Saturday 30 November 2013

Cardboard Christmas Cutouts

December is so so close now and I can't wait to get our house looking all festive and break into the glitter.  I *may* have a festive soundtrack on as I type despite promising myself I would wait until the 1st of December.  This week, I have been doing a lovely little craft with the boys that involves a large cardboard box (and we co-incidentally got a lovely delivery in a huge box this week from My Layabout)

I opened out the box, laid the children down and (with a little help from someone to distract them) drew round them.  Their silhouette then became a festive character using some paint, some gloopy glue and some trusty tissue paper.  

A friend has made Santa and an Elf with her two boys but Dylan knew he wanted to be a snowman and Archie was the perfect shape for a gingerbread man.  Dylan loves seeing it, and the cardboard figures will be decorating our living room for the next month.

I am undecided on whether to cut out our figures, or weather to paint the background now so any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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Wednesday 27 November 2013

Bundle Me

With the weather dropping and the return of the eternally runny nose, my priority out and about is keeping the boys warm and we were sent a Bundle Me from JJ Cole to do just that.

This universal footmuff comes in three different colours and is perfect for babies from around 9 months until 3 years (there is a smaller version for younger babies that is great in infant car seats).  The inside is a super soft faux sheepskin and the outer is an equally soft thermaplush.  I absolutely love the feel of this footmuff and if they did one in adult sized I would be first in the queue!
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Tuesday 26 November 2013

Festive Fashion

The boys have plenty of Christmas parties lined up over the next month so we have been searching for the perfect Party outfits for them both.

It needs to be Smart,

It needs to be comfortable,

It  must be practical, well fitting and warm.


It should be a little trendy,

Protective whatever the weather,

And the boys need to look great separately and together.

Most of all it should be easy to wear, and they should love it as much as I do.

We were sent a £50 voucher for F & F at Tesco and managed to get all of this, with a little spare change

T-shirt and Dungaree set (9-12 months) - £12

White Thermal T-shirt (from pack of 2) (3-4 years) - £6
Checked hooded shirt (3-4 years)- £8
Jeans (3-4 years) - £9
Brown Boots (size 7) - £13

There are some wonderfully smart outfits on there, but I wanted something practical for us and I think these outfits are just the right balance of smart, comfortable and Toddler-worthy.  I managed to dress both the boys for the party season, and still have a couple of pounds change which I was really impressed with.

We have already put the clothes to the test at a birthday party last weekend and the boys looked great, had no problems getting stuck in and had lots of fun.

What do you think? 

Disclaimer:  We were sent a £50 voucher for F&F kids parywear and this post is entry into a competition to win a further voucher (us mums need partywear too don't you know!  All thoughts, photos and opinons are my own

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Monday 25 November 2013

9 Month In

I find it crazy to think that Archie has been alive for longer than he was in my womb.  Nine months is such a milestone in so many ways, and my baby is getting bigger, stronger and smarter by the day.

9 month old baby boy, 9 months old, baby diary, 9 month old update

This last month has seen some changes, and we are having to relocate everything with buttons as my little man is now pulling himself up to standing.  He can happily commando crawl across the room and stand himself up against the sofa (although the crawling is still rather a slow process), and he has been practising this new skill non stop, especially in the bath!  He loves his new perspective and having always been strong on his legs, he is in his element being able to put them to good use.  Sitting down is no longer considered fun, and he is desperate to stand all day.  He hasn't quite mastered moving his feet once he is up, and he tends to fall down after a few minutes rather than squatting to sit, but I don't think it will be long before nothing is safe.

Despite this new found independence, Archie still looks like the baby I think of him as, as his first teeth are yet to appear.  We have a very snotty nose and a few sleepless nights, but no rosy cheeks or dribble so I have no idea when they will make an appearance! He is having absolutely no issues devouring anything and everything we offer him though, so having no teeth makes no difference to baby led weaning!  Weaning is going really well and Archie happily eats whatever we are having, (and an awful lot of it too!)  I am pretty sure he can out-eat Dylan on a good day, and that is quite a feat!

Breastfeeding is still going really well, although we did have a slight set back earlier in the month when my little monkey refused to feed for 2 days.  He fussed and cried and point blank refused to latch on for nearly 48 hours causing lots of stress, but eventually went back to it as though nothing had happened!  This did confirm to me that I am not ready to give up breastfeeding, despite stopping with Dylan shortly after he turned 8 months.  I have no expectations of how long I will continue for, but all the while we are both enjoying it, I see no possible reason to give up.

Sleep is still as erratic as ever, and we can go two nights of 10 hours solid sleep, before a small feed and him going back down, to the next night waking every 2 hours.  I am starting to struggle from so many months of broken sleep and I think we are going to get a bit tougher this month when he wakes so early.  I find it very difficult to know if he is waking from pain or from habit though, so I usually offer milk every time still.  I am not ready to do any kind of controlled crying yet, but we may offer water and teething gel and see if he will go for it rather than going for the easy option and settling him with milk every time.

Archie and Dylan's relationship is definitely changing as Archie grows, and I see further changes soon as Archie becomes more and more mobile and starts chewing all of Dylan's favourite toys.  They laugh together more than ever and Dylan is desperate for Archie to play and interact with him.  He talks to Archie, sings to him and can get incredibly protective of him when other children are around.  Things aren't always smooth though and Dylan can be quite rough sometimes with him.  Mostly though, they are just brothers, they love each other, they are learning to play together and of course they will have their squabbles.

Archie is curious, serious, ticklish, talkative, playful, loving and constantly hungry.  He is still quite clingy and happiest when Mummy is within sight, and preferably reach too.  He is growing tall, and his 9-12 month clothes are a comfortable fit with little growing space left.  His hair is getting longer and has stayed the palest blonde and his eyes are as blue and beautiful as ever.  He loves kisses and dives at you headfirst and open mouthed often.

It is crazy to think that Dylan was only this age when we decided to have another baby and conceived Archie.  Dylan felt like practically a teenager at the time, but Archie is still so small, still a baby.  There certainly won't be another one in nine months time though, I can assure you that much.

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Saturday 23 November 2013

Baby's First Christmas Gift Guide

A first Christmas is a magical time, a time of wonder, of lights, of gifts and of love.  The baby may not have a clue what is going on, but everyone around them enjoys it that little bit more with a tiny one around.  Archie will be 10 months on his first Christmas, old enough to join in with Christmas dinner, have a go at ripping some paper and playing with the boxes, but not old enough to care what exactly is in the boxes.

That doesn't mean to say that he won't get utterly spoilt by family, friends and of course the big guy in red.  Whilst we are putting a limit on how much we spend on him this year, I am still looking forward to buying him a few treats.

So, I have put together this gift guide for baby's first Christmas, with toys, clothes, keepsakes and cuddles.

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Thursday 21 November 2013

Merci Maman Review and Giveaway

I am incredibly soppy at heart, (just incase you haven't noticed on the blog!) and so this beautiful necklace from Merci Maman was something I couldn't resist trying.  A sterling silver chain with two intertwined rings, both engraved with the words of your choice.

I had the bigger ring engraved with Dylan and his date of birth, and the smaller ring with Archie and his. My life changed beyond recognition on these two dates, and I love this personal and elegant way of recognising that.

Unfortunately I can't wear the necklace as much as I would like as Archie has quite a thing for it as well, but I know this is something to keep, a beautiful and unique piece of jewellery.  The necklace is incredibly delicate and light, and comes beautifully presented in their trademark orange box.  I love how subtle it is, yet how individual at the same time.

This necklace costs £79 and comes as either sterling silver or gold plated and I have one to give away just before Christmas! Ladies, bookmark this page for your partners ;)  Entry is via rafflecopter below,

Good Luck! 

Disclaimer:  I was sent this necklace free of charge for the purpose of this review 
but all thoughts, photos and opinions are completely my own.

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Wednesday 20 November 2013

December 1st Advent Box

This year for us is about starting our own traditions.  Dylan will understand so much more than last year, and I can't wait to show him how magical and fun the festive time can be.  From putting up the tree and covering the house in festive red and gold to watching those classics like Miracle on 34th street and Elf.  This year we will be visiting Santa, seeing the reindeer at the zoo and making gifts for family and friends.  It will be Archie's first Christmas too and I want to make it perfect for him.

For me, December 1st marks the beginning of Christmas, and from that day on, anything is acceptable. Christmas music, films and socks, decorations and glitter.  This year on December 1st, there will be an advent Christmas Box waiting for us when we wake up.  A box to symbolise that our festive fun is just beginning.

The contents will be what we need to put us in the mood for everything December has in stock.  We will each have a pair (or three) of festive socks and the littlest member of the house has a lovely penguin bib that I bought from Funky Giraffe when I was pregnant.

I have included a picture bauble to make with Dylan, and a First Christmas decoration for Archie that I picked up at the Baby Show.  We have some crafty bits; stickers, festive sprinkles and paper chains to keep us busy for a few days as we decorate the house.

There is a seasonal film to get us in the mood, perfect for those cold and cosy evenings and I want to add in a new story book too, but I haven't found the perfect one yet.

Alongside this box, will be the homemade advent calendar that I have been busy creating and a Playmobil advent calendar that we were sent as part of our role as Playologists.

Last but certainly not least, I want to fill the box with ideas of things to do together in the month of December.  From creating Christmas cards, finding the best Christmas lights, decorating gingerbread men to making snow angels.  I want the box to be the beginning of a month of celebration in every sense.

It is only something little, but I hope that it will be something big to my boys, the promise of magic to come, the start of an exciting month and a little cheer on what will undoubtedly be a chilly day.

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Friday 15 November 2013

Instagram Ideas

I am a huge instagram fan and have to admit to being on there several times a day.  I am nosy by nature and I love seeing snapshots of other people's lives.  I also love posting my own pictures - the ones I am proud of, the ones that sum up my day and pictures of the wonderful things I see (and eat).  Adding filters can add something extra to a photo and some of my favourite pictures are on my instagram account.

As nice as it is for them to be floating around the virtual world, I also love physical memories.  There are so many companies now that make beautiful things from your Instagram photos and I have been busy checking them out.  Here are 13 fantastic options to get you started:

Instagram products, instagram photos, what to make with photos,
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Thursday 14 November 2013

Homemade Advent Calendar

There are so many amazing ideas for homemade advent calendars around, that I couldn't resist attempting my own.  Armed with a box full of empty toilet rolls (the most useful craft tool to date I reckon), some paint and some washi tape, I set to work creating something unique for the boys.

I started off by painting all my tubes white, and then made four slits in one end, and folded them over to make a cup shape.  I secured it with white duct tape and decorated.
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Wednesday 13 November 2013

Petite Star Zia 4+ Review

Although we primarily use a pushchair, there are times when a stroller is just far more convenient and I wouldn't be without one.  We were recently sent the Petite Star Zia 4+ and have been trying it out for the last couple of months.

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Christmas is Coming

There is no denying it, Christmas is on the way!  The shops are full of tinsel and mince pies, the festive light switch ons are happening up and down the country and my credit card is cringing at what is about to come.  

I love the festive period and I know that every year is going to get more magical as my children get older and more aware.  I know that this year Dylan will understand a little more, he already recognises Father Christmas, and we are going to attempt some Christmas films with him to really get in the spirit.  November for me is about preparing for December, and I have started a little shopping and planning, and have been busy making an advent calender (details on the blog tomorrow). 

Over the next few weeks I have a few festive features, from showing you our ideas and traditions to gift guides and reviews of perfect stocking fillers.  

Christmas this year will be a much more budget affair to what we are used to though, and I am hoping that it will remind us of what is really important; spending time with family.  There will be plenty of homemade, even if it means paint everywhere, and I am hoping our house will be full of colour, the smell of gingerbread and those magical twinkly lights.  I want Dylan to look forward to Christmas because of the magic rather than the gifts and I am hoping to start traditions to ensure this.

This year will also be Archie's first Christmas, and whilst I know that he will not understand or remember anything, I want it to be special.  I am lucky that I am not back at work yet, so will be able to spend the month of December introducing Archie to the lights and the colours of Christmas.  I can't wait to take the boys out to see the displays now that the evenings are darker, and I have no doubt that both boys will absolutely devour their Christmas roasts come the big day!

So, before I delve head first into Christmas preperations, (baring in mind the paint, washi tape and glitter are already out), do you have any suggestions for me?  Any great budget Christmas ideas, perfect crafts for a toddler or have you seen the perfect present anywhere?  

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Monday 11 November 2013

My Funny Little Boy - November

As Dylan is now at that amazing age where he is curious about anything and everything, asking questions and quite often chatting nonsense, I am determined to capture the funnies as I just know he will love me for it when he is 18!  I told you about September's funnies, but here are some of the latest;

Mummy, why are you not wearing your willy?
Where's your willy gone Mummy?  You not got it on today!
(He is convinced that we 'wear' our body parts at the moment)

I am cooking fish and pirate ships for dinner

Daddy:  What did you do today Dylan?
Dylan:  We went on a yellow train
Daddy: Where did you go to?
Dylan:  Austray la la
(A bit of a recurring thing is his love for Australia, considering we have never been!)

After feeding my pretend cakes, strawberries and blueberries for 20 minutes . . .
Mummy: I am so full of pudding, I think I need some dinner now Dylan
Dylan: I made omlette for dinner.   I put it in the bin.  It's dirty now.  Can't eat it.  More pudding?

Dylan can you give Archie a kiss nun night?
Dylan: No mummy, I am TOO busy, TOO busy playing toys for kisses

and my favourite so far:

Uncle Oli:  And this is a parrot
Dylan:  What does the parrot say?
Uncle Oli: (squaking) Whose a pretty boy then
Dylan: Dylan is! But what does the parrot say?
Repeat several times until Uncle Oli gives up

Have your toddlers been spouting funnies this month too?
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Saturday 9 November 2013

Plum Toy Kitchen Review

I was starting to notice that Dylan gravitated towards toy kitchens when we are at play groups and friend's houses and with the bloke and I actively avoiding cooking unless absolutely necessary, it seemed a good idea to encourage someone in the family to feel at home in the kitchen.  

Plum sent us one of their beautiful wooden kitchens and from the moment the box arrived, Dylan was excited.  I put the kitchen together with a little 'help' from a toddler and teething baby, and it was ready to go within 45 minutes.

The kitchen is perfect sized for a small toddler and I think would be great for a 2, 3 or 4 year old.  The blue colour goes perfectly with our playroom and is refreshingly neutral compared to many of the other options on the market.  The unit comes with removable sink, two side shelves, openable oven, three hooks on one side with two kitchen utensils and a small saucepan as well.  

I love the way this kitchen has encouraged Dylan's imagination. I love the simplicity, the space and the possibilities and the classic wooden style.  Whenever we have playdates, this is without a doubt the most used toy and his friends love it, cooking wooden pizzas in the oven, and frying all manner of food (and toy cars on occassion too).

I did have a small issue with the tap and getting it properly affixed, but it isn't an issue that is affecting play. When I contacted Plum they replaced it straight away with some advice to stop the same thing happening again.  I have to admit to being a complete novice when it comes to flat pack so this may well be down to my terrible screwdriver skills but I was really happy with the customer service.

We are finding the two shelves on the side perfect for storing Dylan's collection of wooden foods and kitchen equipment and purchased a couple of tubs from the pound shop to keep it all together.  I would have loved an extra shelf in side the oven as well as it is a rather large space, but it is perfect for cooking wooden pizza in apparently!

I would recommend this kitchen for toddlers, those without the space for a huge one, and for anyone who is looking for traditional and wooden.  We have already had hours of entertainment and I know that this will be a favourite for years to come

You can find this Hendon Kitchen on the Plum website for £70 along with lots of other gorgeous choices.

Disclaimer:  We were sent this toy kitchen for the purpose of this review but 
all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Thursday 7 November 2013


To see the world through the eyes of the toddler would be a magical thing. A land where everything is possible, and nothing is too strange.  Where the simplest game can provide hours of amusement, and pretending to make a cup of tea is entertaining in itself.  A land where sticks become magic wands, bibs can be pirate hats and ducks can roar.

As Dylan's language grows, so does his imagination and I could spend all day watching him and listening to his constant dialogue.  Somedays he lets me in, infact he doesn't stop talking long enough for me to process anything, but other days he is whispering, or singing quietly to himself as he plays, lost in his own world.  

He will suddenly declare a shape sorter to be his helmet as he pops on his motorbike and heads off to work. He will casually tell me that Archie is a pirate and that the tictoc crocodile is coming to eat him.  A cardboard box may become and airplane, a choo choo train or the pontipines house depending on his mood.  He will insist that we look for horses on a trip to the post office and I am never quite sure which toys will have to come with us on an outing.
Every trip out takes three times as long, as we marvel over the colours of leaves, point out numbers on doors or imagine we are various vehicles as we walk (or brum) along.  Everything is an adventure, anything can be treasure and every day is special.

Afternoons at the park usually involve Dylan going into his 'house' under the slide to cook me dinner and numerous puddings.  I am presented with pretend plates full of pretend omlette, potato and carrots (and some pizza if I am lucky), followed by pretend cake, strawberries and blueberries which he insists I eat with a spoon.  We drink more cups of tea than my bladder could manage, some of which containing rather strange extra ingredients.

Telling my little man that it is time for bed can often result in a question of whether 'pretend sleeping' would be ok.  His furry friends have to be in place, each toy having an important bedtime role, and a story book and cuddle only serve to ignite his imagination as he snoozes, for come morning his head is bursting with ideas.

Imagination is a wonderful, a beautiful thing.  Dylan sees the world how he wants to see it, a blank canvas waiting to be painted on with bright colours.  I love watching and listening to him playing, wondering what he will get up to next on his very own adventure.

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Wednesday 6 November 2013

Brio Farm Railway Review

As with most toddlers, Dylan has developed a bit of a thing for transport.  He loves the airplanes that fly incredibly low over our house, the buses we go on every week and his favourite has to be trains.

He loves going on the train, spotting the trains, books about trains, Thomas the Tank, and of course he loves his new Brio Train Tracks that we were sent from The Toadstool.

These are Dylan's first wooden trains, and we have had great fun playing with them and testing them over the last few weeks.  The tracks are easy to put together, and Dylan can manage it himself, although not into a circle yet. The Farm Railway set comes with everything you need for imaginative train play, and there are plenty of sets you can buy to add on and link up with it.
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Monday 4 November 2013

A Mummy to Boys

My first pregnancy was completely unexpected, and I was still busy getting my head around the fact that I was going to be having a little person to look after when my 20 week scan took place.  Nervous and excited, we decided to find out the gender, although all my instincts told me that we would be buying blue.  The scan proved me right, and I busied myself planning a life for us and our baby boy.

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Sunday 3 November 2013

Camaloon Review and Giveaway

It is now officially November, and whilst I have barely even thought about Christmas shopping, I have been doing some planning.  I have a few crafty bits lined up for the next few weeks in preperation and I have my wrapping paper, ribbons and bows all ready from the January sales.  

I love wrapping Christmas presents, and I want them looking neat and perfect under the tree. Camaloon sell personalised stickers and I thought they would be perfect to turn into present labels when they offered me something to review.

I attempted to set up a little photoshoot at home, forgetting how
un-co-operative a 7 month old and a 26 month old really are, and managed to get not a single shot of both boys smiling or looking at the camera.  Lesson learnt - have an extra adult on hand to pull faces behind your back to get them laughing next time.

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