Showing posts with label Cora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cora. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A Unicorn Themed First Birthday Party

I just love throwing a first birthday party and I can't resist a theme.  After three boys (who had rainbows, very hungry caterpillar and robot themed parties), I decided that Cora could have a unicorn themed first birthday party and I gave in to all that was pink and sparkly for an afternoon of celebrating with family and friends.

unicorn themed first birthday party, unicorn baby outfit, unicorn baby

We had the party in my parents' garden as they have a lovely big space and a large gazebo that we can all sit under to get out the sunshine.  I decorated inside and put tables and chairs in there, and then we had garden toys everywhere for the children as well as a couple of games.

Cora wore a unicorn crown that I ordered from Harper Jade, a one vest with gold writing that I bought from Betty Bramble and a pink tutu that I made myself. It was simple and perfect for the birthday girl and so much more pink than I thought I would be comfortable with!

rainbow party food, unicorn first birthday, rainbow fruit kebabs

I didn't want to have to cater for everyone properly (we had about 60 guests) so I held the party in the afternoon so that I could just do snacks.  We had cut up vegetables and breadsticks with hummus and rainbow fruit kebabs that my sister helped to make.  As it was a first birthday party I wanted everything to be suitable for the babies as well.

baby tea party

The children played so well, and we did a pinata half way through the party.  I found a unicorn pinata on Party Pieces and filled it with the bear paws 'sweeties' (or at least that is what I call them for the kids) so that everyone could join in with the game and the prize was suitable for little ones too.

I bought some cupcake sticks from the same website to decorate my homemade cakes as well.

unicorn first birthday party, unicorn cupcakes

unicorn themed first birthday party, unicorn cupcakes

For the main cake, I must admit now that I didn't make it.  I knew exactly what I wanted and it was just so far beyond my skills that I decided to outsource the cake and I found a local baker who made just the most perfect work of art.  A two tier cake, with 8 layers of  rainbow sponge on each tier and stunning unicorn decorations.  The entire cake was also vegan as I have a lot of vegan friends and this meant that everyone could enjoy it.

unicorn cake, unicorn first birthday party cake, vegan unicorn cake

unicorn first birthday party, mum and baby unicorn, vegan unicorn cake

I dressed up for the party too, in a tulle skirt and headband from Boohoo.com and a unicorn necklace from Claire's accessories.  Lots of our guests came in unicorn attire and we even had a brilliant dragon too.  I bought Finn some unicorn trousers but completely forgot to get a picture of them!


unicorn themed first birthday party

unicorn rainbow cake, unicorn birthday party

We don't usually let Cora have cake, but at her own party it seemed cruel not to and she definitely enjoyed it! She had a nibble from the main cake and then we let her loose with half a cupcake too.  

unicorn first birthday party

unicorn first birthday party

Instead of giving out party bags, all the children that came took home a giant bubble wand with a windmill attached, tied on with rainbow ribbon.  I spent a long time trying to think of a unicorn themed party gift that was suitable for 1 year olds all the way up to 6 year olds, but in the end we settled with bubbles.

unicorn first birthday party, unusual party bags, rainbow party favours

Cora was absolutely shattered at the end of the party as not only was there so much to take in, she also took her first steps that day!  As soon as the last guests had left, she crashed out on my parents' sofa whilst we cleared up.

unicorn first birthday party

It was such a lovely party and the unicorn theme worked really well.  I didn't manage to get many photos as I was busy hosting the party, but I am glad that I managed a few to look back on.

(I paid for everything mentioned in the post)
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Monday, 26 June 2017

The night before One.

Baby girl, tonight you fell asleep in my arms, the same way you have every night, for 364 nights.  Your eyes closed slowly and your face looked calm and content as you lay snuggled up on me drinking your milk.  It is these moments when you seem most like that new baby still, so small, so dependent on me.

Tomorrow is your first birthday, at 12:31pm, just as we will probably be eating our lunch, you will be turning one.  It doesn't seem possible that a whole year has passed, I still remember parts of your birth so vivdly - walking up and down the stairs, bouncing on the ball, chatting to the midwife as I paced up and down the living room.  I remember the fear, the strength and the love that came immediately.  I remember snuggling up on the sofa as the midwives packed away, studying your tiny features and wondering how I was going to cope as a girl-mum after 4 years of raising boys.

And now we are here, on the night before you turn one and you are asleep right in the middle of my bed.  It turns out parenting a girl, or parenting this girl is a bit different.  You know where you want to be, and that is right next to me.  You want to be carried in my arms or in the sling, you want to sit on my lap as you play, hold my hands as you walk and sleep curled up in my arms where you feel safe.  You are the only baby of mine to still be in my bed at a year and whilst I miss the space and the sleep, I love falling asleep with your head on my arm and waking up to your smile.  

You are determined in a way that your brothers weren't and you are the first one to take steps before your first birthday.  You have eight teeth (far more than the others did at this young age) and you still rely heavily on breastmilk, although you are definitely getting the hang of food a little more now.  You have the cheekiest smile and you adore your brothers.  You are so loved.



We don't have much planned for your actual birthday, but we have already thrown a big party for you yesterday and I think you enjoyed being surrounded by your family and friends.  Tomorrow is just us, you have a couple of gifts to open and I am sure we will have some more cake (as it is all but compulsory on birthdays).  I can't believe that we are here already, so close to one, but we are.  

This first year has been perfect.  I have loved getting to know you, learning how to parent you, watching you interact with your brothers and discover the world.  I know the next year will be full of new milestones, that you will change so much again, so I just want to pause time, just for a little bit.  I just want to remember you now, as you are, spread out like a starfish in the middle of the bed, your chunky thighs on show as the evening is warm.  I want to stop just now, whilst you are still the perfect size to fall asleep in my arms, whilst you still need my hand to walk more than a couple of steps, whilst you still hold your arms up to me for a cuddle.  Let us stop, just to make sure this moment is etched as a memory forever, for you will never be this small again.

And now we must start the time again, for your brothers are impatient to help you with the present opening, because you can't stay small forever, there are too many mountains to climb and milestones to conquer.  

Baby girl, you are more loved than you will ever know.  

xx
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Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Ordinary Moments // My Cora Day

I love having a big family, I spend all week looking forward to the weekend and having all four of my babies at home with me, but I love my 'Cora day' too.  I never had much time with just Archie as Dylan was at home full time and as he started preschool, I started looking after a friend's son.  I try to spend some one on one time with them as much as I can though, and I have been lucky to have one day a week set aside for just Cora and I.

We usually meet our friends and go somewhere, either out for lunch, to the park or the beach or somewhere else.  All of the babies are the same age (there are only a few days between them) and I love that Cora has friends her own age.  Each of the boys has a set of friends outside their school or nursery (lots of them are siblings too) and I like the balance it gives them.  We still see the friends they all made as babies most week and I am happy that Cora has her own set of buddies.

As a parent, it means I have others to share the milestones and troubles with.  We all went through the weaning stage together, crawling and cruising and now planning first birthdays.  It means that I can talk about these moments as much as I want without people getting bored (I hope) and I am loving watching Cora start to interact with her friends.  

It gives me a bit of a break too, only having one to deal with, and one who isn't nearly as mobile as the others.  We get to go for walks together, to cuddle up close without being pulled in other directions and to take the day at our pace.  My Cora day is a special one.


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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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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A Developmental Leap

I don't think you will ever convince me that there is a better stage than newborn.  The milky smell, the scrunched up faces, the way they curl up so perfectly on your chest - I find it all just irresistible.  My second favourite stage has to be this one though, the one Cora began as she turned ten months, where they suddenly hit a huge leap and develop so many new skills.

In the space of 24 hours my baby girl learned to crawl, pull herself to standing and clap as well as saying her first words.  It was a busy day and she is still reeling in excitement from it all.  Suddenly the world is a much bigger place and she is so desperate to explore it.  She may still be slow on her knees, but she is learning to get around however she can and it is fascinating (and a little scary at times) watching her 



The first year is the most crazy period of development as most babies go from being a helpless newborn to a baby who can feed themselves, move around and make their opinions known one way or another.  I find that often it goes it spurts though, that we become comfortable in how we are, but all the while in the background her brain is ticking, processing it all and preparing for the next stage.  It all happens at once and suddenly everything is different.


Dresses are no longer practical, or they have to be tucked into her leggings at the front so that they don't get caught up in knees and feet.  Leaving a door open is now an invitation, putting Cora unattended anywhere but ground level is a definite no.  In many ways I am sad that the wonderful period of being able to leave her somewhere and come back to find her in the same place is over but watching how happy she is with her new skills, how proud she is of herself as she sings the end of her favourite song, make me so excited for everything that is to come. 


It will become the norm soon that she is mobile, that she can follow round her brothers, get into everything she shouldn't and that the knees will be worn out on all her trousers, but for now I am enjoying watching her learn something new,  discovering the world from her new perspective.


It seemed crazy that at the end of next month she will turn one, I am sure it was only last week that I was holding her for the very first time.  Those newborn days are long gone though, and the toddler stage is looming.


I want to freeze time again, in my second favourite phase, to keep her this little, small enough that I can still carry her easily, young enough that I am still her world, quiet enough that I can still take her everywhere.  This last part of babyhood, this precious time.


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Monday, 8 May 2017

Yummy Tastes

At 10 months, you would think we had weaning cracked, but in many ways we have only just started.  Cora was reluctant to start eating, and it has taken until the last couple of weeks for her to start dropping any milk feeds in favour of food.  Suddenly she is interested in trying new tastes though, she is eating bigger portions and of course being newly mobile, she is not content to watch her brothers eating anything without coming over to see what they have.



We have taken a mixed approach to weaning as that seems to be what suits her best, she has finger foods, our meals and some pre-packaged foods too.  The combination of these gives her a great variety and fits well into our lifestyle.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t often get to eat her own food in peace as her brothers have realised how much her fruit pouches actually taste like smoothies and I often have four little mouths all trying to get a spoonful.  Knowing they are full of goodness and have no added sugar means I don’t mind them sharing and we get through quite a few fruit pouches at the moment! (Peach, mango and banana is definitely their favourite).



Cora tends to eat our dinners when we are at home which is both convenient and incredibly messy (have you ever watched a 10 month old feed themselves spaghetti bolognese?).  When we go out for dinner I am a bit more fussy though and I worry about the salt in the meals.  I also find that all three boys now demolish a kids meal with ease and I am reluctant to spend out on a whole meal just for Cora, so I often take a Heinz pouch with me which is full of goodness and salt free so I know that she has something tasty to eat.  We all pay our ‘Cora tax’ by giving her little bits from our plate too.



When we are out for the day, I try to pack snacks that all 4 children can eat as it is much easier than packing seperate boxes for the bigger and littler ones and the Heinz biscotti are loved as much by the 4 and 5 year olds as they are by Cora and Finn. They are pretty mess free and convenient to take for trips to the park. I usually have cut up fruit, breadsticks and biscotti for the four of them to share.

I am never going to be that mum that makes everything from scratch, but I am ok with that.  Modern parenting is demanding and I know there are tasty options out there which compliment the home cooked meals and help provide my baby girl with the vitamins and minerals she needs.  Cora has a variety of tastes and textures, she eats with us as a family and she loves her food now.  

Weaning is such a fun experience and I have relaxed more this time, taken it at Cora’s pace and followed her lead.  I have no doubt in a few months she will be demolishing dinners the same way her brothers do!


Collaborative Post

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

What Cora Wore // aden + anais

Oh sleep, how I miss it.  For some reason my youngest two seem to have been wonderful sleepers as little babies and then backtracked at around 4 months and decided that it isn't  for them anymore.  Finn slept through the night for a whole month around 4 months old lulling me into a false sense of security, because he then decided to wake up at least once a night until he turned two.  

aden + anais, muslin sleepsuit

Cora only slept through once, but she was doing a solid 8 hour stretch most nights from about 10 weeks and I couldn't believe my luck.  By the time she turned 4 months things had changed though and she was awake pretty much every hour.  At 9 months she still feeds quite often at night and I have come to accept that I was just really lucky with the big two.


Somehow naps have never been a battle though, especially if we are in the house.  Cora still wants to be fed to sleep, but so long as she can sleep on my bed, she has two good naps a day.  When we are out and about she is less convinced about sleeping but she will eventually go off in the sling or buggy.


Aden + anais sent us one of their muslin sleepsuits and I love how soft and snuggly it is.  We have lots of their muslins and swaddles as I think the quality is fantastic and the sleepsuit is just as lovely. Cora has been wearing it for bedtimes and for lazy days around the house and I love how it instantly makes her look littler again.


 I am staying positive that she will eventually sleep better and enjoying the extra cuddles whilst she doesn't (especially when she is wearing such a soft sleepsuit!).  Caffeine and under eye concealer are my new best friends!



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Monday, 27 February 2017

Cora's Holiday Must-Haves

When asked to list 10 travel must haves, it seems that all six of us have different ideas - The biggest members of the family want wifi, cocktails and a good book, the middle two want kids clubs and swimming goggles and the smallest two are led with their stomachs - it is all about the ice cream.  Mark Warner are looking for ambassador families and we would love to share what an MW holiday is really like and see how they would cope with our crazy tribe.

So to make it a bit simpler, I have collated Cora's travel must have's into our own special mood board below, and a little video explaining more.


Here is what Cora can't travel without:

1) Muslins - This is one baby essential we never forget to pack - lightweight blanket, makeshift bib, dribble catcher or even a funny little hat with knots in the corners.

2) Pretty summer dresses - I imagine this will be the summer she starts toddling and after three boys I am a little bit excited about all the sweet little outfits she can wear

3) Wet suit - Because this baby was born to splash

4) A beach bag to carry all her essentials - I don't know how long the only little girl in the family will take up the least amount of space in the suitcase,  I doubt it will be long!

5) Suncream - Cora's hair is coming through so blonde so I imagine she will need a high factor sun protection.

6) A beaker - Everyone needs a poolside drink

7) Mummy - Because she is going through a VERY clingy phase at the moment

8) Sunhat - To protect her gorgeous little head.

9) The sun - Cora was just a tiny newborn last summer so she hasn't had much experience of the sun.  (This is definitely not something we will be bringing from home)

10) Don't forget the baby!!!



This is our entry to become a Mark Warner Ambassador
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

7 Months Baby Girl

Why is it that the more desperate you are for them to stay the little, the more determined they seem to be to grow up?  We have not only passed that half way mark, but my little lady is now 7 months old.  Cora still needs me in many ways like a newborn, but she is learning new skills and becoming more independent every day too.

We started weaning as she turned 6 months and after a slow start, she is starting to enjoy her food more.  Toast and broccoli are firm favourites, carrots are not.  We are following the baby led weaning principles but I did try offering her something on a spoon out of curiosity - she was highly unimpressed!  Cora eats one meal a day, sometimes two and I hope to encourage some kind of regularity in the coming month.  


At 7 months I would love to say that sleep is improving but it would be a lie, we seem to be stuck in a pattern of hourly or two hourly feeds through the night still and Cora will only settle in my bed.  We still have the co-sleeper crib up against it, but it is currently being used more for storage than anything else.  In all honesty, I am not really encouraging her to sleep on her own, I find it comforting to have her so close at night and I barely wake in the night when she needs milk.

Since Cora leaned to sit, she has been reluctant to spend any time on her tummy.  She loves to sit on her playmat surrounded by toys and she goes in her jumperoo for short periods too.  She is happiest when one of her brothers sits to play with her and she is always amused by them, especially Finn, despite the fact he plays quite rough with her.



This past month saw two little teeth emerge from her gums which was quite a shock! Her brothers were all around 11 months when they got their first teeth so I thought we had a few more months of that gummy smile!  I have a feeling that this baby girl of mine is going to do everything her own way!  She has been snotty and full of cold all week and I don't know whether it is connected to the teeth or just typical January germs.


I have definitely come around to the girly thing now and I am finding it easier to dress Cora in pink.  She is wearing lots of soft little dresses at the moment as I imagine when she starts crawling they will all be packed away for a few months.  We are coming to the top end of her 3-6 wardrobe and starting to break into the 6-9 bits now which is quite exciting.  At 7 months Cora weighs 16lb 10oz and is following the fiftieth centile exactly.  



Cora is cuddly, happy, healthy and loved by us all.  I feel like I am writing these updates too often as the months are flying by, and we are trying so hard to stop and appreciate how small she is now, amidst the chaos of our busy house.
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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Half a Year Baby Girl

Somewhere in the mayhem of Christmas and New Year, in between the mince pies and Prosecco, my baby girl turned six months old.  Her half-birthday was spent in a Christmas comedown, we were too busy finishing the boxes of chocolates and playing with new toys to really notice it, but like it or not, Cora is now six months old.


Six months old means the newborn days really are gone and we have replaced that tiny newborn with a baby that sits up and rolls around and shouts at us to get attention.  She chats away in her own little language, she chews everything in sight and her personality shows through more each day.  My little lady is a Mummy's girl and wants to be in my arms all day.  If I hand her to anyone else she needs to check constantly that I am still there, still within her sight and ready to take her when she lets us know she has had enough.  She still wants to sleep curled up next to me and I can't imagine her anywhere else.

On Christmas day we started weaning and I have a feeling it will be a slow process.  2 days off of the recommended six months and we offered Cora carrots on her tray.  She picked them up, she licked them, she pulled a face of utter disgust and she left them alone.  We are following the principles of baby led weaning so I am confident when she is ready she will eat a little more.  I am quietly hoping it will improve her sleep (without holding out too much hope) as she has recently taken to feeding every hour.  She can sometimes do a 2-4 hour stretch when I first put her down, but after that she likes to wake and feed very frequently, sometimes just being awake for a few hours in the middle of the night.  


Cora is pretty average sized and we are starting to pack away some of the smallest of her 3-6 month clothes and bring out some of the smaller fitting 6-9 month bits.  I will be washing her stretchy wrap this week ready to pass on as she is so curious and heavy that I find her more comfortable in a more structured carrier.  We swapped the carrycot for the seat unit reclined on her pushchair about a week before she turned 6 months (although she was back in the carrycot tonight) and she loves being able to see a bit more of the world.  

The boys still adore their baby sister, they know how to make her laugh, and they are incredibly gentle at times.  Finn is desperate for her to join in with his games still and he is a lot less gentle, Cora adores him and I can already foresee the mischief they are going to be causing together once she is on the move.


I can't fathom how these six months have passed so quickly and I am desperately hoping that the next six are a little slower.



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Sunday, 18 December 2016

A Fourth First Christmas

This is my fourth time celebrating a first Christmas and the novelty has worn off a little.  I was so excited when we approached December 2011, Dylan had all the beautiful dress up onesies, I took him to playgroup parties and to see Santa and I lovingly wrapped a few gifts to put in his stocking.  Since then I have realised that Christmas just gets better the older they are, so instead of planning ways on remembering Cora's milestone, I am focusing on her big brothers, and making Christmas special for them.

Dylan and Archie are a wonderful age for it, they understand  more, they remember the excitement, they are learning the songs, watching the Christmas films and Dylan has been learning about the Christmas story at school.  They write lists to Santa, they discuss where they will hang their stockings and they want to send Christmas cards to everyone we know.

Cora meanwhile is pretty oblivious.  I am still her world, she wants milk and cuddles and she doesn't care much for toys or books just yet.  She will wake up on Christmas morning to gifts under the tree but I will be unwrapping the same presents I wrapped the night before, getting excited on her behalf and with three big brothers and all their toys, she will mostly be receiving clothes ready for her in the next size up.

Cora's first Christmas is still special though, it is still a first, it is still full of magic and joy and so I decided to dress her up and take some photos, because this is probably the only year she will sit still and I was a little excited about buying her a tutu (I bought it a size big so that she can actually wear it next year).  These photos are a 'just because' and I love them.






I bought her skirt from Florrie and Max, her vest from Le Petit Chiffon and her headband from Harper Jade
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