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

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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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Made By Mum

I am the woman I am today because of my Mother.  She is the one who taught me about the world and about myself, the one who gave me the skills I needed to be independent, who gave me the strength to follow my dreams, who gave me the courage to stand up for what I believe in, who believed in me when I needed her most.
    


In many ways we are so similar, in others we couldn't be more different but I am #MadebyMum and with Mother's Day approaching I have been looking for the perfect gift for her.  Getting Personal have helped me find something that celebrates everything that my Mum has taught me, because her present should be as unique and special as she is.


My Mum taught me to be strong, and that our inner strength is powerful.  She had three children very close together and my memories of my childhood are fun and happy.  She reminds me that there are tough days (and tough weeks) but I can get through them and tomorrow will be better.  

My Mum taught me to be prepared, to think about the future, to save for a rainy day.  In many ways this is where we are different, I am more spur of the moment than a planner but the contents of my handbag include many strange and occassionally useful things much like hers.  

My Mum taught me how to love through her unconditional love for me.  I grew up feeling loved everyday and I hope my children feel the same way.  She is kind and compassionate, she helps others personally and in the community, she is passionate about recycling, she volunteers, she always has time for her grandchildren.


Getting Personal helped me to create a gift that celebrates what my mum taught me, how she shaped me, that I am #MadebyMum.  Their unique range of Mother's Day gifts is easy to personalise to create something perfect for the woman who made you who you are today.


Getting Personal have launched an exclusive #MadebyMum collection with gifts specially made for mum.  Their gifts are easy to personalise and the perfect gift from children big or small.

 What has your mum taught you?



Collaborative post
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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Me and Mine February

The end of Febraury has come around so fast that I completely forgot to write my Me and Mine post last night! I know it is a short month yet it still catches me out! February is always a busy one with half term and two little boys celebrating their birthdays and we took our family photos purposefully near the end of the month.  We threw the boys a soft play party on Sunday at a little venue right on the seafront and came straight out onto the beach to snap these.  As you can see they are all hyped up from running around and excess sugar but nobody is crying this month!


The month Mama is loving signs of spring on the way, going up to London for my friend's birthday, watching Once upon a Time on Netflix and starting the big spring declutter

Daddy is loving playing pie face with the kids, shopping for coffee machines, a week off of school runs and discovering Palak Paneer - the best dish from our local Indian.

Dylan is loving writing his own stories,  playing mummies, daddies and baby zombies, dressing up as a Gingerbread Man when they had traditional tales week at school and going swimming


Archie is loving turning 4, having a party with all his friends, building Duplo 'battle bots' and playing with the scaletrix at the Hornby museum.

Finn is loving opening birthday presents on his second birthday, eating lots of cake, riding his horsey (the Wobbelboard) and climbing on everything!

Cora is loving wires,  fish fingers with all the coating taken off, chewing on Mummy's teething necklace and singing Row, row, row your boat with Finn.


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Friday, 24 February 2017

Tomorrow you are Two

Every family has different parts that make it whole, every member brings something unique and indispensible and you, Finn, are our smile.  I don't doubt there will be years where you are a moody teenager, that your tantrums will get worse, that you won't always be the way you are now, but right now you are the sunshine in our days, you brighten up even the darkest Monday morning and we couldn't love you more.

One to two has been a busy year, you have learned to walk independently and as with everything, you did it your own way.  It was your brother's birthday and after months of confidently cruising you were still refusing to let go and attempt it alone.  When you finally did, it was with a big audience, an even bigger grin on your face and you walked right out the room like you had been doing it for ages.  It took you a little longer than your brothers, but we didn't doubt you would get there.


This year you learned to talk and I have found it hard not to compare your progress to your brothers.  You are unique and you are communicating in your own way.  Your language seems to have started snowballing since Christmas and every day you are learning new words.  There are still plenty that I 
don't understand yet, but you understand me (other than when I say no or stop).

At nearly 2 you are strong willed and defiant.  You have refused to just slot in like I was told third babies do - we know you are around! You are interested in everything, put off by nothing and everything is a climbing frame.  You are a little whirlwind at times, but you can also sit and play beautifully for ages.  You are desperate to be big like your brothers but you also want to be a baby like your sister.  You adore her, she is your favourite person and I love watching the two of you interact.  


I still think of you as a baby but from the outside you are starting to look less like one.  Those wispy baby curls that framed your face have gone, you race confidently into new situations, you make your choices known, you are growing and changing.  You still insist on your 'daddit' (dummy) to fall asleep though, and you lay with your arms tucked under you and your bum in the air as only babies and small children can. 

One was the age you became a big brother, just two days after you turned 16 months.  You loved your sister immediately and you two have a special bond.  You watch how close your big brothers are and you get impatient to have the same fun with Cora - I think you two are going to cause so much mischief once she is really on the move!

I am constantly reminded of quite how far you have come, the odds you have beaten and the mountains that you are still desperate to move.  You will always be a little miracle to us.


Happy Birthday baby boy, Happy Birthday Finn.  You are loved more than I ever knew you could be
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Before you turn Four



At three you can still be considered a toddler, but Archie, when you wake up you will be four and I will have to admit that that phase of your life has passed.  The countdown to school has began and you are ready for it in so many ways.  Really, you stopped being a toddler quite a while ago but behind the excitement of each new stage, I am reluctant to let go of the last one.


Three was the year we cut off your beautiful hair and I cried real tears in the middle of the hairdressers.  I have found peace with your new style and it suits you.  You are never mistaken for a girl anymore, it doesn't get in your face as you run and hair washes are so much easier.  It was the right choice (I will begrudgingly admit) but I did love your long blonde locks.

Every year you change so much and I can see quite how much you have grown since I wrote to you one year ago.  You are still exactly the same though, unapologetically you, determined, loyal, loving and wild.  I wrote as you turned two about how you were happier with your brother around and that is still true - you fit in perfectly in our big family, a playful little brother and a loving big one.  You and Dylan are the best of friends (although you fight like only brothers can), you and Finn are becoming real playmates now and you are so caring with Cora.  I look at the photos from the day before you turned one and I still recognise those expressions, that you.


You are happiest naked and have refused to wear any form of pyjamas or clothes around the house for a while now.  You have no problem snuggling under a blanket with me though, warming your icy feet on my skin and cuddling in close.  You still love to cuddle and I have to admit you give the best cuddles.  You can cheer me up in seconds with you arms around my neck and I dread the day you stop wanting to be so close. 

Your imagination has really developed this year, you talk absolute nonsense sometimes and you and Dylan are often in your own world together.  I love listening at your door after I put you to bed as you stay up and chat and watching you playing with your Lego, singing made up songs as you do.  This imagination did lead to the 'Mystery bandit' in our house who was responsible for all kinds of mischief and was never seen at the same time as you.  He has thankfully gone now although things are still blamed on him (by all members of the family).


As a three year old you became a big brother (again) and took it all in your stride as you always do.  You are wonderful with Cora and she is a lucky little girl to have you as a big brother.

At three you were bright, sociable, loving, energetic and bold.  You have learned to concentrate on things a little better, sit still a little longer, climb a little higher and communicate a little clearer.  I can't wait to see what adventures four has in stock for you.

Before you turn four, as I kiss you goodnight for the last time as my three year old, I just want you to know how truly loved you are


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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Sleep Issues

I never really appreciated how well Dylan slept until I had Archie.  I thought Archie was a bad sleeper until I had Finn.  I thought I knew what tiredness was, and then I had Cora.  Somehow my babies have managed to get progressively worse at sleep and the idea of a full nights sleep is becoming less attainable.  Finn still wakes once or twice a night, he is normally settled with a dummy or a quick cuddle, but Cora wakes regularly, every two hours minimum for milk.

Joolz blanket, sleeping baby, sleep regression

At 7 months, I am starting to struggle more with the sleep deprivation.  In those early days things are so blurry but the adrenaline and new baby hormones seemed to help me cope.  As Cora gets older, it is getting harder to function the next day and it seems the less sleep I get, the more time in the day I spend thinking about it.  I feel like we have got to the stage where I need to decide what is more important to me.



I love co-sleeping and in many ways it works so well for us.  I barely need to stir in the night to feed her and it feels so natural to be close to her.  Cora is happiest in the bed with us, she doesn't have to cry out in the night for me and risk waking a brother and there is something so precious about having a baby curled up sleeping next to you.

On the other hand, I do think sometimes that if she couldn't smell me, if she had her own space, that she may not wake as frequently, and maybe we could both get a little more sleep and spend our days looking a little less like a zombie (me, not her).  We have a snuzpod set up attached to our bed which she still comfortably fits in and when we are both ready we can rearrange the bedrooms and sort out her cot.

Joolz blanket, sleep regression, co-sleeping

With a busy house, there is something so special about our night time cuddles.  Cora is always close to me in the day, but this is our time to be quiet and calm together,  our time without a brother trying to cuddle in at the same time, without distractions, just still.   As she is becoming more mobile, I need to start thinking about how to keep her safe too, whether we need to get bed rails for the other side of the bed, or invest in a video monitor so I can keep a better eye on her. 

 For now I am going to enjoy the quiet bedtime cuddles and just hope we come out the other side of this rather long sleep regression.  Any tips?

sleep issues, 4 month sleep regression, joolz blanket

Cora's beautifully soft organic cotton blanket was sent to us by the people at Joolz and it looks so snuggly!


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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Me and Mine January

We are already a whole month into 2017 and what a crazy one it has been! In the wider world we have seen the devestation that Trump is causing and in my smaller world we have applied for a school place (Archie) , travelled to find snow, gained extra teeth (Cora) and watched far more TV than I would like.  

My photos from this month aren't the sharpest and typically we forgot to find anyone to take them until the last minute of our ski trip so there is a fading light and less than ideal background.  We managed three vaguely happy (not crying) children out of four so I am still calling it a win.  We had the most amazing family holiday and I hope I will look back and remember how we were too busy having fun to stop for photos.




In January Mama is loving seeing her sister in France, going up to London for the kids fashion trade shows, hot baths after a cold day and eating cheese fondue and raclette.

Daddy is loving skiing down the red runs, watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix, quiet weekends at home and watching how well Dylan could ski.

Dylan is loving going down the blue run with mummy and Daddy, making a holiday scrap book, birthday cake at Uncle Oli's birthday and learning about the Chinese New Year at school.

Archie is loving skiing down the snake, playing Dig Out on the tablet at the airport, finding the letter 'A' everywhere and playing with Cora in the mornings.

Finn is loving spending time with Aunty NatNat, pinching everyone else's food, turning the tv off if we put anything other than Blaze on and perfecting his pronunciation of the word 'biscuit'.

Cora is loving carbs (her favourite foods are toast, chips and potatoes), her doll from Nanny, bouncing on her feet and sleeping in the crook of my arm.


February may only be a short month, but two out of our six have birthdays to celebrate so the boys are all pretty excited for it!
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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, 26 January 2017

My Top Tips for Taking Kids Skiing with Snowbizz

We have just returned from our third family ski trip to Puy St Vincent with Snowbizz and we are already planning to go back next year.  It is such a wonderful little resort and the perfect place for children to learn to ski.  I wrote about our first time skiing, how the boys got on skiing at 2 and 4 years old and how to enjoy a ski holiday even if you can't ski, but I wanted to share our top tips for taking kids, because even this year we are still learning how to make things as easy and relaxing for us all.

So here are my five top tips if you are planning on taking children on a Snowbizz ski holiday.

1)  Pack light

The bigger two boys got dressed into their thermals each morning in preperation for their ski lessons, and they very rarely got out of them.  In the afternoons we either went back out in the snow so they needed them on, or they ran around the creche or the apartment still in them because it was the easiest thing to do.  One or two pairs is fine for the week if you go for something like merino wool as they are self cleaning and they wick the moisture away.  For Dylan and Archie I packed thermals, a fleece and their ski wear and then just a couple of pairs of trousers and a couple of tops for the indoor kids clubs.  (I made a little video with what we packed for the youngest two here)

snowbizz, skiing with babies, family ski holiday

2) Enjoy the childcare

The nannies are fantastic and there is so much for the little ones to play with, so just enjoy it, make the most of a little time to sit and read, or enjoy a croissant, some extra time on the slopes or even a sneaky afternoon nap.  All four of mine loved the creche and the staff and even Cora who at 6 months had never been away from me for more than 30 minutes, who had only ever been left with her Daddy, settled straight in, smiling and laughing for the ladies and not crying once all week.  

family ski holiday, ski holiday with creche, snowbizz

3) Feed them often

Skiing is exhausting, learning a new skill is hungry work so fill your apartment with easy snacks.  There are two supermarkets and we took a few familiar snacks from home for the younger two as well like rice cakes and breadsticks.  If you have a child in junior ski school (aged 5 or over) then put something sweet in their coat pocket before their lesson as two hours is a long time and they have a little break where they can have something to eat in the middle to keep them going.  The food in the restaurants is all rich and filling and the kids portions are huge, but you really work up an appetite!

3 year old skiing, family ski holiday, Snowbizz

4) Borrow books / DVDs

In between the excitement of skiing, sledging, fresh snow and new friends, our boys needed some downtime where they could just switch off a bit and rest.  The creche has bundles of books as well as DVD players and films you can borrow.  We bought a few small toys with us in our luggage and then borrowed books and films whilst we were out there.  You can also rent sledges, buckets and spades free of charge too which we made the most of.

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, muddy puddles ski jackets


5) Take them to the top

Well not quite the top, but at half past the hour you can go up on the chair lift to 2100 metres on foot.  We took all four of them (with Cora in a sling) and there is a lovely little restaurant up there as well as lots of fresh snow to play in and stunning views.  The lovely staff will stop the lift completely for you to get on and off and help children down too.  If you have a family with mixed ages then the bigger children can ski down with one parent whilst the younger ones go in the chair lift with another parent.

bundle bean, family ski holiday, snowbizz, baby skiing

Snowbizz is a fantastic place to visit with small children and everything is set up to make life more relaxing for you and to give them the best possible experiences whilst they are out there.



We were guests of Snowbizz for the week but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.




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Monday, 23 January 2017

Our Week away with Snowbizz

Have you ever been somewhere and realised that you left a little piece of yourself there when you left?  That is how we feel about Puy St Vincent.  This year was the third time we have taken a family ski holiday, the third time we have headed to the snowy French Alps with Snowbizz - The Family Ski Specialists, and we know that it won't be the last.

From the helpful staff in the office to the friendly greeting at Gatwick airport to the Pink ladies welcoming us to Turin, we felt looked after at every stage of our journey and in resort I felt confident leaving my children with the qualified nannies and knew that the boys' ski lessons were all overseen by Michel, who makes it his business to ensure every child (and adult) is getting the most from their time in Puy.  

This year was our first time with four children, and I was a little worried about how it would all go.  They are all still so young and with two under two, we were flying with one on our lap each and another child next to us each.  Somehow everything seemed to come together on the day and it just fell into place.  The drive up to the resort from the airport is full of anticipation and snoring as the early start means we all struggled to stay awake.  When you open your eyes to the stunning view of endless mountains, crisp white snow and tall trees it is just so magical and we were in Puy before we knew it.

babywearing, snow babywearing, madame googoo

Our week was exhausting but relaxing and we each got so much from it.  The bloke and I progressed in our skiing thanks to our wonderful instructor Hugo.  He pushed me to try some of the red runs, he took us off piste after the fresh snow had fallen and he helped me every step of the way when I struggled with my confidence.  

Dylan was in the Junior ski school this year which meant a two hour lesson each morning.  To say he loved it would be an understatement, he was dressed and ready to go each morning an hour before the doors even opened! There were four of them in his group and he spent the week on the green and blue slopes.  On the last day after much asking, I went out skiing with him.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to help him much, that I wasn't good enough myself but he amazed me with his independence and skills.  His instructor had taught them how to get their skis on themselves, how to get up when they fall and how to ski well.  We skied down alongside him amazed at how far he had come in only a week!

snowbizz, family skiing, family ski specialist

Archie loved his lessons too with instructor Matthieu.  The 'Totons' are skiers aged 3 and 4 and each group has one of the qualified nannies out on the snow with them.  Archie had two other little boys with him which meant an amazing ratio and so much attention.  He was keen to keep trying all lesson and didn't want them to end after the hour!

3 year old skiing, family ski holiday, snowbizz,

Cora and Finn were in the creche - Finn charmed everyone as he always does and Cora surprised me in the best way.  For a baby that is attached to me almost 24/7 at home, I wasn't sure how she would cope in a new surrounding.  At 6 months she is still breastfed on demand and she is used to being worn in a sling a lot. She settled into the creche immediately and didn't cry all week.  She was content and smiley for the wonderful ladies and they were very respectful of my parenting, happy to hold her and cuddle her as much as she wanted.  I popped in just before my lesson and straight after it to feed her and she fell into an easy routine whilst we were away.

family ski holiday, taking a baby skiing

The wonderful thing about a ski holiday is that there is something for everyone.  Our week was a mix of adult time and family time and we could all go off in the day and have our lessons but we all came together again afterwards, refreshed after a little time apart and with the wonderful backdrop of a snowy mountain to relax us.  Skiing is physically quite exhausting so our evenings were snuggly and our bedtimes early.

Snowbizz offers so much but the things that really make it perfect for young families like ours are the exceptional childcare and the closeness of everything.  We would leave our apartment and have our skis on within 30 seconds walk, ready to go.  At the end of my lesson, I could pop my skis against the wall with Ed and be back with the children in less than a minute.  The resort is small but has everything we needed with a selection of restaurants, ski shops and two supermarkets.

family ski holiday, snowbizz, family ski specialist

The childcare is by far the best we have come across in any country.  The nannies all seem so genuinely happy to be there and their energy and enthusiasm is catching.  I would pop in to feed Cora at sometimes quite random times but I always found them totally engrossed in play with the children - painting faces, making up songs, pushing them around in cars or following the children's games.  I felt happy leaving Cora there each day despite the fact that until last week I had never left her with anyone other than Ed and never for more than 30 minutes.

This little resort buried 1600 metres up the slope is the place we spend all year looking forward to visiting and we are not alone.   The personal service of a family run company means there are families that come back year after year and many new families are captivated on the first visit.  For children learning to ski, this is the perfect resort with small classes and the nursery slopes on their doorstep.

toddler in snow, family ski holiday, snowbizz with a toddler

Skiing may not be the first thing you think of when looking for somewhere to take young children, but it is an amazing holiday for every age and we have definitely got the ski bug!



sledging, family ski holiday, snowbizz

muddy puddles, family ski trip, snowbizz,

snowbizz, family ski specialists, sledging with a three year old

snowbizz, family ski holiday

snowbizz, crete ski slope, family ski holiday

bundlebean, family ski resort, skiing with a baby, snowbizz


learning to ski, snowbizz, family ski holiday

learning to ski, family ski holiday, snowbizz, puy st vincent















Thank you to Snowbizz for hosting us last week - we may turn out to be your most loyal customers!


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