Sunday 30 June 2019

Our Family in June

Goodbye June and hello summer! June was a month of little adventures, days at the beach and in the woods, cinema trips and swimming and the preparing for the end of the school year. These final weeks always seem to take forever as everyone loses motivation but Finn has been excitedly doing his settling in sessions and there isn't long until he will be in a fresh blue polo shirt too! June had plenty of parties including Cora's and it was the last month I could say I had a baby (and even that was pushing it) as my little girl is now 3!

This month I loved spending all day at the beach, playing Pokemon Go on my phone, giving landscape photography a go and throwing a huge garden party.

Ed loved a childfree weekend at Download festival, seeing Tool play, cooking all the bbq food and finding a new favourite beer.

Dylan loved planning his birthday party and sending out very early invitations, having a bouncy castle in the garden, going to school earlier in the morning so he has more time to play and watching The Kid Who Would Be King on DVD.

Archie loved riding a horse at a birthday party, lots of after school play-dates with his friends, swinging on a rope swing in the woods and dressing himself head to toe in pink.

Finn loved seeing the new Toy Story film, going to his swimming lessons, spending time in his new school classroom and playing in the tent in the garden.

Cora loved opening all her birthday presents, stroking every dog she can find and trying to take them all home with her, a toy My Little Pony that her friend gave her and swimming.
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Wednesday 26 June 2019

The Night Before Three

Tonight I put you to bed in your own room, the last time as a two year old but before I had made it to the bottom of the stairs I heard you dart out and climb into my bed where you would much rather be and sure enough I found you snuggled up in the middle waiting for me when I went up to check on you. 

It was your last day as a two year old which means tomorrow is the day you have been talking about for so long, your birthday.  It started with a small crowd, you wanted to invite Elsa from Frozen, Archie and his best friend, a horse and a spotty dog, but now you spend the day listing all the friends and people you want to come along, with your best friend Freddie always being top of the list. You know exactly what you want and I love that strength in your character (most of the time). Unfortunately what you want most for your birthday is a pet dog so you may be a little disappointed in the morning!

This has been the year you made close friendships, found the things and people you love and learnt to pull the best sulking face.  Everything is pink and ideally fluffy and My Little Pony features heavily and you talk about your brothers like you own each one of them.  Collectively they are 'my boys' when you mention them and you love picking Finn up from nursery so you can hold hands on the way home. 

You are so fiercely independent in your actions, you dress yourself, you put on your own shoes, you can do it all, but you only want to do anything if I am there. You get upset if I ever leave the house without you, even just to take the boys to school and you want to be within touching distance of me at all times, preferably on my lap. I thought this phase would have ended by now but it is showing no signs of slowing down!

You have big feelings and you understand so much. You tell me you are sad, or worried or ever so happy and you greet me with such love every time I come back from somewhere, even the bathroom. You are cuddly and affectionate with everyone and even though I have told you many times that we always ask before stroking a dog, I see you put your hand out for a quick 'fluff' when we walk past any.

You are cheeky and mischievous, your hair is always wild and you strip off at any opportunity.  You are such a 'girly girl' in so many ways but you are always grubby, covered in felt pen and getting stuck in too.

Everything I said in this letter as you turned two, and this one as you turned one still applies, you are still so much the same character, just with more dimensions each year.  I can't wait for the adventures of three but before they begin I want to pause, just for a moment to soak up everything you are now. I want to remember the feeling of your arms round my neck, your nose against mine. I want to remember the way you take care of me when I feel ill, the way you tell me that I am your best friend, completely unprompted, the way you make me feed your teddy in the morning before you have your milk. You will never be this small again.  The clocks will move forward and so will you but I never want to forget this wonderful stage in your life.

Baby girl, you are more loved than you will ever know


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Monday 10 June 2019

What the Kids Wore // Little Green Radicals

Both the little two have shot up in the past year, far more than the average amount and very little from last summer is going to fit. Little Green Radicals send us a few pieces from their stunning new collection though and I think they are going to be summer staples. I have loved LGR for years now and have bought so much so they are a great brand to work with! Not only is their clothing organic, it is also fairtrade and designed with childhood in mind.

Finn's shorts look so smart but they are soft jersey cotton and so comfy. I love the little red button on the back pocket and how they will go with so much.  His t-shirt is covered in colourful lion faces and is one of his favourites. Cora's leggings are the perfect shade of yellow which means they are back on almost as soon as they are out the washing machine and I love how floaty and light her top is.  At the bottom of this post you will find a wonderful summer beach dress too which is so beautiful in real life.

I wanted to take photos in this field as I took them in the same place last year when I worked with Little Green Radicals and I think they show the stunning colours - I can't believe how much they have grown! As always I have too many photos but I think they help show how the clothing really looks, how it moves and how comfy they find it.  Finn is an average height 4 year old and I went for 4-5 shorts and 5-6 in top as we prefer them bigger.  Cora is a petite 2 year old (34 months here) wearing 2-3. I often buy a size bigger than what they usually wear for the tops and dresses and the correct size for bottoms.

And here is the stunning frill dress which I am tempted to buy in a bigger size for next year too!

We were sent these items for the purpose of this blog post but all thoughts and opinions are my own and we have genuinely been buying this brand for many years.
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Thursday 6 June 2019

Five Things to do with Children in Deal

The Kent coast is such a beautiful area and so easily accessible from central London. It is full of unique towns with amazing personalities, independent businesses and lovely people. To celebrate Southeastern’s Off-Peak Day Return Offer from London to 12 wonderful towns, we were asked to discover some of Deal’s hidden gems along with our four children.
1) Pop Up Cafe
First thing is first and that should always be coffee. We found a little place called Pop Up Cafe that offered food made freshly onsite and the coffee smelled great so we went in. The menu was simple and full of their homemade sourdough bread which I loved! They offered a variety of alternative milks for coffee including oat (my favourite) and did simple things like cheese or jam sandwiches for the kids. We stocked up ready for a busy day and left to look for the coast.

2) Deal Beach
Deal has a long pebble beach which starts level with the promenade and drops down a few times towards the sea. It was beautiful to walk along but what the children loved most was running down the pebble hills and learning to skim stones. They were determined to throw all the stones back in the sea but sadly we ran out of time for them to do this. We made towers, we had races and they had to be dragged away when it was time to leave!

3) Deal Pier
Deal Pier was built in 1864 although it has recently been renovated and is lined with fisherman. You can hire everything you need at the entrance although we decided not to
this time and there is a welcoming little cafe at the end where you can buy lunch or ice cream and look out over the sea. There is a walkway all around the outside so you can look out or back on the colourful seafront of Deal town and it definitely needs to be visited as part of a trip. It was only a few minutes walk from the train station (as everything is in Deal) so it was so easy to get here too.

4) The Lane Bakery
The most important thing I want to know when I visit a new town, is where to get the best cakes and I asked a few people who know this area and always got the same response.
The Lane Bakery is only a 2 minute walk from the train station and has the most amazing selection of cakes - so much so that it took us about 10 minutes just to decide what to have! I will be making a trip back to make sure I don’t miss out on the cookie dough chocolate brownie! It is open 7 days a week and does plenty of vegan and gluten free options. The Bakery is one of two local businesses owned by Anna and Chris and their cafe looked just as delicious!

5) The Arcades
Further along the seafront, we found a small vintage looking arcade where you could ride a painted horse for 20 pence and spend all your two pences. There were stools for the little
ones and we could collect tickets to buy something special at the end (our children chose a calculator!). No trip to a seaside town is complete without ice cream and the arcades in our opinion and this one was easy to find, just a little way along from the pier and within easy walking distance from Deal train station (about 10 minutes if you have little children in tow).

Everything in the town was so close and accessible and we loved not having to find parking and being able to jump on the train when it was time to go home (with a fish and chips picnic to make it a truly British seaside day out!

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Monday 3 June 2019

A big family holiday to Villages Nature Centre Parcs in Paris

 For the first time last week we went on a big family holiday, travelling not just the six of us but also with my parents, my sister, my brother and his family.  13 of us got into cars and caught the ferry to Calais before driving to Villages Nature, a French Centre Parcs site just outside Paris. We had three cottages which were all attached and a private garden at the back.

Ours had 3 bedrooms, free wifi and a lovely communal area as well as two bathrooms and a seperate toilet. It was a fantastic space for the six of us and the children loved having their family next door too! The parc is big and green and everywhere you look there are trees, flowers and lakes. There were several playgrounds including a huge one in the enchanted forest, a giant pool complex with indoor and outdoor pools and plenty of slides for big and little people and there was an onsite farm with a cafe and soft play.   It had all the usual Centre Parcs activities from tree tops trekking to escape rooms, to den building and climbing walls and we loved trying new things. 

What we loved most though was spending time together. The children got so much one on one time thanks to lovely family who would take them off on little adventures, water slides and for visits to the bakery. It meant we got to spend dedicated one on one time with them as well as them having it with other family members and it made it really special.  

The parc is situated about 10 minutes drive from Disneyland Paris and there is a bus that runs between the two. We couldn't resist a day trip there and ended up staying until midnight so that we could watch the Illuminations show which is just beautiful and lights up the castle.  Finn's highlight was definitely being tall enough for Big Thunder Mountain and he couldn't get enough of the wild rollercoaster.  

Cora loved seeing all the animals in the parc's onsite farm, stroking the goats, cows and horses and planning which ones she wanted to smuggle out with her and keep.  She loved the play area in the farm too and I think she would love to try out the pony rides if we visit again as she was just a little bit too small.

Archie loved the waterslides and there were quite a few he could do. There was a fast one in a rubber ring which was my favourite and the two big boys loved the outdoors one in the middle of the rapids that never had a queue. I think all four children would have spent the whole week in the pools given the choice!

Dylan loved the big adventure playground set in the woodlands and playing games in  it. It was the perfect place for hide and seek, tag or any other game they could make up and it was a shame we didn't have longer to spend there as there was so much more to explore.

The parc had something for all of us and was a great family place. We loved spending time as an extended family and it is definitely somewhere we would love to visit again! 

I have plenty of photos I want to share, so here are a few

Our Accomodation

We stayed in a 3 bed Country Premium Cottage and each rooms was decorated with a different nature based theme.

The Playgrounds

The photos of the big enchanted forest one are in another post, these are just from other playgrounds around the parc.

The Farm

The farm was really interactive with lots of animals that were happy to be touched but they all had plenty of space to get away from humans too.  There were big fields for the horses and cows around the outskirts of the main farm areas.

Hiring a Jeep

This was a big hit with the three boys (Cora had a nap) as we hired two jeeps that they could drive around the park.  Ed and I had a remote control for them both that switched off the engine with one touch just incase!

The Parc in general.

It had an easy layout with the big swimming complex easy to spot! There was so much green.

Our day at Disney

My four children and I all wore our Disney gear for a lovely day on the rides, watching the parade and the illuminations

 The Activity Centre

The big boys had a go on the climbing wall whilst the adults did a ninja warrior course. There were other games and activities and everything was pretty reasonable (2 euros each for the ninja course, 6 euros each for the climbing wall). It was located next door to the pool.

 And finally a picture from the ferry ride home

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