Monthly Archives: August 2014

At 4.41pm on Saturday 25th August 2007, this guy entered the world and our hearts.

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Naturally, all we’ve talked about lately is birthdays and how grown up he is. He was asking about when he was born and I was telling him his birth story (FYI the 7 year old version of the birth story is stuff like “It was really hot that day and when you were born you had loads of hair and you didn’t cry!”. No mention of anything dilating, you’ll be relieved to hear). We looked at newborn photos and pictures from past birthdays….I just can’t believe he is SEVEN! Looking through my favourite photos…my gosh, where did those years go? Part of me wishes I could go back in time and do it all over again.

Happy Birthday, Bevan, our beautiful and funny boy. Now excuse me while I go and cry my eyes out.

 

 

Since the kids broke up for the summer, we’ve driven over 1000 miles across the country visiting friends and family and I now consider myself something of a travel expert! Along with keeping the smalls happy on the journey, I have a system for packing the boot Krypton Factor styley and can fit an impressive amount of stuff in there. Pink Lining have asked me to share some of my top tips for travelling with your family.

pink lining-002As our family live a fair distance away, the children have been used to long drives in the car from early babyhood. When we can, we travel at night so that they’ll (hopefully) sleep for most of the journey, all cosy in their onesies (best things EVER – totally recommend them!) but obviously, this isn’t always possible. We make sure they don’t travel on an empty belly and I always make sure they have water and dry snacks for the journey (raisins were banned a few years back – wayyy too sticky). Hangry kids in a car isn’t fun for anybody! Hate to say it, but the iPad is a lifesaver for us, we load it up with kids films and their favourite apps and bring it out when they start to get bored. I’ve brought colouring books and crayons along before and for us, they’re a bit of a nightmare! The crayons end up everywhere and they lose interest so quickly. They much prefer bringing along some small toys and their teddies and chatting to us.

pink lining-001I try and pack as few clothes as I can so I’m a big fan of a capsule wardrobe – greens and blues for him, pinks and blues for her, a couple of dresses/smart tops, a jumper each, one pair of shoes/Converse, sandals that go with anything and some long sleeves and jeans, just incase. I always wash stuff when I’m there too, this year we’re staying with family but when we go away we’re usually self catering or we’ve stayed in a hotel that provides a laundry service (I checked in advance!). I leave the things we need first until last (wash bag, nightclothes, chargers – priorities!) and pack them on top so that I can open the case once we’re there and get what I need out and leave the rest until later if I need to. The children pack their toys and whatever else they want in their own bags, I pack their books in the suitcase so they’re not weighed down. We have a small child’s suitcase but one of us ends up carrying it and it takes up too much room so their own bag is a much better solution and means I can fit more in my own bag. When we’ve travelled abroad, I’ve packed a change of clothes, too. We’ve been abroad once as a family of 4, when our youngest was a baby. The experience has scarred us for life, which is why we haven’t been on a plane since. Just kidding! We went to France and both children were sick on the plane (while the seatbelt sign was on – horrendous!). Luckily I had spare clothes for us all because I’m paranoid that our luggage will go missing. You never know! I was SO GLAD that my “crazy overpacking” meant that I had a clean t-shirt! I go for soft clothes to travel in, they roll up easily and I dress them in something bright too so they’re easy to spot in a crowd (I do this for days out too!). Obviously I didn’t have to worry on that holiday about the littlest wandering off – she was only 3 months old at the time.

I’m a big fan of buying what you need when you get there, especially when it comes to things like nappies. I’ll take enough for a day or two and then stock up once I’m there. Same goes for things like travel cots, I’d hire one there rather than take mine along (not that they even slept in it!). We’ve hired pushchairs before too but I’d much rather take ours along so that I have it in the airport as that was when I wanted it the most.

Pink Lining very kindly sent Bevan one of the backpacks from their children’s range. I knew they made the Yummy Mummy bags that my friends love but didn’t know they made goodies for kids until now. The colours are lovely and bright (easy to spot), it’s wipeable (genius) and the straps are thick and padded, just what you need for little shoulders. He has managed to fit an impressive amount of stuff in there so it would seem it has Mary Poppins qualities, too.

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I found Brummy Mummy of 2‘s blog through the Living Arrows linky and loved her sense of humour and I’m originally from Brum myself so that makes us practically family! Em is mum to two toddlers (the girl and the boy) and teaches part time. She loves Malibu, fruit pastilles, reality TV, tea and can often be found in a flowery dress, leggings and a statement necklace (when she’s not braless and in a onesie). We met up at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on one of the hottest days EVER to explore the gardens and have a picnic. Thankfully she wasn’t braless that day. Somehow we both managed to completely run out of baby wipes which is the most fun thing ever when you have 4 children with sticky ice cream hands and 2 of them still in nappies. What a pair of amateurs! The kids got on really well though and enjoyed being able to run around together like a bunch of loons.

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Meet Em!

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What’s been the biggest surprise about motherhood?

The biggest surprise about motherhood is that it has totally changed me. It’s bloomin hard work and there are some days where I feel like I could have a good old weep but generally? It has made me a lot happier. It has made me laugh lots and I really enjoy it. Prior to being a Mum I was a bit low in confidence but now I have the kids? I care a little bit less about things. And if my hair is a bit dirty? I care not! Having my girl was not planned. But with hindsight it came at the perfect time and saved me from myself (oh that’s a bit deep isn’t it?).

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What’s a typical day like for you?

Twice a week I work as a teacher in a secondary school so that is teaching RE to teens. Which I love and is hilarious and I can’t imagine doing anything else. But when I am at home? Day starts at 5.30/6ish (urgh) and then it is general mayhem till Daddy comes home at 6pm for ‘the handover’. We go out quite a lot, so visit farms or friends or soft play. My girl is starting pre-school in September so mornings she will be there and I am sure me and the boy will find something fun to do.

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What inspired you to start your blog and what do you blog about?

I was on maternity leave and SO BORED! I started to read blogs by Zoella and Sprinkle of Glitter and decided that I would like to try something whilst the kiddies napped. I tried once and failed miserably so tried again at Christmas and it all started from there! When I had the girl I went back to work full time, I was head of RE so I found it hard switching to part time with no responsibility. This gives me something to do and helps to stop me being manic. Well helps a little. I like to think I try and blog about daft things that happen to us, and the real side of motherhood. I have a YouTube channel where I do vlogs of different days out and each week I host photo linky #wickedwednesdays where bloggers are encouraged to send in funny pictures.

Best blogging moment so far?

I’m really lucky to have been on Mumsnet a few times and one of those posts (10 signs you are the owner of a toddler girl) went viral. So that’s had like 19,000 views or something ridiculous. It’s one of those things that I doubt will EVER happen again. That was mental. Watching people literally all over the world reading my blog and seeing pictures of messy house and crazy child. It still makes me smile now thinking about it.

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How have you changed since having kids?

As I said before I am just a lot happier. Not in a “hey kids you know just fufil me” kind of way but in a “I’m not bored to think about daft things” kind of way. Alas I don’t spend as much time with my friends or my husband which is a shame but I just feel a bit more content with myself.

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You have a whole day to yourself. How do you spend it?

Oh good god that would be the dream! Defo watching Real Housewives of New Jersey for a few hours in bed, whilst I eat chocolate and crisps without having to share them. Next shopping without having to control two crazy children. Then the flicks and a nice meal with my husband. Just normal everyday things you can’t do with tiny tots looming around. Would be lovely! And I would for sure sneak a nap in.

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What kind of things do you enjoy doing with the kids?

I LOVE going on days out. I do that a lot. People seem to think it costs me a lot of money? But it really doesn’t. We always take picnics and I always use vouchers. I love showing them new things and having little adventures with my little crew. With my girl I love chatting with her about daft things and my boy I love those sleepy baby cuddles he gives me. I also love dancing around with them when we have our tea. That crazy bit just before their Dad comes home. It’s brilliant!

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What advice would you give to first-time parents?

Embrace these things 1) it’s hard 2) you won’t sleep 3) it WILL get easier. Just don’t be so hard on yourself really. Being a parent is amazing and wonderful and brilliant but it comes with times where it is scary and terrifying and a bit rubbish. Do whatever it is that makes you and your little family happy. Ignore people and their daft advice you never asked for. You will make the odd mistake, and you may go out with poo on your top but at the end of the day? As long as everyone is well fed, happy and rested? It really doesn’t matter!

You can find Em all over the internets! Go and follow her – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.