Tuesday, 27 October 2020

The Week Junior

Advertorial



At 9 Dylan is starting to understand more about the world around him and he is so curious. We started getting The Week Junior magazine at the beginning of lockdown and it was a great way to communicate with him about what was going on in the world without worrying that we were giving him too much information, not enough or sharing something not age appropriate. 2020 has been a big year and it has definitely helped him navigate it. It has encouraged conversations on pandemics, racism, politics and the education system and one of our favourite pages to read together is the debate (This week’s is whether Drive-ins are the best way to enjoy events). 



Without the school runs to get up for, I am doing everything I can to keep mornings slow paced and relaxing and I love that Dylan can chill in bed with his magazine and a cup of tea whilst I sit with mine and a coffee. I hope this is a routine we can continue as he gets older.



I love the easy to read format of The Week Junior and the balance of the way it covers the big and most pressing stories alongside tales of positivity and inspirational stories from around the world. The Week Junior covers politics, economics, science and nature alongside technology (articles on Minecraft are always well read here), education and everything else. Each edition has a ‘how-to’ guide for various things (this week’s is how to make a delicious ‘red red’ dish, a west-African stew), some of which we have loved trying out and baking over the summer. With half term upon us, we have been going back through past issues to look for ideas to keep us busy, and The Week Junior have launched an activity hub on the website which you can access for free which is full of ideas. There are recipes we want to make and activities we can do from home or nearby. A week can be a long time to fill with local restrictions and this is going to be a great way to stave off any boredom!



You can get your first 6 issues of The Week Junior for free if you sign up now! Dylan and I would highly recommend it for any children aged 8-14 with an interest in the world around them.














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Saturday, 24 October 2020

Ski Jackets for the Slopes with Protest

Advertorial

The first year we went skiing my jacket was a bright blue and I worried that I would stand out on the slopes, but the more time I spent out in the mountains, the more I realised there was nothing too bright or bold, nothing you can't wear in the snow and I loved admiring the beautiful jackets and fun salopettes that the locals were wearing.  Nowadays I like to choose ski wear that I can also use in the UK and Protest have some beautiful jackets that will not only look great on the slopes, but also on the school runs.  

I chose a pink corduroy jacket this year with a fluffy lined hood and I am totally in love with it.  It looks fun for everyday wear and I know I will be warm and waterproof.  We haven't given up hope of getting out in the snow this winter too and it will be perfect for skiing. 


The selection of ski jackets for women is colourful and adventurous and I was really tempted by the beautiful shades of purple.  There are some lovely women's snowboarding fleeces too which would be ideal for the British winter as well as heading to the Alps. Protest mix functionality for the mountains with fabrics we are loving this season and beautiful designs.  As well as corderoy they also have a fabulous, functional velvet which is water resistant and warm. Within the women's range there is also a new sustainable PVRE green line.


The ski jackets for men are more sustainbly made than ever this year with a real focus on functional fabrics in the most earth-friendly way and I love the camo print in the selection of snowboard fleeces for men.  You can get 10% off your order until the end of February 2021 with the code mummyadventure10. Protest also have a fun streetwear range and plenty of accessories!






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Friday, 16 October 2020

One Term In

It felt at times like they would never return to school.  The six months we had was wonderful and exhausting, full of joy and fear and we all learned so much (definitely more about life than the national curriculum).  We adapted, slowly at first to this 'new normal' that was thrust upon us.  I got my babies back after losing part of them to school, I got time to invest in myself, which is strange to admit when I was also parenting full time, mostly alone with little respite. I went from a state of worry to one of acceptance and we found our way through those long days together.

And then September came and everything changed.  It was wonderful and exhausting all over again, full of joy and fear and we all had to adapt to a new routine, new expectations, things being a little bit like they were 'before' but not quite the same.  We all took to it differently.  Two children happy to be back to school, something they had been counting down to for weeks, one excited to start Reception at big school and one who really isn't convinced school is for him.  I was nervous about the new starter and overwhelmed by the multiple school runs and the different rules between the schools (One are allowed to bring books home, one aren't.  One school allows school bags, one doesn't. . . ) and then everything fell into place. I remembered which children had packed lunch on which days (all three boys have different lunch/school dinner requests), I remembered which children had to wear pe kits in on which days and then Cora started doing full days at school rather than 2 hour sessions and all of a sudden we were there.

For 9 years I have had a child at home and this moment felt like it would never arrive, but it did and all four children were happy in full time school.  I thought I would be more emotional than I was but I think after those long six months, I was ready for a break, some time for me, time to get through the to do list that I had been putting off for six months.  


Today the bigger two break up for a two week half term and next Thursday the smaller two will join them and it can't come soon enough.  Those first weeks were hard, I had to meet them at school with a sugary snack and hope they didn't crash before they got home.  Their brains were working hard, they were having to be social with people they didn't live with and it all combined to completely exhaust them.  After a while they seemed better able to function (just in time for swimming lessons to recommence) and we had a short period of everything feeling settled but now they are getting harder to wake in the morning, I can see how much they need a break and I am excited to spend some quality time with them again rather than just trying to get through the afternoons after school without too much drama.  We are going to relax, take the mornings slowly and as everyone starts to regain energy, we will get out more and have our own covid-compliant adventures. 

This first term has shown me how resilient my children are, how well they can adapt, how much they can learn when they have a teacher who isn't also trying to be a parent, dinner lady, cook and cleaner and how much we all needed a little time apart to make our time together feel more special.  I have learned how short those 6 hours really are when you are trying to get things done, and also that having time for myself during the day doesn't magically make me a more patient parent when they get home.  I have learned that the worst thing I can do as a parent is not meet them at the school gate with a snack and that it doesn't matter how big a packed lunch I send them in with, they will be starving every moment from when school ends until their eyes finally close for the night.  I feel sad that their first terms back were not everything they were looking forward to, something Archie has found particularly difficult with starting a new school.  He looked round on the open day, saw so much he wanted to do but with Covid measures, the only part of the school he has seen this term is his classroom.  I am sad that Finn can't show Cora round after being so excited that his little sister is starting his school as they are in different bubbles and so can't mix.  

The countdown is on now until I pick up Dylan and Archie and the half term holidays start for them.  It has been a really long and also super quick first term and it has been good for all of us.  Now just 4 more days until I can turn off the morning alarm!



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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Staying outdoors with Reima

Features clothing sent to us a PR Products

At the moment our area is considered 'medium risk' but I have seen how quickly things can change and so I feel more comfortable preparing for a stricter lockdown and closures over the next season. For me the prospect of a winter spent inside is a scary thing so we have been making sure we have everything we need to get outdoors whatever the weather.  I am going to be working with one of my favourite outdoor brands, Reima this winter and they sent the children waterproof trousers and jackets each. Of course Finn and Cora see the term waterproof as a challenge so we took them to our favourite puddle (surely everyone has a favourite puddle?).  My plan is that we continue to get out come rain or shine and make the most of the nature around us.  

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

We are lucky to be surrounded by beaches and parks and have woodland a short drive away.  We will be getting out as much as possible and so it is important to have the right gear.  We will get some thermals for the coldest days and waterproof boots and warm outer layers so there are fewer barriers to our outdoor adventures.  These Reima jackets are not only perfectly designed for having fun outside all winter, but they are also sustainably made of mono material which means they are easy to recycle when they finally give up too! We have had Reima products for years and they are all still going strong so I don't think we will be testing that for a while.  (Some are on the third child and still look almost new)

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

My plans for the winter don't involve soft play passes and cinema tickets but instead thermos flasks and hand warmers.  I am hoping that our options stay open, but if not we are making sure we are prepared for a winter using our energy elsewhere.  My children bounce off the walls if we stay in all weekend but they can't if we take away the walls!  Time outdoors is good for their physical and mental health  The children are wearing Kulkija jackets and Sild trousers and despite the mud Finn covered his in, it looked perfectly clean again before we got home!  The trousers are waterproof and warm however if you sit in a puddle (as Finn did of course) the water could go in over the waistband.  As you can see from the pictures, my children don't hold back when it comes to mud and puddles so I think these are going to be vital this winter!

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

Reima kulkija jacket, Reima outdoor wear,

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Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Finn and Cora at 4 and 5

As babies, Finn and Cora were so close.  Their bond was special from the beginning and once she learned to walk, they were more like twins, her desperate to be as big and capable as Finn, he lazy enough to let her keep up.  They potty trained together, they came out of a cot and into a bed at the same time, they started hitting milestones at the same time and they looked after each other, communicating in their own way.  Of course they squabbled too, but their bond was special and sweet.  

Finn started school last year and immediately things changed.  Not only were they suddenly apart for the majority of the time, he was learning and growing without her, making new friends and carving out a new side of his personality, one that was different and separate to us.  Suddenly we didn't know everything in his life anymore and the age gap between them stretched back out again, him growing so fast, her left behind.

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

This year Cora started school, one year behind Finn and desperate to be there with her big brother.  He was so excited to show her his school, to teach her how lunchtime works, to help her find her way in the playgrounds and I wondered whether it would change their ever evolving relationship again but of course Covid had other ideas and they are not allowed to mix at all at school as they are in separate bubbles.  

I have no doubt that Cora will start catching up with Finn and as they get older the age gap will seem smaller again.  I hope their friendship and bond stays though.  It is constantly changing as they grow and I find Finn can fight with her, but the moment someone else gets involved he is so protective of his sister.  He is so much taller than her, that the 16 months can look much bigger from the outside.  They are busy at the moment, developing their individual selves at school, making their own friends and their own decisions after sharing the same friendship group for so long and I hope that having the continuity and consistency they get from each other at home gives them confidence in new situations.

I never intended to have these two so close together but I am so glad I did.  It felt like I had two babies for a while as Finn wasn't walking yet when she was born but now they have similar interests and needs and they have a best friend at home.


frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

frugi national trust, organic kids clothing

Finn and Cora are both wearing Frugi clothing here which was sent to us as press samples

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

All at School - A New Era

It has been 9 years and 2 months since Dylan was born and made me a mother and ever since, I have had a baby or toddler at home.  They all did 2 days at nursery from the term after they turned 3 but they were still at home more than in any other setting.  Last week Cora started full time school and it feels like the beginning of a new era, one where I have free time, one where I can work, clean, shop, read and even nap in peace.  It feels like even more of a big thing after six months of having the children at home and I thought I would be more emotional about it all than I am.  The reality is, that I was just so tired that it was a welcome change and I spent the first week doing very little!

Cora seems so small starting school, she is shorter than her peers and a summer born baby but in other ways she is so ready and she has run in happily after a cuddle and a kiss since the first day.  She has friends there and she is ready to learn.  She wants to be able to read and write like her brothers and I think she is going to thrive. 


I have plans for this time, a mixture of working during the days rather than trying to fit everything in during the evenings and spending some time looking after me, going for walks and reading.  I am so ready for this new chapter though.  The start of having them all at school means the school holidays being more special than ever, it means watching their personalities develop even more, watching them learn independently and hopefully having more energy to enjoy them after a little time out during the day.

Every step forward that we take at the moment makes me more sure in our decision that four children is the right number for us.  I am looking forward to the future and watching these four grow up, the things we can do, the places we can go.  There is nothing very profound in this blog post, just an acknowledgement that this is a new chapter and whilst it is bittersweet letting go a little bit, watching them leaving the baby and toddler years behind, it is wonderful watching them becoming themselves.


Now to count down to October half term when I get some special time with these babies of mine!
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Monday, 28 September 2020

Days Out in Devon - Canonteign Falls

When we were looking for days out near our yurt in Cullompton, we came across Canonteign falls, a National Trust site that we thought the kids would enjoy. It was our intention to go there for the morning before heading somewhere else after lunch but we ended up spending the entire day there as the kids were so content and happy exploring that it seemed a shame to drag them away!

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign Falls is England's tallest waterfall and none of the children had seen one before so they were pretty excited, as was Ed who had also not seen one! We checked out the website and were reassured that all dogs had to be on leads (something that is important for us with a child afraid of them).  It was easy to find and parking was simple and at the entrance we were given maps and told about the Covid measures including masks when ordering food and a one way system.  

We found the playground first which had a couple of large trampolines in as well as the usual equipment so we had a play first.  Everything was well maintained and as we were visiting on a day where the weather wasn't the best, it wasn't very busy.  We had bought food for the ducks on the way in so next up was feeding the ducks in the huge pond at the centre of the site.

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

When it came to the waterfall, the first step was the bottom of it and we noticed regular visitors had brought wellie boots with them as you could play in the water.  My children decided to step in the water anyway with their shoes on so I would strongly advise bringing spares or coming better prepared! They could have spent much longer scaling the rocks and splashing in the shallow water but we managed to pull them away to begin the climb.

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

The path up to the top of the falls was well signposted and easy to follow.  There was a mixture of trail, steps, muddy walkways and boards and it wouldn't be accessible with a wheelchair or buggy. We took our time climbing up, stopping to spot all the fairies hanging in the trees, to explore the dinosaur made out of sticks, to sit on benches and eat snacks and to learn about the plants that grew around us.  There was so much to see and discover.  At the top there is a viewing platform where you can look down over the top of the fall and see for miles.  There were covid rules that meant only 2 groups could be up there at once and everyone followed the social distancing guidelines.  The views were spectacular and the children were amazed at how high we had climbed and how far they could see.  

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

The walk down didn't take nearly so long and at the bottom we discovered a wooden obstacle course with a zip line which entertained the kids for a long time too.  Again, there was not many other children and so it was easy to keep away.  We found more constructed animals and there was also a bee garden which we decided not to explore.

We had such a fantastic day out at Canonteign Falls and it is somewhere we would highly recommend and also hope to revisit in the future. Next time we will wear old clothes and welly boots though!

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon

Canonteign falls, Days out in devon
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