23 September 2017

Siblings Project - September 2017

I loved having the girls together over the summer holidays and they really enjoyed being together too. The three of them have a ready made party and there is always someone who wants to play, or to dance with, giggle with or explore with. I couldn't help but feel a little sad when September rolled around and work, school, and play school resumed separating us all again throughout the week.

At the same time, I think we were all ready for a bit of the routine that September brought with it after lots of very slow mornings and living at my mums while we had our kitchen refitted. After a few days of school runs and several tears from everyone things settled down as they always tend to do.

siblings project september 2017

What has been lovely to see is the girls supporting each other and missing each other a little too. Phoebe and Lottie will often run to Ellie in the playground when we collect her in the afternoon and give her a big hug. They will chat over teatime about what they have been up to and I love to hear what they tell each other. Lottie has started play school with Phoebe who has proudly taken her by the hand and helped her settle in beautifully. She showed her where to put her lunchbox and helped her put her slippers on on the first day which was just so lovely to watch. It made leaving Lottie on her first day so much easier and as i drove into work I felt really proud of them.

siblings project september 2017

Whilst they each go their separate ways and do their own things during the week, they are always there to support one another, each one a little pillar each doing their bit. I hope they will always be there to hold each other up when they need it and be strong for one another, each important individually and as a team.

siblings project september 2017

I think this months Sibling project photos capture that part of their relationship perfectly and are one of my favourite sets this year. They also capture the lovely carefree summer we had as we make our way into autumn and leave summer dresses behind in exchange for wellies and bobble hats. We are all looking forward to October as it brings with it Half Term when we can all be together again.

Me x

7 September 2017

A Family Break At Doddington Hall

Doddington Hall, nestled in the quaint Lincolnshire village of Doddington, is the perfect place for a short family break. It's an idyllic setting which offers a wonderful space to be together and explore.

The little ladies taking in beautiful Doddington Hall
The Tailor Rooms located in the old stable block

There are several stunning holiday cottages available to stay in, as well as a selection of double rooms on a room only basis in the Stable Block. We recently spent a night in the Tailor Room 1 which was perfect for us. A large, spacious and tastefully decorated room with a double bed, with two Z beds and a travel cot for the girls.

The room was so comfortable with crisp linens and homely touches

Our room, Tailor Room 1, handily located on the ground floor.

There was also a sofa, en suite shower room and everything you would normally expect from a hotel stay. The setting is so peaceful and the large windows in the building provide incredible views of the beautiful surrounding countryside. In just a short space of time we really felt like we had got away from it all and all we had to concentrate on was the now and being in the moment.

Phoebe enjoying the view from our window
The little ladies made themselves very at home

After settling in to the room and feeling very at home we walked up to the Hall to explore.  The hall has a magical and warm, welcoming feel to it, particularly so when we visited with with the display of unicorns and wishes at the entrance for the Summer of Imagination Event which as you can imagine the girls thought were amazing.

Doddington Hall is a great family day out with so much to explore, we loved the unicorns
My favourite spot, the Fairytale Folly complete with blankets and a basket of books to read

Wandering through the gatehouse and through into the gardens it felt as though we were stepping into the pages of 'The secret garden', with little pathways and new things to discover around every corner. The girls were mesmerised by the 'talking trees' and played for ages in the willow houses, their imaginations were truly captured.

Phoebe loved the fountains in the Gardens of Mindfulness
Lottie playing in one of the Peaceful Pods
I love to watch the girls explore and just be children and Doddington Hall is such a wonderful place for them to do this. They spent ages following a little frog hopping around the edge of a fountain in the Gardens of Mindfulness and running round and round the Lucky Labyrinth maze. Their favourite spots were the fairy village, hidden in a little copse of trees, and the 'wishing tree' next to it where you could write a wish on a luggage tag and tie it to the tree. So far only Lottie's has come true... (she wished for chocolate ice cream!) Ellie and Phoebe wished for a pet unicorn and to be Elsa from Frozen so they might be waiting a while yet...

What would you wish for?
Ellie hanging her wish on the tree

As part of the Summer of Imagination Event we were lucky to watch a wonderful mime performance by the Rhubarb Theatre Company which really engaged the children and provided a welcome rest amongst the exploring as we sat in the sunshine together. The hours seemed to simply disappear and we found ourselves amongst the last to leave for the day, it was such a peaceful and relaxing place to be as a family.

Doddington Hall is a wonderful place to spend time together as a family
The city of Lincoln is just 5 miles up the road so we drove there for tea before heading back to the Stable block for the evening. The grounds surrounding the Hall are so lovely with several walks of varying distance. We wandered down to the lake and watched the cows and sheep in the fields on our way back to our room and ended up sitting on the bank outside the stables watching the sun go down and rolling down the hill. It was a day of such simple pleasures and memory making, giving us the ultimate gift of time together as a family.

Walking back to the stable block at the end of a lovely day
Lottie loved the sheep and cows in the surrounding fields at Doddington
After eventually getting the girls off to sleep (they were very excited after the hill rolling and all being in the same room!) we all had a very comfortable nights sleep before waking up ready for breakfast. The accommodation is on a room only basis but next to the Hall there is a fantastic cafe which serves an utterly divine breakfast menu as well as lunch and cakes throughout the day. We highly recommend the Lincolnshire breakfast and American pancakes! There is also a restaurant which opens on Friday and Saturday evenings if you stay over the weekend.

Phoebe declared her morning pancakes as the 'best pancakes ever!'
Next to the Doddington Cafe there is an incredibly stocked farm shop and deli filled with delicious looking local produce, a home and clothing store and 'Giant Lincoln' where you can hire bikes to explore the local area. After a hearty breakfast we hopped on some bikes and set off along the new cycle path to the next village where we found a park for the girls to play in.

Our first family bike ride with Giant Lincoln
Lottie in particular loved our little cycling adventure and wouldn't take her hat off!

Cycling along the cycle path was so lovely as we didn't have to worry about cars and it felt great cycling along together as a family. It was our first family bike ride together and although the girls were in a bike seat and trailer they loved it, it was so much fun. I can't wait until the girls are old enough to be able to cycle a few miles on their own as it's just such a wonderful activity to share as a family, there was such a sense of freedom to it which you don't always feel like you have with young children. The team at the Giant Lincoln were so knowledgeable and helpful and the bikes were excellent. It was the perfect end to our stay.

We had such a great time exploring Doddington Hall and all that it has to offer and would really recommend it for a day out and short break. We left feeling so content and the girls haven't stopped talking about it since we got home, asking when we can go again. We made a little video of our stay and our favourite bits which you can watch by clicking play below:

Me x

*This is a collaborative post
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

30 August 2017

A Spa Break At Wyboston Lakes

Oli and I recently spent twenty four blissful hours recharging our batteries at Wyboston Lakes. As parents, in between looking after the children and working we have very little time for ourselves or each other. I have come to realise over the years that time out from parenting is really important and exercising a little self care benefits the whole family, whether it's a meal out, a spa trip or just a full nights sleep, being able to be us for just a short time feels like such a treat. The Stopover Spa package at Wyboston Lakes is amazing offering all that and more. From just £119 per person you can enjoy lunch, spa access with a treatment, dinner and an overnight stay which is just incredible value.

The hotel is brilliantly located just of the A1 in Bedfordshire about 10 minutes from St Neots making it really easy to get to. We arrived just before lunch and checked in to our room. All the rooms have recently been refurbished to an incredibly high standard and the hotel has been awarded an AA 4 star rating. Our room was lovely, complete with a complementary mini bar and Molton Brown toiletries. We felt immediately relaxed and enjoyed a quiet, hot cup of tea before wandering down to the restaurant for a buffet lunch.

Relaxing at Wyboston Lakes
A quiet cup of tea in our lovely room

There was so much choice at lunch including several hot meal options, jacket potatoes and a salad bar as well as plenty of delicious desserts. It was really lovely sitting looking out across the lake and having a chat without having to get up and down getting drinks for the little ones or mopping up spillages. We were really impressed with the food, it was so tasty and fresh with lots of variety. After lunch we had a little wander around the hotel and grounds, it was great to just be able to please ourselves. 

Unwinding in Y Spa
Unwinding in Y Spa
We headed down to the spa at 3pm and spent several hours relaxing in the steam rooms, saunas and outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Y spa is such a wonderful place to be and so well thought out in its design. It's super modern and stylish inside with plenty of areas to chill out. We loved sitting outside by the pool in the deckchairs in our robes. We treated ourselves to a glass of prosecco as it really felt like a special occasion.

Poolside prosecco at Y Spa Wyboston Lakes
Poolside Prosecco

Time out at Y Spa Wyboston Lakes
Much needed time together

Our favourite area was the relaxation zone complete with warm water beds to lounge in, a sleep room with peaceful music and low light for a welcomed afternoon snooze and the egg chairs where we sat and read a magazine, I can't even remember the last time we did that!

The first time we've read a magazine in years!

Elegies products at Y Spa
Our Elemis treatments were wonderful

The Spa Stopover package also includes a 30 minute treatment each. I opted or the Y Spa Fresh Face Facial and Oli chose the Y Spa Soothing Scalp. By this point it was impossible not to feel totally and utterly relaxed. The treatments were excellent using Elemis products and the therapists were extremely professional and knowledgeable. I almost fell asleep during my facial and my skin felt amazing afterwards.

We walked back to our room in our robes and slippers and were able to take our time getting ready for dinner already feeling totally and utterly spoilt. Dinner is served in the waterfront restaurant from a set menu with several choices for starter, main and dessert. Again the food was excellent, beautifully presented and really yummy. The staff were so attentive without being intrusive and the restaurant itself had a great atmosphere and buzz.

Dinner at Wyboston Lakes Waterfront Restaurant
Dinner in the Waterfront Restaurant

We shared a bottle of bubbles over dinner and then took it with us to the lounge area to end what was a lovely day. We talked for hours and felt fully recharged and that was before we had the much needed full nights sleep!

Bottega Prosecco at Wyboston Lakes
A little treat... some Bottega Bubbles

We woke around 8am which is a lie in for us when the girls normally treat us to a 6am wake up call! It was bliss to wake up naturally, to take our time getting ready and then have breakfast together before making our way home after checking out mid morning. Although we had only been away 24 hours it felt like so much longer. It was the perfect amount of time for us as we did miss our babies and were ready to get back to them feeling fresh and ready to parent again.

We can't recommend Wyboston Lakes and Y Spa enough and will definitely be returning soon, if not for just a day trip to the spa as it left us feeling so refreshed. There are packages to suit all time frames and budgets, whether it's a a visit in-between the school run or something a little longer, simply pop over their website HERE.

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

23 August 2017

Lottie is two!

To our little Lottie,

How apt it is that I am writing this as you are falling asleep on my chest on the eve of your second birthday? Not far off this time two years ago you were in my arms having just entered the world and you have hardly left them since. You just love a cuddle, you are like a little koala! Tonight as you called me from your cot you stretched out your arms to me when I walked in the room and said "cuddle mama" and I am more than happy to lie in the darkness holding you as you drift off to sleep knowing it won't be forever. Whilst you are turning two I feel our cuddles will continue for a some time yet and I'm super grateful that you are so cuddly being my last baby and thank you for indulging me! 

Second birthday, Lottie is two!
Lottie is two!
You are more than happy to be the baby of the family and embrace being the littlest. Your two big sisters adore you and you adore them right back. You and Phoebe play 'mummies and darlings' often pushing your dolls around together and Ellie has started reading to you. No one else can make you laugh like they do and vice-versa. You love to make people laugh with a funny dance or by shouting 'bankon bankon' - we have absolutely no idea what it means but it makes your sisters collapse in giggles without fail.

You have lots of words and are forming sentences, my favourites are: 

"I little sister"
"I too little mama" ( mostly in relation to your sisters vitamins which you can't have until you are 3)
" my turn on my pad" 

Talking of the "my pad" (Apple are missing a trick there) You love to watch Bing and most recently have developed a bit of a fascination with the gruffalo who you keep telling me "feels sad"... You love the park and going high on a swing, you love books, particularly each peach pear plum and the tiger who came to tea. You can almost sing twinkle twinkle little star and baa baa black sheep and love to choose the animals when we sing Old McDonald's Farm. Jerome giraffe is your pride and joy and you laugh as you tell me he's a "bit stinky." You're right and as soon as I can prise him off you for long enough he's going in the wash. You still love shoes, whenever we visit the shoe shop you pick a pair up of the shelf and put them on and you've taken to clip clopping around in my shoes. 

You have such a lovely nature and are super cute to the point that you get away with far more than you probably should! You have such a wonderful grin and light up a room with your big, bright eyes and if I could just bottle that cheeky giggle... You are lots of fun to be around and caring too, always showing concern if someone is sad and are super affectionate. You are quite cautious but will try new things with encouragement from your sisters as you like to be the same as them... including eating a whole  chocolate magnum ice cream on a sunny day ... a mini milk just won't cut it and I am greeted with your signature frown and pout combo and a very firm no! 

You're starting playgroup in September and I know you'll settle in beautifully, especially as your little partner in crime Phoebe will be there to show you the way. I never know if it's a third child thing or just your personality, but you just take everything in your stride partly because you have kind of had to but mostly because you want to be just like your big sisters and join in with all their fun.

We are spending your birthday as a family and off for an adventure in London. Completely unnecessary as all you would like for your birthday when asked is "a candle" and "a card" which makes me want to 'happy cry' as it's known in our house. But birthdays are for celebrating and today we celebrate you Lottie and everything that we love about our little dot. It feels like the last two years have flown by, but at the same time we can't remember not having you as part of our team. We love you so much.

Happy two little lady. 

Love Mummy x

21 August 2017

Get ready for school with Marks and Spencer

If your little one is starting school, or you're getting ready to send the children back to school after the summer break, then you'll probably be heading to the shops any day now to purchase their school uniform. A few weeks before Ellie started school last year we made the trip to Marks and Spencers knowing that they would deliver on all counts - quality, style and price and we were certainly not disappointed. This year there was no questioning where to get her uniform from and we are delighted to be sharing some of the pieces from the Marks and Spencer's School Uniform shop with you:

Last year, Ellie's Marks and Spencers uniform lasted the entire year with plenty of growing room and survived countless washes which included school dinner spills, paint splodges, break time in the play ground and general wear and tear from a school day. Although Ellie has now grown out of her uniform everything still looks good as new and will be happily handed down to her little sister when she starts school next year, which is testimony to the exceptional quality which we know and love from M&S.

We love this Gingham Summer Dress which comes in three colours
teamed with little white ankle socks.

I love that there is so much choice in their collection which will see your child through the seasons over the course of the school year. Their sizing is generous meaning it gets loads of wear and the attention to detail is so thought through and really lovely. From little lace detail on sleeves and pockets to tiny butterflies, scallop edging and hearts on their school socks, it's a uniform Ellie really wants to wear which I can imagine as she gets older will become even more important. 

Ellie's favourite is this Skater Skirt
which we have paired with black knee high heart filet socks

Their uniform is excellent value with two of the pretty polo shirts above for just £9. I love the little puffed sleeves, scalloped collar and pin tucking detail. They are made from a stretch cotton making them super comfy which is really important when they are wearing it all day everyday while they learn. Ellie's favourite item from the collection is the Skater Skirt which passes her all important spin test and with stain, weatherproof and crease technology it gets a big thumbs up from me too. The waist is also adjustable which is a really handy feature as I sometimes struggle with getting skirts to fit my girls as they are quite petite. A great fit means it's not only comfortable but also looks really smart. It comes in grey, black and navy meaning it will match with whatever your schools colour scheme is.

Ellie wears one of a pack of two pleated skirts and matching grey knee high socks

I also really like a traditional pleated skirt which is great as we transition to Autumn teamed with a pair of matching knee high socks. The permanent pleat technology means that the pleats stay put wash after wash looking smart with every wear. It's stylish and also really practical and comes in a pack of two.

Ellie wears one of a pack of two pleated skirts and matching grey knee high socks

Ellie picked out this super cute Rain Cloud Backpack which cheers up her school uniform and adds a bit of personality bringing a bit of sunshine to school even on the greyest of days. It fits her perfectly with adjustable straps and two pockets, great for taking anything extra to school such a drink and snack, or for forest school and school trips. Being able to carry her own things gives her extra independence and means there is less for me to carry in the morning!

This might be the cutest school back pack I have ever seen...

For Winter you can't beat a pinafore and tights. Marks and Spencers school socks and tights are all super soft and feature Freshfeet technology cleverly keeping feet fresh by combating the bacteria that cause odours. Their tights also have Body Sensor technology which is designed to keep your child warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm, perfect for the changeable British weather. I love that there is permanent sizing in the waistband to help easily identify each siblings tights when sorting the washing, a feature that will be super handy when all three little ladies are at school in years to come.

Ellie wears a button pleated pinafore and grey tights

This pinafore ,which comes in both grey and navy, also features permanent pleat technology. It is easy to put on and button up which important when your little ones have to get themselves dressed after changing for PE. The crease and stain resistant fabric is just fantastic and last year I got away with not having to iron it on the odd Monday morning rush when I hadn't been organised enough to get everything ready the night before after a busy weekend.

This pinafore is so easy to wear and looks fab!

We really love the Marks and Spencers school collection and Ellie is now ready for another year of learning ahead. The fact that her uniform is comfortable, durable and great value is a huge win for me, particularly because it won't be long before Phoebe and Lottie follow in her footsteps so i'll know exactly where to shop for it. 

Ready for another year at school - thank you M&S!

The range is available in store but you can also view and order the whole collection online HERE, they are lots of options for school children of all ages and for both girls and boys so do pop over and take a look.

Wishing you and your little ones happy uniform shopping and a great start to the new school year!

Me x

* This is a collaborative post
All thoughts and opinions are my own*