Thursday, 28 August 2014

Creating the perfect love

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Nothing can prepare you for the love for a child.
Not amount of reading, reflection, or counsel can prepare you for the moment the line appears on a stick, nor your baby being placed in your arms.
Choice upon choice becomes more relevant as a new parent, washing baby clothes ahead of arrival, deciding on pram systems, bouncers, moses baskets, bedding and  fabric conditioner become more than you have thought possible as an outsider looking in on parenting.

And yet, the moment you hold your newborn in your arms, you know there is no choice.
You can only do the right thing by your child.

A reliance on research when being made aware of the likelihood of prematurity in multiple births.
Wanting to do everything possible to nurture and protect a newborn baby.
Knowing you have to accept at times nature rather than nurture.
And remaining true to yourself in doing everything possible to ensure the health and wellbeing of your child.

As a parent, more than ever you become reflective of your own upbringing.
In my case, grateful, to my parents for the upbringing I received.
Little things to hone in on, rituals, routines, habits and morals.

Things that were enshrined within our childhood: family, smells and textures; Friday night fish 'n' chips, rain on pavements, crochet blankets, motorbikes and muddy fields, Persil and Comfort.

Persil and Comfort have been the things that whether we can afford them or not, my mum has kept clear in our priorities, popping to Asda to keep us stocked when she knows our car tax is due, checking our cupboard to make sure we are keeping our only using Persil Non-Bio, and smelling our laundry- because she can't stop herself- for hints of Comfort Pure.
I wish I could argue with her, to challenge the rationale.
But when you tuck yourself up in fresh bedding, which smells good, feels soft, and is gentle against your skin.
There is no discussion.
The family ethos remains the same, making sure my little people are cared for, that they are happy and healthy.
Chiming closer to home than ever is the support for #Mums4Tommys offered by Persil and Comfort. I have to put it into black and white, from August 23rd, in conjunction with Asda, Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure will donate a total of £100,000 to Tommy's to support research into the prevention of miscarriages, premature births and stillbirths.
If you pop into Asda you can pick up the Persil Non-Bio 25w and Comfort Pure 42w promoting Tommy's and after being invited by #CollectiveBias to pop into our local store, it was good to see the promotion in the laundry aisle.
Whilst for the majority of parents, fortunately, pregnancies will be risk assessed, there will be no need to check out the resources on the Tommy's website. There will be no need to become familiar with the terms which Tommy's has become attuned to as a part of the pregnancy or post natal process.

For us, the moment a multiple birth was mentioned, everything was on the table.
And due to fantastic research and medical support we managed to keep our little ones 'baking' for 36 weeks.
At that was with the knowledge, and associated monitoring of knowing twin 1 stopped growing at 30 weeks. Thanks to research and expertise, our medical team knew how to keep our pregnancy going, and how to deliver the tough love of when to stop pregnancy in favour of post-natal support.

Being prepared is all you can ever do as a parent, accepting what is in your control.
Being informed, using resources which Tommy's provides, was key to me.
To know, that I had the more relevant information to support my family.

And now, with a five year old and two 3 year-olds, we are fortunate. We find time to smell the flowers.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Building memories, creating friends #Review

How excited was I to receive an invitation to the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Cardiff.
I can't tell you how many times we have walked past. Never stepping inside.
Like Disneyland, I wanted to save this experience for when my little people would appreciate it most.

And when the invitation arrived, I knew it was the perfect timing to reinforce the end of our summer holidays.
To give them reassurance as we return to routine, and each need something to cuddle a little tighter at night.

As we entered the store, I knew I had make a slight error in surprising the children with the experience rather than explaining the process.
They were each overwhelmed.
This would be the place of their favourite dreams.
A teddy-bear workshop.
How could I have been so naive?

We were in luck.
Jon, a wonderfully attentive team member took the children under his wing.
Explaining everything.
Remaining patient when important decisions needed to be made.
I loved how involved the children were able to be.
The decisions they needed to make.
Choosing their bear.
Deciding on the perfect sound.
And the best place to squeeze to be soothed.
Filling their bear to the perfect cuddling capacity.
Choosing a heart and making it theirs.
With a rub, a kiss and a wish.
And once complete.
Bathed, and cleaned.
Becoming theirs.

Fortunately, Jon was there throughout, ensuring the little people understood why everything they did was so important to their bear.

Like many other team members in the workshop, creating so many perfect bears for children completely enthralled by the process.

And, by this stage, my children were finding their feet.
And with confidence there was no stopping these little people.
Fortunately the range of clothing met their current preferences.
Fireman and Mermaids were order of the day- as they have been our Summer break.

And with outfits chosen and bears dressed.
The most important step remained.
Choosing names.
Creating certificates.
(And it transpires, like our pets, 'microchips').
And so, 'Sparkles', 'Spiderman' and 'Spidey' came to be.
And with backpacks loaded, so my little people got to parade their bears through Cardiff.

And they have been the focus of attention since.
The backpacks are sleeping bags, ready for the next camping trip.
Thoughts of all the outfits have been discussed.
The need for pyjamas, and casual clothes.
The thoughts of counting pennies.
And special occasions.

And as mummy, I am overwhelmed.
The care and love shown through the creation process.
The ownership is more of affection than territory.
And this makes me so happy.

Disclosure: We received three bears and their accessories as part of this review. All views and opinions are our own.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Capri Sun School Fun #BentoBabies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Brechdanau (packed lunches) or Cinio (school dinners)? It's one of the first choices we have to make as parents to children in Reception class.
As parents we agreed to Seren's Friday treat being Cinio. But as parents it's difficult find motivation for lunchbox ideas and more so ensuring healthy lunchboxes.
Soon into her Reception year, Seren clicked, and suddenly we found we were paying for more and more school dinners, unsustainable with our three children being so close in age.
I discovered Bento and all things #BentoBabies and suddenly we were back in business, Seren began taking an active choice in planning her brechdanau- butterflies, flowers, teddy bears became order of the day.

As Summer turns to the thoughts of a new school term, so do thoughts of inspiring Seren's brechdanau.
I mill the aisles of Tesco looking for inspiring ideas, from cheese, to crackers, to 5-a-day and juice drinks.
My memories of #CapriSunSchool are of my own lunch box.
My memories of Seren's first few weeks in Reception are the same as her last. 
The weather was good.
And Capri-Sun are perfect for lunchboxes for the same reason they are for picnics and days out- put them in the freezer and they're defrosted in time for lunch.
In a lunch bag next to the lunch box, a frozen Capri-Sun ensures a school lunch is cool in warm weather. At 200mls with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, they are perfect not only for school lunch, but after school or when out and about.
Adding to the advantages of choosing Capri-Sun from the supermarket aisle.

And now, unlike my school days, there are 8 fruity flavours (Orange, Blackcurrant, Summer Berries, Apple, Tropical, Apple & Cherry, Mango, Safari):
Which for my #CollectiveBias experience offers me at least eight ways to inspire a lunch box:

And on days where all three of them need a packed lunch, the efficiencies of the bento style packed lunch are more evident than ever. Sharing packets of food you would otherwise land on one child, smaller portion sizes mean you can accommodate more variety, introducing new flavours and textures.
The accessories can be as much or as little as you want them to be; silicon cake cases, food picks and cake decorations all make easy additions.
Seeing lunch boxes emptied; new foods and flavours devoured; is more than worth any added effort in the creation process.

Saturday, 23 August 2014


Last Summer I wrote a post about what Tom loved.
In so many ways nothing has changed.
Tom remains infatuated by fire engines. And I became the best mum ever when I took my little people to an open day at the local fire station this Summer.
Tom loves building with lego, upwards, to knock it down.
Tom loves eating, like all three of our children, we are now fortunate from a life where Tom & Seb both decided to refuse pureed food.

Whilst Tom's tastes have not changed.
It is true in all three of our children that their emotional intelligence has.
The boys remain Mummy's boys, Seren remains Daddy's girl.
And this only makes a difference when both parents are on the scene.

Seb and Seren have many similar characteristics.
Tom remains, to me, the most manipulative of our three, this is not said with malice, I think, already, Tom is the more intelligent of the three.
Reflected in school reports received, Tom is more adaptable, already focused on one-to-one and group time.
At his young age.

Tom is more attuned to people's feelings.
More likely to do things to make other people happy than himself.

I look at this picture.
And I wonder why, on this day, he chose to pay such close attention to this teddy.
And it was because someone (his mummy) told him not to.
My child already has that streak, which whilst similar to his siblings, "someone told me not to", is more attuned to caring.

Tom is factually my middle child.
I love there is doubt.
Because Tom has been the child which has caused me the most concern.
From not growing in pregnancy.
To pyloric stenosis.
And a heart murmur.

Tom at 3 and a half is a joyous child.
Adept at the most whining voice.
He gives the greatest love.
Shows the consideration and empathy of an adult.
And has the love for his siblings and family which cannot be measured.

Our son.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Word of the Week #WotW

We've done it!
This week saw me start at my favourite apartment in London.
That sounds terribly grand, but when you spend at least a night a week in London you develop preferences.

And it saw me end the week in a tent.
We did it.
Our first family camping trip.
I knew it was all dependent on me.
I haven't camped out for over six years.
I have left Mr J to it with all three little people in the back garden as I opted for a 'proper' bed.

This week we got to enjoy the Gower Peninsula.
As close as we live to a pebble beach, we got to live that close to a sandy beach.
And a proper sandy beach, where the sand runs through your toes.

It rained.
The sun shone.
And no matter what we laughed.
The little people did not want to come home.

And so, this is our Word of the Week:
Check out more at The Reading Residence.
The Reading Residence

Thursday, 21 August 2014

So, we're doing it.
As you read this we're on our first family camping holiday.
On the Gower Peninsula.
There's been trial runs.
In the back garden.
Admittedly, I stuck to the comfort of my own bed.

I have my non-negotiables.
We have to take a stove.
Compromises in life are many.
My morning's coffee is not one.

We've reminisced about camping lift pre-children.
Of the regrets of car boot sales where all camping equipment was sold.
Never sure of when a pregnant woman of twins, moving to Wales, would ever want to contemplate camping.

And yet, this time I get a reference book.
With our stove amongst the bootful of goodies which accompanies us everywhere.

What basics can I contemplate wanting to create.
In 'The Camping Cookbook' there were many options.
I've chosen the ones this 'returning to novice' camper can contemplate.
With a 5year old and two 3year olds as my audience.

And I'm so glad there were options from easy to more well prepared.
So this week, we'll be enjoying:

And, something tells me S'mores will also be on the menu!

I sense this book will be a part of our camping journey.
From 'Don't forget' check lists.
To an equipment list for cooking.
It is more than a book of recipes.

It is a Camping Cookbook.
And a relief.
And also available from good book retailers, such as Amazon.

Disclosure:; We received a copy of 'The Camping Cookbook' as part of our role as Parragon Book Buddies. All views and opinions contained are our own.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Learning to sing.... when it all goes down hill.

This summer Seren has become a complete diva when it comes to 'Let It Go'.
Amazingly confident in front of any audience, if she loses herself and forgets the words, she informs them she needs to start again from the beginning.
I am naive. I couldn't wait for my child to be able to sit down with me and watch a Disney film.
Mental images of hot chocolate, popcorn, blankets, a sofa and lazy Saturday afternoons.
The reality is somewhat different.

This summer, Seren phoned me on the way home from work.
This was my, rather public, response.

I was rather proud of my daughter.
As she interchanges between Blue October and Biffy Clyro.
As all three little people request "banging tunes" when we get into the car.

I can't help but feel I've lost her.
For at least ten years, before her rebellion kicks in.

So, of course I uploaded this video to the Virasoothe facebook page.
With not only the proud parent, Seren singing her favourite song and (fingers crossed) standing a chance of winning £500.

If you've got a video of your little one singing their favourite song, definitely pop along to Virasoothe and upload it!
It'll definitely capture your memories of Summer 2014.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you from the markettiers4dc Parenting Broadcast Bloggers Network.
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