Remembering my Dad

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Every so often, something will happen during your day that just knocks you sideways. You didn't see it coming and you're not prepared.

This morning I've been tidying up some paperwork and in amongst the reams of bank statements, colourful paintings and scribbled notes, I found this...

My dad died four years ago - when my oldest two beans were just two and one year old. I'm determined they don't forget him. 

The night he died I sat and wrote him a poem. I haven't written a poem since school - and will probably never write another one - but the words just tumbled out of me, almost without any conscious thought from me.

The poem explains what he meant to me and I wanted to put it here so that my children can read it one day and remember him all over again.

Why aren't you here?
I watched you fade. Why didn't I know that my chance to tell you so much was fading too?
I will live with so much regret, but so many happy memories.
My hero. My playmate.
The humour we shared I will never replace. I hope you knew how precious it was to me.
Quietly wise. Endlessly strong.
The constant for us all
and I don't know how to function without you.
I so wish I had told you all this when I could have.
I will always remember you as the fighter you were - you are.
Always with dignity and a twinkle in your eye.
Gramps, Dad, BG, Dim... My Dad. 
A huge hole, never to be filled. 
But maybe a chance to express
all the love, respect and honour you deserve.

Sigh deeply Dad.
Breathe easy now.

Ayden will never get to meet him, but every day he reminds me a little more of his gramps.  

He was the funniest, wisest man and my absolute hero. I miss him every day.

Christmas gift guide for girls

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Glitter, cute and fluffy. The key criteria for any gift to please my lovely little five year old lady.

Luckily, I love nothing more than shopping for pretty things, so we're a match made in heaven :)

This year I think my little princess has really come into her own, in terms of knowing what she does and doesn't like to do/play with. In other words, she can be a bossy little monkey when she wants to be! But, growing up with an older brother, she's often been swayed by what he likes. She can name each and every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, has watched hours upon hours of Mario Bros gameplay and has an impressive line of Lego creations on the shelf in her bedroom.

This year she's developed her love for all things creative. She will spend hours making badges, painting, colouring, writing and illustrating mini books and would happily live in cloud of glitter and pompoms given half a chance. Despite owning a Nintendo DS and having access to her brother's Wii U and the family iPad etc, she much prefers the good, old-fashioned creative activities and I really want to encourage this. 

These picks are super girly and cute, with a few thrown in to encourage her arty side.

clockwise from top left: Miss Francis tutu pettiskirt | Tildo easel (The Toy Centre) | Orange fox lip balm (David and Goliath | Noodoll Ricestorm

My little lady will turn six just before Christmas and I think she'll feel like the belle of the ball at her party in this Miss Francis smokey silver tutu pettiskirt. I love the colour - it could be worn with so many things. Just beautiful.

As much as I love encouraging her love of all things arty, my kitchen table is ALWAYS covered in paper, pens, stickers... you name it. Hopefully this Tildo height adjustable easel, from The Toy Centre, will help to contain the clutter a little bit. As well as helping her to feel like a 'real artist'.

Ok, so the adorable Noodoll Ricestorm might be a little bit more for me... but I know my daughter will love him too. How could anyone not love this little guy!?

My little lady seems to be growing faster than the other two beanies put together at the moment and is growing out of her clothes wallet-weepingly fast. So she could definitely do with a few new dresses and outfits to see her into the new year. These are just a couple of the gorgeous items I have my eye on for her wardrobe.

clockwise from top left: Ava and Luc bunny print dress | Galt Fashion Designer set (Mulberry Bush) | Maxomorra strawberry print long sleeve tshirt (Barnyard Kids) | KitSound mini buddy owl speaker (Amazon)
If you saw my Christmas gift guide for babies, you'll know that we're huge fans of Ava and Luc bright prints, so I've got my eye on this gorgeous bunny print, A-line dress. It would be perfect for layering in the colder months, with long sleeve tees, tights and boots and (as long as she doesn't grow out of it in five minutes!) it'll be great for spring and summer too.

The Maxomorra strawberry print top is equally bold, bright and unique. Perfect for standing out in the crowd this winter.

We're huge books worms in this house and I couldn't not include the latest offering from Julia Donaldson, as its right up my daughter's street! 

Sugarlump and the Unicorn (Amazon)
Glitter... check. Cute... check. Fluffy... check. 

Hopefully this will help anyone buying for a little girl this Christmas. I'd love to hear your suggestions too :)

Christmas gift guide for babies

Thursday, 14 November 2013

It's November, which means it's Christmas. That's my rule on this tiny slice of the interweb and I'm sticking to it ;)

Partly to indulge my inner-child and love of Christmas, and also in a bid to organise my ass, I'm planning a series of Christmas gift guides / wishlists for each member of my family.

As it will be his very first Christmas, I thought I'd start with the tiniest family member. Plus, he's too small to have any opinion on the matter, so this allows me to be entirely selfish and create my own wishlist for him.

I've always been interested in kids fashion and love shopping for the beanies. More so than shopping for myself... most of the time.

I like to buy unique, quality items that stand out from the crowd and last well. I've discovered some amazing brands recently which satisfy this criteria perfectly; mostly via one of my new favourite mummy bloggers, Jools at Dancing with dirty feet.

I'm really into bright quirky prints for bambeanie at the moment and these picks are perfect for injecting a bit of colour into his winter wardrobe.

clockwise from top left: Maxomorra cloud print tshirt (Nel a Ned) | Slugs & Snails fun guy boys tights | Ava and Luc Pip the Duck playsuit (Daisy Chain Baby) | Green Cotton star print trousers (Daisy Chain Baby)

I love the idea of tights for boys, so will definitely be picking up a few pairs of Slugs to keep my little man warm and cosy in the colder months.

At six months, there are only so many toys a baby needs. Bambeanie has plenty of colourful (noisy!) toys handed down from his big brother and sister to satisfy the plastic quota for one household. So I have my eye on some more aesthetically pleasing toys to put under the tree this year.

clockwise from top left: Kid O fox wobble (Nel a Ned) | Noah activity ark (Not on the highstreet) | Traditional alphabet blocks (Izzy's Attic) | Vilac Manon pull along toy (Nel a Ned)
My children still, at the grand old ages of five and seven, spend hours playing with building blocks, so I think the vintage style alphabet blocks will be a big hit. And how cute is that little fox...?

This is cheating a bit, as I've already placed my order and it's not strictly a Christmas gift; but I couldn't not include it. We will shortly (as soon as the delivery guy arrives) be the proud owners of a TotsBots limited edition gingerbread man easyfit nappy...

I probably shouldn't be as excited as I am about this. But I can't help it. It's adorable. I tracked down some stock at The Cotton Nappy Companybut be quick - once they're gone, they're gone.

I'm sure I'll add plenty more items to my wish list for Ayden between now and the big day, but these should keep me going for now.

If you have a baby to buy for this Christmas, please share your gift ideas below. I'd love to see them :)

Bambeanie at six months

Monday, 11 November 2013

Half a year. Just over in fact. So hard to believe that my tiny bambeanie is half way to one year old!

He is the most delightful little man. Always happy. Well, most of the time ;) 

In the last month he's well and truly mastered rolling over. He was a bit slow on the uptake with that one, but now there's no stopping him. 

He sits up really steadily now too and very pleased about it he is too. So much so that woe betide anyone that lies him on his back if he wants to be sat upright like everyone else!

Solids are going well - he loves his food. He's tried lots of different fruits and vegetables - sweet potatoes and butternut squash are his favourites. He had a roast chicken dinner along with the rest of the family yesterday, which went down very well indeed.

He's eating two meals a day, with three breastfeeds in between. This isn't counting the night-time comfort feeds, of which there are more than I would like (!) He seems to wake once or twice (occasionally more) and I guess this is because of his teeth. There doesn't seem to be anything else bothering him.... he goes back to sleep pretty easily, so its not too bad.

In the last couple of days he's really found his voice and now talks to us all the time. It's the cutest thing and officially my favourite sound ever! He babbles away at the kitchen table, in his cot, when you're changing his nappy. All the time! Much to the delight of his older brother and sister, who think it's hilarious.

He's so strong on his legs (and has been from a very young age), so I wouldn't be surprised if he was pretty young to walk. His sister was only 10 months. He certainly isn't showing any interest in getting up onto his knees to crawl yet.

His favourite toy at the moment is definitely Sophie. Those spindly giraffe legs are getting a good old chewing, that's for sure. 

On that note, no sign of any teeth yet. Some days I'm amazed at the amount of dribble he produces, so they can't be that far off. Apart from waking at night, he doesn't seem overly bothered by his teeth yet. Fingers crossed it stays that way. He's been wearing his amber necklace, so maybe that's having an effect too...

I love all stages of babyhood - each one is wonderful for different reasons. But, at the moment, I feel like Ayden is doing something new every day. New noises, facial expressions, different things make him laugh (he has the best chuckle ever!). I can't wait to see what he does tomorrow :)

Weaning favourites - Ella's Kitchen

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The lovely people at Ella's Kitchen were kind enough to send us a few products from their range of baby food and we couldn't have been happier to try them out!

We're big fans of Ella's Kitchen. I have been for years, after giving all three of my babies various products from the range. I love the flavour combinations and the fact the brand sources the best possible organic ingredients for its products. But, more than that, the brand ethos of creating healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. As a mum, this is so important to me. 

We were sent a selection of the fruit and veg pouches, for ages four months plus (stage 1). These are ideal for us as Ayden has only recently started solids. So far, the sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apples and blueberries was a big hit. Small thing, but I love the colour of this particular pouch too. Easily swayed? Me!?

Raspberry and vanilla puffits... could a snack sound any more appealing!? I think not. 

I had spotted these in my local supermarket and thought that as soon as bambeanie turns seven months (the recommended age stated on the packaging) I'd definitely pick them up for him (and me) to try; so I was very excited to see these inside the package we were sent. 

We're not quite ready for these yet, but will be sampling them pretty much the very second he turns seven months old!

We were also sent a few items to try when he moves on to lumpier foods, as well as some toddler snacks in the form of the nibbly fingers fruit sticks. My five-year old is still a big Ella's fan - she loves the fruit pouches - and she made a bee-line for these. Whether there will be any left for Ayden to try when he's old enough remains to be seen.

I love that Ella's Kitchen explores more exotic flavours for weeny ones. I'm a big believer in introducing babies to what we might consider more 'grown up' stronger flavours (provided they are ready to try them and its safe to do so, of course). Who said babies only like bland flavours and plain food anyway? My older two have enjoyed foods like houmous, pesto, olives, curry, paella etc from a young age. 

The caribbean chicken with mangoes sounds delicious. I might even try to recreate that recipe myself for the whole family.

I was thrilled to be able to sample some more products from one of my favourite baby brands. Thank you Ella's Kitchen!

Baby minion

Monday, 4 November 2013

One day I might feel guilty about dressing my baby up as a minion and potentially embarrassing him by posting it on the internet for everyone to see... today is not that day :)

Hallo-wow, that was a lot of chocolate!

My creepy, kooky family

I can hardly believe Halloween has been and gone and we'll be heading out to watch the fireworks in some cold, soggy field tomorrow.

The year is passing way to fast for me... they say time flies when you're having fun and I am loving every split second of being home with my beanies. Being able to pick up the children from school every day and spend time with them is wonderful.

We had a great Halloween this year. We love Halloween - any excuse to decorate the house and get dressed up gets my vote. But this year was even more fun as we had my twin nephews to stay so the kids were even more excited than usual.

We spent the afternoon at a local farm, carving pumpkins and eating hotdogs and toffee apples. Its the first time we had been somewhere like this for Halloween; it was a great afternoon out and we'll definitely be going again next year.

My pretty little witch
Cousins :)

The evening was spent trick or treating, watching scary cartoons and eating our way through our own body weight in sweeties. Perfect :)

Count Dribula ;)

Sleep little vampire
Did you discover anything new to do this Halloween? I'd love to hear if you did...