Christmas cards.  I am excited to see what Spring will bring.

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