Sometimes you seem older than just ten months, it a lot of ways it feels like you and Brandon have always been here, always been part of our family. You came along and fitted in so perfectly I struggle to remember a time before you. You are such a happy little boy but have a softer side to you too, you like to have me all to yourself and could happily be cuddled all day. Your smile is sweet and infectious, you smile so often.
You love cuddly toys and are always trying to get Lucas’ teddies all to yourself. You rub your face into them and give them a big hug. One of your favourite things to do is empty bags and boxes, all the toy boxes get emptied regularly as you sit and throw each item over your shoulder one at a time. As soon as music comes on you dance and swing your arms from side to side like you just can’t help it.
You crawl so quickly, along our hallway you can really get some speed up! You can pull yourself up on the furniture but often can’t be bothered to unless someone is helping, instead you get up on your feet while crawling. When we shout hooray you throw your arms in the air and grin at us and you have just learnt to clap but you hold your arms right out to the sides to do it. Sometime you and Lucas will have a mad half hour and just chase each other all over the house. When something really makes you laugh you start to cackle as you are crawling.
You are never far from Mummy; you will sit in the kitchen and watch me as I cook tea and if I am not in the room you are always the first to come looking for me. Even when you sit playing with Brandon you occasionally come over and kneel next to me waiting for a cuddle. If one of your brothers takes a toy from you I always know as you wail and look for me. I love to have a cuddly little boy though and I wouldn’t change having you as my little shadow. You like to be close to everyone I think and chat to Brandon through the bars of your cots and reach for his hand, you like to know that he is close by. You give kisses and always giggle when Lucas comes and gives you a big squeeze.
Just the thought of you can make me smile, you face is so open with big brown eyes. Your hair is getting so long and curly at the back and when you grin you crunch up your arms to your tummy with excitement. I always tell your Daddy that we are so lucky to have two of the happiest little boys. To My Artie, my little beauty, you always make my days brighter.
All My Love
I can’t help but wonder how ten months of your life has passed already. Every week that passes you are doing more and letting more of your cheeky personality shine through. There are so many little ways that you make me smile each and every day and sometimes you only have to catch my eye and your face lights up with the most beautiful smile. I don’t know how we got so lucky to have such a happy little boy but I will forever be thankful.
Just this week you have started to pull yourself up to standing which you are loving as it means more is within your reach. Two top teeth are starting to push through and you love to wave at us and clap your hands. You climb all over us, or Arthur, or Lucas, if we sit on the floor and always try to get onto your feet, so proud of yourself when you are standing.
Now you are getting older you will play with more toys rather than just investigating. You just love cars, anything with wheels always gets your full attention and we often find you surrounded by vehicles. You have totally mastered crawling whilst pushing along a car and will even make ‘brum brum’ noises while you go. It’s funny that we have such a range of toys in the house but you are just drawn to the cars and trains.
You can be independent but every now and again you are ready to have a day of cuddles. You still don’t like anything too loud and when people get up to close to you too quickly you get upset. You do wind Arthur up by always trying to get the toy he is playing with but he is learning to stand up for himself so you won’t always get away with it. You love a game of peekaboo and will play for so long with Lucas as you both giggle away. You are a pretty laid back little guy and you love your sleep, even when Arthur is shouting away you can still sleep though it. You have the cheekiest little face, there is just so much mischief in you. When we are telling you not to touch something you will turn around and flash us your lopsided grin before trying to carry on.
Just looking at you sometimes makes my heart burst, your dark hair is starting to curl up at the back, you have such beautiful big brown eyes and a big dimpled grin. I love how easy it is to make you smile and laugh. Your giggles are infectious; I often find you and Arthur chuckling away just setting each other off. I love how you love your brothers and how you are so content, you always seem so happy just surrounded by family. I couldn’t have wished for two happier babies and every day that passes I just enjoy being with you more and more. To my B, my beautiful boy, you light up my days.
All My Love
One of the few good things about wet school runs is getting to wear your wellies and go puddle jumping all the way to school. I have to point at that although it doesn’t look like it there was the tiniest puddle under Lucas’ feet and he spent a good amount of time trying to get it to splash up. Also scruffy little ‘cat’ has joined us on the walk to school all of a sudden, they will not be parted!
This Christmas is going to be a very exciting one for our family; not only is is the twin’s first Christmas but Lucas is starting to understand what Christmas is all about. I really want to make it magical for him as now we actually are creating his childhood memories. There are little Christmas traditions we have picked up from our own childhood but I’m always on the look out for new ones especially for our family. Luckily for us we were sent a lovely ‘The Night Before Christmas’ box from A Box Of Treasure and we have been able to try out this week. A Box Of Treasure has been set up by a mum of young children who wanted to find a way to not only record special memories but to interact with them as well.
The Night Before Christmas Box is designed especially for Christmas Eve: it is a lovely festive red box, tied with a ribbon, that comes with a ‘make your own’ bauble kit including mini jingle bells, decorations, magic fairy dust and paper to write a wish on. There is also a bag of reindeer food and plenty of space for you to add your own things. Lucas and I were both very excited to open the box up when it arrived and he carefully looked over the little bags of decorations and reindeer food and was very pleased when he learnt he would be making his own bauble. With him not quite yet understanding his wish I chose one for all three of our boys: a wish for a White Christmas! You could also write the child’s feelings that Christmas or something they were particularly looking forward to, such as Grandma’s trifle!
As I wrote out the wish, Lucas filled the bauble with the seasonal decorations and added the jingle bells. I explained we needed to add the special magic dust and I was pleased it was packaged so carefully in a little plastic bag so the glitter was easy to empty into the bauble. We added our wish and fastened it up ready to hang on our Christmas tree. This was such a sweet activity to do with Lucas and he absolutely loved getting involved. It is something I could see us doing together every year and involving Arthur and Brandon too when they are old enough. It will be nice to look back and see their wishes each year and record their memories. I also like how the box comes packaged with such lovely attention to detail: from the coloured organza bags to the stamped labels, everything has been given such thought.
I think that on Christmas Eve we would add a mince pie, a carrot for Ruldolph, our magic Father Christmas key (as we don’t have a chimney) and maybe a treat for the children before bed. There is plenty of space to add extra items so you could add whatever suits your family. It would also be perfect for a Christmas memory box; after Christmas I intend pack it away with our wish for that year and any other mementos or photos of our festive period. One of my favourite things about Christmas is making it special for my children; it can be such a magical time of year for little ones and extra touches, like The Night Before Christmas box, help to make it so memorable. I just loved watching Lucas’ face light up as he opened to box and got put together his very own bauble. It left us feeling quite festive and we may have watched a sneaky Christmas film afterwards. I can just imagine doing this together as a family on Christmas Eve, hanging the bauble’s on the tree and setting out the treats for Father Christmas and his reindeer.
The Christmas Eve Box is available from A Box Of Treasure priced at £12.95.]
Disclaimer – I was sent The Night Before Christmas box to review. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
Yesterday I was having one of those mornings and everything seemed to go wrong. I wasn’t feeling great, starting with a cold and not really feeling energetic enough to face the day. Lucas was running round like a whirlwind one minute then would switch and start crying at me when I gave him the wrong cup or moved his car off the table. The twins were grumpy and teething. I got them ready for the school run early because I knew I needed to get out out the house. Arthur cried the whole time I was getting them ready and Lucas kept running around when I was trying to get his coat on. I stepped out the house with gritted teeth trying not to lose my temper.
I felt better in the fresh air, the twins were settled in the pushchair and Lucas was skipping along next to me. As I walked along an elderly couple moved to one side to let me past with my troop, I thanked them then the lady stopped me to look in the pushchair. She looked at the boys and Lucas and said to me what I lovely family I had; I thanked her always grateful for something other than ‘you’ve got your hands full.’ Before she moved on she looked into my eyes, patted my hand and said .’you’re so lucky’ I grinned at her like a loon then walked on trying not to cry, she might not know it but she completely made my day.
After a crappy morning I was just thinking about getting home and feeling sorry for myself with a brew. When days start off badly it’s so easy to just write the whole day off and do enough to just get through it. Instead I came home and spent a lovely afternoon with Arthur and Brandon, just playing and watching them cause mayhem. I got some warm juice, a snack and a blanket ready for Lucas coming home and loved his big smile as he came in and saw them. I enjoyed having all my boys cosy and warm while the weather raged outside. So, I am feeling thankful for a lady who reminded me of something I already knew, she might not know how badly I needed to hear that yesterday but I certainly am grateful. I truly appreciate how lucky I am to have these three beautiful boys and on the difficult days it is even more important to remember that.
I’m afraid I don’t write these as regularly as I used to and I have just read your last one and realised how much has changed. This last month seems to have been a tough one. We were having such a good patch over summer and it felt like everything was falling into place but I knew a lot of changes were on the horizon and it was going to change everything again.
You started pre-school in September and even though you are the youngest in the year you just love it, you run into class every day and always seem to be asking me when you are going to school. We had your parents evening last week, our very first one which was a little nerve-wrecking. You teacher and teaching assistants obviously adore you, they told us all about you with such great affection. Most of it was the things we know already that you are feisty and stand up for yourself and that you are happy to just be Lucas and you don’t care what anyone thinks. I love this so much and I hope it never fades. When we stand outside school and I see some of the older children they are already so self-concious and sometimes try to act older than they are but you are content to just be you, you never try to be something you are not. This is so special and I wish I could give you the courage to always be like that.
As much as you love pre-school the change has taken it’s toll, you do get tired and after a bought of illness we are having to start from scratch with the potty training which is such a shame as we thought we had cracked it. I think you are finding it hard with your little brothers suddenly becoming so much more mobile and demanding and of course they get praise and attention. In some ways I am glad that you take it out on us rather than on them but it’s hard when I can see you are so frustrated and you can’t fully express it yet. You have suddenly become scared of the dark and want us to sit with you until you fall asleep which you have never done before. I realise this is a funny stage for you; old enough to do so much yourself we encourage you to be independent yet we still tell you what you can and can’t do and, I suppose, set limits. You can talk to us better than ever but still you can’t express you feelings all the time and that leads to the meltdowns. You are such a determined little thing that I’m sure we will always have moments like this!
The other side to all this is as you are getting older you are becoming so loving; you will sometimes randomly come and tell us you love us or that you’ve missed us when you’ve been at nursery. You can be so sweet that it melts my heart and I know you can have such a sensitive side to you. You call all the children in your class your friends and you never hesitate to go up and talk to them.
You come out with the funniest things now, it’s amazing what you pick up from both of us and it sounds so strange repeated back to us. You often call me a ‘silly billy’ or say ‘don’t panic Mummy.’ You suddenly have a great love for drawing and colouring and I am so amazed as I watch you put your ideas onto paper, everything used to get a face and legs but right now you mostly like to draw roads which are big swirls all round the paper. Whenever you draw a picture for someone it is a road, sometimes with their house on it if they are lucky. I love how we see the things you are learning come out at home; you sing new songs that you’ve learnt in school and you are always counting. When I write words on your pictures you try to copy and you look for letters. Your love of books just gets stronger all the time, I often get a full run down on the story you’ve read at pre-school complete with whether you thought it was scary or happy.
You seem to be changing quickly at the moment; I can see such a massive difference since starting pre-school. Some afternoons I come home and I’ll see something you’ve set up before you left, like lunch for your Playmobil people or a line of cars, and I miss you so much. I hate not knowing what you are getting up to but it has been so good for you. I love to see you grow and I know that these years are so special as you learn your way through the world. I wish I could just stop time for a little bit and keep you as my little boy, so innocent and full of wonder; seeing the world through your eyes makes me a better person and I hope you always see the good like you do now.
All My Love
Over the years I must have tried almost all that hair dye has to offer so when I was offered a chance to try out the New Schwarzkopf Color Mask I was intrigued. I must have been dying my hair since I was about fifteen and it has been all sorts of weird and wonderful shades but as I’ve gotten older (and the grey is starting to creep in) I’ve tried to stick closer to my natural colouring. The Color Mask is totally different to most other hair dyes; firstly it comes in a little tub so you mix the formula, scoop it out and apply it with your fingers. Also it is a non-drip formula and comes with a Shea Butter conditioner to nourish and care for you after the Color Mask has added a permanent colour.
When I emptied the box and found everything was slightly different I thought I’d best have a read of the instructions. There is a tube of colour cream, a jar of developer cream, 1 sachet of Shea butter conditioner and a pair of gloves. The colour cream gets mixed into a little jar, just like a hair mask and you shake it to combine. This was a winner for me as it is all contained so you can shake the tub as much as you like without worrying it is going to splat all over the bathroom. I must admit that I wasn’t too sure how easy it would be to apply after I had mixed the formula but I was pleasantly surprised. When I first started I was sure it was going to take me ages but actually it took me less time than usual and I didn’t drip any of it which is very, very unusual for me! I found it quite easy to get a good coverage and although my hair is long it is quite fine so there was plenty of product for me. After rinsing out I used the sachet of shea butter conditioner which left my hair feeling smooth and it took away the hair dye scent.
I went for shade 568 Chestnut Brown which is a bit darker than I would usually go for but I was very happy with the result. In the light it is highlighted with lovely red tones and it has left my hair feeling shiny and smooth. I would absolutely use the Colour Mask again; I would choose a lighter colour next time but I love how quickly I could apply it and that my hair felt well conditioned afterwards.
Disclaimer – I was sent Schwarzkopf Color Mask to review. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
These boys won’t keep still for a photo…ever, this is the best I could get. This week has been all about cars and even though it looks like they were fighting over them they were actually playing together. Brandon has figured out that the wheels need to be on the ground so he can run them along to floor. Arthur hasn’t quite managed that yet and is content to just run then along people’s arms which is exactly what he was trying to do to Brandon! I love that they entertain each other, I watched them play like this for far too long when I could have been getting other things done while they were quiet.
I love a good cookbook and every year I seem to acquire a new Jamie Oliver Recipe Book. There is something a little special about them; I love how he tells stories through the food he loves and the photographs are always beautiful, full of delicious food and people he loves enjoying it. I remember my parents buying his very first book, The Naked Chef, and since then it has become a bit of a tradition for one of us to get a Jamie cookbook as a Christmas gift.
I can already see Jamie’s Comfort Food becoming one of my favourites! I love his recipes but sometimes they are a little better suited for special occasions when you can put the time and effort in, however there are plenty of recipes in this book which I could easily cook on any day of the week. In fact, I did, the first thing I tried from it was the Insanity Burger as I already had all the ingredients in and as soon as I saw the picture I had to try it. My mouth is watering now just thinking of it; my husband declared it the best burger he has ever had and it was so easy to make. I don’t think I’ll ever cook a burger any other way.
As Jamie says himself this book is ‘All about those simple, delightful guilty pleasures we all love.’ So many of the recipes remind me of childhood and home cooking but they have been given the Jamie Oliver treatment. The book is split into six chapters, Nostalgia, Good Mood Food, Pick Me Ups, Ritual, Guilty Pleasures and my particular favourite, Sweet Indulgence. Each recipe has a little personal introduction and plenty of gorgeous photographs. This is one of my pet peeves in cookbooks, when they don’t have enough pictures of the food so I love that this book is overflowing with them! This might be a little strange but I also think the cover is perfect, it feels a little like fabric and reminds me of my Mum’s old cookbooks from the 70’s!
As soon as the book landed in my house it was poured over by my family so I decided to cook a family lunch from it. I borrowed my Mum’s kitchen and dining room as she has the space to fit us all in. I wanted to cook something that we could all enjoy so I went with Ultimate Arrabbiata, Tear ‘N’ Share Garlic Bread and (saving the best for last) Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies. We all love Italian food and pasta is the perfect comfort food for me, my mum has cooked us pasta for as long as I can remember! The Tear ‘N’ Share Garlic Bread caught my eye as soon as I looked through the book, my version was definitely more ‘rustic’ than Jamie’s version but it tasted incredible, so much so that it will be difficult to go back to shop bought versions now. Both the Arrabbiata and Garlic Bread I found simple to cook, they just needed more preparation time but once I had everything ready it was really stress-free. Jamie himself calls the PB&J Brownies ‘an outrageous little recipe’ and he isn’t wrong. These were so, so good that I just I just couldn’t stop eating them even when I was full. Again I needed to put a little more effort in than I do with my regular brownies but they were absolutely worth it and the peanut butter custard topping very nearly didn’t make it to the baking tray, me and my husband could have easily eaten it by the spoonful! I would buy the book for this recipe alone!
There are plenty more recipes I want to try; the methods are always so detailed that I feel confident in trying something new and cooking something from scratch that I would usually buy. The Sticky Chinese Ribs look delicious and I know we would all love the Proper Veg Lasagne. If you are a big Jamie Oliver fan then this is a must buy, if you haven’t tried one of his books before then this would be a great one to start with. It certainly helped to make our family meal a big success and the food was enjoyed by all four generations round our table!
Disclaimer – I was sent a copy of Jamie’s Comfort Food to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This week Lucas and I have been testing out the Little Big Foot App on our iPad. Every now and then we will spend a morning (while the twins are napping) on the iPad and I like to try and find educational games for us to do together. Little Big Foot is a perfect app for us; it is an interactive story aimed at pre-schoolers based around the character Little Big Foot. It is such a sweet story with a nice message; it held Lucas’ interest completely which quite surprised me and we were on the app for about 20 minutes.
On each page the text comes up and a very smooth voice reads the story. Usually one of the characters on the screen will be highlighted for the children to touch and animate as part of the story. You can turn the pages by pressing the arrows and go back to re-read a page if needed. Lucas chattered about things that were happening on each page and I was able to ask questions before we moved on. He really took in the emotions of the characters and could see when Little Big Foot was upset or happy.
I just adore the animation, the colours are bright but all coordinated which makes it easy to look at. It is a little quirky which I like and looks different to most other story apps I have seen. My favourite thing about the Little Big Foot app has to be the background music, it is so soothing and relaxing and it fits perfectly with the tone of the story. You’ll know yourself how annoying some children’s apps can be when the music is repetitive and super loud but I can happily listen to this and I was as eager to finish the story as Lucas. The whole app is totally charming and a great one for children to do with their parents. Lucas has chosen to go back on it himself which is usually a sign of a good children’s app and it is one I am more than happy to sit and listen to.
Disclaimer – I downloaded the Little Big Foot for free but did not receive any compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.