Tuesday 31 July 2018

Me and Mine in July

I had left it until the last minute to take the photos for this anyway - 6pm on the 31st July and I thought as we left the soft play centre where we had spent the afternoon we could balance my phone on the buggy and take a quick snap of us all.  Apparently a nasty wasp had another idea and poor Cora got stung on her finger.  There were so many wasps around that we rushed back into the car and not knowing whether all four children were going to make it home awake, we decided a family car selfie would have to do.  I haven't yet missed a month since we started this journey and today was not going to change that.

So our photos aren't great but here we are, last minute, stung fingers, sweaty faces (the kids) and huge eye bags (the parents).  Our July has been brilliant and totally emotional with the end of school and everything that comes with it and the start of the six week summer holidays.  It has been ridiculously hot and one of my biggest achievements this month has been keeping the sunflowers that the kids planted alive.  August is going to be full of adventures but before it begins, we need to look back at the month of July

This month I have loved late nights at the beach, watching Dylan's leavers play, swimming in the English sea and turning off my alarm.

Ed has loved his Dyson fan (not a fan of the heat), seeing Flight of the Concords, our niece's birthday and getting a shiny new phone.

Dylan has loved his school sleepover, going sno tubing at his friend's birthday party, counting down until his birthday and having more time to chill out at home.

Archie has loved having his friends over to play in the holidays, seeing The Incredibles 2 at the cinema, a day out in London without the little two and playing computer games.

Finn has loved water fights in the garden, discovering the wonders of surprise eggs being opened on YouTube, wearing his snowman top at any opportunity and having his big brothers around to play with more.

Cora has loved calling everyone a Poo poo bum, singing sleeping bunnies and the Happy Birthday song, jumping on the trampoline and getting ice lollies every day in the heat!

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Monday 30 July 2018

Free Play with Petits Filous

This week, Archie brought a friend home from school.  He came in and asked what we had to play with him.

“What is your favourite toy at home?” I asked him

“Well I really love cardboard boxes” he replied and just like that I felt more positive about the future.  Giving my children the option to free play is really important to me and their imaginations will be the ones changing the world.  

Mine have screen time (too much I should probably admit), swimming lessons and after school club every week but we try and make sure that they have opportunities to play free every day, to leave behind the structure of nursery and school and expectations of learning and just run with whatever comes in to their heads.  They are encouraged to just be, without any input from me, so they can find their own games.

Free Play is exactly that. . . free.

It doesn’t require expensive props or toys, it doesn’t even require your time or input.  As a child I remember turning the coffee tables upside down and making them into hutches with my siblings so we could be bunnies.  My children love transforming things that have been earmarked for the recycling bin and a cardboard box and some Petits Filous yoghurt pots are always staples.  Finn will without a doubt request I make him a car and he and Cora drive all over the place in it, taking turns to drive and push each other round. Dylan usually prefers crafting something himself but he isn’t yet too big to get stuck in with the toddlers’ games and he loves to steer the play in new ways.  They free play alone, in pairs and every now and again all four together.

Sometimes I watch them, listen to their language evolving, witnessing them problem solving and embracing their imaginations.  I think offering them the opportunity to free play every day is one of the most important things I can do as a parent and I am hoping my children continue having the capacity to just play for many more years.  Today’s innovators are those that can step away from what we already know and can access that free space in their mind where they can imagine the future.

Petits Filous have researched the importance of Free Play and teamed up with Amazon Pantry to encourage more children to create and imagine.  You can even get technology involved with Alexa! Simply ask Alexa to ‘Open Petits Filous’ to add sound effects and another dimension to their play.

This summer we are going to encourage the children to be bored because once they push past boredom, they become creative, they play free and they grow their imaginations! You can find out more over on the Petits Filous facebook page

Sponsored Post

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Friday 27 July 2018

Five Fun Garden Activities for the Whole Family

This summer I am determined to make the most of our garden.  We want to have fun days out of course but sometimes we need time at home to rest and recuperate and the little two love having a day to just be naked at home.   We have been planning some fun garden activities for the whole family to enjoy.

1. Obstacle courses

This was my favourite as a child.  First you have to slide down the slide, then hop to the paddling pool, run through it, go over the stick balanced between two chairs . . . .it was different every time and we would time each other to see who was the fastest and try and get a personal best.  I am passing this one on to the children and it is definitely something everyone can enjoy.

2. Big chalk drawing

If you have any paved or wooden areas, then chalk painting is so much fun! I have been encouraging Archie to practice writing his letters, the smallest two have been doodling and I have been creating masterpieces*

*Or dodgy stick men.  One or the other.

3. Trampoline

We were recently sent an 8ft trampoline from Sports Power which I single handedly built and automatically earned the first bounce on.  It has been years since I was doing swivel hips at school on one but all of us are loving the new addition to the garden!

4. Football

It doesn't matter what size your garden is, there is always a wall to kick a football against.  We have a goal in our garden so we can play in little teams or practice our penalty shootouts.  All four of the children love it and I need to get all the practice I can!

5. Water Fights

It turns out that when you pass me a water gun I quickly transform into the biggest kid there is! Even my two year old can brandish a pistol threateningly at you so this is definitely a whole family game.  As warning if you have two parents playing it can get very competitive very quickly!

The sports power trampolines are available to buy from Argos, Very and Asda and this 8ft one is under £100!

What garden activities do you do as a whole family?
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Friday 20 July 2018

10 Reasons to Love - A Book Giveaway

All four children are going through a stage of preffering non fiction books so we have been on the hunt for some great factual books aimed at young readers.  I was sent some information about the '10 Reasons to Love' series and it looked perfect for all four of them.  The two newest releases are '10 Reasons to love a Lion' and '10 Reasons to love a Penguin' (two of our favourite animals) and both have been big hits!

The books are beautifully illustrated and full of interesting facts about what makes these majestic animals so special.  Written by an expert in the field, the books look at conservation issues and discuss how we can best look after these animals.  Dylan especially is becoming very aware of our impact on animals habitats and he loved learning a bit more.  Cora and Finn love to make up their own stories as they flick through and we love the details in the illustrations.

These hardback books look beautiful on a bookshelf and would make a lovely gift for a curious child.  There is a whole series including turtles, elephants, whales and bears but I have two sets of the penguin and lion books to give away today!

If you would like to win a copy of both the penguin and the lion book then enter via the rafflecopter form below.  Two winners will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent the books for the purpose of this post.
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Friday 13 July 2018

What Cora Wore // Bambinista

It feels like Cora hadn't grown in a long time but we have finally entered a growth spurt and I am enjoying getting to sort out the next size up clothing! We were approached by Bambinista who sell some seriously cool kids clothes and I had to look through pretty much the whole site before making a decision as there were so many lovely bits.  I finally settled on a dusky pink ballerina dress for Cora though and I (and she) just love it.

The designer is Huxbaby and I think they have filled a gap with this dress as it has the prettiness of a ballerina, it is feminine and fun and ever so girly but the dark bunny prints and dusky colour make it a bit more fun, a bit different and very stylish. 

Bambinista stock clothing for boys and girls up to age 6 as well as a few adult items too and the website was started to make shopping for cool baby clothes easier.  The brands they stock include many of our favourites like CarlijnQ, Lucky no.7 and Lottie & Lysh and this dress is our first item from Huxbaby although it is a brand I have been admiring for a while now.

I think this dress would work well for a special occassion, but it was just as good for a scoot to the park, and when you are two it is totally acceptable to wear your party dress on an average Tuesday of course.  I love these photos of Cora just playing and scooting along in it and she is so in love with this dress that I know she is going to be grabbing it out her wardrobe at every opportunity.  If you do look at the Huxbaby selection then I would suggest sizing up.  This dress is a size bigger than she usually wears and it fits lovely.

Bambinista currently have their summer sale on and this dress is half price! There are lots of other bargains and great brands to discover too! I will leave you with some more photos of her having fun in her bunny outfit.

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Tuesday 10 July 2018

Adventures on our Micro Trike

We have long been fans of Micro Scooters and we now have 5 in the family (all four children have one as do I) and so I was excited to have the chance to try out their newest addition, the Micro Trike.  Designed as a push along trike for young children the Micro Trike folds up small, is super lightweight and has the option to add a waist harness too.

Micro scooter trike, micro trike review, themummyadventure.com

I originally planned for it to be something Cora could use as all three boys scoot everywhere but there have been many arguments as Finn loves using it too and both are within the weight and age limit (from 18 months to 20kg).  The trike comes in four colours at the moment- black, white, pink and blue and we chose pink as we don't have much in that colour really.  

Micro scooter trike, micro trike review, themummyadventure.com

I love how easy the trike is to fold up and carry around.  It weighs less than 5lb and is so compact that it can easily fit in the boot of the car.  Micro suggest it could replace the buggy and for some journeys it has been for us, although if we are out long enough for either of them to fall asleep then I do need a proper buggy instead.

Micro scooter trike, micro trike review, themummyadventure.com

Cora is petite at around 80cm and is tall enough to use it.  She turned 2 last month and is secure and mature enough to understand the limits and she seems a perfect age for it.  Finn is around 98cm and he can reach the floor with both feet when he wants to.  He loves pushing himself forward like this, however it is the handle that does the steering so he can't go far! I find it really easy to push (much easier than other push along trikes we have tried) and the steering is simple even with a heavy toddler on.  I can reverse and turn sharp corners with one hand and the trike has all the stability and resilience of the Micro Scooters that we love.

Micro scooter trike, micro trike review, themummyadventure.com

The product is so simple and we are always being stopped by people that want to know more! It won't be replacing a buggy completely for us but it is perfect for the school runs and to let little ones join in with bigger siblings on bikes and scooters.  The Micro trikes cost £79.95

Micro scooter trike, micro trike review, themummyadventure.com

We were gifted this Micro Trike but I was not required to write about it, I just wanted to share our thoughts as we are really impressed. 

Micro scooter trike, micro trike review, themummyadventure.com

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Wednesday 4 July 2018

Cora Turns Two

Last week my youngest baby turned two and it really felt like we were celebrating the end of the baby days.  We decided to hire a bouncy castle for the day which then escalated into throwing a huge party that lasted all day.  All Cora's little friends came round at lunchtime for a bounce and some cake, and then the boys brought home some friends after school to make the most of the giant inflatable.  In the evening, we had family round from both sides for a bbq in the garden and we kept the bouncy castle overnight so we could bounce away into the night!  I think Cora had a great time, she looked so happy surrounded by everyone she loves.

I know that at this age Cora doesn't really understand birthdays and she certainly doesn't need a party but I love it and having a summer birthday it feels like a perfect excuse to get everyone together too, to enjoy some sunshine.  She had a little nap before the first guests arrived at midday and then stayed awake until the last ones were leaving at 8:30!

Recently she was sent a beautiful dress from Roco clothing which she is wearing in many of the photos.  Unfortunately being a messy toddler still, the dress didn't make it through the day so there was an outfit change for the evening! We love the beautiful silver party dress and she looked like a little princess all dressed up.  

It wasn't easy taking photos without other children in, but I have a few of Cora enjoying her day (and her cakes).  The lovely folk at Party Swan sent us some props - the large second birthday photo board and the selfie frame and we loved snapping away with them!

Cora is walking and running, talking and singing, scooting and jumping and in many ways she is much older than the boys were at the same age (probably comes with having three big brothers) but at the end of the day as she fell asleep in my arms she was still my baby and I know she always will be.

Happy 2nd Birthday Cora

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Monday 2 July 2018

Persil Powergems - Laundry for a bigger family.

I am sure that the amount of washing I need to do has doubled exponentially with each child we have added to the family. As little babies they get through several outfits a day and it doesn’t seem to have eased off, especially with the introduction of double potty training last month and the big two’s ability to decorate their school shirts with their lunches every day.

All that aside, I have at times found the elusive bottom of the washing basket and feel that with the right routine, I can keep on top of the washing. Here are my tips for finding the bottom of the basket with a bigger family:

  • - Buy a big washing machine. I have no problem filling a load and having a bigger machine just makes sense. Fewer washes is the goal so when you are due a new machine, go big.
  • - Use Persil Powergems, a revolutionary laundry detergent with triple powers that removes stains, cares for clothes and keeps them fresh. These little gems offer the ultimate clean, ensuring you only have to wash once and they even work well on filthy school shirts!
  • - Even little ones can help out with the routine. My smallest two are 1 and 3 and they love loading the washing machine. I can leave them to pop everything in whilst I get on with something else. Then once I have added Persil Powergems directly into the drum, they get to press the button to turn it on - Best.Job.Ever.

  • We are currently potty training both of them which can be messy at times.  I keep a wet bag (the same kind we used to store cloth nappies) by the machine at all times so any wet clothes can be thrown in there and I can’t forget to pop them in the machine next time I do a wash!

  • Bigger children have a different job and my 5 and 6 year old help with putting away their own clothes once they are all dry.  I also get them to help sort into colours for washing.

  • Buy Persil Powergems, a revolutionary laundry detergent with triple powers that removes stains, cares for clothes and keeps them fresh. The powergems ensure you only have to wash once and they even work well on filthy school shirts keeping them as good as new! The lovely fresh smell is a winner for all the family too.

  • Line dry as much as possible to help maintain the freshness, remove any stubborn stains and save electricity.  Older children could definitely help with pegging things out and bringing them in too.

  • Getting into a good routine is key.  I try to put on a load every evening on a timer setting so it is fresh to hang out in the morning and I can bring it in after the afternoon school run to put away.

  • If you get behind, because it is always going to happen - just buy another washing basket.  It works for us!

 Do you have any laundry gems to share? Try Persil Powergems yourself  available from most supermarkets and Amazon

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Sunday 1 July 2018

Something Different

I have recently started watching a program on sky arts called 'Master of Photography' (a Bake Off style programme for photographers where they are set a different challenge each weak with the weakest contestant being eliminated) and it has made me feel totally inspired to take more photos. I have so much to learn about photographing children still, but I felt inspired to challenge myself in new ways, to step out of my comfort zone and go back to basics. 

I went for a run earlier in the week, only it was too hot and my body gave up quickly so I took out my phone to take some photos of my surroundings.  I tried to look for the beauty in where I was with only my phone to capture it. These photos are just part of a mini project I want to start to learn more about photography using what I have around me. 

Part of photography is in the camera but the most important bit is in the photographer - seeing an angle, finding the beauty, composition, capturing something, and those are the skills I want to improve. These aren't edited or cropped, I tried to get the angles right the first time and I can't wait to get back out. 

I live in such a beautiful place and I am looking forward to photographing it.

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