Friday, 30 January 2015

Daydream #WotW

It's been a funny week filled with quite a few challenges really.  Toddler girl's been poorly, I couldn't get to London because of train problems, and this winter seems to be going on for ages.  Maybe because of this darkness, I have a contrasting word of the week this week.

With time in the waiting room, at the train station and in the evenings I've been dreaming about spring days, lighter nights and summer holidays.  I've even snuck in a thought or two about next Christmas.  Ridiculous I know!

The days are getting a bit longer now, and January's nearly gone.  Roll on spring time so all my daydreams can start becoming reality.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Dreaming of a romantic Valentine's Day

Like most parents, time for ourselves seems really scarce these days.  So it's been a while since we had a really romantic Valentine's Day.  I'm not really big on 'the day', but before kids we always used to mark it somehow, a weekend away in February or even just a night out at a nice restaurant the weekend after.

Today, I've been wishing for those carefree days again.. and really hoping husband takes the hint to treat me to something nice this Valentine's Day.  Here's my dream list - I'd love to know if you'd like any of these too.

A weekend at the uber cool Cowley Manor

Wow factor: 10/10
Relaxation factor: 10/10
Chances of it happening? 0/10

Cowley Manor is surely the most restful place in the whole world, with funky interiors, a top notch restaurant and a gorgeous spa and pool.  I could seriously do with a few days here.  With no kids, obvs.

A lovely romantic hamper

Wow factor: 6/10
Relaxation factor: 7/10 (if accompanied by a film on the sofa!)
Chances of it happening? 4/10

I have no idea why, but I do love a nice hamper.  Somehow it feels really decadent.  This box of chocolates hamper from the Porter and Woodman Group would be great, I love anything with chocolate in!

A personal fashion shopping assistant

Wow factor: 10/10
Relaxation factor: 3/10 (changing room mirrors!)
Chances of it happening? 0/10

It's been nearly seven years since I've had a proper wardrobe overhaul and clothes shop.  These days you're more likely to find me in the kids section of H&M than my own.  Style has well and truly taken a back seat.  I'd love Gok Wan to help me get it back!

Cinema tickets and popcorn

Wow factor: 5/10 (more if Brad Pitt is involved)
Relaxation factor: 7/10
Chances of it happening? 9/10

An evening out with husband would be wonderful.  I'd love to see a film that wasn't made by Disney and didn't involve a loo break half way through.  Let's hope he reads this eh?

Disclaimer: nothing to declare, this is just my wishlist!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Family life is...

Buying loads of nappies while they're on offer (Aldi nappies are the best I think).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Winter fun at the park, a weekend photo

Hasn't it been freezing?  It doesn't really matter what the weather's like, we always need to get out with the kids and get some fresh air.  Otherwise they go crazy!

We headed off to the park pretty early in the morning.  One of our local parks is sandy and has so much to do for big and little kids.  I was amazed it was completely empty; even though it was cold, the sun was shining through.  My two kids loved having a good play, here's our son checking out the 'pools' of sand.  We had great fun, but were all glad to get back in the warm after an hour or two.

I don't normally do multiple link ups, but I'm joining in this week with Country Kids at Coombe Mill, My Sunday Photo at One Dad 3 Girls, and the new Image of the Week at Truly Madly Kids.

Truly Madly KIds

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Friday, 23 January 2015

Tennis #WotW

Our son has been playing tennis for a while now.  He first picked it up in reception year at school, and then we started going on a Friday night for a lesson.  Over a year later, this week he had his first proper tennis league match.

We've resisted previously because we didn't want to put him under pressure.  But he was keen to be a stand in player this week, and loved playing three matches.  Although he didn't win, he definitely tried hard and held his own with every player that was at least a year older than him.

I'm sure he'll keep it up, and being a tennis Mum inside a warm-ish gym is much better that being a football Mum in a cold field!

Linking up with The Reading Residence for word of the week.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Favourite toddler bedtime stories

I love putting our kids to bed, it's one of my favourite times of day.  Each night they both have at least one story each and we have so many books.  Books for us are on free-vend, and I never stop either of them having, or reading what they like.

I thought I'd share just a few of toddler girl's bedtime favourites, which we read together with her snuggled into her most favourite taggie.

On Safari
This is a lovely simple and colourful book, which opens down the middle.  A real novelty for toddler girl!  The book has a picture of the animals you'd see on safari and a nice rhyme about them all.  She loves to count the stars and knows all the animal's names.

Elmer's Colours by David McKee
A favourite of our son when he was younger, and toddler girl, Elmer's Colours gives a wonderful introduction to colours and Elmer's world.  On each page a colour is highlighted - 'yellow is a lemon', 'black is the darkest night' - toddler girl loves to point them all out.  Our copy is an ex-library book and is very bashed, but we still love it!

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
A wonderful lift the flap book, where the narrator writes to the zoo for animals.  Lifting the flap reveals an animal - 'The snake is too slippery, so I sent it back'.  The last page has a lovely touchy feely picture, and toddler girl always says "again, again" at this stage.

Tractors, an Usborne touchy feely book
This lovely touchy feely book has textures to feel on each page, and a lovely picture and description of a tractor in a different farm scene.  Toddler girl loves the bumpy wheels and gritty hay bale in the snow picture.  She always counts the rabbits in the picture too.

Do you have any favourite toddler stories for bedtime?  I'd love to hear about them - we are always looking for inspiration.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

My Sunday Photo

Sometimes in life it's the ordinary moments that pass us by.

Husband and I take it in turns to bath the kids, so each night we read a story to just one of them.  Tonight, it was my turn to give toddler girl her bed time milk and read a story or two to her.  This was tonight's book, and her milk. 

It's one of my favourite 10 minutes of the day; she's calm and loves her story, and I get a quiet snuggle before she goes to bed. 

And then the house is calm.

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo.


Friday, 16 January 2015

Carpe diem - #wotw

Ok, so carpe diem is two words, but I'm still having it as my word(s) of the week :-).

Seize the day

I was reminded today that life is so very short and precious.  While I don't think we can live each day like it's our last (planning for retirement anyone?), we really should remember to try and enjoy each day and rejoice in the lives we lead.

It's been a strange week settling back into routine, bracing the cold and hugging the kids.  Carpe diem, seize the day.  I will try and remember not to go through the motions again.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Family life is...

Our son's favourite Ted looking folorn waiting for him, while he's at school.

Very often toddler girl goes in our son's room and says "night night teddy" when she sees him in bed.  Very cute.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Bowling fun

At our new year Center Parcs break we took the kids bowling.  We've been before and they both love it.

At nearly two, you'd think toddler girl would be too young to have fun bowling, but she had a great time!  She loved to try and pick up the balls, and pushed them down the frame.  Her first bowl resulted in the only strike of the game from all four of us.

I'd love to say she won the match, but our son and husband were joint winners with the same score.  Toddler girl and I were only a few points behind, also with the same score.

Do you take your kids bowling?  I'd love to know what 'grown up' activities they enjoy.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Win Aynsley Owl and the Pussycat moneybox with House of Fraser [now closed]

Did your kids get any money for Christmas? Ours did, and we try and save what we can for them. Isn't it nice to have a lovely moneybox to save it in?

The lovely people at House of Fraser are  offering you the chance to win an Aynsley Owl and the Pussycat Moneybox.  Perfect for those Christmas gifts.

This beautifully crafted ceramic moneybox is based on the wonderful poem by Edward Lear and John Keir Cross and as it's Aynsley, it's really collectable.  With a height of 22cm it's a great size and would make a lovely gift.  You can buy it from the House of Fraser site; it's currently reduced from £24.95 to £17.50, so be quick!

To win one of these lovely moneyboxes, just complete the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 7th January until 23:59 on 21st January 2015.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is one Aynsley Owl and the Pussycat moneybox.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 28th January and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Winner's details will be passed to House of Fraser''s marketing and PR team, so the prize can be shipped.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Me add three’s decision is final.
Win competitions at  Also listed on Loquax.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Things I've learned this holiday

How have the holidays been for you? Are you sad they're nearly over or glad that life is returning to normality?

 I'm somewhere between the two... our Christmas holidays started in a lovely busy way with days out and secret present shopping. Then we had lovely Christmas and Boxing days surrounded by family (and food - lots and lots of food).

And we went to Center Parcs over new year, which was a lovely way to switch off and spend time as the four of us. I was really pleased Center Parcs now had wifi, but in a way I really missed being forced to switch off..

The undercurrent to all this festive holidayness is the lack of a serious routine for our children, has really seemed to affect our son in particular. We keep get up, meal times and bedtimes consistent but our son is really showing how much he's missing the predictability and socialness of his school day.

To try and put a stop to his really pretty tiring behaviour we've reintroduced his 10p reward jar. At bathtime alone tonight he lost four of his 11 10ps. I was kind of prepared for the terrible twos, even the testing threes.

I knew the fiesty fours would pass once school started and at five it really felt like we were over the worst. But the sixes... well... I am so tired of the back chat, constant nos and general attitude that's around much more often than I'd like.

I take some comfort from the fact the his old nursery and school think he's an angel. Friends comment on how articulate and well behaved he is in public. This tiring and testing behaviour is reserved it seems, for home and in particular, for me.

It's all probably made worse by the fact that toddler girl is hitting the twos and demanding more time and attention from us than ever before. I try hard not to let this impact our son, but with more than one child, it's inevitable that your time and attention is divided.

 So as this holiday comes to a close, I will remember it with good memories - we had lots of laughter and a real sense of feeling lucky that we are all healthy, and able to enjoy a Christmas filled with lovely food and gifts. But I will also beathe a huge sigh of relief on Tuesday morning when school and nursery are open again, and I get to return to the quiet clicking of my laptop in a grown up world for a while.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

My Sunday Photo

We were lucky enough to spend a few days at Center Parcs over New Year.  We've been a few times now, and a few more activities are open to our son now that he's six.  Here he is having his first go on a quad bike, riding it round the test track.

He loved trying it out, although he was pretty tentative at first.  We were worried if he would go for it or not; he has been known to back out of things he's scared of!

He loved the quad bike driving licence he got and can't wait to do it again the next time we're there!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy new year!

Happy new year!  I hope your hopes and dreams for the year ahead come true.. I'd love to hear what they are.