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, 7 March 2017

Travelling with the Pacapod

We recently went skiing and during our hunt for the perfect travelling baby bag, we discovered Pacapod.  I needed a bag big enough to cope with two under two and our hand luggage as well as being comfortable to carry with a baby in a sling.  The Hastings bag fitted every criteria, being spacious, easy to access and able to be worn as a shoulder bag or back pack as well as attached to a buggy.

Pacapod hastings changing bag, backpack changing bag

Pacapod kindly sent us one to take away with us and we have been using it a lot over the last couple of months.  Pacapod's most unique feature is the pods that each of their bags contains.  Inside the main zipped pocket, there are two waterproof zipped pods, labelled 'change pod' and 'feeder pod'.  Each one has a handle so it can be attached to a pram or carried easily if you don't want to take out your whole changing bags and they are easy to grab on the go.

pacapod, hastings rucsack, changing bag backpack

As Cora is breastfed and we tend to have a seperate snack bag for all the children together, we have ended up with a pod for each child.  When  we went away, we managed to fit in 5 disposable nappies, a pack of wipes, a few nappy sacks and a spare change of clothes in each pod, meaning I could grab Cora's pod when I needed to change her.  We have kept up this system as it means if I pop out with just Cora, I can leave Finn's pod at home for whoever has him.

The bag come with three easy ways to carry it, there is a long strap to make it a shoulder bag, which can feed through without any playing around to make it into a backpack.  There are also two pieces that mean it can hang off of any buggy making it really flexible.  This is my go-to back for babywearing as I find it easy to use with a sling on my front.

pacapod hastings rucksack

I love the style of this bag - it was perfect for our ski trip but the nautical colours will be ideal for summer holidays too, and of course it is a great changing bag to have for everyday use with all the inner pockets, easy access and a zip and clip fastening.

pacapod, changin bag backpack

The Hastings bag comes in two colours and is available on the Pacapod website for £72.

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5 Things to Consider when Moving Area.

I am sure most of us have thought about moving area for some reason or other .  Some want to be closer to a city, or more rural, others dream of the beach or the lakes, we have been looking at how much cheaper house prices are in the North of the country and wondering whether it it is worth it.  Here are 5 things to consider before you decide to set down roots somewhere new.

1) House prices.  When you look at what you can afford for your budget there is such a huge variation.  The same amount may get you a one bedroom flat in central London or a six bed detached house in County Durham.  If you have a job that is flexible then knowing what you can get for your money is a big factor.

2) Burglary Rates.  Burglaries make up roughly 7% of all crimes in the UK and are much more prevalent in some areas than others. This map shows how living in a big city can put you more at risk of having your possessions taken and you can find more figures on this Burglary map of England Wales if choosing somewhere with lower crime rates is a priority.

3) What will your support network be like?  If you are leaving friends and family then choosing somewhere where you already know someone may make the move easier.  Having to make a whole new set of friends can be challenging so finding somewhere with a little familiarity could help you decide on where to move.

4) What local ammenities does the area you have chosen have? If you don't drive is there good public transport? What are the local schools and neighbourhoods like? Is there a nice park for children to play in? Visiting the area in advance can help you get a better feel for how your family will fit in and how it will fit with your lifestyle.

5) What kind of jobs are available in the area?  Are you close enough to a big city if you have a corporate job?  If you work in a specialist job then it may be worth researching where the best companies are based to increase your chances of finding the ideal position.

What plays the biggest factor in your decisions of where to live?

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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Monday, 27 February 2017

Cora's Holiday Must-Haves

When asked to list 10 travel must haves, it seems that all six of us have different ideas - The biggest members of the family want wifi, cocktails and a good book, the middle two want kids clubs and swimming goggles and the smallest two are led with their stomachs - it is all about the ice cream.  Mark Warner are looking for ambassador families and we would love to share what an MW holiday is really like and see how they would cope with our crazy tribe.

So to make it a bit simpler, I have collated Cora's travel must have's into our own special mood board below, and a little video explaining more.

Here is what Cora can't travel without:

1) Muslins - This is one baby essential we never forget to pack - lightweight blanket, makeshift bib, dribble catcher or even a funny little hat with knots in the corners.

2) Pretty summer dresses - I imagine this will be the summer she starts toddling and after three boys I am a little bit excited about all the sweet little outfits she can wear

3) Wet suit - Because this baby was born to splash

4) A beach bag to carry all her essentials - I don't know how long the only little girl in the family will take up the least amount of space in the suitcase,  I doubt it will be long!

5) Suncream - Cora's hair is coming through so blonde so I imagine she will need a high factor sun protection.

6) A beaker - Everyone needs a poolside drink

7) Mummy - Because she is going through a VERY clingy phase at the moment

8) Sunhat - To protect her gorgeous little head.

9) The sun - Cora was just a tiny newborn last summer so she hasn't had much experience of the sun.  (This is definitely not something we will be bringing from home)

10) Don't forget the baby!!!

This is our entry to become a Mark Warner Ambassador
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Holiday Wardrobe Must-Haves

Inspired by Mark Warner's competition to be an ambassador, I have spent my evening putting together a mood board of Cora and Finn's must have holiday wardrobes.  I love all the bright styles, there is some subtle twinning in there and lots of our favourite brands are featuring.  I used Polyvore to pull it all together and the quality of the pictures isn't great but each individual picture underneath links to the item.

If we were to win the chance to represent Mark Warner one of the first things I would be doing is shopping for the perfect summer clothing for all four children, especially the youngest two who have less of a say in what they wear!

So here are my picks for Finn - he will be 2.5 this summer so it is our last chance for little rompers and dungarees!

Finn's dream holiday wardrobe

And here are my choices for Cora - little rompers and sweet summer dresses.  She will turn one at the end of June so I imagine she will start walking around then!

Cora's dream holiday wardrobe

I have had so much fun planning their holiday wardrobe must-haves! Have you started shopping for summer clothes yet?

This is an entry to be a Mark Warner Ambassador
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Bedtime with Johnsons // The Results

It has been just over a week since I started trying the Johnson’s 3 step bedtime routine and I have been really enjoying the bonding experience. Cora loves the bath and it is wonderful watching her splashing around and squealing in delight. All the techniques I learned in the baby massage classes that I did with Dylan have come flooding back and we have both been enjoying that quiet time to wind down together before bed.

With last week being half term for us, I have struggled some nights to stick to the routine. There were two nights where I just couldn’t fit it in, one because I was doing solo bedtime for all four children and the other was Archie’s birthday and we had family round until late so Cora was too tired for anything other than milk before bed. I think that going forward there will always be some nights like this due to the craziness of having a bigger family and the freedoms we like to have. What I did notice was that bedtime, when we did follow the routine, was so much easier. Cora was never that difficult to get to sleep before, but the night’s that we followed the routine she was into a deep sleep very quickly. She has been so sound asleep that I have almost been tempted to try her in her own crib - but I haven’t quite braved it yet.

We have been using the Johnson’s Bedtime App to keep track of how we are doing and I completed the sleep analysis tool at the beginning of the week and at the end of it. Whilst the improvement may look minor so far, any sleep deprived parent can tell you that any improvement is pretty major, and I’m sure we’ll get there!

I love the feature on the app that allows you to create your own lullabies and soothing sounds. I remember finding YouTube videos of people hoovering in an attempt to get the boys to stay asleep as babies but this app has a variety of sounds (including a hoover) that you can layer together to find a combination that works for you. I have been using the Lullabies with Finn as he enjoys falling asleep to music and ‘Lullaby and Goodnight’ is his favourite.

Whilst following the three step routine hasn’t been a miracle cure for my growing eye bags, it has made bedtime more relaxing and enjoyable and I know that Cora will eventually start sleeping for longer periods at night time. Cora loves her baths, is chilled out for her massage and falls into a deep sleep very quickly as she drinks her milk.  The app is a great companion and I know it will come in very useful when we are away from home and Finn still wants the comfort of a lullaby.

This is a sponsored blog post by the Johnson’s brand. I have received payment incentive and samples but all opinions are my own. Johnson’s clinically proven bedtime routine consists of bath, massage and quiet time, tested on babies 7 months+, 1 week+ use.
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