I love this time of year, when you can feel the seasons changing and see the different colours all around. I love digging out all my woollies and wellies and getting wrapped up to go out in the cold weather. For some reason this season always brings back childhood memories, I remember crunching through the leaves and collecting conkers, picking up pine cones and puddle jumping. This year I really wanted to start a new tradition for Autumn; pumpkin picking. We don’t do anything wildly exciting for Halloween but we always carve pumpkins so surely we should have a go at picking our own.
There are a few farms near us opening their pumpkin patch to the public but we opted for Poplar Farm near Ormskirk. This is such a great little site but it was very busy so be aware you may have to wait for a wheelbarrow. We donned our wellies, picked up a very pretty pink wheelbarrow and set off in search of the perfect pumpkin.
It was quite an overcast day but I liked that, it all added to the atmosphere. It was fantastic to look out over the fields and spot the orange dots. My husband set off in search of the perfect patch for us and he was eagerly darting amongst the pumpkins, only the very best would do! He may have been the most excited out of all of us. Lucas loved it and Arthur and Brandon sat quite happily in the wheelbarrow as if it was the most fun they had ever had.
We were there longer than I thought we would be and it was such a fun afternoon. I would really recommend that you hunt out your own local pumpkin picking site; Lucas was so excited that he could pick his own and we would be taking it home with us. It also gave me a chance to trap the munchkins in a wheelbarrow so I could get a photograph of all three of them, it didn’t mean they would stay still but they had a great time! Brandon kept throwing his hands in the air like he was on some sort of rollercoaster and I’m sure they would have sat in there all afternoon giggling at each other.
On the way home with three sleeping boys I just kept saying how much I had enjoyed it, not only the pumpkin patch, which was fantastic but it was just so lovely to get out as a family. It is getting easier now the twins are older and we can start to really enjoy our time outdoors (with Nanny for reinforcements!) I feel like we’ve started a little family tradition that the boys will look forward to every year and hopefully they’ll remember it fondly when they are all grown up. I now have four very large pumpkins sitting in my kitchen but the memories we made from picking them are really rather special.
It always seems to be Lucas featuring in my Living Arrows posts but as difficult as it is to catch a photograph of him it is virtually impossible with the twins. Even if I manage to spot them being relatively still if they spot me and the camera they are on the move; I have so many photos of them that are blurry or they have their eyes shut. They are always exploring whereas Lucas will have moments of calm, like this one here. Since he was small if something scary was on the television he would hide behind the sofa. Now he is a little taller so it isn’t so much hiding as he can see right over the sofa but he will still go and stand behind it at the scary parts (such as the horrible next door neighbour in Toy Story). He is so engrossed in whatever he is watching but all of a sudden he will hop off the chair and scoot round the back of the sofa to a safer viewing position. I love these little quirks in his character, little things that make him Lucas.
This weekend we walked up to a spot where I remember taking Lucas on our first Autumn in this house, he played in the leaves for so long that day. Sadly the grass had just been cut so the leaves were a little sparse. Instead he started a game of hide and seek which was mostly a game of running round the trees. He would lean against the tree with his eyes closed and count to three (definitely not giving us enough time to run away!) then peek round and chase us usually telling us which way we should be running. I had Brandon in the Ergo and he thought it was the funniest thing when we turned round and chased back after Lucas. I missed the blanket of Autumn leaves but still a lovely spot to play.
I’ve always loved weekends; the chance to spend time together as a family and relax the routine a little. Now Lucas has started pre-school the weekends seem extra special. We have two whole precious days together as a family. Sometimes we are busy, there are things to be done but other times things just fall into place and we have the perfect family weekend. Nowhere to be, no work to be done, no rushing through lunch so we can get to school on time. Instead we can stay in pyjamas as long as we like, go for a walk and play hide and seek behind the trees, make a mess playing with toys just because we can. I love that we don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time.
I don’t think I fully appreciated it until my days have been interrupted with the school run, it takes over my entire day and means that we get very little else done. We have to have lunch early so I have time to get them all out and walk to the school, when I get back home I have some lunch and then it doesn’t seem long till we are going out again to pick Lucas up. Then we are getting ready for tea and bedtime and Lucas has been so tired he often is nodding off on the sofa. He needs chance to recharge after his busy week, as much as he loves it he is tired come Friday. Arthur & Brandon are getting used to being bundled in the pushchair but it’s nice to have a day where we can take our time. If we want to go out we can and we can do it when we’re all ready.
I love that the lazy weekends give the boys chance to spend so much more time with Daddy, they all go to him when he gets in from work. They all seem to benefit from the slow days and the extra time they can all spend together. This has been the first weekend in a long while were I feel like we have all managed to wind down and take a breath; it improves everyone’s moods and energises us for the week ahead. Isn’t it funny how some days you seem to get on top of each other a little bit then others you feel you couldn’t be any happier than just being in each others company? It’s nice to remember those days were nothing special happens but just being together is enough.
For three whole weeks now Lucas has been at pre-school, every afternoon we make the walk down to the school and he happily runs into the classroom without a backwards glance. It could have gone either way and I’m so glad that he goes in without a care in the world. I am also glad that when he see’s me at the door ready to pick him up he shouts ‘Mummy’ and runs towards me with a big grin on his face, it’s nice to know he misses me as much as I miss him.
As we wait outside to go in now the parents and children are starting to recognise each other. The children no longer wait nervously, holding on to whoever has brought them in. They run around and laugh with each other, the little girls hug and chatter, Lucas runs off to find puddles and mud. I love to see him enjoying it, it’s such a big adjustment and he is so tired after his days in but I can already see how much he has come on. He doesn’t tell me much about his days; I usually hear what snack he has had and which story they have read. On very rare occasions we will get one of his creations to bring home, I gather he isn’t too keen on sitting and drawing. Some of them come out with something new every day; Lucas comes out and tells me he’s played with trains. I’m looking forward to out first parents evening so I can hear what he is like in the class, no doubt completely different to how he is at home!
Each day when I get his uniform ready he asks me ‘going school?’ and points out his school badge on his shirt. Somehow we have made it through the first few weeks without any illness. Part of that I’m sure is our bracing walk to and from school but we’ve also been trying out Dettol Anti-bacterial Laundry Cleanserwhen washing his uniform. We are all encouraged now to wash our laundry at lower temperatures, which I regularly do but including a disinfectant will ensure that bacteria is kept at bay and hopefully reduce the dreaded school infections. So far so good for us and the cleanser has been kind to my boys sensitive skin too which is a bonus. This has become part of our washing routine now, great for school uniform and all the other mess my children get into.
This has been the start of a whole new chapter in his life and from now on school, teachers, friends will all be part of his world outside our little family. It’s a little scary to let go and watch them become part of something new but all worth it when I can see how much he loves it; that little bit of independence has been so good for him. However, I still look forward to picking him up every day and having him home again.
Disclaimer – We were sent the Dettol Anti-bacterial Laundry Cleanser for review, all opinions are my own.
You can see my first, A Little Bit Lately post here to find out more about it. These have been inspired by Sometimes Sweet’s Currently posts so check her out if you like it! Also please stop by But Why Mummy Why who has a wonderful ‘Love The Little Things’ linky.
I am currently reading a whole lot of nothing! I just can’t seem to get into the swing of it at the moment, there is nothing that I’m particularly desperate to read and when I do try sit down it never holds my attention. I feel like I need a really good book to get back into reading regularly, all recommendations welcome!
A lot of television, I love Autumn TV! There is something nice about cosying up on the sofa in the darker evenings, you can light candles put the fairy lights on and just relax. I love all the shows that start this time of year; Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing, Downton Abbey…I can just switch off and watch them which is perfect and my husband secretly loves them too I’m sure. We supplement the mindless TV with Netflix, we MUST finish Breaking Bad this month and I really want to start American Horror Story; I’ve heard good things!
We went to see Frank Turner last month which was so good. We used to go to see live music all the time but now it is a rare treat so I always say ‘that was my favourite gig’ when we come out but really I’ve just forgotten a lot of who we’ve seen! We’ve seen him a couple of times before but I really liked this gig because it was in a small venue and the crowd was amazing. Such a great night. Also loving listening to Royal Blood so much so that I bought an actual, real CD, I still like having the disc rather than just a download.
Every year is the same, I just love Autumn. It is without a doubt my most favourite time of year and I really like October. Me and my husband had our first date in October, many, many years ago and we got married on that same day four years ago. We had the most amazing crisp day even though it was the end of October and this time of year always reminds me of that. Even when the weather is bad I love staying in with hot chocolates and pyjamas on, it’s a great excuse to do nothing for the day. Not quite as relaxing with three little ones whizzing around but they’ll soon get the hang of it…I hope.
How fast this year has gone. I can’t believe I am already planning Christmas get togethers and present shopping. Every year the ladies in my family meet up for a meal and a few drinks for Christmas, so we’ve just booked in a date for that. Last year we did it early in November (when I could still get about as I was heavily pregnant with the twins). This year I will enjoy a good catch up and a few glasses of wine! It seems to strange to think at this time last year I was pregnant, in fact we were even preparing baby bits as they always thought I would go into labour early. In some ways I remember it like it was yesterday; I remember the feeling of being pregnant, the endless hospital appointments, the kicks in the night. In other ways it feels like a lifetime ago and I look at our very mobile twins in amazement at how much has changed over this last year. I am also incredibly excited about Christmas, every January I am so ready for it to be over but still this time every year I can’t help but look forward to it. I am lingering over Christmas decorations in the shops and picking up gift guides, trying to keep calm at least until next month.
A few of my Instagram snaps from this month.
What does your breakfast say about you? Are you a person who loves to have the same breakfast everyday or do you mix it up, how do you like your toast and what is your favourite topping? The people at Roberts Bakery and Duerr’s Jam and Marmalades have got to thinking that maybe what we have for breakfast says more about us than we might think. The things that you do everyday for breakfast even down to the thickness of your toast could have some deeper meaning that you have never considered. Luckily they have commissioned top scientific boffins to create a fun quiz to unlock your breakfast personality, and it will even identify your compatibility with the person you’re waking up to.
Personally I try and have my toast at the weekend, as a treat, or sometimes I’ll have a slice for supper nice and warm with sweet jam. Me and my husband could not be more different with our breakfast choices, I love my toast warm but only just toasted and I’ll have almost anything on it, jam, chocolate spread, marmalade but not peanut butter! He has his very well done, leaves it to cold and slathers on butter and peanut butter. He has taught me some of the finer points of toast making though, such as never use the same knife for different toppings. Nobody wants crumbs in the jam! I can say we haven’t gone quite so far as to buy a jam spoon though. I took the test and found out I am ‘On Trend’ with my toast habits, now let me tell you I don’t think I have ever been on trend for anything so this was a nice surprise. According to the quiz my husband would have to be ‘Angelic’ for us to be compatible and I’ll believe that when I see it!
Senior Psychology Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, Dr Sandi Mann led the project, analysing possible subconscious motives that prompt even the simplest of choices.
Dr Sandi Mann said: “How we eat our toast and marmalade might seem intuitive but the fact is, we each individually make a series of choices at breakfast – based on learnt preferences, innate behaviour and conditioned learning – which could underscore the personality type of last night’s bed fellow.”
So the question is are your breakfasts compatible, could this be the key to unlocking your happy every after? You’ll have to take the test to find out! Visit http://www.
Our walk to school is lovely (on a nice day) and we get to go past a Fire Station, fishing pond and right before we get to the school some lovely old trees. This is a great spot for conker picking and everyday Lucas has to stop and see what he can find, our little conker stash has been pretty good this year thanks to this lovely horse chestnut tree. I love to watch him searching for them and he loves it if we can find one still in it’s shell. It’s nice to think that every Autumn will be the same and we’ll be able to raid this tree every year. At the end of the school day you can hardly move for children here but when we go in at lunchtime we get it all to ourselves so we get to pick the very best conkers.
A couple of months ago we were sent the brand new Annabel Karmel book, Quick & Easy Weaning. I used Annabel Karmel books when weaning first time round so I was eager to give this one a try with the twins. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with Annabel Karmel; like her other books the book starts off with plenty of information for parents about weaning. It covers when to start, what to try at each stage, first tastes, allergy advice, routines, food to avoid, cooking and storing advice and equipment. What I love about Annabel’s books are the meal planners for each stage so I was glad to see that these were still included. I find these a great starting point for fitting solid feeds into your babies day and they can be easily adapted to suit your own routine. I’ve used them with all three of my children and they have been perfect for us.
The book is separated into different sections for each stage; First Tastes, After First Tastes, 6 to 9 Months and 9 to 12 Months. I like that each section has a little introduction with some information about that stage, such as what you can start to introduce and ideas for finger foods. I’ve noticed this book has given some ideas for no-cook purees, such as banana and peach, which I think is a fantastic idea. Often I would forget about putting something simple together if I was short of time so this is great to give you a little inspiration. The same with sweet potaot wedges, my boys LOVE these and I just didn’t think to give them a try until I spotted them in this recipe book. There is also a brilliant little section at the back for finger foods which I have been using for lunches, my twins love cream cheese and sweet chilli sandwiches and the sweet potato and apple mini muffins have been a big hit with all three of the children (and the adults too!)
I use the book nearly every day and always have it to hand when I am doing the food shop. I can usually find something it in to make once I’ve had a root around in the fridge and so many of the meals can be frozen which is ideal for busy families. I like the layout of this book more than the older version, it feels fresh and uncluttered and the photos are lovely (I really like good photography in recipe books!) There isn’t as much writing as my old book, it gets straight to the point which I like. The recipes cover all food groups and give plenty of ideas to get you started. Most of them have other options for what you could add or substitute if you haven’t got the ingredients to hand and they all say how many portions each recipe makes.
I’ve been very lucky with my twins and they will eat everything I put in front of them so it has been a joy to cook for them using this book. I loved having this book to hand as even though we’ve been through it before you still need a little refresher and some new ideas to give you confidence throughout weaning. It was good to read the information and remind myself of what they can’t eat and I used the meal planners right from the start. Overall I think this book is an ideal companion for the start of weaning and will see you right through the 12 months and many of the recipes will stick around beyond that. I thought I’d share one my twin’s favourites, Cod & Sweetcorn Fish Pies. I don’t eat fish so I’m not very confident at cooking it but is is so important for a babies diet, full of good stuff! I find these very simple to make and the boys go mad for them.
Cod & Sweetcorn Fish Pies
(suitable for freezing, suitable from 9 months, makes 4 portions)
- 450g white potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 20g butter, plus extra for the mash
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 3tbsp plain flour
- 250ml milk, plus extra for the mash
- 40g chedder cheese. grated
- 1 tsp snipped chives
- 150g boneless, skinless cod fillet, diced
- 2 tbsp sweetcorn, frozen or canned
Boil the potaotes for 15-20 minutes until sodt. Drain then mash with a little butter and milk, set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and fry for 5 mins. Add the flour and mix then whisk in the milk to make a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil then simmer for 2 minutes, add the cheese and chives then stir in the cod and sweetcorn.
Spoon the fish mixture into four ramekins and top with the mash, Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until lightly golden and bubbling
Disclaimer – I was sent Annabel Karmel Quick & Easy Weaning to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I love that we live right inbetween Liverpool and Manchester. Both cities offer so much for families and children and a couple of weeks ago we went to Liverpool’s International Pirate Festival. Taking advantage of being in a city we went to do a bit of shopping first which was a complete nightmare with three children in tow; everytime I’m stood waiting for the lifts in John Lewis (why is everything for kids on the top floor!) I swear I’ll never do it again.
Anyway once that was out the way we had a picnic alfresco lunch and headed to the Albert Dock to see the main event. It was a great atmosphere, lots of people dressed up, a sea shanty band playing, ships you could go and explore re-enactments and a live Pirate Battle going on in the dock itself. We saw quite a bit but because it was quite busy we stayed out of the main areas. Once we had been on board a Pirate Ship and listened to some pirate songs we went to walk along the front to the Pierhead. Liverpool is such a fantastic city, I used to travel all over Liverpool with my Nana visiting family. We would often go on the Mersey Ferry and I can’t believe how much it has changed since I was young. I love to stand there and look at The Liver Building, it is a stunning waterfront on a beautiful day. It is such a nice walk along the river now, so open and lots to see. Lucas spent a lot of time musing over the padlocks along the chains, all containing little love notes and we even managed to find a Lucas one! We walked along spotting the Lambananas and sat outside with a drink to watch the ships and admire Liverpool’s Three Graces. It isn’t without a great amount of effort that we go out for the day but it is getting easier to mobilise the troops and it is worth it when we have such a fantastic family day. Sadly I forgot my big camera (always forget something) so photos are just taken off phones apart from the lovely one of us all that was taken by one of our relatives who we ran into on the day!