One of my favourite gifts for the boys is always books, or book vouchers! The twins were very kindly gifted some Waterstones vouchers for their birthday from some good friends so I thought I would share our book haul. I just love book shopping in a real actual life shop; there is something much more appealing to be able to pick up the books and flick through them rather than just adding them to your online shopping basket. Don’t get me wrong, I buy a lot of our books online but it is a real treat to choose some from a bookshop and I hope that our children grow up thinking the same. I am always spoilt for choice in Waterstones but managed to whittle it down to a few for the twins and I couldn’t leave without treating Lucas to one too. I saved them for a rainy day, set up a den in the living room and we all sat and had a read of them. Amazingly it kept them all quiet for ages, it was so sweet to sit back and watch them all looking through books together. It’s one of those moments you dream of when you first have children, I’ve always wanted them to be bookworms and surrounding them by so many seems to have done the trick! Lucas chose The Smartest Giant In Town, which he spots in the back of our Julia Donaldson books and has been after for a while. It’s a nice one to read as a parent and we have a little chatter about George The Giant and what he is wearing on each page. He also chose Never Tickle a Tiger, supposedly for the twins but it has become one of our favourite bedtime stories. I absolutely judged a book by it’s cover when I first showed it to him but it is such a great kids book. It’s quite new; the illustrations are fantastic, so many animals to look at which is always popular with our boys. Then I went for Snow Bears; this is a lovely little pop up edition that is just so beautifully illustrated once I’d had a look through I couldn’t put it down. I chose a few board books as they are always fantastic for Boo and Bear, they need to be hardy with those two! Meg and Mog, how could I resist? I used to love these when I was younger; they make me think of libraries. I remember my Nana would take me to her local library that had a lovely children’s area with a big fluffy rug and they had lots of the Meg and Mog books. Luckily they are just as good as I remembered; the boys love the illustrations, so simple but engaging. Hairy Maclary and Zachery Quack was the last one I found hidden away on the shelf. I haven’t seen this one before but it is such a sweet little tale and I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love the Hairy Maclary stories. The little ones particularly love this one with the quacking duck! They have all become firm favourites but I always pick out Meg and Mog first. I think you always want your children to love your childhood reads just as much as you did. What children’s books are you and your little ones loving at the moment? If you are looking for something new I’d recommend all of these but especially Never Tickle A Tiger which is such a fun story!
This weekend has been all about the spots. Lucas took himself off to bed at 4.30pm on Friday, a sure sign that he is coming down with something and the chicken pox had appeared the next day. The last few days have look a lot like this, him cuddling his blanket, special teddies and watching lots of Shaun the Sheep on iPlayer. He was pretty wiped out Saturday and now is getting grumpy with the itching but he’s doing ok. I’m secretly quite looking forward to having him home from pre-school for a few days!
We’d had a lovely week too, some great school walks with lovely weather. On Thursday we went to his parents’ evening and heard all about him in school; how he is always happy to go in, sociable and plays well with the other children. Then we heard about his stubborn streak, how he is fiercely independent and knows more than he will ever show the teacher, things we already knew as he is just the same at home.
Boo and Bear have loved getting out every day for the walks and are starting to chatter more and more, they are so desperate to say things to us but it is all about ‘Dada’ at the moment. They honestly cause so much destruction in the house I don’t know what to do most of the day. They are super inquisitive and always on the go, that is why I love to get out for our walks and have a moments peace! I’m sure the dreaded spots will appear on them soon so will be a quiet few days for us all.
I feel like I’m going to get a reputation for what I’m calling ‘natural’ family potraits. We can’t seem to go a month without someone being ill and this month the culprit is chicken pox, hence the sleeping boy in the background!
In fairness we’d had plenty of opportunity for photos this month, in fact I kept realising I’d forgotten to have an attempt as we drove away from the parks and gardens that we’d visited over half term. That’s ok, I thought, we’ll go for a nice family walk this weekend and get an outdoor snap. Well, obviously that didn’t happen so we have this quick selfie snap, yet again indoors. Lucas went nuts everytime we tried to get a photo (understandably as he is covered in spots) so we waited until he nodded off, then pounced!
I’m still loving this project; these photos are making me realise that firstly, I need to invest in a tripod for my camera or phone, and secondly that one month we will get that picture perfect photo. Hopefully we’ll have a good memory to go with it but actually these ones of us all crammed in just in our lounge are an equally precious family memory. I know I’ll look back at them and remember just how manic life was, how busy we were every single day, how my memory failed me on a daily basis but we still managed to have a laugh and get a photo of us all. I’m going to claim we’re just keeping it real!
I have to admit that it isn’t always easy for us to get out as a family but we are slowly getting there. I love to get my boys out in the fresh air and always feel better when I can see muddy wellies and rosy cheeks. Lucas has always been such an explorer and as he gets older he just becomes more and more adventurous. There isn’t much that makes him happier than being outdoors, especially if we have a picnic. Even though we are still in a rather chilly February he has started pestering me to play in the garden and every day we enjoy our walks to pre-school
When I think about a perfect day out for us as a family, firstly it has to be outdoors! With a three year old boy it usually has to either involve mud, sand or water. For the twins I think they are just happy to see a nice view (or maybe a ride in a wheelbarrow). Sometimes we don’t have to go very far but if we find somewhere new to explore it is always cause for much excitement from our little ones.
As for us adults, I don’t think you can beat seeing your children getting such joy out of the simple things; running down a hill, hiding under a tree, jumping in muddy puddles, crunching over snow, swinging at the playground or rushing down a slide. I just love to get them away from the television and screens. We are always having true quality family time when we get outdoors together and if it is a difficult day everyone seems to relax the moment we set foot out our front door.
When I look back at my favourite photos from the year so many of them are outdoors and that is because they all hold a special memory. I can remember where we were and how it felt to see Lucas charging down the hill, or the twins going in a swing for the first time. Our perfect day out will always be a grand outdoor adventure and as the boys get older we look forward to having so many more!
This is my entry to apply to be a Crocky Trail Ambassador.
I’ve been blogging for a few years now and when I started out I never quite envisioned that I would create such brilliant friendships just through social media. It just never occurred to me but it has become a massive part of blogging for me; catching up with people’s lives and tweeting to them. Even just a comment on a post can spark a friendship, you write something that maybe someone can relate to and they feel able to tell you a little bit about themselves because of it. In that way I feel like I’ve started to make some great friends through blogging, just the odd comments or tweets you read here or there start to build up a picture of a person and you realise that you would actually be good friends in the real world as well as online.
That is why I was so excited to meet up with some lovely ladies I’ve been chatting to online for a while. There are so many bloggers I would love to meet and look forward to saying hello at conferences but it isn’t quite a comfortable environment you would wish for. Instead, a few of us live fairly close to each other so decided it was time for a girly night in. The amazing Karen from Mini Travellers was good enough to open up her beautiful home to few of us for a girls night and I was able to meet up with some ladies I could now call friends; Jess from Mummy of Boy Girl Twins, Katie from Mami 2 Five (twin theme emerging!) Sarah from Extraordinary Chaos, Katie from Life on Vista Street, Katy from What Katy Said and Julia from Rainbeaubelle. All bloggers who I admire and I love that we all have such different blogs yet when we got together it was as if we already knew each other. We had a fantastic evening with lots of talking, laughter, blogger chat, wine and gorgeous food! It is quite nice that you already know so much about each other that you can skip over any awkwardness and talk as you would to any other friend.
We were also treated to some lovely goody bags and I was excited to see some of my favourite haircare products in there from Neal & Wolf, they always smell so good and their heat-defence spray is fantastic for me. There was also some bath oil and cooling gel from Nelsons’s Arnicare which I’m really looking forward to trying out as I always hear good things about them. One I’m looking forward to trying out soon weather is Tan Organic fake tan, I’m not very good at sitting in the sun so fake tan is the way forward for me.
Some yummy tasty treats were also provided – 9bar cereal bar which went down very well. The tabasco sauce and olives added to Karen’s delicious tapas menu. The girls staying over had some lovely Slumberdown pillows for their sleepover. And finally, we were provided with an amazing retro mini fridge by Husky. Placed close to the dining room table this was perfect for chilling the wine, (or coke in my case, designated driver) and looked fantastic too.
We had a little play around with some photos too and managed to get a one of us all to mark to occasion, how we wished we were in an exotic location but Karen’s hospitality more than made up for the lack of sun! I could have stayed and chatted all night but sadly my home and the boys were calling me back. Thank you to Karen for hosting, Sarah for getting us some treats and to those brands who made our night special! It was fantastic to meet everyone in such a relaxed setting, here’s to the next one!
Disclosure: We were sent some goodies for our girly night in from the brands mentioned above.
Some moments are such hard work when you have children and then some moments can be so sweet. We’d gone to the park for the afternoon to meet up with the boys’ cousins; on the way we spotted some flowers and Lucas went to pick one to give them (I realise we are possibly not allowed to pick the flowers but how could I say no?!) He walked the rest of the way clutching this little purple blossom and smelling it. When he came to give it to his cousin he held it behind his back before revealing it with a flourish, just so adorable.
Having the week off with Daddy at home too means that there are more times for moments like this one. We aren’t rushing around to get somewhere, I’m not hurrying him along so maybe he spots more of his surroundings. When they are all in bed sometimes we have a chuckle about the little things they’ve done that day, either that or we laugh in exasperation!
I know that I’m extraordinarily lucky that my husband is a teacher and each school holidays I look forward to having him home and being a part of our everyday life. I feel like I’m counting down the weeks until the next half term or end of term when I get Lucas home for the full day and Daddy is around to help out. I feel like we can really be a team and having another adult to talk to in the day is a treat for me too! Of course it isn’t always as easy as I like to think and I’m so used to just doing my own things in the day that we do get under each others feet a little. Each holidays things have changed so much, our routine will be different, the twins are doing different things and Lucas is constantly wanting to be on the go. It takes us a few days to settle into each other’s space.
I’ve learnt from many a fraught school holidays not to expect too much. Lucas is always tired from finishing pre-school and my husband will often have work to do at home. Our days out can go either way, I’m sometimes so eager to get everyone out I don’t always think that maybe the boys need the time to just wind down at home. When they don’t go to plan I’ve learnt just let it go. We’ll come home and eat our packed lunch on the carpet and spend the day differently. We always seem to have so many appointments to squeeze into the week, haircuts, dentist and all the boys had to have injections (I had purposefully waited to have my husband with me for that one!) so our week was planned round them.
In the end we didn’t do a big day out like I had wanted; it was just going to be too difficult when it is still quite cold out. The boys get so miserable when they are cold so instead we stayed close to home. We spent a few afternoons at a park close to us that we just love (mostly because I can get cake) we caught up with cousins and Grandma and Grandad. My mum took Lucas to Shaun the Sheep for her usual Nanny date and we took him out on little errands so we could both spend some time with him. It’s fun spending time with the twins now when they are doing so much and Boo has started to take his first steps. It was great to have someone else around to keep an eye on them though, we really need eyes in the back of our head with this pair. We caught up with some of Lucas’ school friends for a playdate and had a game night in with in in laws. I also loved being able to see and good friends in the evening and my husband got a night out at the pub. Those little moments when you aren’t being a parent can really restore your sanity! At the end of the week I spent a fantastic evening with some lovely blogger friends; a real treat and there will be more on that another time.
So now here we are on Sunday and we’ve just spent the whole day in – a perfect lazy day to end the week and prepare ourselves for the return of the normal everyday routine. I don’t really get the Sunday feeling anymore because I’m a stay at home mum but I do at the end of the holidays. It’s a little bit of dread that the relaxed version of us is ending and some anxiety that I have to remember how look after our three everyday on my own! Still, I’m looking forward to our school walks again and the start of playgroups and swimming which they all love. I thought I’d share some photos of our week, nothing really special just lots and lots of precious family time.
Just this week Boo has begun to take his first steps; those first little wobbles, one leg in front of the other before a sudden collapse onto the carpet. The more he does the more he wants to try and the bigger his grin gets with each step. I sit and watch him making his attempts over and over again, cheering him on. In the back of my mind I can still picture Lucas doing exactly the same, nearly three years ago. Before I know it all three boys will be chasing each other round the house when it doesn’t seems that long ago that I was watching the twins rolling over for the first time.
As I watch those little bare feet running over the carpet I start to realise just how much it has seen over three short years. Like any family home ours has areas that have seen better days and definitely items that are in need of an update after three young babies. When the twins are a little older it will be time to think of getting some nicer furnishings and top of that list will be a new carpet for the lounge! There is no getting around the fact that it is showing signs of wear but then I think of all it has been though. It has been the carpet for first steps and since then wet coats, muddy wellies, snowballs and sandy spades. There has been all manner of spills and accidents, illness sweeping through the house, potty training and food constantly dropped from high chairs. Imaginary games have seen it become a road for the toy cars, grass for the dinosaur park, the sand when we’re at the beach and a park for a picnic. There will come a time, with those toddler years are behind us, when we can go out of buy a new carpet and maybe have a look for something a little more indulgent than we have been used to.
When we first moved into our house we initially picked a carpet based on having a young child. We chose one that would be forgiving to all those spills and mark and would be easy to maintain over the years. It’s not very exciting, a neutral shade with flecks in but it is hard wearing and has served us well. Little did we know that in a couple of years we would have two more babies so it turns out our practical carpet was the right choice. My boys have tested it to the limits! Barely a day goes by without a spill and it is usually littered with toys and books. For now this is the way I like it but when the time comes it would be nice to be able to look for something a little different and Carpetright have an amazing range to choose from.
I would love to have something with more texture and pattern, a new and modern looking carpet. It would be luxury to be able to browse through their collection and pick something based solely on style rather than just being practical about it. However, there are still lots of fantastic options if, like us, those muddy wellies are still in the back of your mind! I was surprised to see how many of their family carpets were actually something I would choose based on the style with the added bonus that they are easy to look after.
The fact that my children are out having fun getting muddy and exploring makes me happy so I couldn’t begrudge the odd mark on the carpet. Seeing them tuck into a cake, spilling crumbs everywhere, brings them such joy it would be a shame to ruin that by worrying about the mess. I’m not going to say that I don’t sigh and roll my eyes when I see yet another spill but I wouldn’t change it, it’s all part of the fun. Still, I can’t help but dream of sinking my feet into a sumptuous, colourful carpet…one day maybe.
Disclosure – This is a sponsored post.
We have been so ready for half term in this house, especially this little grump. By the end of a good block of pre-school afternoons he really starts to show signs of being tired and run down. I love that final Friday before school holidays knowing that I have him home for a whole week; we don’t have to rush our lunch to get out on time or make sure the school uniform is washed. Luckily for us we also have Daddy home which means we can all relax and leave the day to day routine behind for a few days.
This last week he started to say he didn’t want to go to school which is something he has never said since he started last September. It isn’t anything serious as by the time we reach the school gates he goes running off to play with his friends, leaving me behind. Some days I would love nothing more than to keep him home with me, then there are other days when he is so full of energy that I enjoy the peaceful walk home once he has gone though those doors. The binoculars have had to come along for the walk most days so he can spot things on the way. This is usually something on the floor or wall just inches from his face but still he looks pretty cute stopping and peering through them.
I can see such a change in him since the Christmas holidays, so much more he is saying and understanding. Having him all to ourselves for the week is actually a real treat; we’ll make the most of it and hopefully lose the grumpiness ready for the next half term!
I’m not sure of the last time we actually got our for a family walk; the cold weather, bugs and illnesses have all transpired against us. This weekend though we had a completely free weekend. One day was spent in our pjs at home, relaxing and playing but on the Sunday we needed some fresh air so visited Calderstones Park. It isn’t really our local park being a 20 minute drive away but it is one of my favourites. There are so many different places to explore and a fantastic little cafe, The Reader, in the middle of it all.
We parked up and got everyone out and ready to go and took our time strolling through the gates and up the long path. The trees are still bare but there are signs of spring; the odd daffodil and a few crocus’. Although it was still quite chilly we didn’t have to be completely wrapped up. We made it to the cafe and stopped for a cup of tea and cake. It was so busy there and I wish I’d been able to get some photographs inside the cafe; they have books hanging in birdcages and shelves filled with second hand books to buy. It is so sweet and quirky. All the food looks amazing and they have so much for children, including warm Ribena!
It was quite cold and I had forgotten Lucas’ gloves so after a quick run around the playground we had to call it a day. I made a little video of our afternoon which I am really excited about. I really admire other bloggers videos and it is something I’ve wanted to do for so long but quite frankly we have hardly left the house over winter. I love that it creates little snippets of the boy’s childhood to look back on and it captures them in a totally different way to a photograph. However, all my attention focused on filming I completely failed to get photos; apparently I can’t do both so will have to work on that!