Monday 31 October 2016

Me and Mine October

The end of the month was approaching and we still hadn't sorted our Me and Mine pictures for the month (which is no suprise really as we always seem to leave it to the last minute), but on a day trip to London we bumped into the super lovely Hannah from In the Den photography and she took some snaps for us.

Six is a lot of people to get in one shot, even more so when two are overtired and two are so full of sugar from the toffee apples they have just consumed that they struggle to stay still at all (in fact the moment the photos were taken they started running through the giant puddles soaking themselves)  I don't think we are ever going to get one of those posed shots where everyone looks at the camera and smiles but I don't care, this is my crazy bunch and I couldn't love them more.

October hasn't been particularly eventful, but the weather has been so mild that we have loved being outside, exploring and playing and not having to layer up too much.  This post comes live from Butlins where we are enjoying a weekend away together and it feels like the perfect way to end half term.

This month Mama has loved hearing how well Dylan is getting on at school on Parent's evening, taking photos in the Autumn leaves, hot coffee after a summer of iced ones and dungaree dresses

Daddy is loving playing on a giant pacman machine, Halloween, the dessert buffet at Butlins and Costa lunch on a Wednesday

Dylan is loving playing Clash Royale on the tablet, spending money at the arcades, having a sleepover with friends during half term and making a start on his Christmas list.

Archie is loving playing Pokemon, splashing in every puddle he finds regardless of whether he is in suitable footwear, learning to write his name and counting everything.

Finn is loving talking more, pressing the button at traffic lights, throwing things and moving up the dairy ladder

Cora is loving her Little Tikes playmat, midnight parties, chewing everything and growing into the next size clothing!

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Wednesday 26 October 2016

What the Boys Wore - Sunuva Swimwear

We live near the sea and our summers are spent at the beach.  I have such happy memories of sandcastles and swimming as a child and I am hoping my four remember the same.  I think that living so close to the sea it is really important that my children learn how to be safe in the water as well as how to be confident in it and I love taking them swimming.

It isn't easy and we aren't usually allowed to all go in together due to the ratios.  Dylan now has lessons on his own and every week I take the smallest two swimming at a small local pool that we hire with friends and I love watching my water babies play.

I may not be teaching them much swimming just yet but they love being in the water and it really tires them out!  So much so in fact that between my leaving Finn on a float (supervised of course) to go and get my camera and getting back he managed to fall asleep - the ultimate water bed!!

Sunuva sent us some swim shorts for all three boys, but as it isn't quite warm enough for beach swimming anymore (much to Dylan's dismay), I couldn't get photos of all three.  The shorts are lovely and I picked this design as it was bright enough to be able to spot them easily and the zebras look fun.  The swim shorts have UPF 50+ protection which makes them perfect for the hotter days and the waist is adjustable which is an essential for us.  They easily fit Finn's Huggies swim nappy underneath which is what you can see poking out the top.

And one more picture because he is usually awake when we go swimming! 

These are great quality shorts, easy to machine wash and fast drying.  Hopefully they all still fit next summer as they will look brilliant together and having them so bright and matching makes head counts a lot easier!  If you are feeling organised then check out the Sunuva website as they have lots in the sale now (including these ones) so you can buy ahead for next year!
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Tuesday 25 October 2016

Win a Kids Carwash Kit

My children are desperate to earn some money of their own at the moment, they are always asking for jobs to earn a little money and the list of things they are saving for seems to be growing daily.  We give them tasks to complete to earn some pennies, usually things like tidying up or sweeping, and Vauxhall's recent survey showed that 36% of children are paid to wash cars.  

My boys are still a bit young to be send out to work (they can't quite reach the roof yet) but it is definitely something I will give them the chance to do in a few years and Vauxhall have created packs for young entrepreneurs who wan't to start up their own car washing franchise.

The Vauxhall Kids Carwash Franchise starter-pack gives you everything you need to start your own business, including:

  • Car-washing equipment – including a bucket, sponge and squeegee
  • A pop-up Kids Carwash sign to advertise your business
  • Kids Carwash business cards so you can drum up trade
  • A ‘How to’ guide to carwash like a pro
  • Kids Carwash badges
  • Fold your own money box, where you can collect your hard-earned cash.

I have teamed up with Vauxhall to offer 10 carwash kits to you guys so enter via the rafflecopter below! If anyone local to me wants to enter then that would be great as our car really needs a wash!

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Tips for making a Carpet Creation

Are you thinking of making your own carpet creation?  It isn't nearly as complicated as they look and you probably have all the accessories you need lying around the house!  Here is how I put together my sleeping bunny scene.

Baby naptime image, sleeping baby, creative sleeping baby

Step one – Think about the scene you would like to create.  Cora was asleep in the car in her bunny hat and I decided to base the creation around that.  The possibilities are endless though so have a look around the room and choose something to inspire you.  If you are still looking for ideas look at the names of the Carpetright carpets- Mist and Highland Design for example offer ideas just with their names.

Step two – A sleeping baby is essential and ideally one in a very deep sleep so you can put them down somewhere other than their cot and move them around a little.  We actually went swimming before I took this shot as I know she is always so tired afterwards. Cora hates sleeping on her back so I love that I managed to get these shots.

Step three – Choose your favourite carpet.  I used the 'Peak district green artificial grass' from Carpetright for this shot as I wanted it to look like she was in the garden.   Blues and greys make perfect skies, bathroom floors can double up as a swimming pool and laminate has so many options

Step four – Use whatever you have lying around to help elaborate the scene.  As a mama to a small baby I have muslins everywhere so I grabbed a handful of coloured ones to make some flowers in my garden scene.  They are very versatile props, as are bed sheets and towels.  Kids toys are the perfect size next to a sleeping baby too.

Step five – Get up high to look down.  I put a chair next to my creation so that I could lean over and get lots of the scene in.   I took these photos on my phone as I could get everything into the frame and then cropped the edges out using free editing tools online.  I must have looked ridiculous to anyone looking through my living room window, but these images are ones that I will always treasure (and always have to torment my daughter with when she hits the teenage years).

I love how there is no limit to your creativity when making a carpet creation, there are unlimited ways to make your own scene and I am excited to be judging the public competition on behalf of carpetright! Make sure you get your entry in quick as the competition finishes on Friday!!

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Monday 24 October 2016

The Nights

The nights are long with a baby, and too short at the same time.  We see far too much of them, every half an hour some nights but we wake up wishing that morning was a little later, that we could spend longer tucked up.

Cora's sleep is erratic, we have nights where she sleeps well and nights where we she seems to have her eyes open more than shut.  I love the ease of breastfeeding, that I don't have to leave my bed in the night, that I don't have to really wake up to feed my baby.  When she first wakes up, I can lift her on to me and we both drift off together.  

During the night, she feeds when she is hungry, I help her, half asleep myself.  She is close enough that she doesn't need to cry out for me.  Her brothers don't hear her and I sleep lightly so that when she stirs I wake.  

I wake up in the morning to the sound of her breathing, her tiny body against mine.  The days are as long as the nights and so busy with her brothers but these nights are ours, they are the time we can be close.  The early morning, as the light slips in between the curtains and the house is still so peaceful before the chaos, this is our time.  I can watch her sleeping, marvel at how tiny and new she still is, study her features, breathe in that sweet milky smell.  It is our time to just be, in the way I wish I had appreciated more with the first baby.  

The baby phase is far too short and before I know it this little girl of mine will be sleeping independently in her crib, she won't need me in the same way she does now, so completely.  I will only be her whole world for such a short time, and the nights are where I can stop and remember that, and enjoy it, even if my eyes are stinging from the lack of sleep and the morning alarm is coming around too quickly.

Of course I want her to 'sleep through' in some ways - a long stretch of sleep sounds both wonderful and mythical at the moment.  The idea of my little baby sleeping all night is also a little sad though too - another sign that she is growing up, leaving the last phase behind and entering a new one.  For now we are just going with the flow, knowing (and reminding myself regularly) that things won't be like this forever.

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Thursday 20 October 2016

What the Kids Wore - Little Chickie // Sture and Lisa

 I appear to have developed a bit of a love for fox themed clothing at the moment - between the autumnal colours and the novelty ears, it seems the perfect attire for the two smallest people in my house.  I love how unisex most of the fox bits are and these items from Sture and Lisa at Little Chickie are perfect for my baby girl and my little boy.

I never intended to dress them matching quite so much, but Finn just adores his little sister and they look so sweet together that I can't resist.  I love matching them but with a few differences and these outfits are perfect for that.  Cora has an all in one romper and Finn has the matching long sleeved t-shirt with some co-ordinated brown bottoms.  You can also get a vest and bib in the same fox print.

Cora is wearing a 68 / 3-6 months and has lots of growing space.  She is an average sized 3 month old and I imagine this will last her until she is 6 months. 

Finn is an average 19 month old wearing the size 12-18 months.  He often fits in a 12-18 months and these items are the perfect fit on him and should last a few months too.

I love how sweet they look together and that Finn's outfit is so unisex that I can save it for Cora to wear next Autumn! Little Chickie sell more than just adorable fox clothes - as well as some of our favourite small babywear brands they sell beautiful gifts for little people too and I already have my eye on a few bits for Cora's Christmas present.

Thank you to Little Chickie for sending us these beautiful bits. 
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Tuesday 18 October 2016

Cora's little Corner

When we moved into our house I was pregnant with Archie and we were quite sure that he was our last baby.  We chose a three bedroom house that we thought would see us through the next few years.  Finn was a surprise and Cora even more so and suddenly with six of us in a three bedroom house space is quite tight.  I don't fancy moving with four so little so we are finding ways to make the most of our space for now.

Cora is still sleeping in with us and we don't have a real long term plan beyond that.  We may put the three boys in one room and our baby girl in another, or we may put Cora in with Finn so there are two in each room.  For now we are all happy where we are and we have created a small space for Cora in Finn's room.

A girl needs somewhere to keep her clothes and Cora has a white chest of drawers as well as a few bits hanging in my wardrobe.  Minene kindly gave me some storage to help keep her corner neat so now all the little baby toys are kept in a lovely black and white basket and her bibs and socks are in the lidded soft box on top of her drawers.  

Finn's room is now triple purpose - it contains his cot, wardrobes and the nursing chair as well as Cora's little corner and a desk as it is also our home office.  For the smallest room in the house (bar our box of a kitchen) it is pretty busy!

Being a fourth baby has some definite advantages - a more relaxed Mama, adoring big brothers and more experienced parents, but it does mean you don't get quite as much space of your own.

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Monday 17 October 2016

What the Kids Wore - Tootsa MacGinty

There is something to love about every season and I am sure I say it each time the weather changes, but I do think Autumn may be my favourite.  The memories of summer, the promise of Christmas and the ever changing environment to discover.  The weather seems to change every day and it is all about layers for us as I can never quite tell whether it is arms out or jumpers on.  One of our favourite places to explore in the Autumn is the forest and Tootsa Macginty sent the children some clothes that were perfect for climbing, crunching, running and cuddling in.

Tootsa Macginty, unisex kids clothing, kids fashion blogger

It is the first time we have been since Finn started walking and I love watching him discover things in a new way now that he is more vertical.  He loves the freedom of being able to roam and his brothers mostly followed his lead - it is a lot easier than telling him no every time he walks away from us.  

Tootsa Macginty

Tootsa MacGinty, Bobux

Finn is wearing some gorgeous yellow cords which are soft and lined with an adjustable waist.  I love the colour and the adorable fox poking out the back pocket.  They even have little fox details around the cuffs.  His jumper is incredibly soft and even nicer in real life - probably my favourite piece from the whole collection.

Brothers, Tootsa Macginty, kids fashion blogger

I love how unisex Tootsa Macginty clothes are as it makes them ideal to keep to pass down to Cora.  The new collection is all so well co-ordinated that you can find a style to suit each of them and know that they look brilliant together.  This Northern Lights collection takes inspiration from the dramatic scenery and magestic wildlife of Scandinavia.

Tootsa MacGinty, Kids fashion blogger, children's fashion

Tootsa Macginty, kids fashion blogger

Archie's raglan sleeved top comes up small so definitely size up in this style.  The sleeves have a village scene on them and match Finn's jumper which I love!  Archie's trousers are like jogging bottoms but in a denim shade and they look so comfy.  The waist is adjustable which is necessary on my super skinny boy and they are thick enough to keep him warm over the winter and protect him as he explores the woods.

Children's fashion blogger, Tootsa Macginty

These clothes were designed to be played in and despite Finn crawling, climbing and falling, everything washed really well and looks as good as new still. The cords seem to repel dirt and the white tops stay white even after lots of wear, and my boys are not the tidiest of eaters!

Tootsa Macginty, kids fashion

kids fashion blogger, Tootsa Macginty

There is something so refreshing about being out in the woods - these big boys of mine who have suddenly developed an obsession with the tablet and x-box, need time away from technology where it isn't tempting them, and they get so much more from being outdoors.  I want them to have a good balance and being somewhere so free really helps.

Cora was sent a new dress which matched her smallest big brother perfectly, even down to the little foxy pocket.  This is a 6-12 month on my 3 month old so there is a lot of growing space but it is beautful and I just can't get enough of the mustard colour this season!

Tootsa MAcginty, baby fox clothing, kids fashion blogger

I can't resist a bit of matching and I love how amazing these look together! The dresses are one of the only non-unisex things in the range.  I have a new found love of all things girly though so I couldn't resist it for Cora.

kids fashion blogger, Tootsa MacGinty, Baby fox clothes, fox girl clothing

I want more days like this whilst it isn't too cold or wet, whilst the scenery changes week to week as new leaves fall and new colours line the paths.  I want to watch the boys run and jump around in nature, playing their own special games and I want to carry Cora close as she experiences her first Autumn.  These Tootsa Macginty clothes are perfect for my little adventurers.

Thank you to Tootsa Macginty for Archie, Finn and Cora's outfits.  Everything pictured is from Tootsa Macginty including Cora's adorable hat (although Dylan's clothes are old summer stock so you may still find them in the sale) so check out their website!

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Sunday 16 October 2016

Hello in There

Cora arrived four days early, wailing loudly and already aware that she was born into a mad house.  Throughout the pregnancy she had heard me talking and singing, her Daddy's low tones and her brothers' loud ones.  It felt like she recognised us all, and she probably did as it is now known that babies can hear in the womb.  The experts say it sounds muffled, like you are talking underwater, but she will still have heard the intonation, the difference in tones, the squeaks and sqwarks of the three boys and my wonderfully tuneful (of course) singing.  I didn't talk to Cora before she was born as much as I did with Dylan, but she probably heard me more as I was naturally reading books and singing songs throughout the day.

I recently took part in some videos with Aptaclub to highlight the importance of talking to your growing bump and they are now live on the website.  They were filmed only a few days before Cora arrived and looking at my bump is already making me broody! 

With Dylan I felt that I naturally talked to him as a bump and the same songs I used to sing whilst painting the nursery were the ones that comforted him when he arrived.  After the first it definitely doesn't come as naturally but with a toddler (or two, or three) around I was singing and talking all day anyway.

My babies have such a wonderful bond and I always wonder whether Cora is so calm around the rather heavy handed Finn because she recognises his voice as a comfort - something she has always known.  

In some ways giving birth is the first time that you get to meet your baby, but in other ways it feels like you have known them forever - all those one sided conversations, the kicks and rolls and the dreams of what he or she will look like.  Pregnancy is the perfect time to start bonding with your baby. 

Disclosure : This post is in collaboration with Aptaclub
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Monday 10 October 2016

What Cora Wore - Question Everything

When I was pregnant with Cora I was convinced that I would dress this baby girl of mine in the bright unisex style that Finn wears.  I couldn't see why I would want fiddly dresses or those silly headbands and I saved all Finn's clothes for her to grow into.  

And then she arrived.

And she was a girl, undeniably a girl and the voice in the back of my head questioned whether some little dresses may not look quite cute, and how harmful a little bit of pink may be.  And then suddenly her wardrobe started to look rather girly.  You still won't find her in a pink floral tutu, but Cora looks pretty adorable in her girly clothes!  

Question Everything makes beautiful traditional girl's dresses and their style is classic and classy.  What is even better is that one of their dresses is called Cora - of course Cora had to have it!  The Cora dress is a navy blue with a delicate flower pattern all over.  I adore the style, Cora looks ever so girly and it reminds me so much of the dresses I used to wear as a little girl.  

It is a very different style to what I am used to, and the first item Cora has worn that isn't stretchy so I didn't find it as easy to put on (There are buttons all the way up the back of the dress).  Once it was on though it looked comfy and it comes with a little matching nappy cover too.  We popped some plain tights underneath as the weather is getting a little chillier!

I love the little details, the collar, the smocking on the front, the heart shaped buttons up the back and the delicate little cuffs.  It was a perfect little outfit to wear to a birthday party and I can only imagine it would look even cuter on a walking toddler!   Cora is wearing the size 3-6 months here and she is an average sized 3 month old.  There is plenty of growing space so I imagine it will last her a couple of months more. 

 Thank you to Question Everything for sending Cora this beautiful Cora dress - despite the fact that she hates smiling at a camera, she does like it and I think it is just adorable!

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Saturday 8 October 2016

3 Months Baby Girl

3 Months old means no longer a newborn and seeing a friend and her tiny 6 day old baby really brought home how much Cora has grown.  Her little face that I often likened to an angry tomato is now relaxed and curious.  Her wrinkles have filled out and she is growing rolls on her arms and legs.  She is starting to outgrow some of her 0-3 month clothing and she spends more time awake every day.

At 3 months Cora still isn't a fan of tummy time, even though she will only sleep on her tummy.  Her favourite place to be when awake (and not feeding) is on her playmat and she isn't bothered by a bouncer chair.  She loves to kick her legs and bat at her toys and stretch out.

Sleep is still pretty all over the place but she sleeps better than her one year old brother already.  There are nights where Cora goes down in her Snuzpod at 7pm and doesn't wake until 7am, although more common is settling for the night at around 9pm.  Some nights she wakes for a feed around 4 or 5am and on occasion (usually when Finn is not sleeping well and being particularly loud) she wakes up more often.  There is no routine at all to daytime naps, sometimes she sleeps for short periods, other times she has mammoth naps and different numbers every day.  I seem to remember that the boys didn't get much structure to their days until we started weaning and I think that may be the same for Cora. I am more than happy for her to just sleep when she is tired and feed when she is hungry! 

Cora has really found her voice this month and she loves to coo away.  We have also been getting some gorgeous little giggles when we tickle her neck.  There is no better sound than a baby laughing!  Despite the fact she looks rather moody in nearly all the photos I take, she is happy and smiley with me.  She is definitely a Mama's girl though and is happiest with me.  This month she has started going to other people better but she is always happiest in my arms.

We are still exclusively breastfeeding and I still haven't got round to pumping.  I have no desire to leave her at the moment and I can't be bothered to pump milk to stash just yet.  She is thriving on my milk and we are both really enjoying feeding.  

At 3 months old Cora loves black and white books, watching her brothers, milk, being naked, swimming, sleeping on my bed, chewing her fists and the sling and dribbling on everything.
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Wednesday 5 October 2016

Dairy Intolerance and Starting the Milk Ladder

I haven't written much about Finn's diet - I am so useless in the kitchen that sharing recipes isn't going to be popular (I can make a great piece of toast though), but Finn has been weaned on a dairy and egg free diet.  His intolerance to dairy was diagnosed at around 10 weeks old (I wrote about his CMPI diagnosis here) and his intolerance to egg was evident when we started weaning.  It took us a long time to adjust to the changes and once I finally felt that we were sorted with the dairy free cooking, it seemed to be time to start the milk ladder!

cmpi, milk ladder, dairy intolerance, ted wears organic, the mummy adventure

If you didn't already know, the milk ladder is a step by step way to introduce dairy to a child or adult that is intolerant to cows milk protein.  We were advised that we could start at any point from 12 months but due to being heavily pregnant and having a newborn, we decided to wait a little longer until we were all a bit more settled before we began.  Finn is now 19 months and whilst his verbal communication is still very limited, we understand what we are looking for and recognise the signs of his intolerance - generally that he is very upset and clearly in pain all night after eating something he shouldn't.

We have made many changes as a family to accomodate his intolerances and we now only have dairy free spread in the house (Pure soya spread and Violife creamy original cheese spread) and all three boys love the Violife dairy free cheese.  We eat certain meals like lasagne less often as making them dairy free was a bit more akward (completely possible but we are lazy packet sauce type people).  We eat fajitas and casseroles more as they are naturally dairy free and we found the places that sell dairy free garlic bread (Asda value frozen is great and surprisingly Pizza Hut!).  Picnics contain pom bears and party rings and Finn's formula milk is available for him on prescription until he is two years old.

This week we took the first step on the ladder though.  Malted milk biscuits are the first stage as they contain milk powder and we gave Finn half a biscuit on the first day, one biscuit on the second day and two on the third day.   It has been roughly a week now and we are still giving the biscuits every day.  We haven't noticed any issues which means stage one is a success!  The next step is digestive biscuits and they are on my shopping list for tomorrow.  Hopefully we will start being able to introduce more dairy into our family meals soon, but we are going to take it slowly making sure there are no issues before we move on to the next stage.  The recommendations as to the amount you can start with vary but as Finn's is an intolerance rather than allergy we decided to go straight for the half biscuit.

Having two big brothers who are still little enough to leave crumbs everywhere, I am hoping that this means I can stop obsessively hoovering the living room floor when they have cheese with their dinners and watching Finn like a hawk at playgroups when they bring out snack time.  I don't think we are going to attempt egg again until he turns two as he definitely still reacted to it at 18 months when he accidentally ate a couple of pieces of egg fried rice.  

I will update more on our Milk Ladder journey as we progress.

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Tuesday 4 October 2016

What the Boys Wore - Maxomorra

I love the colours of Autumn, the rich reds, browns and yellows and now that Finn is walking and understands a little more, I am getting to experience the change in seasons through his eyes.  The leaves that now coat the ground that was once fresh and green, the crunch underfoot which was before a squeak, the gusts of wind that make him hold his breath and giggle.  

We have been at the park so much over the last couple of weeks as it is in the middle of its transformation and whilst the centre still looks lovely and green, along the walls the trees are turning brown and there is so much to explore.  With Dylan at school and Archie at preschool three days a week, I have lots of time to head out with Finn and Cora (who tends to sleep through these things still).

Of course Autumn leaves make for a great excuse to take out my 'big camera' and the change of lighting from the bright summer sun is fun to learn about and much easier to photograph.  Maxomorra sent us some items from their new collection and I adore these velour frog dungarees and the co-ordinated top.  The colours are perfect for Autumn and the brown is very practical for a newly walking toddler!  Everything is made from organic cotton and the sizing is pretty generous too (Finn is 19 months and wearing size 80/9-12 months here).  

Finn has a real talent at finding rubbish wherever he goes so we always seem to end up litter picking at the park.  He finds a stray can that he wants to carry around so I remove it and bin it before turning round to see he has found an empty bottle and the process is repeated again.  The squirrels that run around the trees at our park are a great distraction though, as are the dogs that he wants to chase around.  

Every visit to the park seems to be different at the moment and this is definitely one of my favourite times of the year - the changes are so subtle each day but so dramatic and Finn has the perfect attire for exploring it. 

Thank you to Maxomorra for sending us these beautiful clothes.  If you want to check out their new collection which features several prints with each one coming in different items from dungarees to dresses to hoodies to onesies.  Some of our favourite UK stockists are Catfish Kids, Dapperbaby, Juicytots, Kyna Boutique and Uni and Jack

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Sunday 2 October 2016

Babywearing with an AmaWrap

I don't know how people have multiple children without a sling, it has to be one of my most used baby items and it really does make life with four easier.  Stretchy wraps are my favourite for carrying a newborn and we were sent an AmaWrap for Cora.

There are so many companies making stretchy wraps now and whilst in some ways they are all ultimately the same -  a long piece of material - I definitely think there is a big difference between what is available.  What I loved about the Amawrap was that is was just the right amount of stretch for me.  I could tie it before I put Cora in and stretch it around to get her in the right position.  When it was on though, it didn't droop like many I have tried and she stayed in the perfect position for the whole time.

It feels really secure and I can comfortably wear her for hours in my Amawrap.  I use it on the school run, on days out and around the house.  With three big brothers sometimes Cora needs to be out the way and close to me and this is the perfect way to carry her - hands free. 

The Amawrap is easy to tie and wear, feels really secure and means I can carry Cora safely following the Ticks guidelines.  I can completely recommend this wrap and I can see it lasting us for many more months.  I wear it everyday so if you follow me on instagram or facebook you will probably see it popping up regularly.   It comes in a variety of colours and costs £39.99

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