Showing posts with label family fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family fun. Show all posts

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Ordinary Moments // Cora Tax

Cora is finally starting to eat a little more, but generally the portions she manages are very tiny and we don't really think about her when we are cooking or ordering our food at a restaurant.  In the spirit of sharing, we have introduced a 'Cora Tax' when we serve the boys their meals, which means they each have to donate something off of their plate to their sister.

It started as something little, asking them to pass on some left over peas or pieces of pasta, but it has become part of our everyday routine now, as they each portion up a small amount of their dinner to put on her tray.  I think it may well be Finn's favourite thing to do as he is willing to share anything in the name of 'Cora Tax' and proclaims it loudly as he is passing her some duplo or a toy.

This photo is from our trip to the beach yesterday.  It was a scorching 27 degrees and so it seemed vital to cool down with some ice lollies.  I didn't even think about Cora as I ordered and really she is a bit young to be having her own lolly, but Finn was happy to let her have a few licks of his in the name of Cora Tax. 



These two have a really special relationship and whilst they still have their moments, and Finn isn't always gentle with her, they are so sweet together and they play so nicely, chasing each other around on their hands and knees, climbing on things and sitting together carefully taking apart all their big brothers' duplo towers.  All the worries I had about having them so close together are gone when I see how wonderful they are together.

I am pretty sure that eventually Cora will start eating big enough portions that we factor her into our cooking, but all the while she is eating so little, we will all be paying Cora Tax, even with our ice lollies.
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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Our Summer Family Bucket List

The countdown to the summer holidays has begun and we have been busy creating a family summer bucket list.  This is the last summer before Archie starts school and unlike last year when we were learning to juggle four and working out how to do things with a newborn in tow, this year we have four children to entertain, enjoy and explore with.

So we wrote a bucket list, (inspired by one of my favourite blogger friend Hayley)  a list of things we all want to do, things to tick off this summer as we make our memories.  There are so many more things we could add, I think this will be the summer we get to watch Cora take her first steps, to celebrate a big birthday for me, to make a giant boat in the sand the way I used to as a child, to teach the boys to ride pedal bikes, to buy school uniform ready for Archie and to potty train Finn.  This is our final list though, our top 12 that we are determined to complete over the next couple of  months.


What is on your summer bucket list? Have you got anything exciting planned?
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Sunday, 4 June 2017

What the Kids Wore // Egg by Susan Lazar

Half term has passed by all too quickly but thanks to the beautiful weather, we have had an amazing week.  With picnics in the park, afternoons spent building sandcastles, paddling pools in Grandma's garden and fish and chips on the beach, we have spent nearly all of the week outside, and most of that time with big smiles on our faces.

Sometimes I feel like the odd one out when I say I look forward to having all four of them at home, but I really do.  I can't wait for the school holidays and I hate sending them back to school and preschool after the freedom and slow living life of the holidays.  I am already counting down those seven weeks until we get the summer off and I can't wait.  

egg by susan lazar, kids beach wear

In many ways, four isn't much harder than two, as the eldest two entertain each other so well.  They have wanted to spend all week together and I know that they are going to find it the hardest being seperated again tomorrow.  These photos are from yesterday, Saturday when I took them down to the beach whilst the bloke was working.  My mum and dad have a beach hut  and we borrowed it for a few hours, packed up our buckets and spades and camped out on the sand.  The children were each sent an outfit from Egg by Susan Lazar and they made perfect beach attire - light, comfy and tropical.


Cora has gone past the eating sand stage and she is getting better at staying in the shade when I pitch an umbrella or a tent.  She has her Daddy's pale skin and such blonde hair that I feel much happier with her there.  Her little summer romper is just adorable, it is delicate, thin and easy to crawl and climb in. 


Dylan is desperate to get in the sea and this beach is perfect as the tide comes right in.  We all played on the sand until the sea came closer and then they could run in and out as they pleased.  His shorts are so lightweight I know he is going to wear them a lot this summer and his t-shirt is covered in a fantastic palm tree print.




Archie is definitely my beach babe, he loves it here and could easily visit every day without getting bored, just like me.  He is desperate to learn to surf so I picked a surfer top for him with some palm tree shorts. They fit him so well despite his tiny waist.



Finn is a very petite two year old and wears mostly size 18-24 clothing which meant I could get him this adorable romper.  He loves matching Dylan and it is 100% cotton so easy to put on him for days at the beach.  His chubby legs aren't going to fit in it much longer sadly, so he will be wearing it as much as he can for now! 






It won't be long until we have six weeks of freedom, of beach days, of slow mornings and late bedtimes.  It has been such a wonderfully warm half term that it has really given me a taste for what is to come and I am so excited.  Cora is getting steadier on her feet cruising and I think she will start walking over the summer holidays which is going to be so much fun!  For now, her brothers are helping her along.


Tomorrow we are back to school and preschool, back to early morning alarm clocks, toddler groups and routine, but only for seven weeks - I can almost smell the freedom!

egg by susan lazar, kids fashion, kids beach wear


(Dylan is wearing age 7, Archie is in age 5, Finn is in 24 months and Cora in 12 months.  I would say the clothes are pretty true to size but if you are in between sizes then maybe size up, especially for chunky legged babies.  You can see the full collection on the Egg Baby website.  Postage is charged at a flat rate so it is worth doing a group order.).


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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glamping with Ready Camp

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

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping tent

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


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

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


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

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping

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




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

drayton manor ready camp, Tamworth glamping

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

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





ready camp, drayton manor camping


glamping at night, ready camp

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

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Little Tikes Eco 'Go Green' Playhouse review

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

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

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

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

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

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

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

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

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

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

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

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

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

little tikes go green playhouse, eco playhouse

eco playhouse, go green, little tikes


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




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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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Thursday, 27 April 2017

48 Hours in Hamburg

Hamburg isn't usually the first city you think of in Germany, but we were recently invited to visit and we loved exploring this fascinating city as a family.

We have always enjoyed city breaks and rather than stopping them when we started our family, we have instead tried to find a family friendly way to do them.  Most cities are full of brilliant attractions for under 5s if you look below the surface and we loved discovering this side of Hamburg.

I checked the Hamburg website before we arrived and noticed that we were arriving in time for the Hamburg Dom.  A huge fair that stays for a month at a time, three times a year, the Dom is free to enter and full of lights and colour.  After our drive it was the perfect place to explore, although the weather had turned and it was getting chilly. 

It wasn't exactly a cultural visit, but we loved noticing the difference in food stalls, the giant cookies emblazoned with 'Ich liebe dich', the donuts and spirals, the stands selling all manner of sausages and hot dogs.  The skies were threatening rain and the fair wasn't too busy but still after 3 hours we hadn't taken it all in, it really was huge.  With the lead up to Easter there were giant decorated eggs which the boys loved spotting and everything was wonderfully colourful.




The centre of Hamburg is serviced by an underground, a light-rail network, buses and ferries and to get back to our accomodation we had to get both a train and bus.  The whole journey was only about 20 minutes door to door but the boys loved watching out the windows and exploring the differences between the transport there and at home. Everywhere was really accessible with the buggy which made getting around really easy. 


After breakfast at our hotel, we ventured back into the city centre to really explore.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side, but the rain held off and we could walk around marvelling at the criss cross of rivers that run through the city, wandering across bridges and looking up at the beautiful  green roofs on many of the buildings.  The Minatur Wunderland came highly recommended and as the boys had enjoyed the local Hornby centre we thought we would try it out in the morning.

Hamburg, family travel, family travel blogger

Hamburg for families

The Wunderand really was amazing and it was so much bigger than I was expecting.  We could have spent the best part of the day there as the boys were mesmerised by the tiny worlds.  Set over two floors, you can observe minature towns, cities and countries with many American states being represented, Scandinavia and of course Germany.  The exhibit was interactive in the two year old's favourite way - buttons.  Each display had several buttons that triggered something, for example a man to bungee jump, a disco to light up, a ferris wheel to turn.  We loved pressing the buttons and watching to find out what we had done.  

It was really busy and not ideal with a pram, but you could get around and we could always find a space up against the glass to watch.  One of the most magical parts is the way the lights are on a cycle so every few minutes the sun seems to set and everything goes dark so we can see what these cities are like at night.  One display included the Hamburg Dom that we had visited the evening before and it was beautiful watching it light up.

Hamburg Dom, Hamburg for Families, miniature wonderland

miniatur wunderland, Hamburg, Hamburg Dom, come to Hamburg

miniatur wunderland, Hamburg


I would totally recommend visiting the Miniatur Wunderland, it was a fantastic experience for the adults and children and you go and watch the artists creating new figures and areas too which the children found really fascinating.

Come to Hamburg, Hamburg

The Wunderland is set right on the side of a river with the dungeons just below it.  I would have loved to have visited them, but the children are still a little young.  We had a quick run around and wander along the river admiring the statues with their scarves and how grey the sky was.  Ed noticed a coffee rotisserie and being a bit of a coffee addict he insisted we went in for a look.
It was a really interesting place with a ridiculous selection of coffee.  You could watch the coffee being roasted, try different varieties and of course eat cake.  There was a shop attached selling all the beans too and I think this was probably the highlight of his holiday.  The boys loved the cakes and I had the best latte I have even tasted.




We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the rivers, popping into a couple of shops and finding places for the children to run around.  We had been recommended the Better Burger Company for dinner and of course whilst in Hamburg it is compulsory to have a hamburger! 

better burger company, Hamburg for families, Hamburger in Hamburg

It was exactly what we needed after a day on our feet, the burgers were delicious and you can pick your toppings so we each had something a bit different.  It was a really chilled out place with long tables to share and seating outside if you wanted to people watch.  We didn't stay long as the boys were starting to get pretty tired by this point!


The journey back to our hotel was the perfect way for them to calm down and they settled easily once we got in.  

We had a long drive back, so we only had a couple of hours on Wednesday morning to finish exploring the city.  There were a few things I wanted to do including a bus tour and the Hagensbeck Tierpark which is like a zoo, but rather than cages, the animals are seperated by a narrow moat.  We decided to keep things simple though and went for a walk around the city admiring the stunning architecture. There is such a contrast between the UNESCO buildings and the modern concert hall and shopping arcades but the skyline was never boring and we found it fascinating working out what some of the buildings were.

Hamburg for families, Hamburg

Hamburg for families, family travel, Come to Hamburg

We left at midday and had a wonderful time in Hamburg.  I think it is a great city to visit and there is a lot for young families to do.  Mostly we found the people friendly, although on the trains don't expect anyone to give up a seat for you or your children even if you are babywearing.  Everyone we met spoke fantastic English and other than on the trains they were really helpful.  

We stayed in the Appartello smart living hotel which was convenient, comfortable and perfect for families and I will be writing a review very soon.



We were invited to Hamburg on a press stay and vouchers for some of these experiences were provided.  Other bits we paid for ourselves and as always this is my honest opinion.











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