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

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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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Keeping Warm // Bundle Bean

Winter has hit but we aren't letting it get in the way of our adventures.  Over the Christmas and New Year period we have alternated between cosy indoor time with new toys and running around outdoors burning off some of the boxes of chocolates we have been consuming.  We are lucky enough to have the beach on our doorstep and it is the perfect place to let the children explore.  

flamingo footmuff, bundlebean go, carseat cover

Cora loves being outdoors, but being non mobile means she feels the cold a lot more than the rest of us.  We have been sent a Bundle Bean to help keep her warm whilst we are out and it is ideal for the changing transport modes we use.  

bundle bean go, footmuff, carseat cover



Whilst a traditional footmuff is great, the Bundle Bean has the benefits of adapting and I can use this one on a buggy, car seat or sling thanks to the adjustable velcro straps.  It isn't just a winter product either, the waterproof outer means it is an ideal picnic blanket or outdoor play mat in the summer too. 

The one in these pictures is the BundleBean Go, the most versatile of their products, but if you are looking for a specific babywearing one, then there is another option with a detachable hood specifically designed to fit all slings and carriers.  We actually have a babywearing version too and I can highly recommend it!

bundle bean, babywearing cover, footmuff for sling


Our winter adventures will continue, the bigger boys will carry on running free and my little lady will stay snug, whether she is in a buggy, car seat or sling.




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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Me and Mine December // Me and Mine 2017

Today is not only the last day of the month, but the last day of the year too.  I feel like December crept up on us out of nowhere and I am left wondering quite how we got here.  2016 has been both a great and terrible year.  Whilst in the wider world we saw many deaths, Brexit and Trump, in my smaller world we saw first, third and fifth birthdays, we welcomed a new baby girl, we celebrated as Finn learned to walk, run and climb, Archie started preschool and Dylan went into year one.  

This year has been busy, it has been chaotic at times, messy, disorganised but always wonderful.  We have all grown and learned alongside each other, we have developed new relationships, expanded existing ones and my little family is bigger and better than ever.

December has been a mixture of festivities and outdoor adventures as we have made the most of the milder winter weather.  Christmas was celebrated many times over with different parts of our families and we will be seeing the new year in surrounded by our friends.  

As I mentioned, the end of this month has crept up all too quickly so this post is both an end of the month and end of the year round up.  


This Month Mummy is loving buying Christmas presents, the look on the children's faces on Christmas morning, watching the sunset at the beach and starting running again

Daddy is loving Cora being more interactive, time off over Christmas, buying a new computer and getting back to the gym

Dylan is loving Christmas crafts, Christmas tree chocolates at Grandma's house, his new 'colour with mum' book and doing treasure hunts around the house

Archie is loving snuggling up in his dressing gown, his new haircut, his Hulk Smash hands and having his big brother around more.

Finn is loving being allowed chocolate now (the real stuff), dancing to everything and anything, pushing his new dolly and pushchair around and watching Blaze

Cora is loving her first tastes of food, bouncing in the jumperoo, sitting up to play and blowing raspberries on the back of her hand.


I have put all of our me and mine photos from the year together too - I love seeing how we have all changed and grown as my bump became a baby, as Finn found his feet, Archie lost his hair and Dylan learned to write.  


 I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.  There is so much I want to do, so many places I would love to go, so many books I want to read and things I want to learn.  2017 will be the year Cora turns one, Finn starts to communicate more, Archie will start school and at the end of the next year we will be applying for Dylan's Junior school place!

Goodbye 2016, you have been wonderful.

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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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