30 August 2016

Remembering these days

This week is the last week with all 3 of my little ladies at home for a while. I must admit it's suddenly hit me that change is afoot with Miss Boo starting school and I'm feeling incredibly emotional about it, it really feels like the end of an era.

Summer has been truly magical and other than a few of the usual tricky days that come with parenting we have had so many wonderful adventures ticking off lots of our summer 'to do list'. We have explored, laughed, made, baked, snuggled, had lazy, carefree, days just being us and best of all created some beautiful memories that I will genuinely treasure forever.

I have adored watching my trio of sisters together, and realising how close their bond is, it's made my heart hurt a little bit .There is something about summer that has made me take more time to watch them and be more present rather than getting distracted with day to day life and the mundane jobs that can sometimes take over. We are completely out of routine, my washing pile is enormous and my fridge has been filed and emptied more times than I can possibly count, but I feel really content and happy and relaxed, more so than I have in ages. 

My three little ladies love each other so much, they are the best of friends and just brilliant company for each other. We have laughed so much and loved so much and cuddled so much and enjoyed not having to rush so much. We will be very much aware of Miss Boo's absence when she starts school and I'm sure she'll be greeted with gusto at 3:15 when we collect her by her little sisters.

5 days a week all in a row of her being elsewhere feels like a lot. It will be the longest stretch of time I've had away from her since she was born, it's really, really hard to let go of that but I know I have to let her fly. I'm looking forward to feeling less torn though and going to some baby and toddler groups with Miss Tibs  and Miss Dot which we haven't really been to for a while as Miss Boo, although only four and a half had very much outgrown them. This is where the 18 month age gap between the little two comes into it's own, being close in age means they enjoy similar things. Miss Tibs will be going to playschool on Mondays all day leaving me with just Miss Dot for one day a week. Her Monday naptimes will become my most productive 2 hours of the week again and I may even be able to get Miss Tibs to nap too during the rest of the week. 

It will take us a while to find our new normal and settle in, which i guess is what we have done over the summer. We have well and truly established our vibe which is perhaps partly why I am reluctant for it to end. I am determined that these last few days of summer will be relaxed and special and even during the trickier moments we'll just enjoy being together as we are, my 3 little ladies and me.

Me X

28 August 2016

One day

One day I will enjoy a quiet cup of tea, for now i'd be happy to have a hot cup of tea or even just to finish one.

One day there will be long, hot showers without little people at my feet or walking in or without hearing a someone crying in another room, even if no one actually is. 

One day I will be able to go to the bathroom alone without someone opening the door, climbing my legs and asking me what i'm doing.

One day they'll be able to dress themselves and there might not be so many battles over what they are wearing... until the teenage years maybe.

One day I might only have to say something once rather than repeating myself hundreds of times.

One day there won't be noses to wipe, mouths to clean or nappies to change but i'll probably always carry a pack of baby wipes with me 'just in case'.

One day we won't have to take a bag Mary Poppins would be proud of packed with things for every eventuality, everywhere we go.

One day they won't need lifting and buckling into their car seat or need or want carrying anymore.

One day there won't be dinner that needs chopping up, meals refused, high chair trays to wipe or spilt drinks to mop up.

One day I won't have a washing mountain to conquer, our house 'might' be tidy and we won't look like we live in a toy shop that has been burgled.

One day there won't be so many grazed knees to kiss, tears to dry or space on my lap for cuddles.

One day the house will be quiet and seem strange without the pitter patter of little feet running around and giggles and squeals... and fighting.

One day I won't be needed at bath time and I'll miss fishing 25 bath toys out the bath and the splashes and bundling them up in fresh warm towels.

One day there won't be hair to wash, brush and plait or teeth to clean, tasks that currently require huge amounts of negotiation and convincing.

One day they won't want just one more bedtime story and I'll be desperate to read 'The Tiger That Came To Tea' for the millionth time.

One day they won't want me to lie on their beds and stroke their hair, hold them tight and kiss their cheeks. I'm hoping they smile as I do it anyway.

One day, quite soon in fact, there won't be bedtime feeds and i will miss those moments in the darkness holding my baby as she falls asleep in my arms

One day I won't be woken up in the night for cuddles, for a drink, to shoo away nightmares or just because

One day we will have a lie in again and I will be the one waking people up.

One day... possibly... and I say this tentatively... I might not be tired.

One day I'll wonder when the last time I did any of these things was. I wonder if I'll even notice that I'm not doing these things any more.

One day I'll feel nostalgic and maybe even a little emotional that I'm not doing these things any more.

One day I'll miss this. 

One day.

Hot Pink Wellingtons

23 August 2016

Happy 1st Birthday Lottie

To my littlest lady, our little Miss Dot,

How on earth are you one? I have to tell you that this has been the fastest year ever and it feels like we've had you no time at all but at the same time i can't remember you not being part of our family unit.

You are our cheeky, happy, winging it (in the best possible way) baby. You have always just gone with the flow and just slotted right in. You do however know how to object very strongly when something isn't to your liking, such as your crib, and your cot.. and sleep or me being out of sight.

Your vocal nature is not limited to objection though, you chat away and seem to understand us and join in when you can. I love how you wildly nod your head and whisper yesssssssssss when you agree with things or if I ask you if you'd like a drink. You shout me me me me me at the top of your voice when you see something your sisters are having that you'd like too like cake and ice cream. This is where being the third baby has amazing advantages, whereas your eldest sister did not have anything sugary until she was at least 2, you've tried a whole host of things you probably shouldn't just because, well... its a bit easier and because it doesn't quite seem fair not to. You've also benefited from super relaxed parents all round, we know the drill by now and how it goes and i've genuinely loved the baby days with you, without fear, without doubt, without worry and i've parented you with confidence and you've had two big sisters to help who have adored you from day one.

I cannot tell you how much i love how you say my name, you have the sweetest little voice and even if i hear you say it 100 times a day it never gets old, possibly for daddy when you call him 'mummy' too, even though you are perfectly capable and can say his name and are actually becoming quite a daddy's girl even if you might pretend not to be. You can make sounds that resemble your sisters names which they just love. Your little face lights up when you see them first thing in the morning or when we pick them up from play school. You are incredibly tolerant of them, sometimes they will bundle you over and i'm there waiting for you to cry, but you don't you just sit up and carry on with that cheeky grin of yours with those 4 little teeth poking out. You are so determined and keen to keep up with your big sisters and join in the fun. Your favourite game is to crawl whilst being chased by your sisters or us round and round the sofa, hiding and peeking out, it leaves you in fits of giggles. Equally, you are so ticklish just under your chin or on your tummy which they have cottoned onto.

You can clap your hands, you love to dance, you love brumming a car along the carpet. You love emptying the play shop and play kitchen and ABSOLUTELY love babies, you'll even sit and feed a doll food and shout 'baby' whenever you see one, usually that your sister is carrying. Lately your favourite thing to do is climb... i'm not going to lie, this most definitely is not funny, even though i can't help but laugh with you as you look me in the eye, climb onto the little red spotty armchair we have, stand up and laugh before i come and get you.

A week ago just to keep me on my toes a bit more you took your first steps, 4 wobbly steps. The problem is you are keen to run before you walk and need to slow down a bit, our applause only encourages you to rush more.You have some little soft leather padders which you bring to me and try to put on your self which tells me you're desperate to do it. Don't worry I'm sure you'll be up and running before you know it.

You love the swings and slide at the park, your favourite food is probably cheese, followed by all kinds of fruit, particularly blueberries and you love our Sunday morning pancakes.  You have the most beautiful big eyes that everyone comments on and are pretty much always happy. We all love how you give us kisses before you go to bed when we say night night to you, if you hear someone say good night you just start kissing the air! You are super tactile and cuddly and always have been, you have spent a lot of time snuggled up in the sling as a result this year, hopefully feeling safe and close to me while you take it all in. You've learnt so much this year but still have so much more to learn and your sisters are willing teachers which i am not sure is always a good thing...

I kind of feel like i've babbled a bit but it's so hard to put you down in words and i want to remember every last bit of you at this age and capture how i'm feeling about you and about this milestone.  This first birthday feels particularly momentous for me as its the last time we'll be celebrating a first birthday in our house. It's incredibly emotional for me as a mama as i wave goodbye to the baby days, but i couldn't have wished for a more wonderful last baby and i feel super lucky to have had the opportunity to be your mummy, thank you for making the last 12 months so special for me in so many ways, i'd have every sleepless night, every feed, every cuddle a million times over.

Happy first birthday my baby (you'll always be the baby) we all love you so very much

Mummy x

ps i've just realised that you'll be the only one who will have birthday letters from 1 all the way through, see its not all bad being the third baby ;)

22 August 2016

1st birthday gift ideas

I always find that 1st birthday gifts are quite difficult to buy, particularly so third time around. It's Miss Dot's birthday this week so I thought i'd share some of the things we are planning on giving her. The first birthday feels like such a huge milestone and whilst we don't go crazy celebrating it I like to get the girls something they can keep as a little memento as well as bits and bobs they love.

I love this card from Kali Stileman which I found on Not On The High Street. Miss Dot is rather attached to a snuggly giraffe which has been named 'Jerome' so this is perfect. I love cards and keep all the girls cards each birthday in a box for them. I have put her sisters first birthday cards from us in their baby books and will do the same for her. 

Miss Dot loves puppet books, she squeals with delight and tries to eat the puppet.  We have a couple of these mini puppet books already so we thought we'd add one to the collection for her to enjoy. This one came from Waterstones but I've previously picked them up in the Early Learning Centre. The little ladies have a growing collection of Schleich animals which Miss Dot has started showing an interest in so we go her a mummy and a baby giraffe from the Early Learning Centre

Miss Dots favourite time of day is probably bath time, she's a little water baby so I couldn't resist this super sweet Belle & Boo wash mit from The Rounded House, one of my favourite home and lifestyle shops.

I also adore this little Belle & Boo money box (also from The Rounded House), a gift that i think is lovely for first birthdays or christenings; i'll pop a gold coin or two in there for luck. It will look gorgeous on her shelf for years to come until she's old enough to start raiding it for pocket money.

A gift to go in the nursery is always lovely and I think she'll love this gorgeous rabbit nightlight for years to come, it gives off a lovely soft glow and will look lovely on her shelf or it may end up migrating to the playroom in the winter to give a cosy feel on the dark winter afternoons. This was also from The Rounded House.

Miss Dot has recently learnt to 'sign' dog, lots of people we know including both sets of grandparents own dogs and she manically signs dog whenever she sees one so i just had to get her this gorgeous 'Apollo Dog' from The Little White Company so that she can have a dog all of her very own.

I've also treated her to a couple of lovely items of clothing in 12- 18 months including this hedgehog cardigan (which i would love in my size!) from Mini Boden.

And this gorgeous butterfly sundress for her to wear on her birthday which i picked up a few weeks ago in the Mini Boden Summer sale.

We're keeping her birthday celebrations fairly low key but I do love to bake for the girls birthdays and  make it a little bit extra special for them. As I had inadvertently chosen a rabbit theme I chose this Belle & Boo cookie cutter and this gorgeous Peter Rabbit Cupcake set for her birthday treats. I'm planning on making carrot cake cupcakes for Benjamin and Peter rabbit to perch on which I thought would be rather fitting. Both of these are from The Rounded House once again  - I challenge you to just buy one thing from there, it's impossible, it's an emporium of gorgeous must haves.

On Miss Dot's birthday we are going to take the little ladies swimming in the morning and then have lunch out as a treat but are expecting friends and family in the afternoon and at teatime for a visit. Miss Dot's big sisters will insist that this calls for party straws and napkins (they love a party tea) so we'll be serving cake on liberty napkins no less and offering drinks with candy striped paper straws both gorgeous treats from The Rounded House.

Finally to commemorate her first birthday and the very special day that she came into the world i have ordered her a beautiful print from Modo Creative via Not On The High Street with all her birth details on. Her big sisters have one each too and are something that i'll hope they'll treasure as much as I do, those numbers and dates and weights changed my world forever.

Photo credit to Modo Creative
(This is an example image as Miss Dot's is carefully wrapped up ready for her to open in the morning )
I hope that's given you a little bit of inspiration if you have a celebration coming up and are stuck for ideas for a gift, I'd love to hear any ideas you might have, do leave them in the comments below.

Me x

16 August 2016

Just A Mum

"So what do you do?" I used to dread this question being asked when meeting new people. I used to feel really uncomfortable and more often than not would utter the words "I'm just a mum at the moment" followed by justifying my reasons behind our decision for me to stay at home after my maternity leave ended with Miss Boo. 4 years on I am far more confident in my response and able to say that "I am currently at home with my children", I do still find myself offering excuses as to why though and I have no idea why I do it.  I am so proud to have grown 3 perfect little ladies and so proud to have brought them into the world and teach them all about it. In fact I'm never prouder than when I look at my girls. The decision for me to be at home is the right one for our family and I'm so much more than "just a mum" and I need to be proud of my current profession.

It's an incredibly worthy profession and I'll tell you why. For starters it's not profession, it's hundreds of professions rolled into one, with a skill set attached which could run MI5. Every day mothers (and fathers) whether or not we are also in paid employment, take on the role of chef, personal assistant, taxi driver, cleaner, launderette, teacher, entertainer, nurse, personal shopper, carer, counsellor, and so many more. We multitask, we problem solve, we communicate with a sometimes, (ok often) challenging audience, we organise, we have excellent interpersonal skills, we have extremely high levels of patience...oh and we can juggle and plate spin like nobody's business ;)

However I think sometimes the words 'just a mum' come out because some days I'd like to be more than that. Being at home full time is an absolute privilege I know, but sometimes it's really hard and the day to day grind can be, well, a little bit boring... We get out everyday to do something because a lot of the time I crave adult company and conversation. I also feel that because I am at home full time and it's my current 'profession' that I need to do it well, so I've thrown myself into it wholeheartedly. 

There is no official appraisal system for mothers, no one to one, no bonus scheme. There are days I guess you have in any job, days where you feel self doubt, under appreciated, overworked, stressed, frustrated. Days when everything is a challenge and your co - workers are driving you crazy (although hopefully not screaming on the office floor or pulling each others hair) Then there are the great days where things go well, you meet your targets (packing the dishwasher, cooking a meal and putting some washing on!) meetings are productive (play dates) and everything is running to schedule in perfect harmony. 

There is no annual leave, no sick leave and no wage. It's a 24 hour a day, 365 day shift with on the job training and it's quite hard to clock out. I don't think I fully appreciated this before I took on the role and I've been winging it ever since wondering if I'm doing it right as I'm pretty sure most mums are.The affirmation we are doing a good job mamas is right there in front of us in the form of our children and despite the tough days we are paid substantially in smiles, laughter, cuddles, kisses, fun, moments that absolutely take your breath away and fill you with happy tears. Most of all we have the honour of being the most important person in the world to them. Bringing up the next generation of human beings is a huge responsibility and takes a lot of hard work, dedication and love. There is real value in that and no 'just' about it.

Me x

7 August 2016

A day at Bewilderwood

If you're looking for an adventure with your littles and not so littles then Bewilderwood is the place for you. We recently spent a day exploring all that this magical place has to offer. It's set in beautiful woodland in the Norfolk Broads and is totally geared up for families, catering for all ages.

We love being outdoors and encourage outdoor play as much as we can. The little ladies are in their element in this kind of setting and can just be children. I really feel like they learn so much from playing outside about the world around them and it gives them a chance to let off some steam whilst developing lots of important physical skills. During our day at Bewilderwood the girls ran, jumped, climbed, swung and balanced. 

There were chances to be creative and sit and listen to stories and have their faces painted and also to loose themselves in the enchantment of the Bewilderwood stories of Boggles, Twiggles and Croclebogs. Above all a day at Bewilderwood is just such good fun and they can run as wild as their imaginations. 

From the moment you arrive at Bewilderwood it feels so magical and like you are entering a special place. As a parent it's logistically easy with a huge free car park with plenty of space and a short walk to the entrance. All visitors are given wristbands as tickets and there is even a little spot to write an in case of emergency number on them should your little ones wonder off at any point.  

The wood itself is so well established with such lush vegetation and the walkways and paths (with plenty of room for our double buggy) just blend into it perfectly. It also means it's really sheltered and well shaded. Little wooden houses are hidden in the tree tops and marshes which just set the girls imaginations alight and they were so excited when they spotted one. 

The wood is essentially an enormous adventure playground with so much to explore from treetop mazes to zip wires and slippery slopes to slide down. We arrived at 11am (the wood opens at 10am and left at closing time (5:15pm) and only just squeezed everything in so it really is a whole day out which I think demonstrates excellent value for money. 

There are fantastic dedicated areas for little ones such as the Toddlewood playgrounds which are really accessible for them but they are also able to explore all the other parts of wood such as the 'Sky Maze' and 'Broken Bridge' treetop walks if they feel confident enough to do so. 

Miss Boo and Miss Tibs aged 4 and 2 happily climbed with ease and I really liked that there were several 'opt out' points along the route where they could climb down should they want to. This was also handy for me as I had Miss Dot in the sling and although most of it was accessible I didn't want to attempt the rather speedy slides to the ground with her. Miss Dot enjoyed the day as much as her sisters; there were plenty of swings to put her in and so much for her to look at, particularly as she loves trees. 

The equipment is so well designed, well built, super high quality and feels really safe. It also feels organic; like it has always been there and is part of the wood. When you're climbing along the wooden rope bridges you can tell the children really feel like they could be one of the fictional Twiggle inhabitants of the wood. 

There are so many picnic benches and circles of logs to sit on and take a break or refuel located throughout the woods. We took a picnic with us which we enjoyed in a quiet grassy spot behind the 'Big Hat' called 'Leaflette's Lawn'.  

There were also several refreshment points throughout the wood serving lovely quality food and drink. The girls has an absolutely delicious chocolate and marshmallow ice cream mid afternoon while we enjoyed a proper coffee. 

As well as the incredible adventure playgrounds there are so many other things to do (all included in the ticket price) which provide some lovely downtime amongst the running and climbing. The girls loved making their 'twizzle wizzles' in the Big Hat, we were covered in glitter for the rest of the day but that only added to the magic :) 

They really enjoyed listening and taking part in the story of the Boggles on the storytelling stage which included puppets and dressing up, two of their favourite things. 

They also had their faces painted, a lovely touch and so fun to see all the children exploring the woods in their face paints. 

The staff were all so helpful, cheerful and friendly and although they must have made hundreds of twizzle wizzles and painted hundreds of faces by the time we got to them late afternoon their enthusiasm didn't faulter. One of Miss Boo's favourite parts was a boat ride which takes you through the marshes to a jetty in the woods where you can learn a bit more about the characters that inhabit the woods, she loved it so much she insisted on going on it twice. 

There is a lot to explore in the woods and it covers a large area. There is a trail which you are given a question sheet for along with your map with clues to find in each section of the wood, this is actually how we came across our spot for lunch.

When you leave at the end of the day and hand in your completed sheets the children can choose a Bewilderwood badge as a little memento which the girls thought was marvellous. This clever trail also ensures that you visit all the areas of the park so is worth doing. We visited the 'Sky Maze' last around 4pm which worked really well as it was much quieter in the wood which was very busy due to visiting in the school holidays. Despite being busy there was plenty of space for everyone and very little waiting for the girls to take their turn which is always good with young children. 

The end of the day arrived so quickly, we had so much fun, time just ran away with us. The girls didn't want to leave which I think is testament to what a brilliant day we had. All feeling slightly weary after lots of walking and playing we made our way back to the car. 

I'd say good footwear and suitable clothing for outdoor play equipment is a must. The little ladies wore leggings and wellies which worked well as there had been some wet weather and was a little muddy in places. Trainers would be absolutely fine too. 

The little ladies had certainly worked up an appetite so after waving goodbye to Bewilderwood and its Twiggles and Boggles we stopped off in a nearby village for fish and chips before popping their pjs on and driving home, they were asleep in minutes with smiles (and paint!) on their faces dreaming of their adventures. 

We'd really recommend Bewilderwood and had the most wonderful time together in the fresh air making some brilliant memories. I wondered if the little ladies were going to be too young to get the most out of it but they just loved it and are already asking when we can go again. 

We filmed a little video of our day as a little memento and also to give you a little ladies eye view of the Bewilderwood:

If you'd like to find out more about visiting Bewilderwood you can take a look at their website HERE

Me x

Bewilderwood kindly gave us tickets to the wood in return for an honest review. The review is my honest opinion of what we experienced during our visit.