Our little collections of seasonal books are growing and this Christmas I’ve added all our wintery books to Lucas’ bookshelf. We already had a few from last year so I’m slowly building up the Christmas library year on year; there may even be a few more new additions before the big day itself!
What a lovely shelf for Lucas to choose from, we currently have: The Jolly Christmas Postman, Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Cracker, Dear Santa, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, Happy Christmas Boris, One Snowy Night, The Very Merry Mice and finally (and probably Lucas’ favourite) The Dinosaur Who Pooped Christmas!
As we read to him every night before bed me and Daddy already have our favourites, we both love One Snowy Night as Lucas loves picking out all the woodland animals that scurry into Percy the Park Keeper’s shed. I remember my little brother loving this book too so it’s special to read it to Lucas. ’Twas The Night Before Christmas is a classic and surely every child should have this book but I’m not overly keen on our copy, it is a little plain. The book I remember from my childhood had pop-ups and tabs to make the reindeer fly across the sky, needless to say I loved it. I would really like to find a version for Lucas that is that little bit more magical.
The Jolly Christmas Postman is brilliant but Lucas is still that little bit too young as it has some lovely letters, cards and games inside the envelopes. I’m a little nervous of them being crumpled up so supervision is needed with this one. Dear Santa is perfect for him to look through on his own, and he often does! Slinky Malinki is just a great little book and being part of the Hairy Maclary series you always know it will have a brilliant rhyme and illustrations.
Happy Christmas Boris is the festive version of Calm Down Boris and Lucas loves Boris the puppet. Probably not our favourite one to read but it really does make Lucas giggle when he can interact with Boris! He is really enjoying interactive books at the moment where he can lift flaps or move tabs and The Very Merry Mice is perfect for him this year, a lovely little story and lots of fun for Lucas. Last but not least is The Dinosaur Who Pooped Christmas; it would be fair to say we had a bit of book snobbery going on over this book but I really like it and Lucas loves it, he will grin the whole way through! The illustrations are great and it does make me laugh (much to my shame).
I still need a book for his Christmas Eve bag and maybe another festive one for a stocking filler, what are your favourite children’s books for Christmas? Do you have any favourites from your childhood that you read with your children now?
Now December is upon us I can finally let out all my excitement about Christmas. I always try and wait until December to put decorations up and start Christmas baking and crafts but we have had to be a little bit more organised early on this year as we may have two new arrivals by Christmas!
Luckily for me the lovely people at Soreen have been helping us to get in the festive spirit and sent a fabulous parcel of goodies. This was full of some great prodcuts from their range of malt loaves and a fantastic little recipe book full of some great ideas for using Soreen in baking. I’m dying to have a go at some of these and I’ve had to shoo my family away from the goodies so I can whip up an extra special Soreen treat. To be honest Lucas always loves to eat a slice plain but this has inspired me to try new ideas. Look out for some of these in the coming weeks but seen as I couldn’t hold my family back any longer I just kept it simple with the Festive Joy Loaf. As we put the decorations up this weekend I thought a little supper would be perfect as a reward for all our hard work; the Festive Loaf is full of all the Christmassy flavours that we fancied after getting tangled in fairy lights and listening to Christmas carols. I happened to have a little Christmas Tree cutter to hand so shaped our festive loaf, popped it under the grill to warm up and added lashes of butter (I’ve kept the trimmings to make into Soreen Flapjacks).
As we all expected it was delicious, squidgy and the perfect treat for a cosy evening in surrounded by the glow of Christmas candles and twinkling Christmas tree lights. I will have to stock up on this now as Lucas loves it! My husband then spotted the recommendation to serve with Brandy Butter so I guess that will be added to the shopping list too, then I suppose I should share it around. Happy December everyone!
I was sent a box of Soreen Malt Loaf treats to sample and enjoy; all thoughts and opinions are always my own!
The weeks are really starting to fly by now, especially with Christmas right around the corner it seems like there is always so much to do. I don’t get much time to think about the pregnancy or delivery or even to get as organised as I would like to be for the twins arrival. There is still so much I need to get, just the basics like nappies but I did not leave it so late first time round! On top of all this I’ve heard from so many people who have gone into labour early with their twins so I’m trying to get as much done while I can – not the most relaxing end to my pregnancy!
This coming week I have got a scan and appointment and my husband should be able to get the time off work to be at this one as it is the last official one before the babies arrive. Last scan, two weeks ago the babies were both head down but I feel like one of them has definitely shifted as I can feel pressure high up again. The decision about the delivery will be made at this appointment and we should be given a date to go in. It will be right on top of Christmas so I hope that whether they decide before or after I will still manage to be home for Christmas Day. I know Lucas is only young so he doesn’t really know what is happening but I would still hate to miss Christmas morning with him.
Last week I had signed me and hubby up to a Practical Preparing for Parenting Class organised by TAMBA. They run these seminars all over the country and it is £5 per person delivered by an experienced parent of multiples. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it was brilliant and I’m so glad we made the effort to go. It was a bit like an ante-natal class for expectant multiple parents so we met lots of other couples in the same situation as us and discovered we all have the same worries, questions, hopes! We picked up some great tips about things I hadn’t even thought about, from equipment to night feeds, from upgrading your car to coping with Special Care; so much was covered and I could have listened and asked questions all night. They also set up an email contact sheet so you can stay in touch with the other couples and the lovely Mums who delivered the session.
It has made me realise just how much of a difference it can make being able to speak to someone else with twins; it isn’t the same as having just the one baby and just listening to someone else’s experience is invaluable. I would really recommend getting involved with other twin parents if you can, particularity while you are pregnant and likely feeling anxious about the future. Unfortunately, my local area is very lacking in twin groups and support and I am limited as I don’t have a car in the week. However, I heard that a lot of twin parents try to meet up informally so I will have to hunt some out!
There is something so special about Autumn, the beautiful colours, long walks on a crisp sunny day and cosy hours spent indoors with hot chocolate. We love Autumn and it holds a special place in my heart because last September I officially became a stay at home mum and me and Lucas seemed to spend all our days outdoors together; he was getting pretty steady on his feet and loved to explore everything. We made so many special memories.
This year I feel awfully guilty that we haven’t been able to get out the same. My big twin bump has put a stop to lots of our adventures with just us two. The upside of this is spending more time outdoors with Daddy and we have had some perfectly peaceful family walks in the Autumn sun. Now we say goodbye to Autumn but here are some of my favourite moments from my favourite season…it’s been good to us.
I know we aren’t quite in December yet but I have already started to gather some Christmas crafts for us to get our home ready for the festive period. Today I’m featuring a lovely article by Galt Toys with some fantastic ideas for homemade Christmas decorations. We’d love to have a go at the Christmas Pudding Cookie Plate, we might even have a practice run with the cookies too!
Transforming your home into Santa’s grotto might not be your idea of fun, but getting the kids making decorations certainly will keep them busy. Here are a few quick, easy ideas from Galt Toys to try to prepare for Santa’s visit and get the house looking amazing!
Christmas Pudding Cookie Plate
Leaving Santa a cookie, and a carrot for Rudolph? Make a Christmas Pudding Cookie Plate!
You will need:
One paper plate
Galt Toys Paints
Two Red Buttons
Sharp scissors (ask an adult to help you)
Take your pencil and draw a wiggly line across the plate, dividing it into two. Using brown paint (made by mixing red and green), paint half of the plate brown, leaving half white. Leave it to dry. Use your pencil to mark out two leaf shapes on the felt. Ask an adult to use the scissors to cut out your leaf shapes, then using some glue, stick them both close together at top of the white side of your plate. Take your two red buttons, and stick them next to each other where the leaves are. Your cookie plate is now ready for Santa!
You will need:
A plastic tumbler
Using the pencil, draw around the tumbler or cup to make circles on your white paper. Cut them out carefully and place them on your craft mat or protected surface. Next, spread some glue on one of your circles and decorate as you please with strips of tissue paper, glitter, or anything else you would like to try. Leave to dry, then take a piece of ribbon, make a loop in it and tie a knot, and then tape it to the back of the bauble. It is now ready to be hung on your tree! Repeat with different shapes, sizes and patterns to make some beautiful decorations.
Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes
You will need:
Silver, white or blue pipe cleaners
Take two pipe cleaners and twist them together in the middle to make a cross. Take two other pipe cleaners and twist them with the first two, creating an eight-pronged star shape. Now you can add some shape, colour and structure. Snowflakes are always symmetrical, so try and do to one side what you would do to the other. Be as creative as you like. If you feel like it, use lots of different colours. These look great hung from trees or stuck to windows.
You will need:
Glitter glue suitable for use on fabric
Beads, sequins and other decorative bits and pieces
A needle and thread
With an adult, cut out two large sock shapes from your red felt, both exactly the same size. Ask your adult to help you stitch them together leaving a 1cm border, then turn the stocking inside out. Use white felt to create a trim around the top of the stocking, and stick it in place with fabric glue. Now you can decorate! Use glitter glue to write your name on the white felt, and use fabric glue to stick on your other decorations. Leave to dry. If you wish to hang it, you will need to make a felt loop and have it sewn to the top of your stocking. All that’s left is for Santa to fill it full of gifts!
About the Author
This article was written on behalf of Galt Toys who have 175 years’ experience in toys and education. Galt know a thing or two about designing toys & craft activities to encourage children to learn through play…and also have fun!
Here we are…32 weeks! Hard to believe that at one stage we thought our twins would be arriving around now. I don’t feel quite ‘pregnant’ enough yet to be ready to give birth so I’m glad there are no signs yet! I feel like I’m so hyper-aware of every pain as they’ve drummed into me the urgency to see someone if I think I’m in early labour. Just like every other labour there is nothing predictable about a twin birth, some ladies are early and others make it all the way to 40 weeks!
This week I had my penultimate scan and appointment and both babies have now turned and are in the correct position. I had a feeling they had moved as I had a bit of a funny turn at the weekend and felt terrible for a couple of days. I was quite happily browsing in our local supermarket then suddenly felt like the ground was moving under me. I thought I was just going to have to plonk myself on the floor! I got it under control and we made it home but I felt really off for a couple of days queasy, dizzy and so tired. I suspect this may have been them making their move into the correct position.
The babies are both measuring well and are on track which is fantastic. I’m so happy to have made it to this stage without any complications. I still need to make a decision about the delivery; there are so many factors for me to consider, now they have turned I can try for a natural birth but I would have to be induced around 36 weeks. I find it all a bit over-whelming and the consultant isn’t really pushing me either way. I’m a bit concerned about going in to be induced around the Christmas period as the consultant told me she would have to check staffing levels! Doesn’t really instil me with a great deal of confidence. My very worst fear is going for a natural birth and then having to have an emergency caesarean, my labour was so long with Lucas I think I still have a few worries left from that.
A lot of people having been asking me if I feel bigger than I did with ith Lucas and the answer is YES, definitely. I can really feel the difference and I feel like I’m carrying twins. I know some women go to 40 weeks with twins and I take my hat off to them, I couldn’t imagine how I would still be mobile with another 8 weeks of pregnancy.
I don’t do many bump photos because I’m not really very good at posing for pictures but reaching 32 weeks is a great milestone I want to remember so here you go; my big twin baby bump!
Having recently discovered The Toadstool online toy shop I was excited to see their Big Christmas Blogger Competition. This has given me the perfect excuse to have a good mooch round The Toadstool website, create a Pinterest board and try to narrow down a few that we would love for Lucas. Lucas turned two in August and with another two boys on the way I’ve been much more concious this Christmas of choosing presents that will last and be durable enough to stand up to three boys. I have always loved wooden toys but they appeal to me even more now as I really want to invest in the perfect playthings that they will all be able to enjoy for many years!
I couldn’t do a wishlist for Lucas without including something to do with trains. Last year we bought him a small, cheap wooden train set to see if he took to it. A year on and it is out and played with nearly everyday so I think it’s about time I upgraded as I can see this being something we will be able to add to every Christmas. It will be a great present that my boys can share. I love this Brio Wooden Trains – Farm Railway Set (1). It would be a great starter to a better quality wooden train set and the farm theme would be perfect for Lucas’ age.
If you read my blog regularly you’ll have heard me talk about Lucas being a slow developer with his speech; this has been on my mind when buying toys and I like to find things that encourage speech and role play. We have a play kitchen for him and I love to add little bits and bobs to it encourage imaginative play; this Plan Toys Tea Set (2) would be brilliant, what child (and Mummy) doesn’t love an imaginary tea party?!
Another toy I’ve been keen to add to our Christmas gift pile are some building blocks. They are wonderful for inspiring imaginative play and another toy that’s will be great for speech development as we can chat about what we build. There is great range to choose from but I really like the Haba Discover Technics Blocks (3). I can imagine that Lucas would spend so much time creating with these.
The Wonderworld Rainbow Sound Sensory Blocks (4) look amazing and I’ve had my eye on them for quite a while now. I think Lucas is still at an age to get some good use out of them and they would be fabulous for two little exploring babies too.
I love the Janod Alphabet Beads (5). I have been looking for a threading toy to add to Lucas’ Christmas stocking and this one is just gorgeous. The alphabet letters really appeal to me; Lucas is good with problem solving and sensory toys. These beads are just fantastic for a sneaky educational toy.
As much as I know I could regret adding a musical toy they are superb for development and frankly just great fun! There were so many to choose from but my favourite is the Haba Metalophone (6), it looks colourful, hard wearing and I’m sure it will make a whole lot of noise too, maybe we can play learn a Christmas jingle!
So there you have it, a fun little wishlist for Lucas’ Christmas (and maybe for two more if they have arrived by then) from The Toadstool’s lovely online toy shop. If you are looking for some different pre-school toys then please stop by the website and make your own Christmas Wishlist!
This is my entry for The Toadstool Big Xmas Blogger Competition.
Everyone who has ever even thought about having children has always thought about the baby names they would choose. I know me and my husband would discuss our favourite names well before we had decided to try for children. Both times I found out I was pregnant I couldn’t help having a sneaky look though the baby name books and even writing little lists of my favourites. This time the pressure is on, not only do we need two names for our identical twin boys but they need to sound good together. It feels like such a responsibility to get it right! You think about everything; will they like it as a teenager, as an adult? Will they get it shortened to something strange in school? Will the teacher be able to pronounce it on the register? More so now you have to wonder if they will get judged for it at each stage of their life, at job interviews or on application forms?
When I went into have Lucas we had picked out three baby boy names and we hadn’t told them to anyone beforehand. I remember the midwife asking me our names (this was post-epidural when I could talk sense!) and she told us she liked Lucas. When he was born they asked us what we were going to name him, I asked my husband to choose and it has always seemed just perfect for him.
I know everyone has different ways of choosing a name. Some people have them picked out from when they were young and it never changes, some have a family name that has a deep meaning to them, some choose a name because of their heritage and you always hear of people naming their children after cars etc…each to their own! Personally I like names that aren’t too popular but at the same time don’t make people pull a funny face when you say it. I like old fashioned names and I like modern names; some names I absolutely love but they just don’t sound right with our surname. Some of my favourite names get vetoed straight away by my husband; because he is a teacher inevitably some names remind him of certain children, for better or for worse!
This pregnancy I had so many girl names I loved but the boy names were a bit scarce. When we found out it was twins I thought I’d be set…if it was girls! My lists of girls names was out of control; there were so many I loved. Boys names I think I managed about 5 and even then I wasn’t too sure of them. The further through the pregnancy I went the more I thought it was boys and I started to leave my list of little girl names before I became too attached to any! And so, we are blessed with two little boys and choosing their names could not have been harder. We have both wrote our list and compared, but even when we have matching names one of us has dithered about whether we really like it. it has seemed so much more difficult this time, did anyone else find this with their second?
So, after much debate and list making we have managed to agree on a few names; we have two we are pretty certain on and a couple more just in case we change our minds when we see them! Incidentally neither of them are the other names we had picked out for Lucas and to be honest we could even change our minds again!
How did you choose names for your children? Were they names you always wanted, did you let your partner choose or were you swayed by someone else’s opinions?
Everyone has those places right on there doorstep that they never visit. The town I grew up in and moved back to last year took part in a Big Art project nearly 7 years ago; this saw a monument being designed by Jaume Plensa and built on an old colliery site to pay tribute to the town’s mining history. It’s interesting that the ex-miners rejected the artists original idea of a miner’s lamp as it was too obvious but they loved the conceptional idea of a girl’s face.
Dream takes the form of a 20 metre high girl’s head with her eyes closed, seemingly in a dream-like state, resting on a plinth bearing the inscription “Dream Sutton Manor” inspired by the small, circular “tally” each miner carried as a means of identification.
The Dream concept was not only the artist’s response to the brief and its ex terra lucem “Leitmotif”, but also directly informed by Jaume’s conversations with the ex-miners and other members of the local community about their aspirations.
What had clearly emerged from these discussions was that, far from wanting a mining monument, they sought instead a forward-looking piece that would provide a beautiful, inspiring, contemplative space for generations to come.
In Jaume’s words, “Despite her wonderful vantage point and view, the girl’s eyes are closed, looking inward. This is in part my homage to the miners and their dream of light when underground.”
I remember watching the Big Art programme on television but we have never visited the Dream sculpture. You can see it from the roads as you drive past the site and as we had a beautiful crisp day last weekend we wanted somewhere to different to walk; the sculpture is within the Mersey Forest so it was a lovely stroll up to the statue, although Lucas wanted to be carried up the hill! The 20 metre sculpture looks pretty spectacular and the cement is a special bespoke mix deigned to make it look almost luminous white. I liked that you can’t really see it as you walk round the forest so it is revealed as you turn a corner. It looks amazing against a beautiful, blue, autumnal sky and despite having plenty of viewers it is a very peaceful space.
One of the items I have been looking forward to buying during this pregnancy is a new changing bag, of course when I found out we were expecting twins I knew we would need something with plenty of room. Not only will I have two newborns and a toddler but it would be nice to be able to fit some of my things in there too; I’m not asking for much, a space for my purse, phone, keys and lip balm and I’ll be set! I have been looking at them for so long now and created a Pinterest board to track my favourites but the time has come to narrow it down. These are some that I’ve been considering…
1. I just had to include a Pink Lining bag and this one is a specially designed Twins Bag. I really like the colourful designs of Pink Lining Bags and I also love that on their website they have a brilliant clear picture of the inside of the bag. I like that this has insulated bottle holders – double that of their regular bags and external zip pockets for all those mummy bits. £85.00
2. I’ve seen this one recommended a lot, the Skip Hop Duo Deluxe is quite simple a massive bag! The real benefit of this bag is that it is designed to fit on a side-by-side double buggy and it has 16 pockets – enough to keep everything separate for both babies, Lucas and me. From what I can tell it doesn’t have insulated bottle pockets but I’m sure it has enough space to add your own. £69.99
3. Although not my favourite design this Vertbaudut Week-end Bag is really good value and looks like it is spacious and practical. This has plenty of pockets, matching accessories and a removable mini messenger bag. £45.00
4. One that would suit my husband, the PacoPod, Picos Backpack is totally different to most changing bags. It has three separate ‘pods’ for feeding, changing and parent bits and the feeder pod is insulated. I’m lucky that my husband would never grumble about having to have a ‘feminine’ bag attached to the pushchair but I still think he would be more comfortable carrying this. £85.00
5. This Caboodle bag is another one I like because it is bright and colourful. It’s a reasonable price, waterproof and looks like it would fit plenty of baby bits in. I like that you can attach a shoulder strap to it aswell as the regular carry handles. £40.00
6. This is one of my favourites, the Mia Tui Amelie bag looks like a regular handbag but with everything you would expect from a changing bag inside. It looks really roomy and another website that does a great shot of the interior of the bag. I love that these bags come with clear internal bags and an extra clutch bag for the little bits and bobs that always get lost in the bottom of your bag. £63.00
7. Ok, so I think this Storksak Sofia bag is beautiful but I have to hold my hands up and say I honestly couldn’t afford to buy it. To be fair I don’t spend that much money of my own handbags so I couldn’t really justify it but I had to include it because it is gorgeous and I think it would be a great investment if you had the money to spend. £250.00
I’m still not sure what we will go for. I know I will need a big bag even if they look bulky because I hate having to carry lots of different bags. It will need to have space for all of us if we are going out for a full day or just nipping to the library. I’m not too concerned with how it looks but obviously some of these are more aesthetically pleasing than others.
What did you look for in your changing bag? Which is your favourite, have you tried any of these out and what would you recommend?