Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

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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Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Parties // Hotel Chocolat Wreath

Christmas is the season for parties and gatherings, mulled wine and delicious chocolates and an excuse to get together with old and new friends.  In our old house we were quite stuck for space and we are really enjoying the new place and being able to host friends now.  This year we have Ed's family coming to us on Boxing Day and it will be the first time hosting a family event for us!

With school about to finish, I decided to celebrate the end of Archie's first full term by inviting some of his friends and their parents over after school one day.  The children quickly split off with the school boys going upstairs and the little siblings choosing the playroom.  The living room was for the adults and it was lovely to chat without the rush and distractions of the school run.  

I was sent a Hotel Chocolat Christmas Wreath and it seemed the perfect time to open it.  I left it in the middle of the table as it made a great centerpiece.  Once all the children were occupied, we broke it open and it was absolutely amazing inside! Our favourites include the 'Christmas mess', the 'Bakewell tart' and the champagne truffles, and the selection was brilliant with something for everyone's tastes!  I find that usually when we open a box of chocolates there are the same ones always left at the end but having some left at the end wasn't an issue with the wreath!

The Hotel Chocolat wreath is perfect for Christmas gatherings and I might have to buy one for a Boxing Day treat for the family too.  It is the perfect festive centerpiece and incredibly delicious!  When we have eaten too many roast potatoes and stuffing, I think bite sized sweet snacks will be great to nibble on.

I couldn't easily get pictures of all the children playing but here are a couple of my little two who loved having a house full of friends and playmates (although one still needs to work on sharing his toys with them).

Hotel Chocolat have an amazing Christmas collection to suit all families big and small, so whether you are having a quiet Christmas at home, a few friends over or the whole extended family, check out their amazing Christmas chocolate collection.

This post is sponsored by Hotel Chocolat but all chocolates were eaten exclusively by myself (and my friends)

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Friday, 30 December 2016

The Week in the Middle

Christmas day has come and gone, the new year has yet to begin and we are stuck in a strange place, not quite here or there.  We have no concept of which day of the week it is, mornings and bedtimes are later than usual and biscuits are an acceptable meal.  I love this week, the one with no routine, no schedule or deadlines or school runs, the one where we make our own rules.  We eat when we are hungry which isn't always at the traditional mealtimes and we go out when we get bored indoors.  

The Christmas break is so short, not even two weeks for Dylan and in the midst of the mayhem this week feels unusually calm.  I love waking up in the morning with no real plans for the day, playing it by ear, enjoying lazy mornings in my dressing gown and watching the children play with their new toys, their imaginations taking them to new lands each day.  

The Christmas tree is still up, the sun sets so early, the weather is getting colder and no resolutions have yet been made.  The kitchen side is piled high with goodies and we are drinking more cups of tea than ever with the excuse that we really should get through those biscuits soon.  

Today we have had a lazy morning, a late lunch, a long play and a glow stick disco in the living room with just the twinkly tree lights and our flourescent sticks stopping us bumping in to each other.  The children got to stay up just a little longer and we are eating leftover pizza for dinner.

I took a few photos of the boys at the beach in their new Muddy Puddles coats, they loved the sand all piled up and we were surprised at how busy it was for a December afternoon.  The beach is our go-to place to waste an hour or two and it doesn't matter what season it is, they never get bored of it.

muddy puddles, baby waterproof suit

School and Preschool restart on Wednesday so we only have a few days of this limbo left to enjoy.  This week in the middle is definitely one of my favourites.
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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Our Christmas

There are people with their Pinterest perfect Christmasses - all colour schemes, co-ordinated place settings and beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree.  And then there is me, writing this sat next to a Christmas tree covered in a mismatch of baubles and after Finn has pulled the beads off for the hundreth time they have literally been thrown back at the tree.  The presents were in all sorts of paper, using up what we had last year (and the year before) and all four children had their own paper so that I didn't have to write labels for each gift.

Our Christmas is beautiful though, the excited faces, the wonder in their eyes, the beauty of generosity, the love of family and friends and the table stacked full of delicious food.  No matter how much or little is under our tree, my children have all they could ever need - Love, support, strength, people who love them, food, drink and a home.  They aren't yet at the age where the value of gifts matter, a colouring book can be as great as electrical toy, chocolate coins are the ultimate stocking filler and their wish list is short.  

Every year we spend Christmas morning at home, enjoying time as our little(ish) family of six, we open gifts, we eat breakfast, we pack our favourite toys and we head over to my Mum and Dad's for the day.  They cook lunch and dinner and we stay the night.  We put the boys down in the evening and stay up late playing cards and eating cheese boards.  On Boxing Day we see the Bloke's family for more food, family, gifts and fun and then we usually head back to my parent's house for a quiet evening together.  Family is the focus of our Christmas and we are lucky to have two great ones.

One of the best presents is that my Mum and Dad take the children in the morning when they wake and let us have a leisurely lie in - these things are worth more than money can buy!

This year was magical, it was Cora's first Christmas and she got her first tastes of food.  In typical baby style she was more interested in the wrapping paper than what was in it.  Finn got to have his first go at opening presents and he wasn't content to stick to only his own.  Archie was more aware of everything that was going on and insists that his best bit of Christmas is 'everything', and Dylan totally gets it all, he loved everything he recieved, he was excited and thankful.

I didn't take many photos this year, I was too busy enjoying the moments, but these are the ones I did take, little moments from our Christmas.

Dylan's favourite gift this year

Fourth baby life

We Facetimed my sister who is in France

I am sad it is all over and we have so many new toys to find homes for.  We also have a kitchen side stacked full of tins of posh biscuits though, so it isn't all bad!
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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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Saturday, 3 December 2016

That Festive Feeling

Christmas is coming - the Coca Cola adverts on TV tell us that, the Christmas music in every shop I walk into, the twinkly lights, the trees and the multitude of letters from school informing me of Christmas fairs/plays/shows/parties tell me that.  The bigger boys are excited, they sing the Christmas pudding song as they walk around the house, they draw pictures of Santa and his elves and they write list after list.  Finn and Cora are still blissfully unaware but I am sure it won't be long until Finn starts to pick up on the excitement.

One of my favouite parts of Christmas is the build up and whilst it can be argued that it goes on a bit too long now (I refuse to start before December 1st), the anticipation is magical.  All the activities add energy to what would otherwise be a pretty miserable month of earlier nights and colder days.  Christmas spirit seems to infect everyone, we group together, we think of others, we plan ways to make other people smile.  

As I type this, I am baking a pudding ready for 'Christmas 1' with the Pogues classic number playing in the background.  My little sister is heading off to France for 5 months over the winter so we are having a full Christmas celebration before she goes.  Roast turkey, pigs in blankets, Christmas crackers, silly jokes, party hats, the lot.  I can do nothing but accept it is already Christmas as early as December 4th.

Our house hasn't had the full treatment yet, I am reluctant to provide Finn with something else to climb on and I dread to think how long our tree will look pretty for before three small boys mess it all up.  We don't send or receive many cards and the tinsel is still packed away.  We are organised on one front though, our stockings are hanging over the fireplace ready for the big man in red to come and visit.  The children were each sent a personalised Christmas stocking from Arty Apple and they were so excited to open them up and get them ready for Christmas eve (the real one on the 24th, not Christmas 1 eve).  

Whilst Dylan and Archie are spoiled for choice when it comes to personalised items, I think Finn and Cora are going to find it much harder and it is lovely to have something like this that we can bring out every year.  At the moment this is as far as our decorating has got, but I know after our Christmas 1 I am going to be feeling more festive and ready to bring out the rest of our decorations.

Whilst the rest of the world is enjoying a normal Sunday and getting ready for Christmas, we will be celebrating it early, enjoying the desserts that are *definitely* going to turn out as good as the pictures online and enjoying an important family day whilst we are all around.

If you want to grab a personalised stocking, sack or bib ready for the big day then you still have plenty of time to get an order in! Check out the Arty Apple website

Thanks to Arty Apple for the stockings - we love them! So soft and well made and perfect for four small children hoping for some gifts on Christmas morning.

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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Me and Mine December

The end of December means the end of the year which is a scary thing.  Whilst the days are at times long, the years are inevitably short and the end of 2015 means my baby boy isn't the newborn I still see him as anymore.  Our family has grown this year, we have learned, fought, worried, laughed and loved and December's photo had to be taken in front of my parent's Christmas tree as it has been for the past two years.

Every Christmas day we spend there, eating too much, spoiling the boys, playing cards and being a family.  This year was quieter with my little sister out working in France for the winter season but we had a wonderful weekend anyway.

December has been a slower month than I intended, we didn't fit in half of what I had planned and I liked it that way.  There will always be next year, we still had fun and my big boy needed some calm and quiet time to help him cope with the tiredness that comes at the end of your very first term of school.

We have managed another whole year of our monthly photos and it is definitely something I will be continuing into 2016.  I hope even if I do ever stop blogging that this is a tradition we keep up, as our year has been full of beautiful shots (mixed with last minute phone selfies of course).

This month

Mummy is loving the whole Christmas weekend, Yule Log, winning at cards and her new slippers

Daddy is loving the Pacman light he got for Christmas, time off work, the excuse to eat more cheese than usual and his new computer monitor.

Dylan is loving the giant Christmas tree in Covent Garden, the trumpet that Father Christmas brought him, having a pyjama day and learning all about animals with his new book.

Archie is loving  seeing the Snowman, the fart gun his Aunty and Uncle bought him, singing Rudolph the red nose reindeer at the top of his voice and having his big brother home from school.

Finn is loving finally getting his first tooth, alpro yoghurts, wrapping paper and the baubles with bells in them.

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Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Little Christmas Message

This year is Finn's first Christmas and whilst that is incredibly special, Christmas with a 4 and 2 year old is even more exciting.  Finn will be clueless as to why we are all so jolly, where his stocking appeared from and what is really going on.  Dylan gets it completely now though, he knows the story of baby Jesus, he knows that Father Christmas lives in the North Pole and delivers presents to boys and girls, he knows Christmas is about friendship and giving and family as well as gifts and his excitement is contagious.

Those two big little boys of mine have been patiently counting down with their advent calenders, discussing what they hope Santa will bring, planning what they will eat and dreaming of the man in red and his reindeer.  This year they both 'get it', although at 2, I know it is only going to get more exciting for Archie.

Finn's first Christmas is so special, he will be dressed up, spoiled by family and eat at the table with his paper hat on alongside us (if he hasn't eaten it already), but it is his big brothers that will really make it what it is.

Our Christmas is all about family, and we are fitting in as much of that over the two days as we can.  My uncle is celebrating his 70th birthday on Christmas Day so there is even more to celebrate this year.  We will give modestly, love generously and eat greedily.  

To everyone who reads my online ramblings, who follows our story or who knows us in person, I wish you the merriest Christmas.  I hope your day is special whatever you choose to do, whoever you decide to spend it with.  

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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Christmassy Day in London

I love London, especially as Christmas approaches and they go all out on lighting up the city so spectacularly.  I will find any excuse for a day up there with the boys as we can always find something to do, something new to see and an adventure to have.  There is something so magical about the big city and they do everything on a different level to our local towns.

Last weekend we headed up first thing in the morning to go and see the Snowman.  I took Dylan last year and it was just amazing.  I knew it would be something that would become a family tradition and this year all five us turned up at the Peacock Theatre to watch the show.  The Snowman brings the classic book and film to life on stage and is perfectly designed for toddlers and small children.  With two halves, both under an hour it isn't too long to expect them to sit still and with all the magic on stage even Archie coped (the child who doesn't understand the concept of sitting or still).  

The snowman really does fly across the stage and the dancing is spectacular.  The boys loved when all the snowmen meet Father Christmas in the forest and we loved watching their faces light up.  Even Finn seemed amused although he did snooze through at least half of the show.

Once it was all over, we walked over to Covent Gardens which is less than 10 minutes on foot as we had reservations at Jamie Oliver's Italian.  None of us have ever eaten at one of Jamie's restaurants before and we were keen to try the fresh food and check out the kids menu that is more adventurous than your average chicken nuggets and chips.

Jamie's Italian, Jamie Oliver,

The service was fantastic and I loved the choice that the boys had, with titles like 'chicken lollipops', everything sounded really appealing and all the food was fresh.  Our waiter was fantastic with Finn, we struggle sometimes as he is allergic to dairy and egg but he gave us different options and made sure Finn's came straight away so that he could tuck in.  The boys' meals looked delicious, although the salad in a jar wasn't a hit as both are completely scared off as soon as you put lettuce in there. 

The bloke and I ordered starters and mains, and they were all lovely.  The desert definitely stole the show though, the chocolate pudding was soft and exquisite and the salted caramel ice cream had so much flavour and a perfect texture.  The service definitely made the meal that bit more special as every member of staff seemed to go above and beyond what I expect in a restaraunt.

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll back to the centre of Covent Garden as it is my favourite part of London.  It was our second time this season, but the boys were desperate to see the giant Christmas tree again.  Last year we loved the Lego santa's sleigh and this year's Santa Express didn't disappoint.  The queue was pretty small at 4pm and so we didn't have long to wait before the boys could board the train and press the buttons to make the steam come out.  (The sleigh is there until the 29th December).

Lego Santa Express, Lego Covent Garden, giant lego creation

There was plenty to see and do, from street performers to watch and shops to browse to the spectacular lights and trees all around.  It really brought Christmas alive and we came home feeling festive and ready for the big day.

Thank you to Sadler's Wells for our tickets to see The Snowman and to Jamie's Italian for our meal

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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Me and Mine December

As the year comes to an end, I am so happy to say that we made it a whole year of our photography project - one photo every month of our whole family.  Whilst the little changes may go unnoticed in everyday life, they seem to add up when I look back on the year.  

Archie started 2014 as a baby with wispy blonde hair but he ends it a cheeky toddler who has had too many haircuts to count.  I thought Dylan was so big back in January but I see how much he has grown and changed with preschool and more growth spurts than I thought possible.

The bloke is still mostly the same although the other side of 30 now and I . . . well I am growing outwards at an impressive rate and have had my fair share of changes too.  I wrote yesterday about our year, with all our me and mine photos, but here are this months,  taken on Christmas day in front of my parent's tree - just as we did last year.  

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Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Little Look at Christmas

My camera only came out a couple of times over Christmas, we were too busy laughing and eating that it was the last thing on my mind.  Our Christmas was spent with family, a day with mine and a day with the blokes, and then back to mine again.  We ate two turkey dinners, plenty of cake and our fair share of cheese too.

Dylan and Archie were surrounded by loving relatives and gifts and we are currently readjusting and having a bit of a Christmas comedown as we head back to eating a normal amount, chocolate being a treat and having some quiet time and TV again.  Our Christmas was magical, funny, delicious and special.  It was our last as a family of four and I can't wait to have four special guys in my life to share it with next year.

Dylan really got the idea of presents this year and wanted to open everything under the tree no matter whose name was on it.  Archie had fun but once he was done, he point blank refused to open any more.  Father Christmas had strategically placed the satsuma at the top of their stockings, and once they unwrapped it, both boys decided to sit and eat that before moving on to anything else.  When you let a one year old peel his own orange, it takes quite a time! 

Here are a few snaps from the day ( - I only remembered to get my camera out in the first place because Dylan had such fantastic bed hair)

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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

This Christmas

This Christmas it has taken me a little longer to feel festive.  I have watched the films, worn the socks and gone for walks just to see the lights, but I think the tiredness that comes from being pregnant with two children has meant that I haven't had time for everything we planned.

We tried to not start the festivities too early so that we didn't get bored of them by the big day, but our month has still been packed with a trip to see The Snowman up in London, afternoons spent exploring in Covent Garden with the giant tree and Lego sleigh, a nativity at Pre-school (in which my snowflake was undoubtedly the star), Christmas jumpers, decorating the tree, plenty of shopping and of course opening our advent calenders every morning.

Most of the presents are wrapped, and we are off to my parent's house for the big day so we get to skip the hectic Tesco dash.  My little Christmas pudding is cooking away nicely, and the benefit of stretchy maternity jeans will be seen fully when the turkey is served! The boys are looking forward to Father Christmas coming through the front door (It would be silly for him to come down the chimney when we have a door apparently!) and Archie is wishing everyone Mesmas (or Merry Christmas in toddler talk).

This year I can't wait to see their excited faces, to see them open their presents, spend time with family and consume far more sugar than we ever allow at home.  I get the feeling Christmas is only going to get more magical as they get bigger and understand that little bit more, but at 3 Dylan certainly understands even if Archie isn't always sure.

I wanted to take a nice picture to put in the christmas cards for my close relatives, but despite the boys both being pretty happy, they were not interested in smiling or staying still (as toddlers often aren't!).  I thought I would share our best efforts though, and wish you all the merriest of Christmasses. 

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