Thursday, 31 July 2014

In search of the next milestone- Dry Nights! #Review

There are milestones which are ticked off.
Milestones which are open to the public to observe (and judge!).
And those which we monitor as parents, comfortable of achieving in good time.

In this category I keep, using cutlery, moving from plastic to china, the goodbye to soothers, and dry nights.
Dry nights is the one thing I have no desire to influence.
History dictates children will do this in their own time, that diet and circumstance can influence, and create forward and backward steps.

And yet, there is no doubt, in our family, with Seren as big sister, that growing up to become big boys is well and truly on the priority list.
With Seren, I was convinced of waterproof sheets.
They didn't work.
They were noisy, and it just encouraged Seren to bed swap.

With Tom & Seb we have been introduced to Huggies Dry Nites Bed Mats. The perfect solution to any accidents.
The reality that they are unnoticeable means we have added one to Seren's bed. She may never need it, but she doesn't know it's there either.
And, as motivation, we discovered 'big boy pants'.
The perfect incentive for Tom & Seb, following this being this term being the original incentive for them starting 'big boys school'.
And of course, the dinosaur design has been the perfect motivation.
Between big boys pants and bed mats, we're now set for the boys having Dry Nites.
And like becoming dry in the day, I know they'll do it perfectly, in their own sweet time.

If you need any support on your little ones potty training journey- check out the potty training bus- anything to support the graduation is worth any advice- and with two- the financial savings have made a world of difference!

Disclosure: We received a goody box from Huggies for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views are our own.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Creating our perfect lounge

We've lived for the last three years without curtains in our lounge. Accepting the two neutral roller blinds.
This was predominately due to the colour of our carpet (a light green) and a feature wall- which the previous owner had matched the wallpaper with their curtains and roller blind- and then took the curtains and roller bind with them.
We have lived in fear of where to start.

Over the Easter weekend we put down a wooden floor.
And now there's a feeling that we have a blank canvas again.

So, our lounge.
Whilst Mr J was attracted to our garden when we bought our home.
I loved the dual aspect windows in the lounge.
I love that we look out over a nature reserve and beyond to the sea.

I would love to first welcome our garden in with curtains and blinds reflecting bringing the outside in.
And complementing with cushions,  reflecting our further reach and our first home:
I love the idea of lifting our lounge and its wooden floor with the colours of the sea, and I love this very obvious Anthropologie link- which the children will love, and brings the curtains and cushions together.
I love the idea of keeping a feature wall, but making it about me and him with this wallpaper:
Our walls have pictures we have collected from our travels, which I would rehome, in favour of updated personal touches.
From our The Day That capture of our wedding day:
To creating family art.
Like this idea on Etsy:
In terms of furniture, I do love our sofa and units, but if I could...
I have always wanted my Carrie Bradshaw chair, for snuggling up with a good book (or to blog!).
And I love this one, Sex and the City meets my family, perfect for me, and perfect for a cwtch and a story with the little people.
And then, add a bookcase (with toy storage) next to it
And have a corner sofa for family nights
With a tv unit for movies:

And if I completely had my way, I would love to begin our fireplace from scratch (not least because our temporary kitten lived behind our fireplace and destroyed the back piece.
And one thing I do miss from our home in Yorkshire was our stove, so if I could... we'd have it back:
And yes, this, this would be my ideal lounge.
A perfect place for the family, a perfect place for us, a perfect place for me.

Disclosure: This post is inspired by Little Stuff's Dream Room Competition.
Good to be Home Dream Room Competition

Monday, 28 July 2014

Dem boys - twins at 3 and a half

I've realised I haven't written about Tom & Seb for a while.
As babies and toddlers you monitor development so closely.
Aware of milestones, aware of development stages.
For me, as they've grown as content individuals I've just enjoyed the journey.

Tom and Seb are the best boys a mum could want- in a completely biased way.
I think there is something about bringing up twins which means good behaviour becomes a norm, there is not enough time to spend pushing boundaries, as it's usually a competitive game, far better to compete for compliments.
Far from perfect behaviour of course, Seb still has the best bottom lip sulk (although he now knows to bite it in too!), and Tom can be the naughtiest in a more stealth like way.

Having finished a year at playschool and a term at nursery school, it was interesting to read and listen to feedback.
"Seb loves to help and will often help without any prompting."
"Tom is sensitive to the needs of others."
"Whilst Seb is not keen on organised group play like circle and storytime he loves to play as part of a group or one or two friends."
"Tom loves to play as part of a group and loves circle, music time and storytime and has excellent concentration and listening skills."
I love how the boys differences are coming out to other people- they are twins, they are being raised by the same parents, in the same environment.
But their sharing of a birth date does not define them.
Despite their similarities, they are individuals.

Seb has his dad's attention threshold.
His dad insists he has a fear of flying. From flying with his dad, I put money on the fact his dad has a fear of being in the same space for long distances.

Tom is demonstrating that he is a little more mature than his brother, more ready for the classroom environment.

And yet, as the mum who reads them a bedtime story each night, I wouldn't have reflected the differences both playschool and nursery school have reflected.

I love this about the boys benefiting from the many people around them.

I took them for their jabs today. With the more subtly presented question of who is least likely to cry. And I got it wrong- of course.

These boys of mine.
Every day they give me a reason to love them more.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Elmer - 25 year anniversary #Review

I love introducing my little people to classic children's books.
Whilst technology and life gets hold of us and moves us to new places.
There is something about books, which enrapture and hold our imagination.
For my little people, television, tablets, are left behind in favour of snuggling up, or sitting rivetted as mummy reads a story.

Elmer, the classic children's picture book written and illustrated by one of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time, David McKee, will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary at Andersen Press this year.

And like all of my favourite children's books, Elmer is as loved today as it ever was with it being one of the most widely read children’s books in the UK. The Elmer book series has sold over 7 million copies worldwide since its publication at Andersen Press in 1989 and translated into more than 50 languages.
I loved how much the children loved Elmer.
I love how much the tales resonates as much today as I'm sure it did 25 years ago.

And I love the quality and relevance of the Elmer merchandise, which now seems to go hand-in-hand with all books and television series.
I have benefited from quite a few peaceful hours as the children enjoyed creating their own Elmer as part of the floor puzzle.
I was amazed that this was the 'toy' that Seren chose to take in on the last day of term.
So that all of her friends could contribute to make Elmer complete.

And me, well, like all reminders of my childhood.
My magpie eye fell on the snow globe.
Of course I was not alone.
But this, this remains special to all of us.
What are your memories of Elmer?
Can  you believe he's 25?!
Will you be reading his stories to your children?

Disclosure: We received an Elmer 25th Anniversary package for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lady Rizo at the Blysh Festival #Review

Photo credit: Wales Millennium Centre
"I need a night out" the conversation began.
"How do you all fancy seeing Lady Rizo as part of the Blysh Festival. Could be fun." came the response.

There is nothing quite like a night of holding hands and stepping into the unknown.

There is nothing like unequivocal enjoyment, laughing because it is funny, aghast because it is funny, caught in a tale that you have no idea of its truth, yet by the end you are sold, the conviction has you.

Lady Rizo's performance is categorised as 'Cabaret'. And I'll be honest, not usually something I'd think, "Yes, please, get me a ticket".
But J's ability to choose all the best theatre meant I was saying "Yes. Please. Get Me A Ticket."

A little deeper, Lady Rizo has been described by the Edinburgh Evening News aptly as: "a martini-lapping American songstress with a great voice, soused in a mischievously heady cocktail of charm, wit and gin..."

And I'm still not sure that touches the surface.

I fell for the voice, a cross of all your favourite American comediennes.
I fell for the voice, I was convinced at one point the gorgeous blonde resonated so much of Amy Winehouse.
Only for her final performance, to be filled with so much emotion, this I fell for, hook, line and sinker:

And of course, it had just been about the singing, it might not have been a great night out.

It was the rapport.
It was the absolute laughs.
It was laughing because it was truly the safest option.
It was being amazed at the interaction.

The amazing control of her audience.
The amazing power of her voice.
The humility of the night.

Of course, as we walked away there was awe.
"One day".
Yes, I'd love to be Lady Rizo when I grow up.
Unfortunately I doubt three children in tow will have the same vibe.
And that's what it was all about.
For one night.
I was Lady Rizo's confidante.
Maybe one of quite a few.
But in my life, that's good enough.

PS Lady Rizo is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August and in London in September. Definitely Get A Ticket, if you can.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Fun Food Friday

As the need for packed lunches is put on hold until September I thought I’d to a summary post of where we got to ahead of the summer break.
Seren’s lunches are very ‘pink’, the only thing keeping me going is her blue Sistema lunch case!
I’ve been amazed by how much Seren has taken to having Brechdannau (packed lunch) rather than Cinio (school dinners) given her resistance.
Although I have been a bad mummy, and on bad days at work I don’t necessarily have the motivation at 9pm to get her lunch ready, when it got to the point of tantrums at 8am because she found out she had do have cinio- cue a mad lunch to prepare brechdannau, I knew we had made the change.

Seren’s lunches at the moment are mainly around the cookie cutters we have for baking, picks and silicone cases we’ve acquired from ebay, supermarkets and Eats Amazing, and my all time favourite- the heart pots (which we are desperately in need of a more generic version!).

And already Tom and Seb see it as their special treat to have a packed lunch so we’re definitely making progress.

And, now we’ve made the conversion to brechdannau, we’re now incorporating lots of new foods. Tom and Seb are definitely a lot more open to this, however I’ve discovered with Seren the trick is to give them names other than what they are, so whilst Seren doesn’t like raisins, put yoghurt covered raisins in a heart shaped pot, with a heart pick, and call them ‘happiness’- well, we’re onto a winner!

And so we’re looking forward to a summer of brechdannau being a treat, and picking up some more lunch boxes in addition to the fantastic strawberry one from Eats Amazing (bad mummy for only purchasing one it would seem!!).

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Word of the Week #WOTW

I took part in The Reading Residence's Word of the Week linky a fortnight ago.
Writing my post on the Thursday evening, to publish on the Friday morning.

By the time I finished work that evening my world had turned full circle.
Issues were no longer issues. Concerns seemingly irrelevant.

Over the past fortnight, my life has been turned upside down.
I have realised just how much I didn't know.
I'm not sure why information wasn't shared.
And I can't get my around what would have been different if the information had been shared.

So, I have concluded.
We are where we are.
I cannot undo what has been done.
The next stages are known.
They are beyond unpleasant.
They will tear at people's sanity more than my own.
But they are known.
And I cannot do anything to change what happens next.

I can influence what I do.
I can find my positives.
And I can become happier.
I can ensure those around me have limited impact.

And I can leave work at work.

And enjoy my family.
And the happiness they bring me.
Word of the Week

The Reading Residence
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