Tuesday 31 January 2017

Me and Mine January

We are already a whole month into 2017 and what a crazy one it has been! In the wider world we have seen the devestation that Trump is causing and in my smaller world we have applied for a school place (Archie) , travelled to find snow, gained extra teeth (Cora) and watched far more TV than I would like.  

My photos from this month aren't the sharpest and typically we forgot to find anyone to take them until the last minute of our ski trip so there is a fading light and less than ideal background.  We managed three vaguely happy (not crying) children out of four so I am still calling it a win.  We had the most amazing family holiday and I hope I will look back and remember how we were too busy having fun to stop for photos.

In January Mama is loving seeing her sister in France, going up to London for the kids fashion trade shows, hot baths after a cold day and eating cheese fondue and raclette.

Daddy is loving skiing down the red runs, watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix, quiet weekends at home and watching how well Dylan could ski.

Dylan is loving going down the blue run with mummy and Daddy, making a holiday scrap book, birthday cake at Uncle Oli's birthday and learning about the Chinese New Year at school.

Archie is loving skiing down the snake, playing Dig Out on the tablet at the airport, finding the letter 'A' everywhere and playing with Cora in the mornings.

Finn is loving spending time with Aunty NatNat, pinching everyone else's food, turning the tv off if we put anything other than Blaze on and perfecting his pronunciation of the word 'biscuit'.

Cora is loving carbs (her favourite foods are toast, chips and potatoes), her doll from Nanny, bouncing on her feet and sleeping in the crook of my arm.

February may only be a short month, but two out of our six have birthdays to celebrate so the boys are all pretty excited for it!
Read more ⇨

Monday 30 January 2017

Win £250 to Spend with Tile Mountain

With the arrival of Cora last year, our house is feeling well and truly outgrown.  There are now twice as many people as bedrooms and our tiny box kitchen isn't coping well with having six mouths to feed.  We need to move somewhere bigger and more practical and whilst the idea of moving with so many small people fills me with dread, the opportunity to decorate a new house is rather tempting.

My favourite part of the day is often once the children are in bed, when I get a chance to soak in a hot bubbly bath and I am dreaming of a beautiful bathroom.  I love the glass effect tiles that Tile Mountain have, they are bright and calming and I imagine they will make any bathroom feel more like a mini spa. 

If you have been dreaming of the perfect bathroom, want to update your kitchen or have decided it would be sensible to tile the entire house because your children are so messy and it is easier to clean (something we have been seriously considering!) then I have the perfect giveaway.  I have a £250 e-voucher for Tile Mountain to giveaway to one lucky ready, just follow the instructions on rafflecopter below.

Read more ⇨

Sunday 29 January 2017

7 Months Baby Girl

Why is it that the more desperate you are for them to stay the little, the more determined they seem to be to grow up?  We have not only passed that half way mark, but my little lady is now 7 months old.  Cora still needs me in many ways like a newborn, but she is learning new skills and becoming more independent every day too.

We started weaning as she turned 6 months and after a slow start, she is starting to enjoy her food more.  Toast and broccoli are firm favourites, carrots are not.  We are following the baby led weaning principles but I did try offering her something on a spoon out of curiosity - she was highly unimpressed!  Cora eats one meal a day, sometimes two and I hope to encourage some kind of regularity in the coming month.  

At 7 months I would love to say that sleep is improving but it would be a lie, we seem to be stuck in a pattern of hourly or two hourly feeds through the night still and Cora will only settle in my bed.  We still have the co-sleeper crib up against it, but it is currently being used more for storage than anything else.  In all honesty, I am not really encouraging her to sleep on her own, I find it comforting to have her so close at night and I barely wake in the night when she needs milk.

Since Cora leaned to sit, she has been reluctant to spend any time on her tummy.  She loves to sit on her playmat surrounded by toys and she goes in her jumperoo for short periods too.  She is happiest when one of her brothers sits to play with her and she is always amused by them, especially Finn, despite the fact he plays quite rough with her.

This past month saw two little teeth emerge from her gums which was quite a shock! Her brothers were all around 11 months when they got their first teeth so I thought we had a few more months of that gummy smile!  I have a feeling that this baby girl of mine is going to do everything her own way!  She has been snotty and full of cold all week and I don't know whether it is connected to the teeth or just typical January germs.

I have definitely come around to the girly thing now and I am finding it easier to dress Cora in pink.  She is wearing lots of soft little dresses at the moment as I imagine when she starts crawling they will all be packed away for a few months.  We are coming to the top end of her 3-6 wardrobe and starting to break into the 6-9 bits now which is quite exciting.  At 7 months Cora weighs 16lb 10oz and is following the fiftieth centile exactly.  

Cora is cuddly, happy, healthy and loved by us all.  I feel like I am writing these updates too often as the months are flying by, and we are trying so hard to stop and appreciate how small she is now, amidst the chaos of our busy house.
Read more ⇨

Thursday 26 January 2017

My Top Tips for Taking Kids Skiing with Snowbizz

We have just returned from our third family ski trip to Puy St Vincent with Snowbizz and we are already planning to go back next year.  It is such a wonderful little resort and the perfect place for children to learn to ski.  I wrote about our first time skiing, how the boys got on skiing at 2 and 4 years old and how to enjoy a ski holiday even if you can't ski, but I wanted to share our top tips for taking kids, because even this year we are still learning how to make things as easy and relaxing for us all.

So here are my five top tips if you are planning on taking children on a Snowbizz ski holiday.

1)  Pack light

The bigger two boys got dressed into their thermals each morning in preperation for their ski lessons, and they very rarely got out of them.  In the afternoons we either went back out in the snow so they needed them on, or they ran around the creche or the apartment still in them because it was the easiest thing to do.  One or two pairs is fine for the week if you go for something like merino wool as they are self cleaning and they wick the moisture away.  For Dylan and Archie I packed thermals, a fleece and their ski wear and then just a couple of pairs of trousers and a couple of tops for the indoor kids clubs.  (I made a little video with what we packed for the youngest two here)

snowbizz, skiing with babies, family ski holiday

2) Enjoy the childcare

The nannies are fantastic and there is so much for the little ones to play with, so just enjoy it, make the most of a little time to sit and read, or enjoy a croissant, some extra time on the slopes or even a sneaky afternoon nap.  All four of mine loved the creche and the staff and even Cora who at 6 months had never been away from me for more than 30 minutes, who had only ever been left with her Daddy, settled straight in, smiling and laughing for the ladies and not crying once all week.  

family ski holiday, ski holiday with creche, snowbizz

3) Feed them often

Skiing is exhausting, learning a new skill is hungry work so fill your apartment with easy snacks.  There are two supermarkets and we took a few familiar snacks from home for the younger two as well like rice cakes and breadsticks.  If you have a child in junior ski school (aged 5 or over) then put something sweet in their coat pocket before their lesson as two hours is a long time and they have a little break where they can have something to eat in the middle to keep them going.  The food in the restaurants is all rich and filling and the kids portions are huge, but you really work up an appetite!

3 year old skiing, family ski holiday, Snowbizz

4) Borrow books / DVDs

In between the excitement of skiing, sledging, fresh snow and new friends, our boys needed some downtime where they could just switch off a bit and rest.  The creche has bundles of books as well as DVD players and films you can borrow.  We bought a few small toys with us in our luggage and then borrowed books and films whilst we were out there.  You can also rent sledges, buckets and spades free of charge too which we made the most of.

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, muddy puddles ski jackets

5) Take them to the top

Well not quite the top, but at half past the hour you can go up on the chair lift to 2100 metres on foot.  We took all four of them (with Cora in a sling) and there is a lovely little restaurant up there as well as lots of fresh snow to play in and stunning views.  The lovely staff will stop the lift completely for you to get on and off and help children down too.  If you have a family with mixed ages then the bigger children can ski down with one parent whilst the younger ones go in the chair lift with another parent.

bundle bean, family ski holiday, snowbizz, baby skiing

Snowbizz is a fantastic place to visit with small children and everything is set up to make life more relaxing for you and to give them the best possible experiences whilst they are out there.

We were guests of Snowbizz for the week but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

Read more ⇨

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Budget Holiday Tips for Families

We are a family that loves to travel, but as we have grown, we have had to think more about how to make our holiday's as cost effective as possible.  With four children we don't often fit the standard family requirements and we have had to change the way we travel to reflect this.  Here are some of my top tips for travelling on a budget.

1) Flexibility makes it easier to get a better price so search for flights for the week you want to go away and check if one day is significantly cheaper than the others.  Fridays are usually the most expensive so being able to go midweek can pay off.  Flexibility on location helps too, you may want to go to Spain for example but browsing a site like Spain-Holiday.com and checking out different regions means you can find something to fit every budget.

2) Book each part of the holiday separately to ensure you are getting the best deals.  Check out sites like skyscanner to compare flight prices and book everything direct with the company to avoid paying any additional fees. 

3) It can pay to stay a little further away from where you want to be to save some pennies and also give you more living space for your money.  Choosing to rent a holiday house can be much easier with a larger family too as you have space to settle the children to bed and still have some adult time rather than playing cards by the light of your phones in a dark hotel room (which we have done more than once). Check out the local transport to see how this could work for you.

4) Choose what is important to you.  We often fly with the cheapest budget airline and don't pay for any frills like choosing seats or quick boarding.  We are happy to stay in cheaper accommodation if it means more money for eating out and going on trips.  If you are planning on cooking more then spend a little more choosing the right holiday home with a decent sized kitchen.

5) Travel with friends - if there are a group of you looking for the same kind of holiday then check out some bigger rental properties.  On Spain-Holiday.com you can filter by the number of guests and there are stunning villas that sleep up to 16  - you get to split the cost and have a private pool!

6) Booking early is the best way to guarantee low prices and ideally 11 months before you want to travel is the cheapest.  Alternatively, wait until 3 days before you want to go away to make the most of the last minute deals.  Both have advantages of course but planning early gives you more chance to save and pay things off slowly.

7) Before you go away look for discounted entry tickets for local attractions, whether there are any festivals on, free days to visit things or cards that offer entry to multiple places.      

We love to travel and try and cut down costs so that we can go away more often.  Do you have any great budget tips to share?

Collaborative Post
Read more ⇨

Monday 23 January 2017

Our Week away with Snowbizz

Have you ever been somewhere and realised that you left a little piece of yourself there when you left?  That is how we feel about Puy St Vincent.  This year was the third time we have taken a family ski holiday, the third time we have headed to the snowy French Alps with Snowbizz - The Family Ski Specialists, and we know that it won't be the last.

From the helpful staff in the office to the friendly greeting at Gatwick airport to the Pink ladies welcoming us to Turin, we felt looked after at every stage of our journey and in resort I felt confident leaving my children with the qualified nannies and knew that the boys' ski lessons were all overseen by Michel, who makes it his business to ensure every child (and adult) is getting the most from their time in Puy.  

This year was our first time with four children, and I was a little worried about how it would all go.  They are all still so young and with two under two, we were flying with one on our lap each and another child next to us each.  Somehow everything seemed to come together on the day and it just fell into place.  The drive up to the resort from the airport is full of anticipation and snoring as the early start means we all struggled to stay awake.  When you open your eyes to the stunning view of endless mountains, crisp white snow and tall trees it is just so magical and we were in Puy before we knew it.

babywearing, snow babywearing, madame googoo

Our week was exhausting but relaxing and we each got so much from it.  The bloke and I progressed in our skiing thanks to our wonderful instructor Hugo.  He pushed me to try some of the red runs, he took us off piste after the fresh snow had fallen and he helped me every step of the way when I struggled with my confidence.  

Dylan was in the Junior ski school this year which meant a two hour lesson each morning.  To say he loved it would be an understatement, he was dressed and ready to go each morning an hour before the doors even opened! There were four of them in his group and he spent the week on the green and blue slopes.  On the last day after much asking, I went out skiing with him.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to help him much, that I wasn't good enough myself but he amazed me with his independence and skills.  His instructor had taught them how to get their skis on themselves, how to get up when they fall and how to ski well.  We skied down alongside him amazed at how far he had come in only a week!

snowbizz, family skiing, family ski specialist

Archie loved his lessons too with instructor Matthieu.  The 'Totons' are skiers aged 3 and 4 and each group has one of the qualified nannies out on the snow with them.  Archie had two other little boys with him which meant an amazing ratio and so much attention.  He was keen to keep trying all lesson and didn't want them to end after the hour!

3 year old skiing, family ski holiday, snowbizz,

Cora and Finn were in the creche - Finn charmed everyone as he always does and Cora surprised me in the best way.  For a baby that is attached to me almost 24/7 at home, I wasn't sure how she would cope in a new surrounding.  At 6 months she is still breastfed on demand and she is used to being worn in a sling a lot. She settled into the creche immediately and didn't cry all week.  She was content and smiley for the wonderful ladies and they were very respectful of my parenting, happy to hold her and cuddle her as much as she wanted.  I popped in just before my lesson and straight after it to feed her and she fell into an easy routine whilst we were away.

family ski holiday, taking a baby skiing

The wonderful thing about a ski holiday is that there is something for everyone.  Our week was a mix of adult time and family time and we could all go off in the day and have our lessons but we all came together again afterwards, refreshed after a little time apart and with the wonderful backdrop of a snowy mountain to relax us.  Skiing is physically quite exhausting so our evenings were snuggly and our bedtimes early.

Snowbizz offers so much but the things that really make it perfect for young families like ours are the exceptional childcare and the closeness of everything.  We would leave our apartment and have our skis on within 30 seconds walk, ready to go.  At the end of my lesson, I could pop my skis against the wall with Ed and be back with the children in less than a minute.  The resort is small but has everything we needed with a selection of restaurants, ski shops and two supermarkets.

family ski holiday, snowbizz, family ski specialist

The childcare is by far the best we have come across in any country.  The nannies all seem so genuinely happy to be there and their energy and enthusiasm is catching.  I would pop in to feed Cora at sometimes quite random times but I always found them totally engrossed in play with the children - painting faces, making up songs, pushing them around in cars or following the children's games.  I felt happy leaving Cora there each day despite the fact that until last week I had never left her with anyone other than Ed and never for more than 30 minutes.

This little resort buried 1600 metres up the slope is the place we spend all year looking forward to visiting and we are not alone.   The personal service of a family run company means there are families that come back year after year and many new families are captivated on the first visit.  For children learning to ski, this is the perfect resort with small classes and the nursery slopes on their doorstep.

toddler in snow, family ski holiday, snowbizz with a toddler

Skiing may not be the first thing you think of when looking for somewhere to take young children, but it is an amazing holiday for every age and we have definitely got the ski bug!

sledging, family ski holiday, snowbizz

muddy puddles, family ski trip, snowbizz,

snowbizz, family ski specialists, sledging with a three year old

snowbizz, family ski holiday

snowbizz, crete ski slope, family ski holiday

bundlebean, family ski resort, skiing with a baby, snowbizz

learning to ski, snowbizz, family ski holiday

learning to ski, family ski holiday, snowbizz, puy st vincent

Thank you to Snowbizz for hosting us last week - we may turn out to be your most loyal customers!

Read more ⇨

Saturday 21 January 2017

A Letter to my Pregnant Self

Dear Me, 6 years ago,

You will be fine.

Everything is about to change, and you won't really appreciate just how much until it does.  People have tried to tell you, but you are so focused on pregnancy and the birth that anything beyond seems too far off still.  You may not know what to do at times, but that is fine, parenthood is about learning and all those people doling out advice had to learn once upon a time too.

It is all going to matter so incredibly much, and then suddenly it isn't, but the things that will be important to you are important.  You will become obsessed with breastfeeding, the contents of your baby's nappy, first foods, the average crawling age and what brand of babywipes to buy.  You will chat for hours about these things without getting even a little bit bored because that is your everyday.  You will find friends who find these things just as fascinating, who can debate baby led weaning vs puree all afternoon over a cup of luke warm tea.  And then one day none of it will matter again, you will move on and find it strange how you were ever so fascinated.  Parenthood goes in cycles and this baby stage that you are about to dive headfirst into is so incredibly intense but so short too.

Make the most of it, as much as you can of course.  You don't have to appreciate every moment, nobody ever will, but try to stop sometimes and sniff his little head.  When he falls asleep, watch his chest rise and fall and think about how you feel.  When you feed him lying down in your bed, take the time to appreciate how well he seems to slot in, how your body curves around him so naturally.  When he sleeps, and the house is silent, drink your freshly made cup of tea and just sit.  It won't always be this hard, it won't always be this easy.

The best piece of advice I can give you is not to worry so much about 'the book'.  You will try and do everything 'right', but your baby is unique.  You will learn over time to parent your child not 'a child', accept that he will be faster and slower than average, that he will sleep through when he is ready, he will drink until he is full and he will eventually crawl and walk.  Stop and listen to him, listen to yourself and do what feels natural, chances are it is the right thing.

Some people will tell you that there are things you can't do once you have a child - it isn't true.  It might not be as easy, but you are going to be the Mum, you get to make the rules.  If you want to go out for dinner late then take a pram for him to sleep in.  If you want to climb a mountain then get a good sling to wear him on your back.  If you want to travel and see the world then you can, and you get to see it through a child's eyes too, it will be magical.  Don't let having children hold you back from achieving what you want, but equally know that being a Mummy is more than enough.  Don't judge yourself against others, just be the best version of you that you can be.

You may wonder what the future holds but I am not going to give anything away.  It will be full of surprises, it will challenge you, make you question yourself but ultimately you will end up richer -your heart and home will be overflowing with love and you will be happy.  Take each day as it comes, appreciate the small things, let your baby be little whilst you still can.  Take a deep breath, count your blessings and enjoy the adventures of parenthood.

Love from Me, now.

p.s Make sure you always check out baby events to find the best deals - nobody will warn you quite how satisfying saving money on the necessities is! Tesco have one on at the moment and there is still a week left to grab some savings.

Disclaimer : In association with Tesco

Read more ⇨

Thursday 5 January 2017

Keeping Warm // Bundle Bean

Winter has hit but we aren't letting it get in the way of our adventures.  Over the Christmas and New Year period we have alternated between cosy indoor time with new toys and running around outdoors burning off some of the boxes of chocolates we have been consuming.  We are lucky enough to have the beach on our doorstep and it is the perfect place to let the children explore.  

flamingo footmuff, bundlebean go, carseat cover

Cora loves being outdoors, but being non mobile means she feels the cold a lot more than the rest of us.  We have been sent a Bundle Bean to help keep her warm whilst we are out and it is ideal for the changing transport modes we use.  

bundle bean go, footmuff, carseat cover

Whilst a traditional footmuff is great, the Bundle Bean has the benefits of adapting and I can use this one on a buggy, car seat or sling thanks to the adjustable velcro straps.  It isn't just a winter product either, the waterproof outer means it is an ideal picnic blanket or outdoor play mat in the summer too. 

The one in these pictures is the BundleBean Go, the most versatile of their products, but if you are looking for a specific babywearing one, then there is another option with a detachable hood specifically designed to fit all slings and carriers.  We actually have a babywearing version too and I can highly recommend it!

bundle bean, babywearing cover, footmuff for sling

Our winter adventures will continue, the bigger boys will carry on running free and my little lady will stay snug, whether she is in a buggy, car seat or sling.

Read more ⇨

Monday 2 January 2017

What's in my Changing Bag // What Daisy Did

Leaving the house with four under fives takes a little longer than you expect (even after six months practice) and I need to be prepared.  I try to stock my changing bag the night before so that if I am running late I can grab it and go.  I have a wonderful leather changing bag from What Daisy Did, a fairtrade company creating sustainable fashion and working closely with the artisans in India.

Using natural materials and offcuts, What Daisy Did designs unique bags that outlive the short trends and last well.  They employ skilled workers, pay them a fair wage and offer flexible working hours as well as working with homeless charities to help tackle poverty.  Every part of this bag's journey is sustainable and well thought out and the bag is beautifully made, strong enough to cope with everything we stuff it full with and perfect for using long after the babies are out of nappies. 

what daisy did, ethical fashion

And to show you what I keep inside my changing bag on an average day . . .

changing bag, what to pack in a changing bag, cloth nappy mum, cloth nappy changing bag

Enough nappies for two children - both are in birth to potty sized now, so I tend to take out 6 for a half day and 8/10 for a full day, along with my wet/dry bag to store them in and a pack of baby wipes.  We mostly use TotsBots (pictured)

Two muslins which are used for a multitude of things including thin blanket, makeshift bib and something to mop up sick and dribbles.

A fabric bag to carry any shopping

Two fabric drawstring bags each with a set of spare clothes for the youngest two.  The older two don't really need spares any more.

Pen and paper to jot things down.

Snacks for hungry children - usually raisins or snack bars as they are small.  I have a packet of dairy free buttons in my bag too which can be useful for bribery!

A few little plastic toys for distracting overtired toddlers.

A pack of tissues and a hairband

A wipe clean bib (I need to add another one too now that Cora is weaning!)

My purse and keys

A roll up TotsBots fabric changing mat

And mostly that is it! I try to remember a sports top bottle of water and it won't be long until I need a little beaker for Cora too. If I have the bag packed with all these bits then I feel ready to go in the mornings.

I usually use the front pouch for some of my bits like the tissues, hairband, notebook and my phone and everything else goes in the main section.  As this is not designed as a changing bag it isn't full of pockets but I find it easy to use as I have all the nappies in the TotsBots bag and I use drawstring bags from Smafolk at Funky Little People for spare clothes etc.

This is the perfect nappy bag for us and I love reading all the details about how it is made and who made it.  This is the 'oak weekend bag' and there are lots of other great options including some beautifully colourful bags - check out What Daisy Did

Thank you to Ozric and Daisy for sending me this wonderful bag, we have been using it for a few months now and it is still as beautiful and strong as when we first got it.
Read more ⇨
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...