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

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

When does Toddlerhood start?

This week Cora has started walking.  It has been six weeks since she took those first unsteady steps between two adults she trusts, but only six days since she started really walking.  There were weeks of nervous steps between people or furniture but this week she has decided she is happier on foot and has barely crawled since she made the decision.  She still looks a little wobbly, still falls over a lot, especially on uneven surfaces and she still looks immensely proud of every step she takes.

With eleven little white teeth filling Cora's mouth, her smile looks much older than her brothers at the same age.  Her hair is just about long enough to make little pigtails and she loves playing peekaboo.  From the outside Cora looks very much like a toddler.

13 months old, baby or toddler, when do they become toddlers

When she curls up in my lap for milk, her eyelashes fluttering as she slowly falls into a land of dreams, her chubby little hands resting delicately on my top, her legs tucked up so that she is fully encased in my arms, her chest rising and falling next to mine, she seems so small still, a baby.

At 13 months Cora isn't talking yet but she is definitely understanding more and more.  She is trying to master a spoon and fork with varying success and she is getting pretty good at climbing.  Sleep is still a challenge and she is far from sleeping 'through the night'. She eats food on her terms and breastfeeds regularly.  It feels like she swaps between being a baby and a toddler several times a day and I think we are now in that transitional phase.

baby or toddler, toddler girl, 13 month old girl

Each of my babies have been so different at this same age, some definitely entering the world of toddlerhood, others were definitely still babies.  I think the baby / toddler divide is determined more by milestones than age, and I am sad that my last baby is leaving behind another stage, that I will never have a little baby of my own again.  I love this little toddler that she is becoming though, so determined, so funny, so inquisitive.  

Where do you think the divide between baby and toddler lies?


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Friday, 11 August 2017

Our Week in France with Eurocamp

We picked the La Croix du Vieux Pont Eurocamp parc for our recent holiday for many reasons; the closeness to Calais and therefore a short drive, the fact that the parc was really family friendly, the free learn to ride sessions they offered and the good reviews I had read online. We left the morning after Dylan broke up from school armed with a boot full of clothes and scooters and the footwells packed with trunkis full of toys.

It was an easy journey and it took us less than 6 hours door to door.  When we arrived the sun was shining and the thermometer read 28 degrees.  The boys have always loved staying in mobile homes and this was no different, with the added bonus that as soon as we stepped outside our little space we were right on the lake and there were ducks swimming around looking for leftovers.  We got changed into our swimwear and headed straight to the man made beach.

With the absence of a coastline this close to Paris, the parc created its own beach and it is perfect for building sandcastles, splashing about and swimming in.  The children were desperate to move after three hours in the car and our holiday couldn't have started better.

Unfortunately the weather took a dive after the first day and it rained on and off for the rest of our stay.  It certainly didn't stop us having fun though and we found so much to do in spite of the weather (I have written about some of our favourite activities here).  Our days seemed both relaxed and full at the same time with no pressure, no time we had to be anywhere yet lots to do.  It felt great to not look at the time  all day, eating when we were hungry and moving on to a new activity when we felt like a change.

The swimming pool was a big hit with us all, and having four so close we are not able to take them all easily at home.  There were no rules on ratios though and the children's pool was well designed so we felt confident having all four in the water there.  The boys had the option to go to the free kids club every day and they did a few sessions, Dylan really enjoying it.  Whilst it states from 4 years old, I think it was more suited to a child who was already at school.

One of my favourite things about the holiday was watching the bond between the children develop.  Dylan and Archie have been seperated for 5 days a week but suddenly they were together 24/7 and I saw them both change as they reconnected and encouraged each other.  Archie pushes Dylan physically to keep up and Dylan's play has evolved through school and I have seen Archie follow his lead and mature even more.

Finn and Cora have always been close, but this week gave them time to play with their big brothers too and Finn is desperate to be one of them with Cora not far behind.  They three boys played together so well (most of the time, they fought too of course) and I loved watching them experience these things together.

Our days started with fresh croissants from the on-site bakery and ended with either a Berny burger take away or a meal in the amazing restaurant.  We stayed on site other than an afternoon wander down to the nearest town one day and we had ice cream at any opportunity.

I took too many pictures, I always do,  but I have so many memories captured and I love every one of them. 







baths out on the decking are an important part of holidays and Eurocamp offer highchairs, cots, baby baths, potties and bed rails for hire.




The boys asked to go for a dip on our way home from dinner one night and I couldn't think of a good reason why they shouldn't. They loved splashing about as the sun went down.






Cora started to get her confidence with walking with lots of encouragement from her brothers.









This photo is only metres from our mobile home, they all spent ages just sitting and watching the lake and the wildlife.



You would not believe how fascinating a drain can be when you are two and a quarter.


My child who has never ridden a bike before was riding down the road with no stabilisers after only a couple of lessons.  He still has some learning to do, but he was so proud of himself and we couldn't have been more proud of him.



Our week in France was courtesy of Eurocamp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.







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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Eurocamp - 5 things to do in the rain, 5 things to do in the sun

We have recently returned from a fantastic week away with Eurocamp at their La Croix du Vieux Pont parc and we found so much to do for all six of us.  We arrived to beautiful sunshine and 28 degrees but the weather soon deteriorated and we had more rain than anything else for our week.  It certainly didn't spoil our fun and we found so much to do both inside and out.  I thought I would share our top five things to do at the Eurocamp parc when the sun shines and our top five things to do when it doesn't.

Top 5 things to do in the Rain


1. Kids club / kids room

Eurocamp offer free kids clubs for children aged 4 to 12 and both Dylan and Archie went along a few days.  I dropped them off for two hours and they were entertained with crafts, activities and fun.  Both boys made friends and on one day there was a four hour session where they created a show for the parents to come and watch.  For the younger children there is an indoor room with games, toys and a sandpit that is open for use all day.  Both the little two loved exploring, playing with the bricks, cooking in the toy kitchen and having a chance to explore in their own way.

2. Swimming Pools

There were three indoor swimming areas at our Eurocamp site and we all loved the children's pool.  All four children could play, the older three heading straight to the slide in the middle and Cora splashing around the outside.  Next to the pool was a splash zone with lots of things shooting water around and the kids loved running through the sprays and playing in here.


3. Bowling

Bowling is an additional cost, but the bowling alley by the pub was clean and bright and loads of fun for big and small children.


4. Football or Table Tennis

There was a big indoor football pitch as well as two different indoor table tennis areas that were free to play on and this would be perfect for older children.  There was always space to play when went through the area and Finn loved kicking the footballs about.

5. Borrow a Game/Book

In the baby room there were shelves of Orchard Toys games and lots of books in many languages that could be borrowed and taken back to your mobile home and for the adults there were books available to borrow from the Eurocamp reception.  We had a bit of quiet time each morning inside our mobile home and these helped keep the children occupied.


When the sun is shining there is even more choice of things to do, here are our favourites :


1. Manmade Beach

Set next to the lake is a fake beach - a circle of sand with a pool of water in the centre.  It is ideal for families as the children can choose to build sandcastles, dip their toes in, go for a swim or play on inflatables.  There is a playground and a restaurant/bar right next door too so it was easy to spend the whole day here.


2. Learn to Ride

Many Eurocamp parcs, including this one offer free 'learn to ride' sessions where children aged between 3 and 6 can attend free bike lessons.  They start on balance bikes and progress on to pedals and we were amazed at how well Dylan did thanks to the lovely Pru.  Teaching him to ride was something we were planning for the summer and this got him off to a great start!



3. Feed the Ducks

The parc is centered around a lovely lake and there were lots of ducks as well as a family of swans that we enjoyed spotting and feeding our leftovers to.  The boys gave them all names and ran outside every morning in the hope they were hanging around by our mobile home.


4. Go Karts

One of Archie's highlights of the week was definitely having a go on the go karts.  There is a little track right next to the lake where you can also hire pedalo boats and all three boys had a go on the go-karts (although Finn's legs were a little short)


5. BBQ

Each mobile home comes with a table and chairs on the decked area and a barbeque and you have to make the most of the sunshine to cook up some sausages.  The on site store sells everything you need and there is also a supermarket about a mile from the parc with more choice. We started to worry that all our efforts were getting rained off but we managed a BBQ before the week was out!


There are so many more activities I could have listed, from hiring bikes and cycling around the lake to the soft play area above the pub but there are our favourites and we enjoyed them all during our stay.

Our stay in France was courtesy of Eurocamp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Staying Healthy This Summer


The summer has begun, and so has the challenge of keeping everyone healthy, happy and occupied for six long weeks.  It is so tempting to make ice cream a daily treat and my boys could spend hours playing minecraft if I let them have their own way.  Push Doctor have written their top tips for keeping minds and bodies active this summer, so I thought I would share some of ours too.

Healthy Eating

  • If your children are anything like mine, they will be asking for snacks pretty much constantly throughout the day! Make up little pots or bags of cut up fruit and veg and store them in the fridge so that they can help themselves to them to make life a little easier.

  • If you have space in the garden or an allotment, try growing food with them.  Many of our friends tell us their children won’t touch a certain food on a plate, but they will happily eat one they have grown themselves.  Look for local pick your own farms too for fresh strawberries, cherries and apples as well as other things.



  • Make flavoured ice cubes out of fresh juice to add to their water to encourage them to drink more.  When it is hotter or they are more active, they need to replenish their fluids more often and this makes it a bit more appealing.

Staying Active

  • If you have a big enough garden, make an obstacle course, or get the children to. Soon they will be climbing, jumping and running with no idea they are actually doing exercise.  Use garden toys and household objects to make different challenges.

  • Make your own scavenger hunt cards on pieces of cardboard you would otherwise recycle.  Right down different colours or objects and send the children out at the beach or park to collect all the items.  You could give them an old digital camera instead to get them to take photos of things they have found.

  • Whilst the weather is warm, make an after dinner stroll part of your routine.  It doesn’t have to be far, but a little walk around the block before bed may help them sleep better too.



Keep Learning

  • See if your local library has a reading challenge on.  Dylan has signed up and is already half way towards his first set of stickers.  All the children love visiting and choosing new books and it encourages them to love reading.

  • Encourage older children to keep a holiday journal where they can write a paragraph each day about what they have done and enjoyed.  It is great for writing practice and is a lovely record for when they start back at school in September

  • Use a rainy day as an excuse to try some science experiments at home.  Vinegar and baking soda volcanos are one of our favourites! Home made playdough is a big hit with the younger children and is great for their fine motor skills and imagination.



There are loads more ideas over on the Push Doctor website.  They also have a fantastic competition to win £400 worth of goodies over on their facebook page!


Collaborative Post
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Monday, 31 July 2017

Me and Mine in July

July has passed with a mix of heatwaves and rain storms and we have just returned from a brilliant week away with Eurocamp.  I wanted to get a few family photos whilst we were there, but it wasn't as easy as I hoped and we ended up with two.  The first was of us off to dinner one evening, standing by the lake in the rain.  The second is a selfie on my mobile phone whilst we were in the swimming pool.  It was a challenge to get the kids to stay still for long enough, but we just about squeezed the six of us into the shot to capture the moment. 


July has been brilliant, and it leads into August which is probably our favourite month as a family, with lots of plans and hopefully a little more sunshine!  

This month . . .

I have loved croissants for breakfast every morning on holiday, becoming a Godmother to my baby nephew, no more school runs and finding more time to read.

Ed loved seeing Greenday at the Hyde Park gigs, Finn's dancing, all the different French snacks (Milka biscuits) and browsing Rightmove for a new house.


Dylan loved learning to ride a bike with no stabilisers at kids club, feeding the ducks every morning when we were away, counting down to his birthday (which still hasn't happened) and candy floss ice cream 

Archie loved the water slides in the pool on holiday, his settling in sessions at his new school, getting back on to his balance bike and zooming everywhere and collecting Minions stickers.

Finn loved riding his little bike everywhere whilst we were away, spending time with Aunty NatNat, watching Thomas on Netflix and helping Daddy make coffee.

Cora loved splashing about at the fake beach on our holiday, having her big brothers off school, playing hide and seek and going high on the swings

It has been a brilliant month but we are looking forward to August now!

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Amazon Fire 7


The end of term is approaching and the boys are tired. When they come in from school and nursery they have taken to just flopping on the sofa or bed and wanting to watch TV or play a game. When they are well rested they are happy to run around and play, but most days at the moment they just need to switch off for a little while.



We have a tablet, but Ed uses it for work, so the boys were delighted when Amazon offered to send us a Fire 7 . It is an upgraded version of their bestselling tablet, compact and light for small hands to hold but durable and it comes with 8gb memory (that is expandable), a choice of colours (we have blue) and Alexa as well as access to the Amazon app store which has over 800,000 apps and games on offer.  It is fantastic value for money at £49.99 and I actually ordered a second one last night so that the boys can have one each.


I downloaded a few to start us off as we have a big drive coming up at the start of the summer holidays and I want to make sure there are a selection of games to keep them occupied. It was easy to turn off in app purchasing and I have added passwords so I know that when they have it in Kids mode, they can only access what I have allowed them too. They have discovered Minecraft  on Daddy's computer so I am pretty sure that is going to be our next purchase through the Amazon app store!



Our top 3 games for 4 and 5 year olds (so far) are

1) Peppa Pig : Mrs Chicken  - I wasn't expecting this one to go down quite so well, but they love the variety of little games. There are apps related to lots of their favourite shows and the Ruby and Max one has been entertaining them a lot too.

2) Cbeebies Playtime - This app is full of different games based on the different programs and it changes every so often too so there is often something new to discover. This was the first app that any of the boys tried and Dylan still enjoys it at 5.

3) Doodle Maths -  Every day they get 5 maths questions and I got to input information about the children and where they were at before we started so they are all age/ability appropriate. The questions are spoken as well as written and it has been good for helping Archie to follow instructions as well as increasing his exposure to math related terminology.





And of course I downloaded a few apps for me, my top 3 are

1) Netflix - There is always something to watch and the kids love it too. I have recently disovered that you can download certain programs from Netflix which I will definitely be doing ahead of our trip.

2) Instagram - I am a little bit addicted, I can't resist flicking through beautiful images and having a look into people's lives

3) Words with Friends - I never find the time to sit and play Scrabble anymore so I love this online version that I can pick up and put down whenever I find a minute.





I think this Fire tablet is going to be a great help with keeping the boys entertained on our summer travels.



This post is in collaboration with Amazon Appstore




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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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