Monday 31 March 2014

Me and Mine - March

Another month is ending and it has been one exciting month! The bloke celebrated his 30th birthday and we spent 5 days on a family holiday to Butlins.  My flip flops came out of hibernation and went quickly back into the cupboard as we jetted off early Mother's Day morning to France, where I am now in the snowy mountains getting ready for our first ski lesson in the morning!

This month we had lots of family time and have managed to take a few family photos, but these are from our trip to Butlins last week - I couldn't pick just one!

Mummy is loving - The grandparents babysitting, water slides, time alone with Dylan and body butters

Daddy is loving - the excuse to be a grumpy old man now he is 30, coffee, being the only one to get a question right at quiz night and a battle game on his phone.

Dylan is loving - choosing his pants every morning, going on holiday with Grandma and Grandpa, meeting Billy Bear and mush (baby food pouches)

Archie is loving waving at everyone, climbing in and out of the buggy, pasta of any shape or variety and going on the fairground rides.

So here we are, our little family in March!

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Saturday 29 March 2014

Butlins and Toddlers

Sometimes, my expectations are so totally exceeded that I am not sure where to begin.  As part of our role as Butlins ambassadors, we took a trip to Bognor Regis for a 5 day/4 night stay.  Six of us squashed into one car, along with suitcases, bags and a Trunki and arrived at the Shoreline hotel just before 3 on Monday afternoon.

The boys were fresh from a long nap (as were most of the adults) and we were met by the macarena playing on the loud speakers and some energetic red coats pointing us in the right direction.  Check in was simple and efficient, with only a short queue and we found our rooms up on the fourth floor.  The bloke, the boys and I in one, and my parents in the next.  Our rooms consisted of a kingsize bed in the main section, a bathroom in the middle and then a kids den with bunk beds, storage, a TV and a cot for Archie.  The room was a great size for us and it was easy to put the boys to bed at one end, but stay up with the lights on down the other, and there were two incredibly comfy chairs and a table by the floor to ceiling windows.  In the day we looked out onto the skyline pavillion, some shops, Papa Johns, the little kid's park and the sea, and by night we could see outdoor seating areas lit up and the bright lights of the evening entertainment.  Our room seemed pretty sound proof and we never heard other people and the blackout curtains worked perfectly.

Our week was spent between the arcade machines, the fairground, the splash water world, the stage and the soft play and I was amazed at how little we spent.  With the dining package included, we spent barely a thing as so much of the entertainment was included and our breakfast filled us up until dinner time.

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Wednesday 26 March 2014

Apps for Toddlers (on a Samsung Phone)

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #CollectiveBias

Long journeys are difficult with two little people in tow, and since Dylan turned 2, I have started giving him my Samsung Phone or Samsung tablet on occasions to help keep him occupied and entertained.  With a trip to France planned next week, I have already popped into the Vodafone store to pick up a travel charger so that we are always prepared!

I have been busy downloading some apps for those tricky moments where we need him staying still and thought I would share our top 5 for anyone in a similar predicament.

apps for two year olds, android apps for toddlers, samsung apps, toddler apps free

1- Cbeebies.  Not only is this app free, but it has so many games on it that it provides hours of entertainment.  Dylan loves the drawing games when I need him to play alone for a little while and he uses the pens, stickers, paint and stampers to create his own little masterpieces, (before saving them all on my phone of course!) Our favourite to do together is the alphablocks game as my little dude is obsessed with letters.  He loves sounding out and spelling the words together and it is educational as well as fun.

cbeebies app, apps for two year olds, samsung vodafone
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Impress Mum

When I was little, I used to spend a lot of time making cards.  I come from a big family, and rather than giving lavish gifts, we drew, stuck and crafted.  I was never particularly skilled in this area, but as an adult, and especially as a parent, I know now the value of such a card.  

A child's gift buying can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.  I asked Dylan what we should buy his grandma for Mother's Day and after a long think, his two ideas were a football or a bunny rabbit, neither of which would go down nearly as well as a card he makes himself.  The thought and the effort shows so much, as does the pride in presenting his Grandma with something he did himself.

Mother's day isn't about presents (although if the bloke is reading this, I can always manage more chocolate!), but it is about showing your mum you care, in whatever way you choose.  Paperchase have created a video about just this, showing that even the hardest men still love their mums.  The #impressmum video below proves that glitter isn't just for children!

Although we will be jetting off to France this Mother's Day, we will still be making sure that the boys' Grandmothers both get a homemade something to show our appreciation and our love for them.

What will you be doing for Mother's Day?

Disclaimer:  This post is in collaboration with Paperchase

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Tuesday 25 March 2014

Thank You

The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster ride.  Archie entered the world in Febraury and I don't feel like we have stopped since.  I was over the moon last year to make it to the finals in the MAD Blog Awards Pregnancy category after sharing our story, and life with two under two was exciting, challenging and exhausting.  

The past 12 months has seen Archie change from a helpless newborn into a confident, troublesome tot.  He is finding his feet and his voice, learning new skills every day and growing into an energetic and loving little boy.  This year I have recorded his life - the moments, the milestones and the memories and I am so excited to have made it to the finals again, this time in the 'Best Baby Blog' category.

To say it came as a shock was an understatement, with so many amazing blogs out there, whose stories I have been following.  My blog started as a little project to keep my brain ticking over when conversations with a five month old weren't  quite stimulating enough, but I had no idea people would read it.  Two and a bit years down the line, this blog has taught me things about myself, taken me to amazing places and given me opportunities I would never have had.  I have met so many wonderful writers, photgraphers and women and am inspired everyday by other bloggers.

This post is coming to you straight from Butlins, Bognor Regis.  Billy Bear and the gang have worn out my two little men, and as they snooze I needed to say Thank You to everyone who has helped get me this far.  Your nominations are so appreciated, and I can't thank you enough.  If you have enjoyed reading my tales of Archie's first year and our life with two under two then please vote for 'The Mummy Adventure' under 'Best Baby Blog'.  There are some wonderful blogs in all the categories as well so hopefully you can discover a new read whilst you are there.

Thank you,

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Butlin's Skegness with Toddlers

As I am away this week enjoying everything Butlin's Bognor Regis has to offer, I thought it would be rather fitting to have a guest post from the lovely Louise at A Strong Coffee about her experiences of Skegness.  Keep a look out for my review of Bognor Regis very soon, and please pop on over to Louise's blog if you want to read more about Butlin's Skegness

Once you have children, relaxing holidays by the pool become a thing of the past. Finding activities to entertain your children take priority. This February half term we headed to Skegness to see what Butlin's had on offer. On arriving I was shocked at how big the site was. I highly recommend that you take a pushchair with you even if your little one likes walking as you will want to explore everything the site has to offer. When it comes to entertainment then there is plenty for your toddlers to enjoy. Inside the Skyline Pavilion, there is a teacup and ladybird ride for the under fives. These are free of charge and we found it difficult to walk past them without having a quick go. In here you will also find the shows. Mike the Knight, Thomas and Friends and Fireman Sam were all enjoyed by my boys. The shows are around half an hour long so they capture the imagination of toddlers without them losing interest.

On a nice day there is nothing better than paddling in the sea and there is easy access to the beach directly from the resort, but Butlin's has it covered if the weather isn't as good as you had hoped. There is a soft play area which will keep them happy and the Splash Waterworld has a great toddler swimming area. There are 3 small waterslides along with sprinklers, which my boys could have splashed around in for hours.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat, The Deck and The Yacht Club restaurants (included in the premium dining plan) offer a great choice for toddlers. There is a special children's station or they can enjoy the other food on offer. As it is a buffet they are able to choose for themselves and juices are also included in the price. 
We had a great week at Butlin's and there was a great choice of activities included in the price. We had to go in half term due to our eldest being at school, but if you only have a toddler then the "Just for Tots" term time breaks may be worth looking into as well

If you want to read more from Louise, then check out her blog, twitter and facebook.  Look out for more posts on Butlin's soon!

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Monday 24 March 2014

Baby Led Weaning at 13 Months

I has been nearly 8 months since Archie had his first taste of anything other than milk, and we have come a long way from bread-sticks and bananas (although they are still firm favourites).  Nowadays my little man loves Pizza, curry, pasta and lasagne amongst other things and we have stuck with a mostly baby led approach.

Yoghurts, rice and similarly messy non finger foods are fed from a spoon, and although Archie is usually more than happy with this if it means the food makes it into his mouth, there are times when little ninja hands strike, throwing food all over the highchair/ floor/ anyone standing close by.

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Thursday 20 March 2014

Stokke Steps

stokke steps, stokke highchair review

We were sent the new Stokke Steps Highchair a few weeks ago to test out and I have to say, I am completely won over.  Its simplistic style, grown up colour options and wipe clean surfaces make it the perfect addition to our dining room.

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Wednesday 19 March 2014

A Little Boy

The last month has seen the introduction of some rather funky Jake and the Neverland Pirate pants, and we no longer have two in nappies.  Despite me wanting to wait until the summer, the little dude had other ideas and instigated potty training.  He has taken to it so well and I am really glad that I waited rather than pushed it as we spent one day indoors and then went on with our normal lives.

After only a few days, we realised he was dry at night as well, and whilst we haven't yet taken the plunge as we have holidays later this month, realistically nappies are now a thing of the past for my biggest little man.

Potty training not only signalises a step in the right direction, but the end of an era for Dylan.  Nappies were the last bit of babyhood that we have been holding onto, and at two and a half, Dylan has come so far from that beautiful newborn baby he once was that he is barely recognisable.

All those little things that differentiate babies from preschoolers have been left behind.  Milk and other drinks are now drunk from a cup rather than a breast, bottle or beaker, and we never went down the dummy road.  The cot became a bed, and the gro bag was replaced with a duvet.  Afternoon naps are becoming rare, and Dylan barely uses a buggy now, able to walk most places quite easily.

At two and a half, Dylan's speech is well ahead of his age, he is learning to read, he can count, he can understand so much, and he is barely even a toddler anymore, but a little boy, learning at every opportunity, growing before my very eyes.  He is becoming so aware of everything around him, his curiosity and questions helping him make sense of the big world, but still in that simplistic toddler way, where everything is good and pure.

With Potty training being sprung upon me without warning (two months ago he would not have sat on a potty, nevermind used it as a toilet!),  I feel almost nostalgic for the days when my little boy was more dependent, on me and on other people in general.  He is asserting his independence more every day, learning to dress himself, to take himself off to the toilet, to read his own stories.

Dylan is a tall boy, a confident boy and a loving boy, asking for cuddles and to have a snuggle on the sofa with me.  The new milestones have meant that he is choosing to be loving and choosing my comfort and that is one of the best things to come out of it.

Saying goodbye to nappies is more than just a simple goodbye though, it is my little man proving that he is ready for new challenges, for everything that is to come.  It will be time to drop him off at nursery in a few months and later this year I will be choosing schools for my two year old, as he will start at only just turned 4.  The end of nappies and the loss of those baby things means I will soon have a preschooler on my hands.

 No longer a baby, but a little boy.

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Monday 17 March 2014

Making the most of it

 Since my return to work in January, our family time has been cut in half.  I only do ten hours per week in my current role, but most of that falls on a Saturday, and with the bloke being at work Monday to Friday, it gives us only one day all together.

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The Quinny Buzz Xtra Review

Quinny Buzz Xtra, Quinny Buzz 2014, Quinny travel system, pushchair review

The Quinny Buzz Xtra is the newest addition to the Quinny range and we have been lucky enough to have a first look at it. The boys and I have been putting the Buzz Xtra to the test for the last few weeks and here is how we got on;

The Quinny Buzz Xtra is the next generation from the original Buzz and features a few changes.  The basket is bigger, the front wheel is better on different terrains and the hood extends even furthur than before.

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Thursday 13 March 2014

Turning 30

I need to start by clarifying that it is not me, I am still twenty six and a half and in no rush to meet the next milestone.  This weekend though, saw the bloke turning 30 and in his usual laid back style, it was rather low key.

I asked what he wanted to do; a party, a big night out, a fun day activity, a night away, but his answer? Maybe a lunch out.  As the end of our month is so busy with a break at Butlins and a holiday with Snowbizz, having a quiet family birthday was actually really nice and the beautiful weather made it even better.

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Wednesday 12 March 2014

The Smart Trike 4 in 1

Archie was sent one of the new Smart Trike 4 in 1s to try out and he has been having a great time exploring from a different level.  Whilst a pushchair may be snuggly and warm, the view is restricted and my nosy little man loved the change when we take him out on his new SmarTrike.  He could suddenly see everything and he delighted in the fact.

SmarTrike review, Smart trike 4 in 1, smartrike with a 12 month old, blue smarTrike
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Monday 10 March 2014

Mother's Day

March brings Mother's Day, something that is even more special now I have children to share it with.  Not only do I get to recognise the amazing woman that my mother is and the wonderful Grandma that she is to my boys, but I have an opportunity to stop and realise how lucky I am to be a Mummy to two beautiful children myself.

I always knew that I wanted children, although the number or the time frame was something I didn't need to worry about until the future, or so I thought.  Motherhood came from nowhere for me and in some ways I was lucky, never having to go through the tough times of trying without luck, or the heartbreak of loss.  The reality is that it came with its own struggles, the not knowing, the newness, the beginning of a relationship.  One day I was a girl, the next a mother, carrying a tiny human being inside of me.

Motherhood was a journey, through pregnancy, birth and those newborn days and is still a journey now, an adventure.  I have two little people that call me Mummy, that make me question everything I thought I knew, and every part of me.  Two children that want cuddles from their mummy before bed, who want to hold my hands as we walk, who want to snuggle with me on the sofa.  Two children that need me to teach them, to cook for them, to fix their woes and kiss every hurt better.  Two children that need me as much as I need them.

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A Little Date with my Big Boy

It has been a year since Archie entered the world and turned our little family of three into a busy four.  For a whole year I have been a mother to two, splitting my time between the boys, finding activities that appeal to both a baby and a toddler, and enjoying the new family dynamic.

It has become clear though recently that Dylan needs some one on one time. He has entered a cuddly phase (which I am certainly not complaining about, but he needs to be involved in everything.  He is proving his independence in so many little ways, insisting that he can put on his pants and trousers every morning, needing to put his cup and bowl in the sink after breakfast.

At the same time as showing this new independence, he has become a mummy's boy, and I realised that in the year since Archie's arrival, I haven't spent time with Dylan on his own.  After 18 months of my undivided attention, he was suddenly given a baby brother and everything changed.  He has coped so well with this, but at two and a half he is such an amazing little boy, and last weekend I got to spend a few hours alone with him.  

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Friday 7 March 2014

What's in my Changing Bag?

As a mother of two, my changing bag is never far from me.  It carries everything and quite often doubles up as my handbag too.  I have been through several bags over the two and a half years since Dylan was born, and I love the variety on offer, but at the moment, I am loving my new rucksack from Pink Lining.

Dylan is walking much more now and for short trips I often don't take the buggy for him.  In fact, sometimes I don't take a buggy at all, and choose to wear Archie in a sling and let Dylan walk, but this means that my traditional bag isn't so practical.  Being able to pop everything I need in a bag on my back is comfortable and keeps my hands free.  Here is what I usually keep in my changing bag:

changing bag, what's in my changing bag, pink lining, nappy bag, wanderlust rucksack, pink lining review
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Wednesday 5 March 2014

Still Breastfeeding at One Year

This is not a post I expected to be writing, yet here I am, still nursing Archie at one year old.  When I was pregnant with Dylan, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and thought six weeks seemed a good length of time.  I didn't really know anyone that had fed past a couple of months and that seemed to be the natural point to swap to formula and bottles.

The six week mark came and went.  We had established our routine, my milk had come in and settled and things were going smoothly.  The idea of sterilising, buying powder every week and carrying more around in my already bulging nappy bag was not appealing, and I decided that I may even feed my son until six months.  By then he would be sitting up, eating solids and not needing to nurse any more, or so I thought. I started going to the local breastfeeding support group, mostly because it followed on from baby massage, but I started to see people feeding children from babies up to one year olds, and the idea of feeding a little longer was a lot less strange.

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Monday 3 March 2014

Playmobil 123

There are some toys that our children will love for a few months and then we pass them on to family and friends, or put them in the loft ready for a future baby, but there are also those that really stand the test of time.  Playmobil is one of those things that will capture imaginations from as young as 18 months, and still be interesting many years later.  It is the kind of toy I have already earmarked for the grandchildren, as the toys are classic, timeless and hardwearing.

playmobil, playmobil for toddlers, playmobil 123, review, toy review
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Sunday 2 March 2014

Building a Den

One of the best things about being little, was building  forts and dens.  Changing something ordinary into something special and secret was the perfect antidote to a rainy afternoon.  Dylan is no different, and we have spent many a day cuddled under blankets, sheets and clothes airers,  reading books, playing with torches and having secret tea parties.

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