Thursday, 23 May 2019

What the Kids Wore // Reima

I very rarely dress the children entirely matching because their personalities and style is just so different that there is very little they all suit but I love co-ordinating them and finding things that look a bit similar or in the same print, partly because they look fun but also because it makes tracking down a lost child a lot easier! I usually have them in at least the same colour for travelling and airports!

I am going to be working with Reima this year, a brand we have loved for years since we first discovered their amazing ski wear and all four children needed a raincoat for the spring so I couldn't resist getting them matching coats in different colours. It means they still get to look unique but they look like a walking rainbow when they are together and I know the quality is outstanding.


All the coats are completely waterproof, windproof and dirt-repellent as well as being lightweight and fleece lined and perfect for spring showers or autumn winds.  (You can see all Reima's softshell collection here).  It has been wonderfully sunny this past week but I don't trust the weather not to change and these sizes should take them through to next Autumn at least! Reima sizing is based on height rather than age and all four children are wearing the size that corresponds to their height with just the right amount of growing room!






You will be seeing lots more pictures of the children in Reima clothing over the coming year and not just their outerwear! We are looking forward to trying out their swimwear and casual clothing too!

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Sunday, 12 May 2019

5 Ways We Recycle Outside of the Council Bins


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Those are the first rules for looking after our planet and her resources. For the things I haven't managed to reduce or re-use, I am looking for ways to recycle and these are five ways I recycle outside of the council provided bins




We use the food bin for cooked food, meat and dairy but we have our own compost bin in the kitchen and a big compost bin in the garden for fruit and veg scraps, toast crusts, used coffee, garden waste, hair I have pulled from the hairbrush and brown paper. It means there is less in our council food waste and that we have wonderfully rich compost each year for planting seeds and looking after our garden.

Terracycle operate recycling schemes for certain products and they collect them up to make them into garden furniture, water cans and other things. We collect crisp packets for one programme and they pay a small amount of money to Archie's school for each box we send in. I am in charge of collecting them up from the school and friends to send in a big box. There are other schemes including biscuit wrappers, trigger heads for cleaning sprays, babyfood pouches and more and you can check out the Terracycle website to find your local drop off.


All of our clothes get reused or recycled including those that are heavily stained. The charity shops do accept damaged clothing that they can sell as 'rags' but I also cut up the school polo shirts that are so far past useable to use as wipes around the kitchen and in the house.  All outgrown clothing is recycled or reused though and we never put any in the bins.

Did you know that anywhere that sells batteries has to accept them back? All shops that sell batteries of any kind will have somewhere you can return used ones and the shop will send them back to be recycled. This isn't just Tesco, this is your local corner shop too and some schools even have battery recycling points.

Based in Portsmouth is a company that collects milk bottle lids, breaks them down into plastic pellets and makes children's toys with them. It isn't local for everyone and I don't know if there are other companies doing this around the country but we save our milk bottle lids and pass them on to someone who visits Portsmouth and takes them with her. You can find out more here.

We are so far from perfect but we are trying to recycle wherever possible to help reduce the amount of plastic that goes in  our black bin. Next up is looking into ecobricks! Do you have any great recycling tips?


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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Our Family in April

Our April photos are taken on the same beach as our March ones but we have exchanged the long sleeves for short and the trainers for bare feet.  We have migrated down the stairs and are dipping our feet in the sea, anticipating a summer spent splashing through these waves and dancing in the sand.  The weather has been up and down as it always is at this time of year but on the whole it has been pretty lovely and I am glad we got our April photos whilst the sun was shining (these were taken on Easter Sunday)


April was a month for beach days barefoot and umbrellas in the storm, two weeks off of school which comprised of a quiet week recovering and a week of fun day trips and days out.  We have had a good one and we are excited for the next.

This month I have loved doing my first 10k 'race' in Hyde Park, Going in the Crystal Maze, watching Glow on Netflix and my Fitbit.

Ed has loved the Easter beer festival, a child-free night whilst the children had a sleepover with the grandparents, going to London to see the Dropkick Murphys and a family day out to Deal.


Dylan has loved making obstacle courses in the back garden, wearing pink (and asking me to buy him more pink clothes), eating the biggest dessert at his friend's party and watching Spy Kids.

Archie has loved going to the skate park with his friend, practising stunts on his scooter, Easter egg hunts and having two weeks off school.

Finn has loved his first trip to the circus, hunting for fairies at his friend's birthday party, kinder eggs and 'twirling like Elsa'.

Cora has loved colouring in her face, planning her birthday party, 'fluffing' every dog she can find and choosing her own outfits.



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Thursday, 25 April 2019

What the Kids Wore // Alba

Growing up, we had a blossom tree in our garden and it always felt like the flowers came from nowhere.  All winter the tree was empty and then almost overnight we were greeted with this spattering of pink on the tree and all over the grass.  It meant Spring was here and all around colours and life would be sprouting. It still makes me excited now when I see the park lined with pink blossom trees

I have been buying the children clothing from Alba since Finn was a baby and I was really excited this summer when they sent us these outfits for the children.  Their clothes are inspired by Majken's (the founder) own childhood and I love the retro vibes, the bright colours and the super soft organic cotton that is it all made from.  Everything is soft and stretchy and designed for children that love to move.


I want my children to have a similar childhood to mine where they are free to run barefoot in the garden, climb trees and play outside as much as possible and we love living so close to this beautiful park.  There is a lovely little nature garden where we can watch the tadpoles swim and turn into frogs, where we can look for plants and flowers and bugs and talk about the world.  


You have to feel these clothes in real life to know how soft and comfortable they are because I can't get it across in a picture but I think you can see how much the children love them.  Cora gave her dress a cuddle before she put it on and announced ' I love pink, I love my new dress, I am so lucky today!' and Finn asked if I could wash it straight away so he could wear it the next day.  













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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

What the Kids Wore // 3fnky kids


I don't often dress all four children in matching because they all have such unique personalities that it doesn't usually make sense but I love them to all have at least something matchy or co-ordinated as it makes travel and big days out so much easier! We were recently offered some clothing from 3fnky kids and I chose items for the little three as their sizing covers ages 2-8 but when it arrived we found the trousers so generous that Dylan could join in too.


The green and black stars are fun and gender neutral and come in a variety of garments which means they all look a little different.  Archie has the long sleeved top and joggers with black pockets, Finn and Dylan have the all over print joggers and Cora has the dress and hat.  Cora's dress is meant to be more of a tunic length but she is a very petite nearly 3 year old and so it fits pretty big! All three boys are wearing trousers in the size smaller than what they usually wear but the two boys have the tops in their usual sizes.  


All the starred items are snuggly thick with a fleecy inner and were perfect for our day out on a hilltop castle! Finn's top is also from the collection and has a unique shape that is lovely for boys and girls.  He loved the animals on it and the colours and I think it really suits him.


The clothes are now available on Amazon (prime) and the jumpers, joggers and dresses are each priced around the £20 mark with the t-shirts all under £15. I think for the quality, fit and style this is a great price and I will definitely consider buying more, especially for Archie as it fits his style well.  There are a few more pictures below from our day out with the 3fnky kids clothes and I will pop the sizes the children are wearing incase you need any sizing help!











 Dylan is a tall 7 year old (137cm tall) and wearing the age 6-8 joggers

Archie is an average sized 6 year old wearing age 6-8 tops and age 4-6 joggers

Finn is an average sized 4 year old wearing age 4-6 tops and age 2-4 joggers

Cora is a petite 2 year old (88cm) wearing age 2-4 dress and hat







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Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Pregnancy Health

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Whilst I really miss the days of being pregnant and get more broody when I see bumps than newborns, I think I often forget how hard pregnancy was both physically and mentally. 

Just as we forget the all consuming exhaustion that comes with having a newborn once those days (weeks, month) have passed, I think I have glossed over the back ache and stress that came with growing a baby for nine months.  

I was pretty lucky with the three boys that everything was quite straightforward but it was the fourth one that changed everything.  I think one of the reasons I knew she was a girl was that everything was a bit harder with her in every sense.  Finn was only 7 months old when I fell pregnant and I think my body was still recovering from him.  I wasn't planning another baby but early November I had a little belly growing that wasn't budging and I decided to take a test - positive.  The tiredness that I had attributed to jet lag wasn't going anywhere and we had another baby to prepare for.

I grew quickly with Cora, too quickly for the charts which meant I was tested for gestational diabetes three time between 21 and 36 weeks to try and explain my (and her) size.  Thankfully I didn't have this complication because it can cause baby to grow too quickly and need to be delivered early. I did get more backache though which makes sense considering I had put on a lot of weight and my centre of gravity had changed so dramatically. I started doing an aquanatal class that helped (something I hadn't done with any of the boys) and I loved having some time to focus on me for a bit and to relieve the weight of my growing belly.  

I was so much more hormonal with my last pregnancy and whilst I didn't suffer from antenatal depression, I did find it emotionally hard and I needed more time to myself to help me feel sane.  I did have four children all under the age of five during the pregnancy so that definitely didn't help matters! Emma's Diary have put together an infographic on pregnancy health with some of the most common complications. I think it is important to be aware of these things so that you can report symptoms to your midwife as soon as you notice them!


Did you have complications in your pregnancy?

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

5 Ways To Make Exploring Outdoors More Fun

Paid Post in collaboration with Arla Big Milk

All big adventures start with planning.  Wellies are a must, magnifying glasses are always useful and hot chocolate makes the perfect mid-adventure drink.  When we pack the bag for going out, the children always like to insist on something completely impractical to bring (one piece of a train track, the biggest cuddly toy they own or their favourite wooden spoon) and they love helping to make the hot chocolate, Finn being in charge of spooning it into the jug and Cora getting to do the stirring.  We take out our insulated cup and we are ready for anything



Woodland areas are our favourite for exploring and I wanted to share 5 ways that I encourage the children to explore outdoors.

Relate it to a book

It isn’t hard to find a book based in an area similar to where you want to explore and the Gruffalo is always a favourite.  We go hunting for Gruffalos, snakes, fox, owls and mice and talk about the things the Gruffalo has been doing. The Stick-Man is also great for forests and The Singing Mermaid is our favourite for the beach (a bit of a Julia Donaldson theme going on here!



Take props

Binoculars and magnifying glasses are our favourite but we love a little basket to collect pine cones or a little bug pot so we can examine the insects we find too.  Take things they can do to help encourage them to try something different



Take snacks and drinks to break it up

When everyone gets a bit tired or needs a change of direction, offer snacks and drinks (just make sure you take all rubbish away with you).  We made some hot chocolate with Arla Big Milk which is perfect for little adventurers as it is packed with essential nutrients for under fives.  It helped perk these two up when they got tired and they wanted to ‘make their own’ afterwards with mud and water! (check out their amazing competition to win a big gruffalo adventure!)



Don’t be afraid to get messy

Don’t dress them in their best clothes, encourage them to get stuck in and be messy.  If you find trees, ask them how high they can climb, if you find puddles ask them how hard they can splash, if you find hills, ask they how quickly they can roll down them.  Let them explore their environment not just with their hands but with their whole bodies.



Set an example.

Also, don’t let the kids have all the fun! I always bring my wellies and wear old jeans so I can join in! I look for snakes in the grass, I splish splash splosh through the puddles and I join in with hide and seek and tag when they want to play.  Try to enjoy the quality time, the fresh air and the chance to have a child like adventure with them.


Wherever your adventures take you, have fun!





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Monday, 1 April 2019

A Day out at St James Dover

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We no longer have a baby in the house and whilst I am a little sad about that at times, I love that we can do so much more with our weekends now.  Finding things that we can do as a family are getting easier and we headed to St James at Dover this weekend for a fun family day.


The retail park is just minutes from the ferry port and we loved looking at the boats as we drove in.  We have travelled out of Dover several times as it is so close for us and the kids remember the ferry trips well! Nando's is always a family favourite and it was the obvious choice for lunch.  The kids love their kids meal and getting to make their own custom lunches and I love that they do a great selection of veggie meals considering its selling point is chicken!




We need colouring and a few little games that I carry in my bag, but we can take all four children out for lunch now and it is an enjoyable experience. We always opt for places with quick cooking times or salad bars to try and minimise the waiting time for the children and Nando's is always speedy!


Next door to Nando's is the Cineworld cinema and we all wanted to see the new remake of Dumbo which had just been released.  It was our first time attempting the cinema with all four and Cora definitely needed two parents to keep her entertained (as well as multiple toilet trips) but she made it through the film and all four boys sat beautifully with their popcorn.  I love visiting the cinema and it is really exciting that we can now attempt it as a family rather than having to split up and just take two.


We had a lovely day at St James in Dover and will definitely be back, especially now we have seen how close it is to both the ferry port and Dover Castle which we have English Heritage passes for! Have you visited yet?



The film was great, the cinema was comfy and the toilets (which we visited many times) were very clean.  It was so handy having everything in the same location and there was a little space outside the cinema and restaraunt where the children could run around in the middle.  Opposite were a few shops like Next and M&S Foodhall and it was hard keeping away from Next when the sale was going on!
It was lovely to have a family day out that we all enjoyed from 2 years to 35 years and I can't wait to do more things as a family (especially now I know the new Aladdin film is out in May!)









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