When I think of Christmas’ from my childhood I never remember the big things, I never remember what presents I got or what presents I gave. I remember hundreds of tiny details or little ordinary moments that I try to put into our Christmas now. My mum always used to plait my hair wet from the bath so it was extra curly on Christmas day, we had new pyjamas out the packet so they always smelt new and even now that smell reminds me of Christmas Eve. We used to run to the postbox opposite our house to post the letters to Father Christmas and me and my brother used to ‘help’ my mum decorate the tree. As we got older we’d sit and wrap our presents together listening to Christmas music or watching a film. My mum would keep the cards from the previous year and we would make our own gift tags from them. She used to put our Christmas artwork up on the walls every year and tinsel hung everywhere in the house.
We very rarely spent Christmas without extended family and they made Christmas what it was and is for me. I loved having everyone around, I’m very lucky that my family have always been close and my husband has been a part of it right from when we started dating. It still makes me happy to have us all together and knowing that my boys will grow up around them. My mum would have the table set in the morning (she still does this now!) We would eat Christmas dinner with the paper hats on from our crackers and I always wanted to sit near my Grandad who told the jokes the best and would play with the toys with us. We would play board games after dinner and as I got older we would all play Trivial Pursuit right into the night.
When the boys are older I won’t remember the things we bought them or how stressed I got in the run up to Christmas. I’ll remember that Lucas says ‘deer-rein’ instead of reindeer and that his face lights up whenever he see’s a Father Christmas. I’ll think of how he helped me put decorations on the tree and wanted to wrap up one of his books to give to a friend from school. All his artwork will be kept and displayed and Arthur and Brandon will add to it over the years. We have made and all sampled his Christmas bakes and decorated glittery ornaments. He has asked Father Christmas for teddies, for him and his brothers and just that would make them all happy.
This year is special as it is the first time in many years that we will be having a Christmas dinner with all my family, we’ll be squashed round the table on different chairs and it is the first full, family Christmas for my boys.
I’m looking forward to us all being together and I’m taking a little break over Christmas to make the most of it, apart from maybe a little letter to my twins for their first birthday! Thank you so much for reading over this year, it still means so much that people take the time to read what I write. Thank you to Katie for hosting this lovely linky, I hope it continues next year and I’ll try to join in more. I wish you all a fantastic Christmas and however you celebrate I hope you enjoy the small things.
Dear Arthur & Brandon
I can’t believe we are here, a week off your first birthday. What a year and now I’m waiting to celebrate you both turning one, my beautiful boys who are no longer my babies but proper little people each with your own personality and charm.
You don’t look like babies anymore, you are so, so tall and you both have so much hair with adorable little curls at the back! You still prefer to crawl everywhere but have started cruising round the furniture too and occasionally standing without support before dropping to your bums. You never sit still, always reaching for something or on the go. You want to investigate everything which can drive me mad but I love that you are so inquisitive. There is so much chattering now and every now and again there will be a ‘mama’, ‘baba’, ‘dada, ‘nana’ but I am convinced your first word will be ‘No’ as it is all I seem to say all day. You are not satisfied to play with toys, you need to explore everything in your little world and you get particularly cross when we don’t let you.
This month you have been poorly and it is the first time since you were very little and you had the newborn sniffles. You have been so good really but it is hard on all of us when you both need cuddles. Hopefully though it is all out of the way now for Christmas and your birthday, it’s going to be such a busy time but lots of fun.
You play together all the time and with Lucas too; your favourite game is to hide behind the curtains and play ‘I See.’ This game can keep you entertained for so long and we end up with lots of giggles when you all get involved. You also chase each other around chuckling the whole time or play peekaboo over the bars of your cot. I love to hear you together and no one else can make you laugh they way you do when you’re playing. This doesn’t mean to say you don’t have your scraps, oh I certainly now about it if you are unhappy with each other, usually over a toy. Now you even shove each other out the way if you want to get what the other has.
You seem more identical now than ever before and one of you never does something without the other one catching up. You are practically the same weight and height and even your teeth have come through exactly the same. You hair is growing the same way and if you are dressed alike I have to look twice to see who is who. I don’t always dress you the same but there will be a lot of it over Christmas; I can’t help it as you look extra adorable.
When I look at the photo of you taken just after you were born in hospital I really can remember it like it was yesterday and in my head you are still those tiny babies. It’s only when I write these and realise everything you are doing I can see how much you grow up and how quickly you change. No matter how big you get you will always be my babies, you have made me and your Daddy incredibly happy, such sweet little boys. There will definitely be a bittersweet moment as you turn one and you grow more independent, so much has happened in eleven months and I cannot wait for the years to come with you both.
All My Love
When you have your second child I think you become more aware of those baby items that are absolutely essential and the ones which you can do without. Second time round I found I really whittled away what I would actually need for the twins and top of my list was a Grobag. Baby sleeping bags were a total revelation to me with Lucas and I would not be without them with the twins. It wasn’t something I thought about before Lucas was born but realising how difficult it was to get a newborn to sleep with blankets it didn’t take me long to find out about Grobags. It is so simple to pop a baby in a sleeping bag and you know that it will keep them warm all night. There are no covers for them to kick off and Grobags are actually recommended by The Lullaby Trust for safer sleep for babies.
We were sent two lovely Grobags, a Candy Cloud and Ziggy Pop design which are perfect for twins as they are co-ordinated but not matching. They come in such a range of fun designs, many of which are unisex, so I there is something for everyone. The are 100% jersey cotton and feel so soft and cosy. These are a 2.5 tog but they also come in 1.0 and you can get different designs in 0.5 and 3.5 if you live somewhere that is very hot, or very cold! The 2.5 tog is perfect for us over winter as their bedroom doesn’t ever get extremely cold so I know this is enough to keep the chill off when the temperature drops.
Grobags come in several different designs but these ones have shoulder poppers with a side zip which I personally find easier for the boy’s age. It’s easy to whip it off them in the morning just by undoing the poppers and if they do need a night change I can just unzip the bottom half. The zip also has a little cover that pops into place to stop little hands messing with it. Arthur and Brandon are nearly one so I went for the 6-18 month size which is perfect. They are average weight but tall and I love that the Grobag fits snuggly into place around their shoulders but there is plenty of space for growing those long legs. It also means they can move around in them a little. My boys wriggle move about to find a comfy sleeping position so it’s great that it stays in place but they don’t get caught up in it.
It’s these little extra details which make me choose a Grobag over any other sleeping bag aswell as the fact they go up to large sizes, have such a wide range of togs available and I know how well they last. We have a couple from Lucas which I have been able to keep for the twins and they still look fantastic. I kept Lucas in one right up until he went into a bed, there was just no need to change as it worked so brilliantly, and I’ll be doing the same for the twins. They seem to have thought of everything that you could ask for. A Grobag is a fantastic investment for any new parent and a definite baby essential. Also, if you are buying a gift for a baby this Christmas I always think items like the Grobag would make any parent very happy; it can’t just be me who loves a good practical gift!
Disclosure – We were sent two Grobags to review. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
This week has really been a pretty crappy one all round. Lucas just managed his final performance in his nativity on Monday before illness struck and cancelled out the week. One by one we have all been poorly, the poor boys have had a terrible cough and cold. All they want is cuddles is comfort which is easier said than done with three, they have just been completely wiped out. The week has just passed in a blur of calpol and Netflix. I was counting down the minutes until Daddy got home so we could double team them. I had to cancel my Christmas night out which I was so looking forward too and Lucas has missed some lovely festive plans and I’m still not sure he will make it back into nursery this week. I was feeling stressed because I haven’t been able to do anything other than look after my boys. Don’t you feel like you lose perspective a little when you’ve been cooped up? Little things were pushing me over the edge and I was getting worked up about everything I couldn’t do.
I think I was missing the Christmassy feeling, the warm fuzzy glow just hasn’t quite hit me and I love Christmas, especially the build up! I just haven’t had the energy to feel the magic, but we HAD to get out of the house today and of course the only person who would put up with our germ infested selves is my mum. Feeling decidedly ‘bah humbug’ I decided an outing to see her Christmas tree was just what we needed. I dressed the boys in some festive clothes, snotty noses and all, dosed everyone up and we were going to feel Christmassy dammit! Blasting out the Christmas tunes, well not quite blasting as I don’t think we could take it, we packed up our homemade glittery decorations for Nanny’s tree and with some determination managed to get out for a couple of hours. Thank goodness for Nanny’s, for little pudding bum pants and for a real Christmas tree, you have kept me going this week!
I’ve been visiting my local LUSH in Liverpool for longer than I maybe should admit so when I was invited to a haircare evening I couldn’t resist. I’ve tested out a fair amount of Lush products but my experience with the Lush hair range has been limited. The evening was dubbed From Root To Tips and was a fantastic overview to all things hair. Lush’s philosophy is that there is no judgement on what we do to our hair, bleached, dyed, curled, straight; whatever we put it through is up to us but they want to offer treatments and solutions.
I went with my friend Vicki from Let’s Talk Beauty, also a massive Lush fan but neither of us knew much about the hair treatments. We both have different hair too so it was great to see what products were available for all hair types. The lovely Sarah was our host for the evening and lots of other friendly Lush staff were on hand to offer advice. We went through the life cycle of hair, the way it grows and we talked about what our perfect ‘good hair day’ would be. I don’t do a lot of styling with my hair but I do like it to feel soft and smooth and look shiny and in good condition. This is something I’ve really struggled with since having children, let’s face it some days even brushing it can be a challenge. I like to keep it long but the ends get dry and it can feel frizzy and messy.
I loved learning about the ingredients that go into the Lush hair products and what each one offers our hair. Then we were able to get hands on, smelling and scooping the products, seeing what exactly each one is designed for. This was great as it gave us a chance to chat to the Lush staff who are super knowledgeable about all the things Lush but also we were able to find out what they used and learn why they are so passionate about their favourite products. I won’t lie, some smell better than others but because they are all handmade with fresh ingredients they don’t have a load of things added just to make them smell good.
To finish off we were asked to write down which ingredients we thought would be great for creating our ultimate good hair day. I went for Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil and coconut and was immediately handed Jasmine And Henna Fluff Ease. This hair treatment is particularly good for brunette or red hair and is designed to stop frizzy hair from drying out, perfect! All of Lush’s hair treatments go onto dry hair for around 20 minutes and for the first treatment, especially if you have long hair, they advice you to use the whole tub. I put mine on while I was in a hot bath; I used around two thirds of the tub and my hair was completely saturated so I cheated a little and used the last third a few days later. Once you’ve washed the hair mask off you shampoo and condition as usual and the treatment can last up to six weeks. I loved the smell, it was very fresh and I really like the Jasmine scent. After using up the whole tub my hair was very soft and full, best of all I was able to leave it to dry naturally without it frizzing up. Even now when I wash my hair I can smell the hair treatment again and I can easily run my fingers through my hair. It has got Henna in but doesn’t colour your hair, however I found it gave my original colour a lift and shine.
It was great to be able to chat to the Lush staff a little more and learn which products would be ideal for me; I bought Rehab shampoo while I was there and I’ve added R&B (this smells so good!) and Retread conditioner to my wishlist. The evening has made me think a little more about what I put on my hair. I have always loved Lush for the natural ingredients and after learning more about the haircare range I have definitely seen it as good value for money considering how long the effects last and the difference it makes to my hair. After using Jasmine and Henna Fluff-Ease and Rehab I have been converted to Lush hair. I would recommend having a chat about the haircare next time you are in Lush and you may find the perfect product to give you the elusive good hair day!
Disclosure – I was invited to attend the Lush ‘From Roots To Tips’ Blogger event and was given a Hair Treatment. I was under no obligation to review but I had such a great time I wanted to share! 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.
Just reading a lot of little bits and pieces, lots and lots of Christmas gift guides and magazines! I read them every year with the best intention of making lots of yummy food, decorating my home in an elaborate festive style and creating all sorts of glittery crafts when in fact I read them once then never open then again. Maybe one year!
The Christmas films are out but I haven’t watched any yet, I have a few I like to watch when the kids are in bed so I can relax with a glass on wine and enjoy them. Love Actually, The Family Stone and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation are my favourites to watch child-free. I love hearing what people’s favourite Christmas films are, they always mean something and usually come from your childhood. I’m sure mine changes from year to year but for me you can’t beat Home Alone.
I’ve started to put the radio on a little bit more in the day as I realise I don’t really listen to music like I used to. I always had it on the car but I drive so rarely now I just end up listening to my old favourites. It’s quite nice to have it on in the background and means I hear a bit more of what’s going on in the world too rather than hearing it all through twitter.
Christmas markets! I am throwing myself into them this year. Last week I wrote about how we have really scaled back our gift buying so I’m trying to buy token gifts that have been well thought out rather than spend a lot of money. After seeing all the crazy shoppers on Black Friday I’m much better suited to a Christmas Market; there is always cake, usually mulled wine and hot chocolate and I like chatting to the people you are buying from. I love that people put their time and talent into making and creating and it’s great to support that and pass it on to make someone appreciate it too! I’m visiting Hawkshead Christmas markets this weekend which I am so exited about, I’m mostly going for the food and drink but I’m hoping to pick up a few little gifts too.
How hard parenting can be! I think we all constantly try our best but these last few weeks have been really difficult. I’ve been quiet on the blog this week as sometimes you just need to take a step back and concentrate on your family. Lucas has hit ‘threenager’ mode and no matter how much I try to stay calm it is driving me to distraction. It seems like he is pushing the boundaries constantly then as soon as I think I’m going to snap he turns back into my sweet little boy. Trying to see it from his point of view a lot has happened this year but that doesn’t mean he can run the show. It is nearly as exhausting as the early days and I’m hoping this phase passes soon and we can get back to just enjoying our time together. I think you sometimes think the early days are so hard because they are so dependent on you but every age has it’s challenges and I feel like I’m still learning as we go along. The terrible-twos have nothing on these meltdowns and he is always good as gold for everyone else it’s just us parents who get the short straw. Please tell me it passes, we are just hanging in there!
A few of my Instagram snaps from this month.
Last minute family portrait alert! Shameful as it is only my second month joining in with Me and Mine but still, we got one as best we could. I feel like November has been a funny old month; the twins are doing so much more each week and it’s is totally throwing Lucas, I’m not sure he quite knows where to turn some days. He seems to find weekends so difficult at the moment and I’m not sure if it’s because he is used to going to pre-school or that the house is busier but he just can’t seem to settle. I hope it starts to improve and we can start to relax and enjoy family time. Still we have had some lovely time together this month and I’m really enjoying how much the boys are all interacting now. It can make me quite emotional to watch them play together, especially when I think back to this time last year when I was a rather large pregnant lady. What a difference when I look at these photos now!
Earlier this week we were sent a lovely hamper full of baking goodies so I could put my baking skills to good use and make some Billington’s Brownies. The hamper had everything I needed to make the brownies, I just needed to add my own eggs and butter. There was even a lovely apron, mixing spoon and silicone baking tray that was the perfect size for brownies. It must be a sign I am getting older that I enjoy receiving things in ‘hamper’ form, it caused a flurry of excitement in our household!
The Brownies are simple to make and the instructions are concise and easy to follow, you can find them here. I may have been slightly distracted once I clicked on the website as there is a whole host of recipes on there. Anyway, as suggested I used Billington’s Dark Muscavado sugar for the brownies which makes them rich and squidgy. They also advised to add Billington’s natural glacier cherries and as they were supplied I thought, ‘why not?’ Now, I don’t actually like cherries but my husband loves them, in fact he sampled a few before they made it into my brownie mix! These make the brownies a little more indulgent and it’s an extra treat (if you like cherries) when you take a bite. They cooked brilliantly in my silicone tray, I left them to cool and sliced them up. They came out just how brownies should look, crisp and crunchy on top and dark and gooey in the middle. I always take my brownies out of the oven when they are still a little soft under the crisp top layer; this usually cracks but I find that as they cool they firm up and become just the right consistency. Brownies are one of those cakes that are much better under done than over done!
Billington’s are currently running a #bakeface challenge; they want to see people’s faces when they take their first bite of whatever delicious treat they have made using their sugar. With my camera ready I started the Brownie tasting; I must admit I did try some even though I am quite adamant in my dislike of cherries. I just couldn’t’ resist they smelled so chocolatey, while it didn’t taste bad it just wasn’t for me. My husband on the other hand inhaled a couple before I could even get his #bakeface photo. I have put some aside for my Mum and brother who I know will enjoy them just as much as he has. My husband is such good sport he is happy for me to post his #bakeface, afterall I did bake him brownies.
To take part in the #bakeface challenge yourself all you have to do is bake something using Billington’s sugar and the Brownies are super easy to make. Then take a bite, snap a photo and upload it to the website. Share your photo to get votes and what do votes make…prizes!
Disclaimer – We were sent a Billington’s hamper in order to take part in the #bakeface challenge. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
When I think of first moments and my children I am flooded with so many memories; holding my first son in my arms for the first time and resting my tiny twins in each arm will be moments I don’t need a photograph to remember they are just always in my mind. Since then there have been many times I have recorded first moments either through my blog, or photographs. I remember my little boy walking into the maternity ward holding his Daddy’s hand ready to meet his new brothers, his smile as he looked into their cot will stay with me forever. I remember Arthur learning to clap hands and his excitement when he realised he was doing it right. Then I think of Brandon learning to crawl so he could follow his brother around. So many first moments have stayed with me and there are still so many to come, my twins first steps, Lucas’ first day at school; there are so many for us all to experience.
Luckily we live in a country that has a fantastic free healthcare service. We easily take for granted the things we have access to that keep our children safe and well. Sadly that isn’t the case everywhere which is why Pampers and UNICEF have been working together one their 1 pack =1 vaccine campaign. For every specially marked pack of Pampers bought, Pampers will donate the cost of one vaccine to help UNICEF in the fight against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus. Since 2006, the campaign has funded an incredible 300 million vaccines, eliminating the disease in 15 countries – that’s another five countries since the campaign last year! But there are still babies in 24 of the world’s poorest countries at risk.
Emma Bunton has been supporting the campaign for two years and has recently visited Madagascar so she could see the changes made by the campaign and by parents here in the UK showing their support by buying a pack of Pampers. There is a lovely video showing some clips of her time over there. It is amazing to think what a difference it has made, it is something so simple that we couldn’t even imagine having to worry about!
Pampers will donate a vaccine for every like, share or view of the First Times video and it will definitely bring a smile to your face so please give it a watch:
This is NOT a sponsered post I just think it is a a great campaign.
Over the years we have read a lot of children’s books, a lot, and I like to think we’ve got pretty good at spotting a great one. Let’s be honest, there are those books that your child reaches for and you groan wondering how you are going to make your way through it yet again whilst keeping your eyes open. However, I have found the perfect trio of stories to beat the children’s book boredom. The Dinosaur that Pooped books are the adventures of Danny and his pet dinosaur; they are written by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter (of McFly fame) and so far they have brought out The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet, The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas and the latest one, The Dinosaur that Pooped the Past. I think the titles tell you all you need to know about the storylines and we can all imagine how much hilarity they cause for the bedtime story.
Lucas was already a big fan of The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet and his copy of The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas is wrapped up in his book advent so I let him loose with The Dinosaur that Pooped the Past. Lucas is three years old and the books are so engaging for him, of course Dinosaurs are always popular as is any kind of toilet humour but the illustrations are also bright, vibrant and full of detail to hold their attention. He will happily flick through them himself chattering about what he can see on each page until he recognises the word ‘Poo’ which he shouts out in glee. I love it when he picks one of these for his bedtime story as they read so nicely, I think the rhyme helps to keep up the pace of the story. Also they make me giggle as much as Lucas and the illustrations on each page give us lots to talk about.
Any of them are a must have for any pre-school library and once you get one I’m sure you will be keen to add the others to your collection. The newest one, The Dinosaur that Pooped the Past is just as good as the other two with the same humour and fun illustrations and it even introduces some new characters which gives me hope for more books! My favourite is still The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas and Lucas will always reach for The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet first. If you give them a read I don’t think you’d be disappointed whatever your age!
All three books in the Dinosaur that Pooped series are available from Amazon:
Disclaimer – We were sent The Dinosaur That Pooped books to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.