Sunday, 23 February 2020

Spring is in the Air // Frugi


Advertorial/ Gifted Clothing

We got soaked by the rain today, totally out the blue but still I see the signs of Spring everywhere.  The sky is turning a brighter shade of blue on those days the clouds part to show it,  the daffodils are blooming in the park, standing bright and tall, letting us know the ground is about to bloom into colour and there have been the odd days over half term when we could play without a coat (still wrapped up in layers of course, just one less).


On one of those days I popped to the park with the little two dressed in some organic clothes that Frugi had sent us from the latest collection. Cora absolutely adores this cardigan and has shown it to everyone since it arrived and her dress is perfect for spinning in.  Finn loves all the rainbow bits and his trousers zip away to become shorts when it gets even warmer - brilliant multipurpose attire for a child who has to wear school uniform now so we need to make sure we get plenty of wear out of his home bits!


Of course Cora brought a baby with her (Azabelle) as well as her 'Mingo' bag, both of which were quickly discarded so she could run around with her brother.  They love the wildness of this nature garden, the long grass, the small pond and all the dog statues that are dotted around.  We caught snatches of afternoon sun which made everything brighter and we had a picnic of biscuits whilst we watched the birds flying over head.

I know how quickly the weather can still change in February.  Every year we seem to get these glimpses of warmer weather before it disappers as quickly as it came, but even if there is another cold spell, the promise of Spring is hanging in the air, and those Daffodils are planted solidly in the ground around us, not afraid of anything,















 Sizing - Cora is a petite 3 years 7 months and wearing 3-4, Finn is an average size and 5 next week wearing 5-6


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Thursday, 20 February 2020

The Ordinary Moments - In The Storm

For two weekends in a row, the country was hit by storms and on the first occasion we welcomed the opportunity to stay in our pyjamas for the day, watching films, eating whatever snacks we could find and hiding in the safety of our house.  By the second weekend though, the outdoors was calling, children were climbing the walls and I knew we needed to get out, even if we didn't go far.

I took the three that wanted to get out to the little local supermarket to buy some popcorn in preparation for an evening in.  We made it there in one piece and they weren't done.  They asked if we could go down to the seafront for a hot chocolate to warm up our chilly hands and with an attitude of 'why not?' I said yes.  The wind was on our side and we made it there in record time.  We settled in an empty table and had our hot chocolates, the kind that comes as a solid square on a wooden spoon that you stir into a cup of hot milk.  

As we prepared to leave, the boys noticed the waves crashing on the sand and it was just too tempting.  We popped their scooters into an area of shade and went down onto the beach.  The sand whipped around our feet in a frenzy, the wind howled in our ears but nothing drowned out the sound of their laughter as they chased the waves and made the most of the deserted seafront.

There is a concrete platform that juts out over the dunes at one point, a small ice cream stall on top which of course was shut but underneath made the perfect shelter from the rain which was starting up.  The children made it into their house as their imaginations ran away with them and then they discovered a hole in the platform that dripped the rainwater down on to the sand.  


 I had to tear them all away when it was time to go home, they were soaked from playing in the water, their cheeks were rosy and their noses red.  It was nothing out of the ordinary for us, going to the beach in the winter but for some reason they played so much better and a dripping drain provided limitless amazement.  These are the ordinary moments that make up a childhood.












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Tuesday, 18 February 2020

5 Things to do with Kids in London Bridge

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.




I love exploring London with my children and we are always looking for an excuse to visit the big city and discover something new.  We got the train up last weekend for a visit to the Tower of London and decided to spend the afternoon around London Bridge seeing what there was to do.  It was a lovely area and we have a list of things we want to go back and try (time to look up hotels near the shard) but here are five things we enjoyed doing. 

1) Walk down to Tower Bridge 

We crossed over at London Bridge but the children were keen to see Tower Bridge so we walked along one side of the river Thames and then crossed back over on Tower Bridge.  The Tower of London is right here and definitely worth a visit! You can go up inside Tower Bridge and look over on to London Bridge and we found crossing both bridges was an easy walk for the boys (aged 6 and 8).  The eldest has been learning about the River Thames at school and we loved watching the boats underneath us, spotting the static restaurant boats, the little ferries and the cruises.



2) Get Lunch at By Chloe

By this point we were hungry so we found a lovely vegan restaraunt to try out.  By Chloe was bright and inviting and had a delicious menu as well as quite a cake selection.  We really enjoyed eating somewhere new and whilst none of us are vegan, we loved trying the vegan versions of mac and cheese, fish and chips and a tasty guac burger!





3) Admire the Skyline

My six year old has been learning about architecture and interesting buildings and London Bridge is the best place for discovering these. We spent ages discussing the skyline, the curious shapes and building designs and how we would design our own building.  If I had thought in advance, I would have brought paper and pencils with me as the benches were in the perfect spot for getting the kids to stop and sketch it.  The London skyline is always impressive and we all decided we needed to come back and go up inside the Shard!



4) Choose a Pudding at Borough Market

Whilst we were walking around the area, we found Borough Market and were immediately drawn in by the smell of cakes.  We had managed to resist a pudding with lunch but we spent lots of time wandering around the stalls looking at the freshly baked goods, the delicious looking fudge and hand crafted chocolates and finally settling on goat's milk ice cream.  It was bustling and cosy with the lights and right on the water's edge so we could escape with our chosen treats and continue exploring the area.




5) Learn about the History

There is so much to discover around London Bridge that we didn't have time to fit it all in but we would love to go back to find out more about the history of the area.  We found a monument to the Great Fire of London which was next to the old Roman Baths (8 year old is currently learning about the Romans at school so it tied in well!) and the Golden Hinde was right by the Bridge and you could pay to walk on and explore (£15 for a family of four).  We found Clink Prison Museum which I have promised we will go back to visit and the HMS Belfast is currently docked in London Bridge if you want to visit that.  London has such a fascinating history and the children were learning so much as we walked around and talked about what we saw.  


There is so much to do for families in the area and it is definitely somewhere we plan to come back to and explore further! Do you have any suggestions of places to visit in the London Bridge area?
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Sunday, 16 February 2020

Before You Turn Seven

It gets me every year when I check out Timehop and see that on this day I was working my last shift before maternity leave, that seven years ago I was a mother of one.  I had no idea what was in store for me when you arrived the very next day and you still take me by surprise all the time.  As I put you to bed for the last time as a six year old, the excitement for the morning already evident in your face, I can't help but look back on the year that we have had.


Six was the year that you finally got the hang of reading.  I knew it would come but you took your time, having little interest in letters and books, but then it arrived out of the blue, that recognition that you could understand those letters and you started zooming through the book bands at school and getting so much more confident with it every day.  Sometimes I think you would have been so much more suited to the later starting schools in other countries.  

Six was the year you changed your mind and rather than wanting pink, gold and every other colour, you just wanted black.  You have asked me to only buy you black clothes from now on and whilst part of me is a little sad about that, I love that when you make your mind up about these things you are so certain.

Six was the year you grew taller every day, or so it feels, your limbs lengthened and you look so much ganglier than the little children at your school.  You are in your final year now, one of the oldest ones in the school and I can see that.  You lost your first two teeth and your face has already started changing because of it.  

You still sing all the time, mostly George Ezra - Shotgun and you burst into song when I least expect it.  Sometimes it is a normal voice but other times you sing something very normal in a screamy-death-metal kind of voice and it scares me just a little! You are still very into how things feel and you went as far as taking your own pillowcase on holiday in case theirs wasn't soft enough.  You always have blankets attached to you or around you and everything has to feel right before it gets your approval.

I can see how much you have grown up in the last year and you make me proud every day (as well as driving me crazy most of them too!).  You are determined, loyal, loving and wild and so unapologetically yourself.  You still love cuddles and I am dreading the day that stops.  You would live with a gaming controller in your hand at all times if you had your way but once we get you away from a screen you always throw yourself into life fully.

I can't wait to see seven year old Archie in the morning and I am sure it is going to be an exciting year for you as you leave your infant school in the summer and head to a new junior school in September.  

Before you turn seven, as I kiss you for the last time as a six year old, I want you to know how truly loved you are.


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Saturday, 15 February 2020

Our Family Ski Holiday in Puy St Vincent


Going skiing is a really special holiday for us, it always feels like we are going home in a way.  We have visited the same resort for a few years now and we know it well.  The guys in the ski hire shop ask how we have been all year, the ski instructors recognise me and ask about my sister (who worked out there for a few years) and we know exactly where to find our favourite French treats in the little supermarkets.  The journey there feels long (as do most journeys when you have four children under 8) but once we arrive and breathe in the fresh mountain air, we feel at home.

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

It was our sixth year visiting Puy St Vincent with Snowbizz so in many ways I have nothing new left to say but I still feel like I have so much to share.  It was the first year that all four children could ski which made it so much more exciting.  The 'Totons' which is the youngest group start learning at 3 years old and Cora had been desperate to try on a pair of skis like her brothers.  She was the first one to the hire shop to request a pink helmet and her skis were so adorably small, I think possibly the smallest pair in the store.  Every morning we dropped her off at the creche in her thermals with everything she needed and at 10am she walked with the other two children in her group and the nanny that accompanies them on their lesson up to the Toton Garden.  She had so much enthusiasm, she got up with a smile every time she fell and she never gave up.  She asked to go back each day and loved every minute.  

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

The three boys were all in ski school and we got into a habit of dropping Finn off first for some play time and taking the bigger boys out for a pre-lesson ski.  Finn found the two hour lesson was plenty for him and he liked to insist on two snack breaks in it, but the older boys had more stamina and I loved being able to spend time with just them without guilt as their younger siblings were having the best time.  I would take it in turns who I sat with on the lift and I loved that little pocket of time where we could chat together before we climbed off and they skied ahead of me as I tried to keep up.  They loved being out on the mountains, showing us the skills they learned during their lessons and relishing the one on one time with a parent.

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

The afternoons were spent doing all sorts.  Some days one of us would take the bigger boys back out on the slopes as they had endless energy for racing back down them.  Finn, Cora and I loved the pool which you climbed into indoors and then swum into the outside.  The pool was surrounded by snow piling up over 1 metre but the water was a warm 32 degrees and it was glorious to climb out into the cold and jump back in again.  We all went to the sledging fields carrying with us a variety of shapes that we had borrowed from the creche and racing down the hill with huge grins across their faces.  Sledging has to be followed by Chocolat Chaud of course and nothing tastes better than a cup of hot chocolate after a day out in the snow.  The creche is open until 5pm and some days a few of the children chose to go in there to do some arts and crafts which meant all four of them had some one on one time with a parent - something that is such a novelty in a larger family and is so rewarding for all of us.

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

It was the first year we could all sit around the dinner table and discuss our skiing that day and I loved that it bonded us more. The pride the children had in learning a new skill and mastering an existing one was incredible and their faces by 5 o'clock were rosy and warm and full of joy.  It was the first year that all four children could go to some of the evening clubs.  The outdoors ones like treasure hunt and winter olympics were always going to be a bit much for our little three year old but she got stuck in at the disco and won the talent show as well as falling asleep half way through the movie night, snuggled up on her bean bag.  It was the first year we could go out alone and enjoy the hearty French mountain food in the evening, have a Raclette, and know that the children were all entertained in a club for a couple of hours.

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

The children are so comfortable in the small resort, they know where everything is, how to get around and where they need to go.  They walk around as though they are always there, like it is a second home and we are all sad when the alarm goes off so early on Sunday morning and alerts us that it is time to board the coach that is the start of our journey home. There is something special about this place, with the small family feel, the personal service every step of the way, the dedicated and enthusiastic pink ladies that I entrust my children to each morning and those mountain views that take my breath away in every direction.  If you are even a little bit curious about taking a family ski holiday then I can't recommend Snowbizz enough.  Of course there are always more pictures than there are words and I can't choose which ones not to include. . .

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

family ski holiday, snowbizz ski, skiing with kids

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