Sunday 30 November 2014

Me and Mine November

November has been a different month, with Dylan and I having some much needed time together and the bloke and Archie having theirs too.  When we combine this with plenty of rain, days where we just don't want to take a photo and the fact that I am feeling a bit under the weather at the moment, it meant we woke up this morning realising we hadn't taken a photo this month.  

For that reason, three of us are in our pyjamas, and we are having a lazy Sunday morning, as we had to split off this afternoon for different parties again.  This month has seen the temperature drop, and our weeks have involved so many more snuggles on the sofa, stories on the bed and films in the afternoons when we all need some quiet time.  My camera was balanced precariously on the stand as I can't find a missing piece and the light isn't great.  I look tired and ill and Archie has stickers in his hair - This is our November!

me and mine, family portrait, family photo, bedtime stories

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Saturday 29 November 2014

25 Weeks Pregnant

I am using tiredness and two toddlers as my excuse for being so behind with my pregnancy posts as I am now most definitely 26 weeks, but I am finally publishing last weeks update!

At 25 weeks I should be feeling full of energy and even glowing but neither of these are true of this pregnancy.  I don't feel that I have gotten into the stride of things, and I still need to nap some afternoons to get me through the days.  I am so thankful that my boys seem to appreciate this need!  Whilst it is partly my own fault for not going to bed earlier, the boys don't seem to be sleeping well at the moment and that really isn't helping!
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Thursday 27 November 2014

Our Advent Box

The first of December is withing touching distance and I am getting just a little excited! I have tried to keep away from most of the early festivities so that I don't have to wake up to 'Is it Christmas now?' every day for too long, but from December 1st we will be in full flow.  

Last year, we had a box of goodies downstairs for the boys on December 1st and this year we are doing something very similar.  It is partly practical things, but we want to start the magic early, so here is our Advent Box.

Advent Box, december box, getting ready for Christmas, advent for toddlers

Both the boys have a new pair of festive pyjamas to wear from Gap, and some funky Christmas socks to keep their feet warm as the weather gets colder.  They have a book - The Grinch stole Christmas - which we choose as they both love the Cat in the Hat and the other Dr Seuss books we have, alongside an activity book full of things we can do and make over the month.

I bought Archie a new nappy as I couldn't resist this TotsBots Frugi print, and I got Dylan a reindeer mug for those snuggly evenings with hot chocolate.  The boys also have a lovely plate sent to us by Born Gifted with their names on the bottom, so we can start getting excited about the big day.

As well as a more traditional advent calender, they have this gorgeous playmobil one which I know is going to be a big hit! I can't wait to see the little santa and reindeer!

I can't wait for Monday knowing that Dylan understands so much more, although I am a little scared of putting Archie and a tree in the same room! 

Disclaimer:  The plate and the advent calender were sent to us but everything else has been paid for by myself.
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Wednesday 26 November 2014

Hello Daisy Review and Giveaway

After 2 boys, it is safe to say our house has seen enough baby blue.  It looked lovely on Dylan, but it didn't take long for me to realise that it isn't the only colour little boys can wear, and for some it just doesn't suit them. I have always preferred Archie in brights and colours and it suits his personality.  Blogging has opened up my eyes to so many different styles of clothing, and I am loving finding some less 'baby blue' clothes ready for our newest arrival.

Hello Daisy asked me to check out their website and the first place I looked was the clothes.  I loved the colours and styles in the boys and unisex sections and how unique they were.  We chose a lovely organic sleepsuit ready for Pretzel's arrival next year and I can't wait to see our little guy in it! It is beautifully soft, feels well made and I just love the colour scheme.

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Tuesday 25 November 2014

Him and I

one on one time, my three year old, day with a preschooler.

We had 9 months together, every day and then another 9 months of him being my number one little guy whilst I juggled part time work with being a full time Mum.  At 18 months he became a big brother, and things changed.  With a baby determined to be physically attached to me at all times, my little guy became closer to his Daddy as that was the natural split when it came to some one on one time.  We still had our moments, but they were not as easy.  With a third baby set to change things up yet again and school on the horizon, time with my biggest little guy has become even more precious than ever.

He is in a period of change, with new influences at Preschool and more independence with it.  He wants to do things his way, he wants to learn and grow and he can't wait to be big.  At the same time, he can change from a little boy back to my baby in the blink of an eye, and when tiredness kicks in, he cuddles in the same way he did three years ago, he sucks his thumb and he needs me as he always has.  His body is growing up, and his limbs get longer as those parts that are so sweet and chubby on a baby get slimmer.  He is more aware, yet still delightfully naive and he is still sensitive and still mine.

Dylan and I took a day to ourselves at the weekend, just him and I, and I loved rediscovering what a wonderful little companion he is.  He was so excited about having a special day together, and as we sat playing memory on the train together, I realised how much I missed spending proper time with him.

The day I had planned didn't involve nearly as much water as the sky seemed to be throwing down, but three year olds do not seem to be put off rain (in fact he asked if we could play in the rain).  We saw the huge Christmas tree at Covent Garden and the big silver reindeer, we shared a shake and talked about our favourite things and we wandered the streets and shops, enjoying life at a preschooler's pace.

covent garden, christmas in London

We were lucky enough to be invited to see the Paddington Movie by Warburtons and our special screening in the West End cinema was a great afternoon treat.  We both loved the film (I already want to go and see it again!), and it was lovely to share a popcorn and watch my little guy's face light up as he watched the big screen.  

We held hands, ate cake, laughed together and enjoyed our day, we came home exhausted and happy.  I miss spending every day with Dylan now that work and preschool have got in the way, and I know that he won't always want to spend his time with me, so I am hoping we can find more time for just us, for him and I.

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Sunday 23 November 2014

21 Months Old

My littlest guy has hit the milestone of 21 months, meaning that his second birthday is coming around fast.  The benefit of a February baby means I don't really need to think about this until after Christmas though which is comforting.  Archie is a crazy, cuddly and cheeky toddler with a fearless streak that is so different from his brother

From the moment he wakes up until he finally drifts off, Archie knows what he wants, and he thinks he knows how to get it.  We are definitely at the beginning of the terrible twos and I expect it to be much worse than it was with his brother.  He has a little temper which we see when he doesn't get his way, and whilst he is lovely around other people, he does like to play up for his Mummy sometimes.

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Thursday 20 November 2014

Early Reader's Christmas Books List

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #CollectiveBias

Waterstones, Christmas Books, Early Readers

We are at the beginning of what I consider to be one of the most exciting journeys my child is going to travel - he is learning to read.  I have always been an avid reader, and my mum tells me as young as 18 months I would sit in the corner looking at picture books whilst my friends played.  Once the written words started making sense, I would take a torch to bed to read under the covers, and take an hour getting ready for school as I had a book permanently in my hands.  My love continued through an English literature degree and even now, whilst I don't find nearly as much time as I would like, I love to curl up with a good book.

I am so excited that Dylan is already showing such enthusiasm.  Whilst we have tried never to push him, we have made sure he has the resources and time should it be what interests him, and he has proven that he does want to learn.  As we progressed from letters and sounds to small words, we have wondered about the next step, whether we continue as we are until the school give us a direction, or whether we continue providing the resources for him to learn at his own pace, whatever he decides that to be.  

I went to Waterstones to look at the different options for young readers and to choose a Christmas present, and liked that there was so much variety, especially once they start progressing.  I saw the familiar books of my childhood, although with a slightly updated cover (definitely the same pictures), alongside new books from new authors with colour and fun.  Here are my picks for the first stage:

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Friday 14 November 2014

Three Boys

Three boys, this is my future.  My one tiny tot became the troublesome two and soon I will have a trio of terrors.  I announced that we were expecting another baby when we were 13 weeks pregnant, which meant seven weeks of being told 'you must be hoping for a girl this time then'.  

I would have been over the moon had the sonographer seen the telltale signs that told us to buy pink, but I was equally as excited when she told us that the boys would be welcoming a little brother in the new year.  Our baby is growing well, it looks healthy and he even gave us a hi5 from the womb.

In many ways we are geared up for another boy.  I have boxes upon boxes of boys clothes, and with this little dude due shortly after Archie's birthday, it should all be the right season too.  Our house seems to be full of blue and my experience of nappy changing revolves completely around boy bits.  Dylan had already let me know he would like another brother as 'boys are the best' and I have to agree (with absolutely no experience to compare to of course).  I love having boys, I love being a mama to boys.  Whilst growing up I had always pictured myself with one of each, my vision soon changed after the birth of Dylan and I saw myself surrounded by boys - a vision soon to come true.

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Thursday 13 November 2014

Lilly and Sid Children's Wear

My boys are active, they are explorers, they make mess, they play outside, they grow (at rather an astonishing rate), they eat with their fingers and they cuddle.  Their clothes need to cope with their busy lives and as they get bigger, we are definitely working out which companies withstand a toddler and which don't quite last the stretch.  With two already (and a third on the way), we have also learnt the value in investing in decent clothes that can be passed down, as ultimately it is not only cheaper than buying new each time, but much better for the environment too.

We were sent some pieces from Lilly and Sid, a boutique childrenswear company that pride themselves on gorgeous designs and exceptional customer service.  Their clothes celebrate childhood in all its colour and style and we love the unique characters.

As always, I took too many photos, but here are the boys modelling the  George Lion Pocket Set (Top and joggers - £30) and the Super Strong Monkey Man top (£20)

lilly and sid, organic childrenswear, kids fashion
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Monday 10 November 2014

Review of the Stokke Xplory V4

Stokke Xplory v4, stokke pram review

stokke review, stokke xplory v4, stokke deep blue

When it comes to Pushchairs, Stokke are top of the range, and we have been finding out why.  We were sent a Stokke Xplory V4 in Deep Blue and I have to admit I am a bit of a convert.   Unfortunately Archie was not a fan of sitting in the pushchair for photos, but if you follow me on instagram then you will have seen him looking happy in it.

My favourite feature is the height of the child.  I still love having Archie parent facing, and when it is just the two of us, we have a little chat as we walk.  Having him more in eye range makes such a difference, and the height means he can see so much more as well.  With both the bloke and I being tall, it is also much easier to lift him in and out without bending as much (although the downside to this is that he can't climb in himself as he does with lower seats).
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Thursday 6 November 2014

23 Weeks Pregnant

I never wrote my 21 week bump update, (although I did post at 20 weeks about our scan), so there is a bit more to catch up on this time.  I am now 23 weeks into my third pregnancy, which means I am past the halfway mark, meaning I have more of an excuse to do a little shopping.

My bump growth appears to have slowed right down, although it depends on the day as some days I wake up feeling particularly small, and others I look ready to pop before I have even eaten breakfast! The picture in black was taken at 23 weeks, and the lovely one in my pyjamas was at 21, showing quite the difference! I think pretzel keeps changing position as I am feeling movement in different areas on different days still.

I had a check up at 21 weeks with the midwife, and all is progressing well.  I don't see her until December now, but from then on they will start measuring me.  I have a personalised growth chart this time, taking into account factors like my previous babies and their birth weights, and they are expecting little pretzel to be another chunky one.  Anything from 8 to 10.5 pounds on his due date and they are not concerned - eek!

I am feeling much more movement now, although this little guy seems to be following the same pattern his big brother did - something that sends me into panic every single week! He wriggles and kicks lots for around 4 days, and then has one or two where he pretty much doesn't move.  The kicks are getting stronger, and whilst he often seems to be in the breach position, tying to find an escape route with his feet, there are days he is kicking straight out by my belly button, and his little legs are now powerful enough to be felt from the outside, despite my placenta still being on the front wall of my uterus.

Whilst at 23 weeks with both the other boys, I felt on top of the world and positively glowing, having two small children is taking its toll and I find I nap given any opportunity as I feel constantly tired.  I find working at home is quite tough as I tend to get comfy on the sofa with my laptop and fall asleep whereas when I was waitressing, I was too active to even get the opportunity.  I am also finding my skin is terrible, with dry, blotchy patches on my face, again something totally new and rather unwanted.

Cravings come and go, but include orange juice, crusty bread and hula hoops at the moment.  There hasn't been an instance where I am desperate yet but I do eat and drink far too much of these things! I am still sleeping well, although I might turn over a couple of times in the night.  I need to sleep with a pillow between my knees and under my bump but I never need to get up in the night at the moment which I am thankful for.

Generally this pregnancy is going well, and I am enjoying my growing bump, the wriggles and kicks and getting to buy teeny tiny clothes again (although not that teeny, we anticipate skipping the newborn stuff altogether.)

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Wednesday 5 November 2014

Our Weekend in a Travelodge

I love visiting London with my family, and we find it much easier to stay up there as travelling up and down with small children can be very stressful!  Our trips are usually action packed and this weekend was no different.  Because of this, we need somewhere quite basic to stay,  a space to lay our heads after a day exploring the city and somewhere quite central to limit the amount of time we spend carrying a buggy down the underground stairs.

We recently stayed at the Travelodge London Central on City Road in one of their family rooms, and it fulfilled our needs completely. We caught the bus once we arrived in London and the stop was right outside the hotel.

Check in was easy and our room was set up ready for us, a comfy double bed for myself, a small single for Dylan and a travel cot for Archie that looked pretty new.  The room was basic and spotless, but had everything we needed - space to hang our clothes, a Tv (with cbeebies), a kettle with teabags and a bathroom with an actual bath.  Having a bath is so much easier when you have children that are terrified of a shower!

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Saturday 1 November 2014

Maternity Skincare

Without a doubt, our bodies change shape during pregnancy, some earlier than others, some in more places than others, but as our skin stretches and our tummies grow, it is important to look after ourselves on the inside and out.

I have been testing a variety of maternity skincare products over the last few weeks, and wanted to put it all together in an easy post, so if you are looking for a little treat for your growing bump then look no further.

Love Boo

I was sent a lovely Marvellous Mummy Kit from Love Boo which has perfectly sized miniatures for travel.  I took this away for our week in Rome and it was great to fit in the suitcase.  The body wash smells sweet and the body smoother is a very thick cream that dries in surprisingly fast.  With shea butter the smell is not overpowering but still soft and feminine.  The miracle oil takes much longer to dry as is common with oils but is a lovely bedtime treat and left my skin feeling lovely and soft.

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