Sunday, 10 February 2019

Parenting a Girl after Three Boys

 I am not quite sure what I expected parenting a girl to be like, but at the beginning it is the same, you have a baby and babies are all a little bit similar.  It is when they start getting older that things change.  I think in many ways I am still parenting a toddler rather than a girl or boy, but there are little things that are different between Cora and her brothers already.


Whilst they have always been straightforward, she can be much more complex.  If you asked the boys at two or three why their sibling was crying, they would answer 'because I hit them' if that was the answer.  They owned up to everything and said what they felt.  Cora learned to lie so early, to blame things on others when it was quite clearly her fault and she started pushing the boundaries at a much younger age.  She learned how to get what she wants, how to play a game to get it a more subtle way if the original answer is no and how to wrap us round her little finger.  The boys were never as subtle and at seven, five and three they still aren't.


I do wonder whether this is her being the youngest, or growing up faster with having three older siblings, but at the moment it is what seperates her from the boys the most.  In almost every other way I find parenting boy and girl toddlers the same.  Both need to play free, to run and climb and explore. Both need to crawl in the mud and jump in every puddle, both need to test the limits, both love to pick their nose, both need love and cuddles.


Of course I get to buy her dresses and style her hair (well I would if she ever let me). She is the most opinionated about what she wears though and loves choosing her shoes. She has a longer concentration span for things like colouring and craft than any of the boys did at this age and she really likes pink and her babies.


I know the big challenges are still to come with the teenage years but right now I would say she is more complex in some ways than the boys were at the same age, but ultimately she is still a toddler and the same challenges still exist no matter what.  I want to raise her to be fearless, to know she can do and be whatever she wants. I want her to be kind and loving and to help those that need it but these are all the things I want for my boys too. 



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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

One on One

One of the biggest challenges with four children is spending quality time with each of them.  Whilst they are all really close in age and often the same activities and days out are appealing to all of them, I know they all need time alone too and I have been trying hard to give them that over the last few months.  They have always had little snatches of time; swimming lessons, trips to Tescos, days when her brothers are at school but they haven't had time when it is really focused on what they need and want so much.

This week I had a day out in London with just Finn and I think we both needed it more than we knew.  I find Finn challenging at times, probably because I am trying to meet his needs alongside three other children's so only having him meant everything was tailored to that and I could just get on with enjoying him.  Finn loves trains so I based our plans around that and we got the train into London and the underground to Covent Gardens for a visit to the London Transport Museum.


I had heard wonderful things about the Transport museum and it was everything I hoped for and more.  We spent about 4 hours in there in total (with a break for lunch, he requested chicken nuggets, chips and beans because he is so adventurous) and I know that with the other three as well we wouldn't have managed even half of that.  We went up and down and back to the beginning and I could follow Finn and enjoy watching the way his mind works without having to worry about anyone else.

We came home feeling more connected and it has continued ever since.

Dylan had a sleepover at the Natural History Museum, Archie had a day in London with an evening at the Avengers Exhibit and Cora had a slightly more exciting break in Budapest with me and we are back to the beginning now, looking for new opportunities to enjoy each one alone,.

It isn't something I can do with them every week and I haven't chosen the cheapest days out to have with them so far but it has been so special and having these days with them doing things that interest them completely has been priceless. I hope these are the things they remember when they are older - the special days where they got to dictate the pace, pick where we had lunch and always ended up with a treat.  I have started making plans for the next 'set' of one on one dates with them and I will be encouraging Ed to do similar as it is definitely beneficial for us all.

How do you get one on one time with your children? Are there any particular activities you like todo together?


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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Our Family in January

We are going to be carrying on with the me and mine project this year as it is one of my favourite things to look back on. I love seeing how we have all changed and grown and looking at what we got up to each month.  We have taken a similar photo every January for a few years now as I love the snowy background and our ski holiday is the absolute highlight of the month!

This month has been about back to school after the Christmas break, making plans for the rest of the year and of course a week in the French Alps (check out our video here).  There has been a lot of birthday party planning (Archie) which is ironic considering he hasn't made a 'final decision' as to what he actually wants to do for his birthday.


This month I have loved skiing with Dylan and Archie,  cold mornings at the beach with Cora, browsing holiday websites in the hope that my bank account suddenly fills up with money and my new purple glittery DM boots.

Ed has loved getting back on his skis, playing Minecraft with the boys, his new electric blanket and watching Les Miserables.

Dylan has loved topic day at school where they dressed up as Stone Age people and did activities, Crepe and games night during our ski trip, building his Minecraft Lego sets and going to the wildlife park.

Archie has loved playing Minecraft, dreaming about Minecraft, talking about Minecraft and drawing Minecraft pictures.

Finn has loved having all his fingers back now the bandages are off, showing everyone at nursery his skiing book (A scrapbook I made them with pictures and things from the holiday), a day out on the trains with Mummy and telling me how much he is growing.

Cora has loved cheesy pasta, or at least asking for it at every mealtime every day, having some time with just me after the holidays and the ski trip with everyone around, watching Shimmer and Shine and jumping in puddles.


It has felt like the longest month but we know how quick February usually is and there are two birthdays to plan next month!
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Monday, 28 January 2019

The Little Two // Mountain Warehouse Coat Review

These two are a funny pair.  They bounce off each other, they wind each other up and they love each other fiercely.   Sometimes I think they should have been twins and in many ways, Cora is catching him up.  You can tell there is a small age gap, but when they stand next to each other it looks much bigger than the 16 months and 2 days that separate them as Finn is shooting up and even with a recent growth spurt, Cora is petite for her age.


In September Finn will be off to school and I think Cora will find it very strange, although she will be heading to nursery two days a week at the same time.  I have a few months left of having time with just the two of them though and I am enjoying our mini adventures.  These photos are from a trip to a local wildlife park and the other boys were actually with us although they managed to avoid even being in the background of any pictures!

Cora and Finn were sent new coats from Mountain Warehouse recently and I am so impressed.  I hadn't shopped there much before but I ended up buying Dylan a ski jacket from there before our recent holiday and it was fantastic and he was the only one to complain he was too warm out there!  The coats Finn and Cora are wearing are snuggly warm winter coats with a fleecy lining in the hood and down the back.  Finn's is the most amazing yellow and Cora's is a lovely rich purple. 


I love how they look together, although Finn refuses to wear it without having the hood up as he likes the fur.  Finn is a very nearly 4 year old (104cm tall) wearing age 5-6 and it is a great fit on him although the arms are a little long (he was choosing to pull the sleeves over his hands in these pictures, he could wear it comfortably with his arms out).  Cora is a petite 2.5 year old (87cm tall) wearing 2-3 and she has growing space, especially in the arms. Hers is a great length for keeping her bottom and thighs warm!


As always, I have more photos than words when it comes to reviews but really, we are so impressed with the quality and warmth of these and the children both love them.  They are water resistant, well insulated and they have pockets.  It is a shame that they skip some sizes (You can buy 2-3, 3-4, 5-6,7-8, 9-10, 11-12 or 13-14) but sizing up for Finn has worked fine and Dylan's ski jacket is actually age 11-12 (he is a very tall 7 year old) as they didn't have the right size and again it fits great with plenty of growing space too. 











We were sent the coats for the purpose of this post but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Saturday, 26 January 2019

A Day in the Life on a Family Ski Holiday

When I asked a few friends what they would most like to know about going on a family ski holiday, the most common answer was what the average day looked like.  How did we balance skiing and being with the children, how did we make the holiday fun for all of us? So on the Friday of our trip, I decided to record snippets of video from our day to show you what an average day on a Snowbizz ski holiday looks like.

It isn't perfect, but hopefully it gives you an insight into our trip! I have also recorded below how the day went if you are curious!

Sometimes between 7 and 8am the children wake up, too tired to really be awake and too awake to go back to sleep.  The creche lends out DVDs and we have borrowed a few so they can have some quiet time on the sofa before the day really starts.

8.30 I pop to the bakery to grab some fresh croissants and pain au chocolats and we get everyone dressed into their layers.

9.00 Finn, Cora and I head over to the creche.  They run all the way and go in asking for puzzles / dress up / train tracks or whatever they fancy that day

snowbizz, family ski holiday, family travel blog

9.30 I take the big boys downstairs to the Snowbizz lounge where they get their ski boots and helmets off and go outside to play in the snow

9.45 Ed and I are free until 1pm to do as we like.  We usually ski for most of this but sometimes we have a lazy hour first or go and watch Finn's lesson which is 10-11am.  The big boys ski from 11 -1 and we sometimes bump into them on the slopes

snowbizz, family ski holiday, family travel blog

1.00 We collect the children from their various clubs and on this Friday we took them up on the 4 man lift to the lovely restaurant at the top which you can't access any other way.  The snow up there is deeper and less trodden so we go away from the runs after lunch to play in it.

3.00 Four of us got the lift back down but Ed and Archie stayed out for a bit more skiing.  At the bottom the children asked to have a little time in the creche rather than sledging as they wanted to do some art, so I dropped them in and had an hour or so for myself to just chill out.

snowbizz, family ski holiday, family travel blog

5.00 Friday was awards night so we gathered to receive certificates and see everyone together.  Dylan, Archie and Finn got their skiing awards and Finn and Cora won creche awards for being two peas in a pod.

5.30 Everyone is exhausted so I pop to the shop for fresh bread and cheese and we have an easy dinner and a little bit of a film as quiet time.

7.00 It was Disco night for kids club (available for children 4 years upwards) and they are letting Finn go as he is so close to four, so I drop all 3 boys downstairs (It is in the same building as our apartment so nice and easy).  Cora has a bath and goes to bed.

9.00 It is time to collect the boys, have a story and get them in bed as they are all shattered! I would love to say that we enjoy some apres-ski but the truth is we are as exhausted as them and are not up for much longer ourselves!

snowbizz, family ski holiday, family travel blog

Saturday - repeat!


Our days out there are busy, full of fresh mountain air, time in the snow and a mix of time together as well as time apart.  We each get so much from our trip and the children are loving watching our little video and remembering everything!





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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

5 Ways to Play Outdoors in Winter

As the days get colder and the daylight hours shorter, it becomes more and more tempting to stay indoors but this is the time when my children need to be outdoors more than ever.  The crisp fresh air helps wear them out and the change in season gives them something new to explore and discover.  I strongly believe that there is no such thing as the wrong weather, there is just the wrong clothing so the best place to start is with your winter gear.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play, themummyadventure.com

Either waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket or an all in one is vital, along with good quality boots, a hat, scarf and gloves.  We also have ski trousers and jackets for when it gets really cold.  Merino wool makes a great base layer and you can get great value products from places like Mountain Warerhouse.  Fleece is an ideal mid-layer and combining it all means no matter how cold or wet it may be, no adventure is off limits.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play, themummyadventure.com

Here are some of our favourite ways to play outdoors over the Autumn and Winter

Outdoor Playgroups / Forest Schools


In some Scandinavian countries, children attend outdoor schools all year round and they build resilience as well as developing knowledge of the world.  Most areas have local outdoor playgroups or forest schools for preschoolers and we love visiting one nearby to us where the little ones can explore in a safe environment.  With mud kitchens, wooden climbing frames, mud pits for digging and all sorts it brings the games and toys most children are familiar with into a different environment.


Searching for Gruffalos in the Woods


It doesn't have to be a Gruffalo, you could play stick men, or go on a bear hunt instead. Bringing story books to life is becoming more popular with story sacks but it is even more exciting outdoors and the cold weather often helps with the stories.  Wet grass is swooshy, wet mud is squishy and everywhere is quieter in the Autumn and Winter too.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play, themummyadventure.com

Scooting through Puddles


Stomping through muddles is a well known rainy day activity but have you ever tried scooting through them? Make sure everyone is in waterproof trousers and find the best puddles. There is a great one in our local park that fills up as soon as it starts raining and the children love racing through it watching the water spray out to the sides. 


Collecting Craft Materials


Skip the glitter (I think most parents are more than happy to do that) and use nature as your craft materials.  Take out a bucket or basket and collect fallen leaves, twigs, pine cones and anything else that doesn't impact the environment by removing it and use if for painting, crafting and making Christmas tree decorations or spring garlands.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play, themummyadventure.com

Don't Rule out the Summer Favourites


The beach is certainly not just for summer.  We love building stone towers, throwing rocks into the sea and walking along the built up sand barriers.  We love how quiet it is as the children can explore further from me alone and it still feels safe.


Scavenger Hunt


In the spring we love to do a colour based scavenger hunt and this works just as well in the winter.  Write lists for older kids and draw pictures for younger ones and send them out with baskets to collect their treasures.  Not only does it get them moving outdoors but it is a great way to explore the changing environment and the new colours each season brings to the natural world

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play, themummyadventure.com

I would love to hear your tips for getting kids outdoors in winter

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play, themummyadventure.com
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Monday, 21 January 2019

Our Week Away Skiing with Snowbizz

For someone who doesn't like to go back to the same place because I am always wondering whether I will like the next place more, it says a lot that this was our fifth year going on a ski holiday with Snowbizz.  It makes it harder to write a blog post about it as I find I have said so much already (You can see some other posts on Snowbizz here) but this blog was started to record our adventures as a virtual baby book for my children to look back on and we definitely had a week to remember.

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

We travel with Snowbizz as they make everything so easy and their childcare and ski school facilities are incredible.  The creche is staffed by qualified English nannies and is open from 9-5 every day and the youngest skiers (they teach them from 3) have an instructor and a nanny in their lessons.  It was Finn's first year skiing and there were only two 'Totons' so he had pretty much 1:1 attention in his lesson! The big boys went to ski school every morning which was from 9:30 - 1pm and they ski for two hours of that and play for the rest.

In the morning we dropped all 4 children in childcare and Ed and I had some time together to eat freshly baked croissants in peace, to ski  our favourite slopes and to practice our skills.  In the afternoons we either took the children to the sledging slopes which are located conveniently next to the playground, took them out skiing or sometimes let them have some time in the creche (which they were desperate for) so we could have some calm time without them!

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

This year Dylan and Archie progressed so much that we could take them all over the mountain and ski with them (although we struggled to keep up with Archie) and Finn found his feet on the snow and did so well in his lessons! Cora loved spending time in the creche and chatted to everyone and anyone and we had a relaxing and snow filled week.  

Dylan's highlights include the evening kids clubs which are different every day (his favourite was the crepe and games night) and we loved that Finn was old enough for a couple so we could drop all three boys and go out for delicious French food (mmm, cheese) with just Cora. The disco was Finn's favourite and Archie loved treasure hunt night!

Finn's favourite part was when we all went up on the chairlift (there are certain times you can walk on and go up and down) to eat at the restaurant in the top and play in the snow that was really deep.  Cora loved 'shledging on my bum' and was so happy to have all her brothers around her.  

Archie loved going fast and really enjoyed having afternoons on the slopes with Ed and I where he could go as fast as he liked and hurtle down the mountains! The boy has not got nearly enough fear (I think I have his share though!).

We stayed in the three bedroom apartment which was a good size for us and had everything we needed including a balcony where we could watch the Totons learning to ski from! Everything was familiar and everyone was so warm and we are definitely planning to go back again! It is such a lovely resort for children to learn to ski at and the customer service both in the UK and in France is outstanding.

The pictures will probably tell you more about our week though, the big smiles, the white snow and the time together.  We love the balance we get from a family ski holiday as we get time together as well as time to do our own thing.

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
Cora's snowsuit was gifted to us last year from Reima but as she is quite petite it didn't fit until this year! 

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
We took the children up on the chair lift where the snow was really deep and I sank down into it!

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
There is a little park on the side of the slopes which the kids love!

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
I was gifted the most amazing jacket from Helly Hansen which was perfect for skiing!

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
These kids will find a muddy puddle anywhere!

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
I went for a walk along one of the hiking paths and found this beautiful frozen stream

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com
It snowed one day (which is when these photos were taken) and it was so much fun to play and ski in!


Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, themummyadventure.com


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