Ode to the British beach

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Like most people, I'd bite your hand off for a week on a tropical beach. I'm thinking an all-inclusive resort in the Maldives, with a swim up bar and infinity pool. Ah... one day....

But, although a million miles away both literally and metaphorically, there's something about the good old British beach that has my heart.

The slightest sniff of sunshine and that's where you'll find us. Exploring, splashing, sitting, running. We spend a lot of time on our local beach. And it can be breathtakingly beautiful. The sea may not be turquoise and the sand is definitely not powdery white, but the waves still sparkle and it's perfect to me.

What's your family's favourite place to go?

Playing on the beach


Playing on the beach


Toddler exploring the beach

♡ Little bits #19 ♡

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

1. Love hanging out with this little monkey every day :)
2. Sometimes you've just got to trust in this... and let it go.
3. This outfit is too cute and perfect for spring. I'd wear it every day if it would fit me.
4. Wow, this kid can snore!

5. I can't tell you how excited I am to find this. Finally, an almond milk that tastes like it comes from an almond!
6. Not sure who's having the most fun. My little skater boy and manchild ;)
7. These two have some amazing adventures together. Just give them a beach and they're off. In their own little daydream world. They could spend hours in eachothers' imagination. I'm so lucky to have them.
8. Spring is here ♡♡♡

The Ordinary Moments | dancing with daddy

Monday, 23 March 2015

These two spent the best part of half an hour dancing together round the kitchen to old Billy Joel songs yesterday. It was one of those moments. One I know I'll always remember and no doubt Meryn will too.

Ayden followed them around like a little shadow, but it was a real dad/daughter moment. Twirling her around like a little princess, while she giggled and clung on for dear life.

Being a big kid himself, my husband loves playing with the kids. Usually some kind of epic battle involving tickle torture, nerf guns and pillow fights. Real rough and tumble stuff, which Meryn loves just as much as her big brother. She's a pretty keen shot with the Nerf crossbow ;) 

It's not all missiles and combat though. We love a good old dance-off as much as the next family. Dylan can throw some mean shapes and Ayden has got his street dance moves down! 

These little snippets of an otherwise pretty ordinary Sunday are the moments I know I'll remember twenty years from now. Probably as I'm watching Dan twirling his granddaughter round the kitchen table to old Billy Joel songs.

This month I love | Rude Health almond milk

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Rude Health almond milk

I know what you're thinking. A whole post about almond milk? Really? But, it's that good. Honestly. I'm genuinely upset I haven't discovered it sooner.

I cut milk out of my diet a few years ago, after noticing that my morning coffee wasn't sitting so well in my tummy. I also noticed half a tub of Ben & Jerry's was making me feel nauseous. Go figure.

I haven't cut dairy completely out of my diet. I still eat cheese (oh, cheese), yogurt and yes, Ben and Jerry are still occasional visitors to my home. But for my morning coffee and porridge etc I opt for a dairy free alternative.

Until recently, I was all about that soy. Alpro original soy milk being my brand of choice. And it was ok. Tasted pretty pleasant, didn't split in coffee, pretty inoffensive on the whole. But I know it isn't the healthiest of options, so I was always on the lookout for a better alternative. 

It may just be me, but Alpro almond milk is rank. It really is. It curdles in coffee, has a funny aftertaste and I'm not entirely convinced that an almond has been anywhere near that carton. Sorry Alpro. The supermarket own-brand offerings didn't fare much better. 

Then I spotted the Rude Health almond milk in my local Tesco and remembered seeing a few bloggers talk about it. I gave it a go and haven't looked back since.

It tastes like almonds! Really, it does. It's creamy, tastes fresh and clean, it passes the anti-curdle coffee test. It's a winner.

It is slightly pricier than other brands but, when you compare the list of ingredients you'll understand why. No added sugar, thickeners or nasty preservatives. It's pretty much just crushed almonds, organic rice and spring water.

Even my husband (who is anti-alternative anything!) commented that this was "really nice". Praise indeed.

Ayden wears

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bobo Choses spring outfit

The slightest sniff of sunshine and I'm gone. Off into a daydream of ice-cream, picnics, flip-flops, Pimms and summer evenings on the beach.

I'm so done with being cold.

My wardrobe is pretty much monochrome year round. Although I will bust out the odd yellow dress, or bright strappy sandal, if I'm feeling fruity. My penchant for the black, white and greys means that most of my clothes will see me through from season to season, without too many new purchases. 

Translation: it's a good job I have a couple of half decent t-shirts and can still fit into last summer's skinny jeans cos I may or may not have blown any budget for my own wardrobe on amazing outfits for my kids. 

It's no exaggeration that their wardrobes are waaaay better than mine and this outfit is no exception. Bright, comfortable and full of personality. I love it.

Bobo Choses spring outfit

As usual, I sized up a bit so we can get plenty of wear out of each item. The sweatshirt and cropped trousers are by Bobo Choses and the sizing this season seems to be really generous on some pieces, so I think we'll definitely get two years of wear out of this. See, stylish and practical.

The adorable moccasins are by Buffalo and Bear. I love how comfortable they are for Ayden and easy to wear. He's a little hippie at heart (like his dad) and would prefer to be barefoot given half a chance. These are the next best thing. So good in fact, I have another two pairs on the way!

Now all I need is some sunshine and I can admire my little ones in their uber-stylish, on trend, rainbow of beautifully-made clothes. And I'll try not to dribble Pimms on last years' denim cut-offs :)

Help! My toddler is mono-fooding

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Toddler fussy eater

Don't be fooled by this face. This is not the face of a child who is about to tuck into a healthy balanced meal. No. This is the face of a mono-fooder. About to feast on an array of bland, beige, blah.

I've been here before, so I know it's nothing to be worried about. At least not in the relatively short-term. But that doesn't stop it being incredibly frustrating bloody annoying.

It's been building up for a month or two but now, at 23 months old, Ayden has decided his little culinary horizons need consist of little more than chicken goujons, buttered bagels, cheese, sweet potatoes (but only on a Wednesday!) and bread sticks dipped in houmous. That's pretty much it.

Oh, and fruit. He'll eat any type of fruit. Not so much on the veg. Veg is the devil.

Ok, so its not quite mono-fooding, he will eat more than one thing. But it's pretty damn close.

I've tried everything. Hiding meat and different types of (very) thinly sliced vegetables - we're talking wafer thin here - inside a cheesy omelette... until he decided he no longer accepts eggs. In any form. Scrambled eggs, once a firm favourite, and my fallback protein option; "Get outta town! You expect me to eat that!"

I can just about get away with smuggling a variety of vegetables into a pureed sauce for pasta. That works well for the older two too. They refuse to eat peppers on account of them being "disgusting". Haha! Didn't see those red peppers blitzed to within an inch of their life inside your pasta sauce did you!? No, you didn't. Score!

But meat is another battle altogether. Aside from chicken and fish in goujon form, I can pretty much forget it.

I'm quite laid back on the whole. I try not to stress too much about the little phases of babyhood that come and go. But this? This really gets on my pip. Why would anyone choose to exist on a rotation of three or four, pretty dull if we're honest, food types and nothing else?

Dylan went through what can only be described as toddler vegetarianism for a while. I remember being equally frustrated then. My husband and I would joke that we should give Dylan and Meryn a roast dinner between them, as Dylan would refuse to eat his meat, but loved his potatoes and (some) veg. Meryn on the other hand would devour forkfuls of chicken and lob her potatoes at the dog. 

Last night, Dylan polished off a decent size fillet steak in minutes. So I guess this is just a phase, like any other.

And beige! Why is it always beige!? With the exception of the rainbow of fruit he will happily eat throughout the day, everything else on the 'yes, I will accept' list is bloody beige. 

Waah! How has this happened? This baby used to eat everything! Avocado, ham, eggs, potato, roast chicken, salmon, broccoli, peas... anything I put in front of him.

I guess the best approach is just to carry on. Try giving him new things and just keep everything crossed (and the labrador on stand-by) in the hope that he'll eat it. 
So if you need me, I'll be pinteresting the hell out of 'fussy toddler' recipe ideas, mashing meat and pureeing a lot of veg.

♡ Little bits #18 ♡

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Little bits of our life lately

1. Someone has become quite the fan of going to the park. "More mama, more!". I remember spending what felt like hours each week pushing Dylan and Meryn in the swings. They just never got fed up of it. Better start working on those biceps.
2. Cake. Birthday cake. Chocolate cake, peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache and Reese's Peanut Butter cups to be precise. 5,000 calories per slice.
3. Cuddles ♡
4. Not the best photo, but I wanted to include it because Ayden is loving Baby Gym at the moment. He gets so excited when he realises where we're going and runs round like a proper little man; climbing, bouncing, sliding, rolling, having a ball!

5. These two really are the best of friends. Yes, they fight like cat and dog, but only for a few minutes and they're back to being eachother's shadow in no time. I love that they're so close.
6. Tea and toast in bed for Mother's Day. Perfect. Let's pretend it wasn't delivered to me at 7:30am (!) 
7. So Mother's Day really is just for one day then...? Back to earth with a bump. Zzzz
8. You'd never know that this smiley ray of sunshine has been feeling poorly. Even with a cold and a nasty cough, he's such a happy, cheerful little man. 

The ordinary moments #2

Monday, 16 March 2015

Ayden playing with his favourite Brio blocks

Sat watching this little one play with his building blocks (one of his favourite things to do) and I can't help but feel so lucky to have this time over again.

When we had Dylan and Meryn so close together, with 14 months between them, I remember people saying how good it was to have a small age gap so you could 'get it all over with in one go'; meaning the nappies and sleepless nights, I suppose. But I always found it such a strange thing to say.

As far as I was concerned, those days couldn't go slowly enough. I didn't want it all over with.

I still feel like that and, with a five year gap between Meryn and Ayden, I feel so lucky to be able to do it all over again. 

Dylan and Meryn are at such a lovely age. You can have great conversations with them. They're funny, polite, clever, curious and good company. And yes, I'll admit, things are obviously much easier as they get older and can do more for themselves, but I want them to slow down please. 

Ayden is two soon and I can not believe it. It won't be long until his baby days are all over with and it breaks my heart... and makes me broody (run Dan, RUN!).

I'm so thankful for all of my babies and every stage of their little lives so far. Every single nappy, sleepless night, teething grumble and tantrum. Those moments can't go slow enough for me.

♡ Little bits #17 ♡

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

1. Meryn's bedroom is probably my favourite space in the house. It's so light, bright and tranquil. We painted the whole room white, including the floorboards and it makes it feel so airy. I think we'll do the same thing in our bedroom when we finally get round to decorating it.
2. My little unicorn and 'gangsta' off to school on World Book Day.
3. Slightly warmer weather means trips to the beach. Ayden loves nothing more than searching for 'pakka stones' and bathing them in rock pools. Fresh air and fun for free. Can't beat it.
4. After World Book Day, Meryn has declared that she would like her next birthday party to have a unicorn theme. That's fine by me :)

5. Continuing our love of BabyLit books, The Jungle Book is a current fave. You can check out our other top picks from the bookshelf here.
6. Completely mesmerised by his teacher at Monkey Music. He never sits still at home. Even for Mickey Mouse.
7. Always building... just like his daddy.
8. Sharing the first few pages of my Project Life scrapbook. It's great having a new way to be creative. Just need to make more time to actually work on the pages, which is easier said than done!

The ordinary moments | lost in music

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ayden at Monkey Music

I've taken all three of my children to music classes as babies. I loved spending time with each of them individually and watching them learn something new every week.

Dylan, being my first baby, didn't just go to music class. He went to everything. Baby yoga, baby massage, sensory classes, baby gym; you name it, we did it. 

There were only 14 months between Dylan and his baby sister, so Meryn's social calendar was a little more limited. I soon learnt that a curious toddler and a newborn baby did not make for a relaxing morning out. We still went to toddler groups and soft play centres, but it was difficult to do some of the more structured activities.

Once Dylan started school, even though I missed him terribly, it was lovely to have one-to-one time with Meryn and take her to things I'd avoided when I had two little people in tow. There was usually cake involved and I loved our girlie days together. 

Ayden, with his big brother and sister in school every day, has plenty of time with me. Just like Dylan and Meryn he loves going to classes and interacting with other little people. Last week I was quick enough to take a photo of him totally transfixed by the music that was being played to him. It's rare for him to sit still that long!

I can still picture Meryn's little face, sat in music class, listening so carefully and loving every second of her quality time with me. And Dylan at toddler group, behind the bouncy castle trying to unplug it from the wall. Those special little moments! I never want to forget them.

Our life in a book

Friday, 6 March 2015

My Project Life scrapbook pages

I've spoken about my new hobby / irrational obsession before. My scrapbook. I've been squirrelling away bits and pieces (this is the irrational bit) to decorate it, along with the standard Project Life cards I had already bought. 

Meryn and I (because apparently I have to share it with Meryn. Rude!) have quite the collection of stickers, stamps, washi tape, pens, papers, cards and other cute bits and pieces. So, other than having next to no photos actually printed out, I'm all set to put our life in a book. 

First step was to go back through my thousands (literally) of photos from last year, select my favourites and order prints. Now they're here, I'm a bit overwhelmed at the size of the task ahead of me if I'm honest. 

I think the best approach will be to tackle a spread at a time, rather than trying to document last year month by month. This may take some time.

I decided to start with some generic pages to capture us as a family and each of the children individually, before going on to do our monthly pages. Here's how they turned out.

My Project Life scrapbook pages

My Project Life scrapbook pages

My Project Life scrapbook pages

I'm really pleased with the way the pages look. It's so nice to have photos printed out and organised; especially with things like baby scan photos. They've been stuffed in a cupboard for years and now I have them alongside details of each baby's birth and a photograph from their first day on the planet. 

I'm really excited to complete more pages and show them here. Now I just need a few hours to myself (haha!) to get on with it. 

What we're reading | the World Book Day edition

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Once again, I've left the World Book Day costumes to the very last minute. Every year I swear I'll be more organised. Nope. Not this time. Still flying by the seat of my pants, as usual.

That aside, we're definitely enjoying some great books this week. 

BabyLit The Jungle Book

Ayden is really into animals at the moment, so the BabyLit version of The Jungle Book is a firm favourite this week. It's bright, fun and gives plenty of opportunity for practising animal noises. Definitely one of our favourites from the range so far.

Around the World with Mouk

When I first saw this book I knew I'd heard of Mouk, but couldn't for the life of me work out where from. Turns out he's a french TV character. Actually, as I write this, I can vaguely remember the theme tune... hmmm. Anyway, he's a little bear who loves to travel the world with his buddy Chavapa, who I'm pretty sure is cat.

This is one of Meryn's favourites; it's part story book, part sticker book. You follow Mouk on his journey around the world and can join in the fun on each page with the reusable stickers. The pages are beautifully illustrated and packed full of cute details. Mouk visits 11 countries, so it's a great way to teach kids about different places and cultures. Another plus point, the pages are really thick and glossy, so can survive being 'read' by her baby brother. The book is pretty big too and looks lovely on display. 

Osborne Look Inside Your Body

Dylan is full of questions. Never ending questions. He's had this book for a while, but digs it out from time to time to answer any questions he may have about how the human body works. And there are a lot!

From your brain to your biceps, your eyes to your elbows, this book has it covered. The lifting flaps add a little extra interest for younger readers and the information is presented in a lighthearted and interesting way. I bought this when Dylan was five and he still enjoys it now, three years later. 

Hope this has given you some ideas on how to spend those World Book Day tokens. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a last minute costume to prepare...

♡ Little bits #16 ♡

Monday, 2 March 2015

1. This little one loves nothing more than the opportunity to play ransack his big sister's room. He doesn't get to play in there often, so he's making the most of every second!
2. All kinds of awesome. Especially with chocolate chip pancakes and ice cream. You've been warned.
3. I'm really getting into my scrapbook. Sad, but true. I've finished the first few pages and I'm so happy with them. I'm planning to post my completed pages on here, if anyone would be interested to see them...?
4. Peepo! This handsome little man loves his new Bobo tee :)

5. Love this pic of my two beauties together. It's not often they stand still long enough for me to actually get a shot of them together. It was my lucky day to get this one! 
6. On my way to baby gym with this little pickle. He loves it. Free reign in a large padded room full of bouncy things, tunnels and stuff to climb. Ayden's idea of the perfect morning out.
7. Anything you can do... all Ayden wants to do at the moment is whatever I'm doing. Washing his hands and cleaning his teeth, helping me clean the kitchen floor (with a packet of baby wipes 🙈), hoovering... I guess I should be thankful for his enthusiasm. Plus, it's very cute.
8. Thrilled with our new moccasins from Buffalo and Bear. A great colour for spring/summer and soft on Ayden's tiny feet.

9. We're enjoying two more books from the BabyLit range this week. Keep your eyes peeled later this week for a new What we're reading post with more details.
10. Surf's up! Getting some practise in for summer :)
11. Love my beautiful girl in blue. It's a colour I don't usually think to dress her in, but this Bobo (yes, more Bobo!) sweater is adorable on her.
12. Hideous, hideous, horrible, awful run on Sunday. Zero motivation and legs of lead. My time was ok though. Every cloud... Let's hope it's a blip and I feel better next time I go.