Friday 31 August 2018

Me and Mine in August

August has been a month of sunshine, travel, excitement, birthdays and fun.  It was been full to the brim and we are saying goodbye to it with a smile on our face, a tan on our bodies and worn out shoes, Despite the madness, we even managed to get three family photos this month, one on my birthday whilst we were staying in France and two during our trip to Disneyland (complete with cheesy Disney t-shirts!).

August saw Dylan turn 7, another of his teeth falling out (I think we are up to 8 now), me turning 31 and both a long weekend camping at a music festival, 5 days staying at a Eurocamp site in France and 3 days at Disneyland Paris.  We also went to Legoland and Dreamland, camped in the garden and spent lots of time with friends.  The end of August means the summer holidays are coming to an end and I don't think any of us feel quite ready for September just yet!

There is so much more I could say about this beautifully warm month we have just had but of course I am writing this last minute and I still want to sort through photos from all of our adventures.

This month I loved watching the Disney Illuminations,  playing in the water with the children in France, having everyone at home for the whole month and putting down my phone whilst we were away to enjoy the time a bit more.  

Ed loved Cora blowing raspberries at everything and everyone, fast-passing all the rides at Legoland, doing science experiments with the kids and enjoying the music with the children at the festival.

Dylan loved taking his friends to Legoland for a birthday trip, having his friends over to go camping in the back garden, seeing Feeder at Beautiful Days festival and watching the Princess Waltz at Disneyland.

Archie loved water slides in France, watching the Disneyland parade, playing on the inflatables at the fake beach in France and the magician shows at the festival.

Finn loved all the rollercoasters, swimming at the fake beach in France, seeing Justin Fletcher's band play at Dreamland and the fireworks at the end of the Disneyland Illuminations.

Cora loved blowing raspberries at everyone and everything, her new princess doll from Disneyland, swimming at the fake beach in a rubber ring and bossing everyone around.

I think September is going to be so calm and quiet after this busy month!
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Friday 17 August 2018

Back to School with Deichmann Shoes

Book bag
PE kit
Water bottle
Lunch box
Pencil case

I think I am pretty much ready, which is so unlike me but every year the list seems to get longer and more expensive and I start thinking about it earlier.  Dylan is off to Junior School in September which means a whole new uniform and extra things that he didn’t need before, like packed lunch box and a water bottle as he is no longer entitled to the free school meals.  Thankfully Deichmann came to the rescue when it comes to school shoes.

They offered to send us a pair of shoes each for the boys and there was such a huge collection to choose from that it was easy to find the perfect pair for each of them.  I went for something a bit smarter for Dylan and I think they look so grown up! Archie still needs a lot of rubber protection at the front as he has a tendency to make everything look scruffy within seconds so I went for some that look perfect for active children and I am hoping they stand up to his rigorous testing once September arrives!

Deichmann have an offer on at the moment where you can buy one pair of kids shoes or trainers and get another half price which can really help to cut the cost for bigger families, especially when many of their school shoes are already under £20 a pair!

How ready are you feeling for September? It feels good to have all the basics sorted although if anyone wants to come and do the labelling . . . .

**Collaborative post**
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Thursday 16 August 2018

Building a Den with Save The Children

Is there anything more exciting when you are three and two than building a den under the dining room table? With big blankets and beanbags, Finn and Cora hid away from everyone else with some Beano stickers that were sent to us from Save the Children to celebrate their Den Day. 

Save the children have partnered with Beano with the aim of raising money for Save the Children's vital work.  Their Beano Build book is available from Sainsbury's with  step by step instructions to build four different diy projects.

You can have a den day whenever you like and download a free fundraising pack at which includes educational activities to help understand more about some of the challenges other children face around the world and how fundraising can help.  


The money raised by den-builders will make an enormous difference to Save the Children’s vital work.

* £33 could buy five sheets of tarpaulin to help provide shelter to families who have
* lost their homes in an emergency
* £75 could provide everything needed to run a reading club to help children learn literacy for a year
* £105 could buy a kit to help a family living as refugees to protect their shelters against the weather

Make sure you share photos of your dens by tagging #DenDay
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Sunday 12 August 2018

Cora and her Baby

Cora's favourite toy is her 'baby'.  She loves carrying and cuddling baby, feeding her, putting her on the potty, putting her to bed and pushing her round in the buggy.  At playgroups I have found her putting her doll into the jumperoo and helping the doll press the buttons.  The boys have all had dolls but none of them have taking such a caring role with them as Cora.

Caring doesn't mean that she doesn't pick them up by the neck, and of course if she hears a biscuit wrapper opening in another room she will drop poor baby on its head in her rush to find out what is going on and why she isn't involved.  I bought her a few soft rag doll types but her favourite one is definitely her First Baby Annabell doll that we were sent a couple of months ago.  It is a typical baby doll designed for younger children with plastic limbs and head and a soft body so it is easy to change her outfit and move her. 

I love watching Cora breastfeed her dolls although when we are out in a waiting room somewhere and she tries to insist that I feed the doll I am less impressed.  I can see she is watching and learning and it definitely mirrors her life in some ways as her favourite thing at the moment is to sit baby on the toilet before she uses it. 

These photos are nothing special but I loved capturing her with her baby as they are now.  I think she will need a little sling next!  

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Saturday 11 August 2018

The First Half of our Summer

I was worried about the first half of the summer.  The second half is full of plans and I know we will be busy (hopefully) having fun, but when the boys broke up from school in July the first three weeks were looking bare in the planner and I worried that I should have organised a bit more.  Halfway through now I am wondering whether what we should have scheduled in was more downtime.  We have had plenty of days out, lots of late nights at the beach, playdates with friends and camping adventures in the garden.  We have done so much close to home in the first three weeks that I think all six of us are pretty tired!

It is so easy to fill these six weeks in some ways and the warm weather makes it much cheaper than the other holidays with days at the beach and the park, picnics and playdates but I need to remember sometimes that you don't have to do much to have a great time.  Some of our favourite memories so far are from the times we were doing nothing.  Reading books together in bed, snuggling on the sofa watching a film and having bbqs in the back garden.  Our evenings at the beach when we venture down after dinner as it starts getting cooler will always be one of my favourite things.  Letting the last of the days energy out, jumping in the waves and making the most of the empty sand.  

Watching you all growing together, becoming closer but at the same time squabbling more than ever is a privilege. I see your relationships changing as you get used to each other full time again and I know that it is the downtime that does it, not the busy days out.  The next three weeks are full of adventures and I am so excited for them all, but I wanted to share a few photos from the last three weeks.  These aren't days I have blogged about, they are just little snapshots of our days that I don't want to forget.  My crazy tribe of children just being. 

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Thursday 9 August 2018

VTech Kidizoom smart watch DX2 Review

Dylan's favourite birthday present this year was his VTech Kidizoom smart watch DX2.  VTech sent it to us to try out just before he turned 7 and so I wrapped it up for him to open on the day and he was so excited! This is Dylan's first watch and it is so much more than that.  After playing around with the home screen / watch interface that has more than 50 different styles, we started looking more at what the smart watch can do.

VTech Kidizoom smart watch DX2, smart watch for kids, kids watch

There are two cameras, one pointing out the top and then a selfie cam on the front and the watch is now full of various photos of the boys.  You can take a normal photo or you can add frames or funny faces too.  It also takes videos and you can record sound for up to 60 seconds in one go.   Dylan has never had his own camera or anything similar yet so he is loving this feature.

VTech Kidizoom smart watch DX2, smart watch for kids, kids watch

The watch also comes with three games that are really easy to play and suitable from about age 4 upwards (the same age suggestion for the watch).  They make for a great little activity for when you are waiting or have a few minutes to kill or if he needs some chill out time.

There is a built in pedometer which uses the motion sensor although it is the action challenge that really gets Dylan moving.  It gives him a steps challenge and when he achieves it he gets another one.  He was playing on the way down to the beach recently and ended up running in circles down at the beach desperate to get to the next target!

VTech Kidizoom smart watch DX2, smart watch for kids, kids watch

As well as all this there is a stopwatch, calender, calculator and timer as well as the ability to link it to a computer and download other games.  The watch is brilliant fun and great at helping children learn to tell the time.  Dylan is seven and a great age for this although a couple of years younger and a little older would be good too.  The battery life is about one day if it is your new watch and you can't leave it alone and 2 weeks if you are just using it for telling the time, somewhere in the middle for everything else. It charges through a USB wire into a computer or plug socket.

VTech Kidizoom smart watch DX2, smart watch for kids, kids watch

You can find out more about the Vtech kidizoom smart watch DX2 on the Vtech website.  Dylan gives it a big thumbs up (when he stops playing on it) and I am really impressed too.
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Wednesday 1 August 2018

Nun Night Six Year Old

It was your last day as a six year old today and you cannot wait to wake up as a seven year old.  We have an exciting day out planned and we are taking two of your friends along which feels so much more grown up than a big party - quite fitting for the grown up boy you are becoming.

Six was the year you finished year two and said goodbye to infant school.  You are starting again as a seven year old somewhere new and you are so ready for the challenge.  Six was the year you grew so fast that I blinked and your t-shirts were hovering somewhere around your belly button.  It was the year your limbs seemed to shoot out,your proportions changing as you prepare for the next stage of growth.  I didn't really notice the changes until sports day when all the year two children seemed so gangly compared to the younger years and you most of all. 

This year you have found new interests, you have loved school and got so involved in your environmental superhero topic, becoming a campaigner for plastic bans and an avid recycler.  I have loved following your new interests, hearing you talk so animatedly about your topics and learning alongside you most of the time.   

You know your mind, you know societies expectations and you are not afraid to challenge them.  You understand that choosing something for the girls section is different, but you have the self confidence to do it anyway if that is what you like.  I hope you always stay you.

You are really into computer games now which I find a daily struggle as I would prefer you to spend less time looking at a screen.  All you have asked for this year for your birthday is Fortnite as all your friends are playing it and I don't feel ready to lose you into this world just yet! We are trying to find a good balance and you still love imaginative play and being in the garden.  You have pretty much left toys behind, but you play imaginative games with friends and your siblings using whatever you have on hand (often cuddly toys).  Your bedroom has become your 'base' and you still love sharing with your brother and wouldn't have it any other way.

As you turn six you are already over 130cm tall and are not showing any signs of slowing down.  You change your mind often about what you want to be when you grow up but today's answer was a footballer for Liverpool (You support Crystal Palace) and your most prized possession is your Pokemon cards. You aren't really into cuddles anymore, but I can still get one out of you sometimes and you love animals, especially sealife creatures, although you are still absolutely petrified of dogs.  

You have been a fantastic six year old and I can't wait to see what seven has in store.  I say it every year but it can't possibly be seven years since I was waddling to bingo, still convinced you were going to be overdue despite the regular twinges I was getting.  Tomorrow will make seven years since you entered the world as my superhero (quite literally with your hand first) and changed all of our lives.  You continue to change me and make me a better person and I love you with everything I have.

Sleep tight my gorgeous six year old, for tomorrow is a big day 

Love Mummy xxxxxx
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