18 November 2017

Siblings Project - November 2017

"Side by side or miles apart, sisters will always be connected by the heart." 
- Author Unknown -

I will absolutely never tire of seeing my three girls in a row. I have taken to stepping back and observing them as much as I possibly can and just adore watching their bond grow each week. The dynamic between them is constantly evolving; they are so close and really look to each other for help, support and best of all for company. The photos I took this month were of a very simple, everyday moment - feeding the ducks at our local park. With a bag of food each they stood together and threw their grain into the pond, pointing out ducks at the back who might need some to one another, sharing their grain out and chatting to one another.

Siblings Project
Sisters

Ellie takes her big sister role very seriously and is always checking her little sisters are OK and if they need help. I love this caring side of her personality, she is such a little mother hen. In a few weeks time she's turning six and I've noticed a real change in her maturity. She is so keen to learn and asks so many questions and is really enjoying school. We've just had her school report sent home and the effort she puts into everything is something that has made us so proud.

Siblings Project
Ellie

She's recently been elected onto the School Eco-Council and has an increasing awareness of the world around her and outside of her little bubble. She can now read really fluently and often reads a book to one of her siblings, I love nothing more than standing in the doorway and listening to these very simple but very perfect moments. Empathy is something she has always had, but this month her understanding of the importance of being kind and helping others really shone through on Children in Need day. She is constantly colouring and drawing, I have a huge pile of 'I love you mum' notes that I just have to keep. As hard as it is letting go of the baby days (which are really on their way out in our house) these are the moments as they grow which just make your heart burst.

Siblings Project
Phoebe
Phoebe has also really changed lately and is growing up so quickly. This last year with her at home before she goes to school is flying by which reminds me that I really need to get on and do her school application... She has started trying to write her name and has learnt several of the letters in it. I'm feeling rather awful about calling her Phoebe as phonetically it just doesn't make sense to her, but we are getting there. She is really enjoying her getting ready for school sessions at playgroup and so proud of everything she brings home. She has just learnt to draw rainbows, everything she creates has one at the moment and it really makes me smile as she is my little rainbow.

 Phoebe has really benefited this month from some one on one time with daddy which she now has every Wednesday morning while Lottie goes to play school. They go swimming together and her confidence is really growing and it just brings her so much joy.  She is such a water baby, constantly under the water like a mermaid. She's brave and determined and knows what she does and doesn't want and I really admire that about her. She plays so well with Lottie, often making up little games that the two of them play, I really love watching them on Fridays when it is just the three of us. She's still such dinky dot but so keen to grow up, telling everyone and anyone that she will be four in January.

Siblings Project
Lottie

The biggest change within the siblings this month has been Lottie's transformation from a toddler to a little girl. Oli and I were looking at some photos I took of her and noticed how different she is looking all of a sudden. She is the funniest little character, chatting confidently away and really looking up to both her big sisters. Her sleep is still a little erratic, she still likes to come in our bed or have one of us lie on her bedroom floor once in a while but generally she's sleeping in her own room. She has however much to my dismay pretty much dropped her naps, we are lucky to get the odd car nap or she might doze off in the pushchair... she just doesn't want to miss a moment. She loves Peppa Pig, playing shops and being outside in our playhouse. She loves to make other people laugh and if she finds something that we laugh at you can guarantee she'll do it on repeat for the rest of the day. Oli's Dad recently asked us if she was ever sad as she has such a sunny disposition, I have to say it's very rare but we certainly know about it when she is not happy.

I hadn't meant for this update to be quite so lengthy but with three very different personalities and so much to document it's tricky to keep it brief. As they change and grow I'm more conscious than ever to record these tiny details which I might forget.

Me x

14 November 2017

Review: Disney On Ice Passport to Adventure

We took the girls to see the new Disney on Ice show 'Passport to Adventure' last month and it did not disappoint. If you are looking to share a sprinkle of Disney magic with your children we would highly recommend it. We had been to a Disney on Ice show before so the girls were so excited to be going again and were counting the sleeps. They love all things Disney so it was such a wonderful experience for them from the moment we arrived at the venue.

Disney on Ice Passport To Adventure Review
Phoebe, Lottie and Ellie at Disney On Ice 'Passport To Adventure'

About the show

Passport to Adventure takes you on a trip to visit some Disney favourites such as The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Frozen and the Lion King and brings them to life in the most fantastic way. Minnie, Mickey and the gang also make an appearance as they take us round the world with them on a wonderful journey.

The stories are so creatively told and the ice skating lends itself perfectly to the fluid movements of mermaids and fish swimming or Peter Pan and Tinkerbell flying around trying to catch his shadow. The ice provides the perfect stage and with lighting, music and special effects the scene seamlessly changes from a savanna in Africa to a pirate ship in Neverland. It is of course is the perfect setting for a retelling of Frozen!

Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure - Elsa
The girls were amazed by Elsa


Perfect for Disney Fans Young and Old

The show is totally captivating and held the girls attention entirely. Aged five, three and two they were in awe of the skaters and to see their favourite characters right there in front of them. The audience are encouraged to join in by dancing, clapping and singing along to the show which features plenty of songs from the movies. There is so much for them to look at and keep them entertained. The cast are incredible and perform with such energy, enthusiasm and skill and they really engage with the audience making you feel part of the show rather than just a spectator. Their costumes are amazing, so bright and colourful with plenty of sparkle which our children loved. We really enjoyed the show too and seeing the looks on the girls faces as they waved at Minnie and Mickey was really special for us.

Disney on Ice Passport To Adventure - Peter Pan
The cast and staging were fantastic

There are so many lovely surprises in the show from special effects such as bubbles when you are under the sea with Ariel and snow in Arendelle. Our favourite moment was Wendy, John and Michael flying off to Neverland with Peter pan, the girls sat open mouthed as they watched them high above us. There were so many of these wow moments along with plenty of comedic ones too which made the girls giggle.

Disney on Ice Passport To Adventure - Peter Pan
Peter Pan flying was a highlight for us


Useful Information

The show is about 2 hours in duration with a 15 minute interval. We thought it might be cold in the arena so had packed lots of layers but it was absolutely fine. We had told the girls before we left which characters they might see and they chose one of their Disney dolls to bring with them to watch the show too. There is lots of merchandise available to buy and although very lovely, it is very expensive, so make sure you budget for this or bring something from home like we did. There are refreshments available to buy there too including ice slushies and popcorn but again these come with a premium price tag so we took some treats along for the girls to have at the interval.

Disney on Ice Passport To Adventure Review
Such a lovely family day out

If you're looking for something special to do with the children in the lead up to Christmas then this would be perfect.  The show really is fantastic and excellent value for money for what it is, we had such a brilliant time. Passport to Adventure is touring the country, finishing in London on 30th December 2018 and the brand new show 'World of Enchantment' is touring in the Spring next year. You can find out more and book tickets for both HERE.

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
We were kindly gifted tickets in exchange for an honest review. 
All Thoughts and opinions are my own*

6 November 2017

Children's rooms - Small changes for big impact

Children's rooms are my favourite to put together in our home, I just love creating a gorgeous yet practical space for my girls to play in or sleep in. We've recently added some wonderful items from the new confetti range from Great Little Trading Company to the girl's rooms which have made a huge difference.

Childrens rooms - small changes for big impact

Some small changes and additions have completely changed the look and feel of the rooms without us having to decorate. Ellie and Phoebe share a bedroom which we've added a new rug, a beanbag and some more toy storage to, all of which have made the room a much more inviting space to be in. 

Great Little Trading Company Confetti Spot Rug

The Confetti Spot Rug has made the biggest difference to the room and I absolutely love it. The carpet in the girl's room, although neutral, isn't what I would have chosen and is due an upgrade. The generous size of the rug (120W x 180L) means that along with the coverage that the furniture in the room gives there is now very little carpet on display.

Great Little Trading Company Confetti Spot Rug - a perfect play spot

Made from 100% hand tufted wool it's unbelievably soft to walk on, sit and play on and even lie on as Ellie and Phoebe have taken to doing! It feels and looks so luxurious.

Great Little Trading Company Confetti Spot Rug

It's colourful enough to inject some fun into the room for the children but neutral enough to feel part of our family home and would work with most colour schemes due to the accent colours of the confetti spots. It's really lightened up the space and also serves a feature for the middle of the room which with the girls beds in opposite corners of the room had left a bit of a no mans land previously. It's such a simple change with a really big impact, I couldn't believe how much difference it made literally in minutes.

Great Little Trading Company Confetti Spot Rug

The addition of some stackable toy storage has meant that the girls now have somewhere to keep some toys to play with when they wake up in the morning or while we're getting ready for bed. The boxes are large enough to fit things in but small enough for them to be able to lift themselves. You can use them either stacked up to two boxes high or just singularly, they are just so versatile.

Great Little Trading Company Stackable Storage

They are such high quality which is really important when toys are constantly getting taken in and out of them and really sturdy. The have a cute little blackboard on the front to either write your child's name on or able up the box with what it houses such as blocks, books, cars, dolls etc

Great Little Trading Company Stackable Storage

I like the girl's bedrooms to feel calm when I put them to bed. The boxes have really helped tidy up the space and are just super handy and easy to move around to where you need a bit of extra storage. We have them in confetti spot but they come in lots of other patterns too.

Great Little Trading Company Stackable Storage

Lottie's room is the smallest room in the house and with her cot and wardrobe in the room there isn't space for much else. I wanted her to have some toys in her room too so we have added the Poppins Toy Chest with the Confetti Spot seat cushion to the end of her bed.

Great Little Trading Company Poppins Toy Chest

It's a great bit of furniture for a children's room and works as a three in one - it's a seat, chest and also has a drawer. It has a really good safety hinge so I don't have to worry about her trapping her fingers in it and the drawer has a soft close mechanism. It's a really unobtrusive, well made piece of furniture but with loads of space to store toys.

Great Little Trading Company Poppins Toy Chest

The drawer is perfect for things like puzzles or games and smaller toys while the main chest can accommodate bigger things. You could use it for lots of other things besides toys, storing things like nappies blankets and towels in. The seat cover is a lovely addition and Lottie loves hopping up onto it to read a book or play on top of it.

Great Little Trading Company Poppins Toy Chest

The seat cover is machine washable and zips on and off really easily. I love that it's 100% cotton too. Again this has been a really simple change which has altered the feel and functionality of Lottie's room and also freed up space in other parts of the house as we've been able to move some of the toys from downstairs upstairs.

Great Little Trading Company have so many fab solutions for creating stylish and practical children's rooms and we love their products for making our house a home. You can find all the items above and the rest of their range HERE.

Me x

* This is a collaborative post as part of our GLTC Testing Team role. 
We were kindly gifted the items featured in exchange for an honest review.
 All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


Looking to create a fun and functional playroom? Take a look at our playroom for some inspiration.

You may also be interested in our review of the GLTC Abbeville Storage Bench.

4 November 2017

Life With Three Children

When I was pregnant with our third daughter I found myself googling things like 'what is life like with three children?' or 'how hard is having three children? What I was seeking was some honesty and some reassurance. So if you're thinking about, or expecting, baby number three and have stumbled across this I hope you might find it insightful. Or if you're a fellow parent of three you might find yourself nodding along to familiar aspects!

Life with three children under four
My girls aged 3, 19 months and 3 weeks old 

We had three children under four at one point, they were the hardest but most rewarding years of my life and although the challenges are still there we have adjusted to life as a family of five. I have noticed some big changes since increasing our brood from two to three and in no particular order here they are (bear with me - there are positives amongst the challenges - see point 10!):

1. Not Enough hands and being totally outnumbered!

This for me has been the trickiest part of having three. Sometimes there isn't enough of me to go round. I can only do so much at anyone time. There have been numerous occasions when all three have been upset and I've had to choose who to comfort first or try and comfort them all at once and sometimes being completely honest I have even cried with them. I can just about cuddle them all at once, one on my knee and one under each arm on the sofa! 

Only having two hands is a major disadvantage, I always feel really edgy when we are out and about or crossing a road as I just can't hold everyone's hand. My double pushchair was a godsend in the early days when I could pop two in as was my sling but it's getting trickier now the littlest ones don't want to be in them anymore. We often feel completely outnumbered and at first it feels a little weird that the adult to child ratio is out. You do however become a master of multitasking and just do find a way to split yourself between your children. 

2. Life is chaos

We are always busy. Someone always needs something, or needs to be somewhere and life can feel a bit chaotic. Our house is noisy, there is constant chatter, a lot of squealing, talking over one another,  and sibling rivalry and that's without Peppa Pig or the Trolls soundtrack on in the background. I am always late, my house is quite often a complete mess and some days I don't know what day it is and my five year old has to remind me to bring her PE kit to school. I respond to text messages about 5 days late and sometime I think my friends and family might wonder if I have fallen off the face of the planet. We juggle three children with running a household and working and practically never stop, parenting three small humans is no mean feat. However, I do think this is just parenting in general regardless of how many children you have. I have learnt to embrace the chaos, let stuff go, not sweat the small stuff and now that it's what I'm used to I love it. 

3. It comes at a cost

Everything is more expensive. Not perhaps initially as when the third is a baby they don't cost all that much especially if you can rely on hand me downs from baby one and two as we have been able too. But as they get older the food bill definitely increases as does the Christmas shopping bill, shoe bill, school trips, extra curricular clubs and there is an extra birthday each year to think about and don't even get me started on holidays... Family tickets for days out are often aimed at 2:4 families meaning they soon add up, but then that is where Tesco Clubcard vouchers and some smart budgeting come in handy - there is always a solution and although sometimes financially challenging we make it work.

4. Space is an issue 

A third child for us meant having to buy a bigger car that would accommodate us all, the children's car seats and all the stuff! My eldest two now share a bedroom which would only be resolved by moving house. Now our youngest is over two we also really struggle to find hotels that will accommodate us and now go for self catering options which have more flexibility. Coming up with the solutions to these problems was the hardest part and we have found what works for us in each instance. We are now also purchasers of 6 pint milk bottles, giant boxes of washing powder and loo roll seems to disappear at a ridiculous rate meaning even our cupboards and fridge are extra full! There is no limit on the amount of love that we have though, you don't have to share your love between your children, you just make more of it. 

5. One on one time is at a premium

Finding the time to spend one on one time with each child can be really challenging with three children and as lovely as a whole day out with one child can be it's not realistic for us and actually it doesn't have to be a grand gesture.  Little stolen moments become really precious and things like reading a book together upstairs when the others are downstairs with daddy, or a movie during the littlest one's nap time, baking a cake together, or a quick 15 minutes to the park are more than enough. This is one of the main things I worry about and something we strive to offer each child during the week. There is more than enough love to go around, I hope our children know that. 

Time on your own is almost impossible but something I'm trying hard at, although at the moment I can relate very much to the mummy elephant in the book '5 minutes peace' who also happens to be a mum of three! Then there are date nights or weekends away... asking people to look after three children feels a much bigger ask than when we had two as it is really hard work, so we very rarely do. We cook together at home, watch a movie or get a takeaway and then truly value our time out when we do have it.

6. Triple the worry

I worry that our eldest is having to be too independent or feels forgotten whilst I'm sorting out the little ones, I worry that the second is the middle child and might feel a bit lost, I worry that they baby is just having to fit in. I worry about how they feel, I worry when they are poorly, I worry when I leave them and all three times over. However, this is parenthood, third time round I definitely knew what I was signing up for and the worry will not go away, only change, as they grow and become more independent and dare I even say it do things like drive cars, or have boyfriends and grow their wings as they navigate the big wide world. Thankfully, this is all counteracted by triple the love and triple the wonderful moments of raising children.

7. Less Sleep

With more children there is a much higher chance that someone will wake up in the night, in fact we rarely go a night where someone doesn't wake for a drink, a cuddle, has a nightmare, needs a wee,  their covers tucking back in or are just awake! I remember in the early days the girls each waking up every three hours, but an hour apart, which meant I pretty much didn't go to bed. It was hard and we were exhausted - but we survived.

8. The Washing Pile

You wouldn't think that one extra tiny person would make a huge difference to the family washing pile but things like nappy explosions, baby sick, mealtimes, painting, playing in the garden, play school, or school mean that most members of the family may have gone through several outfits in one day. We are most definitely a two washing machine load a day kind of family and that's not including towels and bed sheets. My poor washing machine most definitely gets a work out, as does my tumble drier (which incidentally I couldn't live without with this volume of washing to turn around) and we very rarely get to the bottom of our washing mountain.

9. The things people say...

Whenever I am out with all three children on my own I am regularly told that I have my 'hands full', asked if they are all mine and even if they are triplets! Yes seriously! Three children really isn't that many but it seems to be a talking point with strangers. I have am now well rehearsed with answers to all these questions!

10. I wouldn't change it for the world

Having a third baby has been a wonderful addition to our family and something I wouldn't change for the world. Despite all of the above (which I hope doesn't come across as negative as it's only meant to be honest) I have found it the easiest transition when growing our family, they really do just slot right in. Third time round we were confident in our parenting ability, we are more relaxed and to be honest we had to be. Siblings are already used to being siblings and sharing their parents so there is far less adjustment all round. I love watching my three together, there is always a willing playmate, someone to share an experience with and someone to laugh with. Our children make us so happy, our family means everything to us and they are our greatest joy.

I'd love to hear your experiences, or if you have any questions about life with three, please do share them in the comments below.

Me x

31 October 2017

Easy Halloween Cupcake Recipe

We love any excuse to bake in our house and celebrations like Halloween provide the perfect opportunity to do so. I thought I'd share our super easy vanilla cupcake recipe with you which can be so easily customised depending on the season with cupcake cases, the colour of your icing and decorations.

Try our easy Halloween Cupcake Recipe, perfect for baking with children


For our Halloween cupcakes we chose some spooky cupcake cups from Tiger which I really love as they are much easier than paper cases when it comes to the girls spooning in the mixture as they don't fold in on themselves and hold their shape. We then just made up some orange butter cream and added sprinkles. You can be as creative as you like with your toppings, we used brown and orange millions, yellow and white stars and sprinkles. If you have time some to make some little icing eyes they would work well too or you can usually buy Halloween sugar decorations in the shops at this time of year.

Recipe

110 /4oz Butter
110g/4oz Caster Sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g/4oz self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

For the Buttercream icing:

140g/5oz Butter
280g/10oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Food colouring

And decorations of your choice!

Method

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

- Cream the butter and sugar together

- Beat in the eggs a little at a time

- Add the vanilla extract

- Fold in the flour

- Add in the milk

- Spoon into the cases until they are half full then bake for 10-15 mins or until golden brown on top. 

- Cool on a wire rack before decorating.

- To make your icing  beat the butter until soft, add in half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the icing sugar and your milk and food colour and mix until smooth.

- Either pipe or spread your icing on top. I like to give the girls a little bowl and a small children's knife each to spread their own. I also but all the decorations on a large plate so they can just pick them up and sprinkle them on rather than pouring directly from the tub. It's easier for them to share and means that they don't tip them all on the cake by accident.

Enjoy!

Me x

Like this recipe? Why not Pin it for later?

Try our easy Halloween Cupcake Recipe, perfect for baking with children


Looking for more Halloween Recipes? Try our Spooky Halloween Biscuits

You may also be interested in Things to do with children at Halloween