30 Nov 2015

Am I not pushy enough?

A couple of weeks ago I went to a meeting at Becky's school where her teacher gave a little talk about how they teach phonics to the children, how this ties in which learning letters and reading / writing, and how parents can support this at home. It was really interesting for me. Even though part of my Masters degree was English and Linguistics, and therefore phonics and phonetics are not an alien concept to me, the way reading and writing is taught in England is very different to how I was taught in Germany, which was more in a “conventional” way, I suppose, based on learning the letters and not phonics. This may have something to do with the fact that the German language is pronounced how it’s spelled, which obviously is very different in English. 

Anyway, I digress. The reason I’m bringing this up is because the talk was followed by a little class-room visit to see the kids learn their phonics in action. We were able to watch Becky’s teacher read a book with the children (Becky was super excited when she saw me in her classroom, bless her), and the kids all took an active part in shouting out the correct phonics. And that’s when I noticed that some of the children – albeit only a few – were a lot more advanced, or shall I say, confident about the use of their phonics than Becky. And this made me think. Have I not done enough to support her at home? Have we not practised enough? Should we have done more before she started school? 

To be honest, this was the first time I had this thought, this little parental wobble with regards to her academic development, if that’s the correct term. Until then, I had always been of the mindset that I would not push Becky into anything, and merely support her in whatever interests her. So no, until she started school, I hadn’t been sitting down with her to teach her letters, numbers or phonics – though she picked up a lot of them via pre-school and through us playing letter and number games at home as and when she showed interest in it, but it was never anything that I forced on her or insisted on.

She is an extremely creative little lady, and she can spend hours beautifully drawing, painting, gluing, sticking and crafting the most fabulous things. It is this that I always facilitated and focused on until now, not phonics, because that's what she enjoys most. 

My attitude to this may also have something to do with the fact that back in Germany children don’t start primary school until they are seven, six at the earliest, so learning to read and write any time before this age has always seemed very young, premature even, to me. It took me a good while to accept and come to terms with the fact that Becky would be entering compulsory and institutionalised education at the tender age of four (I am over it now and can see that Becky is happy and thriving!), so up until that point, I wanted her to be just a child, enjoy childhood without any pressures or enforcing an early curriculum on her, when in my eyes this is the job of the school.

But still, at that moment in that class-room, I suddenly felt like my relatively relaxed attitude to early learning was biting me in the backside. Like I had let my little girl down somehow. Even though we read books all the time and practice her homework every day, I felt like I hadn’t been on top of it enough, or not pushy enough. In my defence, John and I both work full time and by the time we have picked up Becky from after-school-club, Alex from nursery, cooked dinner, eaten dinner and got Alex ready for bed, it’s already Becky’s bedtime, too, so there is little time to do much more than we already do. And I don’t want to exhaust Becky by going on about phonics and letters at 8pm at night, when she should be going to bed. We do more at the weekends, but in the week it’s just the bare amount of homework.

Thankfully, it was only a few days later that it was parents evening at school, and I brought up the subject with Becky’s teacher, who was great, and totally reassured me that Becky is absolutely on track and in line with the other children. The teacher also said that I shouldn’t worry about having been quite laid-back about learning and that in most cases it is better for the teachers to start with a clean slate and teach the kids from scratch.  She also explained that for teachers pre-existing knowledge can sometimes be a downside, as those children can get bored in class easily, because teachers have to teach the curriculum anyway, and often “bad habits” have to be undone when it comes to things like writing, pen holding, pronunciation etc.

I felt a lot better afterwards. I later bumped into my friend, whose son goes to the same class as Becky, and we compared notes. She told me that whilst her son had taken well to the phonics cards she was practising with him – and which Becky isn’t keen on – he on the other hand struggles to hold a pen correctly or draw or write anything particularly well, whereas Becky can write her name very legibly and can draw the most complex drawings beautifully. Which just goes to show that kids really do learn differently and individually and with different strengths.

I know that Becky is a very bright and clever little thing, and I have no doubt that she will be able to read, write and count brilliantly, whether that’s at the age of three, four, five or six. She’ll do it in her own time, and I will support her as much as I can, but my attitude will remain that I’m not going to push her, just facilitate her.

Sure enough, as of last week, Becky has suddenly completely mastered her phonics, and now knows every single sound with corresponding letter - capital and small - and is making brilliant progress blending all the sounds into words and sentences. Something clearly just clicked. Maybe I needn’t have panicked. Maybe every child has their own pace indeed - and I just need to follow hers.

* Linking up to #ShareWithMe 

29 Nov 2015

Alex, 16 months

I’m a little late with Alex’s 16 months update, but on the plus side, there’s lots to talk about this time. Over the last few weeks, he has come on in leaps and bounds - not sure whether his recent spell of night terrors is the explanation behind a developmental surge, but developed he has, and noticeably so.

For starters … *drumroll* … he has started to walk! Finally! His evolution to a homo erectus began about two weeks ago, when he suddenly took a few steps forward towards me in our hallway. Since then, he has managed to walk the whole loop between our kitchen, dining room, living room and hallway all in one go, which is pretty impressive. However, he remains a little lazy (or just very clever) and when he wants to get from A to B fast, he still prefers to crawl. But he is making more of an effort now to walk, and he enjoys holding my hand and walking alongside me, so we are doing this quite a bit to practice.

He has also started saying “Hiya” and “Bye Bye” while waving, and it’s so adorable. Especially when we’re out and about or at the supermarket or so, he’ll be sitting in his buggy or trolley and waving at people, saying “Hiya” and amusing lots of strangers. He’s so cute, with his cheeky little smile and his angelic blond hair!

My friend recently gave me a baby sign language DVD, and we started to watch it whenever we have a chance, and I have to say, he seems quite fascinated with it. He has slowly started to take more note of the TV and CBeebies, too, and he will now sit quietly on my lap for a few minutes and watch, which is nice, as we are cuddling up together and enjoying a bit of downtime.

On the flipside, he’s been bringing home all bugs going at nursery, so he’s been ill twice this month with chest infection and fevers, and his sleep has been all messed up again, with lots of awake time at night. I’m pretty exhausted – for some reason, I can cope a lot less being awake at night at this stage than when he was a newborn and it was kind of programmed into your system. It didn’t bother me in the slightest then, but now I feel utterly fatigued and am struggling to function properly. Hopefully this will pass. He did manage to avoid a case of Impetigo though, which was going round at nursery and which I was dreading, mainly because I didn’t fancy getting it myself (I can’t help cuddling and kissing him, so would have so contracted it, too) and then being at meetings looking like a freak!

He’s still climbing on everything and anything, and is getting more and more dexterous at it. If something is out of his reach, he’ll find some box or stool, drag it to where he wants it to be, and then grab whatever it is he’s taken a fancy to, so we’re having to move lots of things we thought were safe higher up onto cupboards and shelves.

I can’t wait for Christmas now. Even though I don’t think he will quite understand the concept yet, he will hopefully be aware of the festive atmosphere – whilst most likely pulling down our tree and decorations! – and together with Becky, who is beyond excited, it will hopefully be a very special family time indeed. 

27 Nov 2015

Life lately

So, blogging has taken a bit of a back-seat over the last week or so, mainly due to the fact that life lately is very busy and stressful indeed. John and I have got quite a lot going on at the moment, so much to juggle and cram into a 24 hour day, and it didn’t help that Alex got ill on Tuesday and has been up and down ever since, with Becky having caught his cold / chest infection since yesterday, too, and been sent home from school – both in the week that I’m on print deadline, as usual. There is a pattern emerging!

Yet again, poor Alex hasn’t been sleeping well at all and has spent most nights either crying, coughing or making a momentary recovery at 2am at night and wanting to play, thanks to the powers that be Calpol. And that just after he was finally starting to sleep a little better and his night terrors were easing slightly, only coming on quite early on in the night. So sleep-wise, we’re back to square one, and I’m knackered, we all are. It’s taking all my energy to look after the kids and keep everything ticking over at work, everything else has to wait  – I’m not even going to comment on what my house looks like at the minute! 

Once again, I’ve been feeling exhausted with working mummy life. Just when you think you’ve got things under control and a routine down, bang, something goes awry and everything starts to crumble. When I came back to work after maternity leave, I didn’t think things would be so hard to juggle with two kids. After all, I had been perfectly capable doing it with Becky. I’m quite capable generally, thank you very much. Or am I? At least that’s what I always thought. That I could deal with any stress, and that nothing could throw me. But adding another little one to the mix is a whole different world, and sometimes, during weeks like this, I feel like I’m constantly chasing my own tail. Constantly failing. Never quite good enough.

At times like this, I really miss having family around who can help. If my Mum was nearby, it would be so much easier. She would love being called upon for some childcare, or even to give my house a once-over. Bless her! But hey ho, that’s not going to happen, so there’s no point musing over this. Our life is in the UK, my parents’ in Germany, so we have to make the best of the situation.

Speaking of my Mum - as if she had an inkling of what a crap week I’ve been having, yesterday a big parcel arrived from my parents, with presents for Becky and Alex in, as well as a huge box of Mum’s home-made Christmas biscuits – a family tradition. If there’s anything to cheer me up, it was that! Now I just need to make myself a nice brew, (try to) put my feet up and hope that the kids recover and we all get some sleep. Roll on the weekend!

22 Nov 2015

My Sunday Photo 22nd November 2015

Hey, check out my new ride that I got from Nanny & Granchy!


20 Nov 2015

Why I Love Being a Mummy

I’m the first to admit that I’m not overly maternal. Before I had kids, I had very little interest in babies and kids, and whilst that has obviously changed since I’ve had my own two monkeys (now I’m literally obsessed with babies!) whom I love and care for beyond words, I still feel that I lack that certain mother hen gene that makes other women just so naturally and effortlessly maternal and nurturing.

But even though I have the frequent odd moan about how much life has changed since having kids (you can read all about it here) and the mess, the lack of me time, the lack of privacy in the bathroom (!) and more, underneath it all I truly love being a Mum. So I’ve compiled a little list of some of the many reasons why being a Mum (even if I’m a bit crap at it and moan a lot) totally rocks.

- They make me laugh. Lots. Every day. Whether it’s Becky’s crazy and never ending questions about life and her little explanations with which she tries to make sense of the world, or Alex’s little cheeky face and giggle as he yet again does something naughty and that he’s not supposed to. I could list hundreds of examples of how and why they make me laugh, and it’s definitely the most effective therapy if I’m having a bad day.

- My kids’ affection. Being loved by your children has got to be the best feeling in the world. Their love is so pure, innocent, genuine and all encompassing – no one will ever love me like my children do, and vice versa.

- Holding my sleepy baby and soaking up the smell of his hair. Or gazing at my gorgeous Becky as she peacefully snores away for the night. I can’t go to bed without staring at both my kiddies (is that a bit weird?) and absorbing all of their beautiful features over and over again.

- Seeing the world through the eyes of my kids and discovering the magic in even the simplest of things.

- Rediscovering old stories, toys or other things from your childhood and enjoying them all over again.

- Being able to be utterly silly in public without looking like an absolute loon.

- Discovering my kids’ little personality traits, some inherited from John, some from me, and some just their very own, and seeing their characters develop. It’s as fascinating as it is humbling to be part of their evolution.

- A whole new world of Mummy friends. Thanks to my kids, I have made so many great friends and formed such close bonds with some great women and men whom I probably would have never met otherwise. Definitely a nice bonus.

- The sense of pride I have about anything my little ones are achieving and the milestones they are passing. Nothing makes me prouder.

- All the lovely clothes I get to buy, and both in pink and blue!

- Having a sense of purpose and perspective: Once you have kids, nothing else matters as much, even things you thought were important before don’t even come close. It’s quite cathartic and liberating in many ways, and definitely one of the best life lessons in being self-less and putting others first.

- The knowledge that we have created these wonderful two humans and the miracle of watching them grow.

So here are my personal reasons why I love being a Mummy – I probably missed out loads. What about you? Would love to hear your thoughts, so let’s expand this list.

*Linking up to #ShareWithMe and #BestandWorst 


17 Nov 2015

The ultimate super moist carrot cake

I bloody love carrot cake. It’s my favourite cake in the world. I also love discovering recipes on other blogs, and over time I’ve tried various cakes, bakes and meals that I have come across in the blogosphere.

So when I recently successfully – if I say so myself – baked this amazing carrot cake, I thought I’d share it, so more people can have the pleasure of this delicious, super moist treat.

I have been on a bit of a carrot cake mission lately. We have this lovely deli in our village, and the lady who owns it makes one of the best carrot cakes I have ever eaten – and trust me, I’m a connoisseur when it comes to these matters. However, even though I tried to convince her many times to share her recipe, she’s just not been very forward coming; not out of malice or because she doesn’t want to give it away, I might add, but simply because she says she’s been doing it in a certain way for years and never even thinks about the method or quantities she uses. Fair enough.

So I set out to find the ultimate, super moist carrot cake recipe that comes as close to it – or even beats – my local deli’s version. The below is a concoction of various recipes I have tried, and I find it really works. John took the cake to work the other week and it was gone in minutes, with one of his colleagues even saying it was the best carrot cake he’d ever eaten – granted, I don’t actually know how many this guy has eaten, but I take the compliment, thank you very much.

So, without further ado, here goes:


Cake Mix:

200g light brown sugar (dark brown sugar is fine, too)
180ml vegetable oil (I used sunflower, as that’s what I had)
60g yoghurt (full fat or low fat, doesn’t matter)
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour (make sure this is the exact measurement)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
260g very finely grated carrots
A cup of grated nuts (pecans, walnuts or a mixture of all sorts of nuts)
Walnut or pecan pieces to sprinkle on top

Cream Cheese Frosting

225g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
115g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
300g icing sugar
2tbsp double cream
2tsp vanilla extract
A dash of salt (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Coat a 9 inch spring form with cooking spray or butter / margarine and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the brown sugar and oil with an electric whisk on medium speed. Beat in the yoghurt until fully combined. The mixture will be quite gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all is combined well, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Fold in the grated carrots and the grated nuts.

Pour into the form and bake for ca. 35 minutes, checking the cake mix after 30 minutes whether the centre comes out clean. You want the dough not to stick anymore, but you also need to time it right, so it retains its moisture and doesn’t overbake, so hang around and keep checking.

Allow cake to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the softened cream cheese and butter with an electric whisk on medium speed until it becomes a soft and creamy texture. Add the icing sugar (carefully, or you’ll be covered in it) and beat until it’s thick and combined. Add the cream and vanilla extract and beat again for another couple of minutes. Add more sugar until you’re happy with the thickness of the frosting. You can add the salt at this stage to cut some of the sweetness.

The cake tastes best the next day once all the flavours have had the chance to mix and develop together. You can keep the frosted cake in the fridge for around a week, or the cake without frosting in the freezer and defrost when the mood takes you (and make fresh frosting, of course).


* Linking up with Lets Talk Mommy and #ShareWithMe


16 Nov 2015

Pregnancy and I

Don’t worry, this isn’t a surprise announcement or anything! But, for some reason or other, I have been thinking a lot lately about pregnancy and the times when I was pregnant. A number of bloggers I follow are currently pregnant, and their posts are obviously focused on their exciting news and week by week progress accounts. My Instagram and Facebook feeds are also awash with baby news and growing bumps, and you can’t help but feel so happy for these ladies and share in their excitement.

But, whilst I’m genuinely delighted for everyone and love reading their updates, I am also a little envious of their enthusiasm, their baby glow and how much they are loving being pregnant.

Because for me, pregnancy was not like that.

I know you’re not supposed to say it, but… I hated pregnancy.

There, I said it.

I was grateful that I was pregnant, of course, and in awe of the miracle that my body was performing; I couldn’t wait to hold my bundles of joy each time and did everything I could to keep them safe and well for the duration of the nine months. But the process itself was hard for me, both physically and mentally.

Even though my pregnancy with Becky was relatively easy and straight-forward physically, apart from a spell of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) in the late stages, it was also the time I had to face up to 17 years of eating disorder and had to seek help for the sake of my baby and to ensure that I was healthy and well to carry her until full term. This was not an easy process to go through, even though it was definitely the right thing to do, and in hindsight, this pregnancy was probably the thing that “saved” me, even if this sounds a tad dramatic and for want of a better way of explaining it. 

When you’ve had body issues most of your life, embracing your changing physique is not easy, and whilst I can look at other women’s baby bumps and think they look cute and lovely, my own made me feel heavy, unattractive and alien, and this feeling tarnished both my pregnancies.

With Alex, I had a much tougher pregnancy, physically speaking. From extreme nausea for weeks on end to heavy nose bleeds, unexplained itching and allergic reactions to a much earlier onset of SPD around week 20, which eventually led to full on sciatica by week 30 and left me unable to walk and on crutches by week 32 – it really was awful. And when you don’t feel well, it’s hard to muster up the enthusiasm and convince yourself that pregnancy is brilliant. In fact, by week 34 I was so fed up, that my mind was playing tricks on me, and even though deep down I was praying that this pregnancy was going to be full term and that my baby was healthy, I was obsessed with the one ubiquitous, overwhelming thought that I just couldn’t shake: “I hate pregnancy!” I thought it first thing when I woke up and last thing I wiggled into bed, heavy, uncomfortable and in pain.

And forget the proverbial baby glow. Ok, my hair, nails and skin were amazing, I’m not going to lie, but apart from that I looked like a massive, red-faced, puffy walrus with feet and ankles so swollen that I couldn’t even get into my Uggs (with Becky, who was a winter baby) and my Birkenstocks (with Alex, in the summer). And that's saying something!

Of course I, too, loved the little precious moments when I could feel my babies wiggle, move and kick me, of course I, too, marveled at the scan pictures, and I, too, would stroke my belly and feel an overwhelming sense of love for the little beans in me. But, for the most part of pregnancy, the other feelings prevailed. 

So when I see all these happy pictures of pregnant ladies, I feel a tad sad that my own experiences were just not like that. That I couldn’t embrace it in the same way. Because it is such a blessing, I am totally aware of that and I count my lucky stars indeed.

Now, looking at my two babies, I can see and appreciate what an amazing thing my body has achieved, and I am so unbelievably grateful that I have my two gorgeous kiddies. And even though for me pregnancy was not the wonderful process it probably is for most, it was totally, absolutely, 100 per cent worth it. And I guess, that’s all that matters. 

* Linking up to Lets Talk Mommy and #ShareWithMe


15 Nov 2015

Siblings November 2015

Over the last few weeks Becky’s affection for Alex has hugely intensified. It’s not just noticeable in the big giggles she shares with her brother when she chases him around the house, or when she praises him when he’s learned a new skill or sound or even his first few (fairly inaudible) words.

It’s the little, spontaneous gestures, those that I often only catch a glimpse of from the corner of my eye, that are really showing me how much she adores her baby brother – when she goes up to him just like that and gives him a big hug or kiss, when she rushes over to him to help him grab something he’s struggling with, or the protective arm she puts around him when he’s just about to do something silly and potentially precarious. Or when she makes him laugh when he’s upset and reassures him when he’s scared of being separated from one of us, as he is currently going through a nasty spell of separation anxiety. And frequently she will just say to me: “Mummy, I love Alex. He is so cute!”

I took these pictures during a recent visit to Nanny & Granchy, and Becky and Alex played beautifully together. Becky was very patient with Alex, even though he kept snatching the wares from her pretend shop, and she tried to involve him, even though the concept of shopkeeper and shopper was a little lost on him.

Their growing relationship makes my heart jump for joy – as an only child, I can only imagine what this bond between siblings must feel like, and while it makes me a little melancholic that I never had the chance to experience this, I am unbelievably happy that my kids do.

dear beautiful

11 Nov 2015

Thank you softplay!

Weekends in our house are normally very busy and not at all relaxing, mostly thanks to my little high-energy monkeys. And this weekend was no different – except for Sunday, which kinda was, thanks to a new softplay centre that we visited. We went with my friend Hannah and her two sons, who funnily enough are the same age as Becky and Alex and are also their little buddies, as Becky goes to the same class with Harrison, and Franklin goes to nursery with Alex. Win win!

The softplay we chose was honestly one of the best ones I’d been to. Usually, I’m not a big fan of soft plays (though I gladly go there when we are running low on rainy-day options), but this one was spacious, well organised, secure so that the kiddies can’t get out without the adult they came with, and best of all – it had the nicest and biggest baby section ever.

And Alex absolutely loved it! It was the first time I took him to a softplay, and I’ve never seen him having a better time, climbing the various toy towers, slide and other elevations, diving in the ball pool, pushing oversized toy lorries around and generally crawling around and bashing things like a maniac and without me hovering over him saying “no!” all the time. You could tell he was loving his freedom!

Becky also had a great time and even though she is normally not the bravest when it comes to heights and really big slides etc, she embraced it all and even went on all the scary things – she was so hot and flushed from all the running around!

Meanwhile, Hannah and I watched on from the side lines, chatting away over a cappuccino, while our little ones released all their energy – while we relaxed. And much needed it was, too. 

Thank you, soft play!

8 Nov 2015

My Sunday Photo 8th November 2015

This picture was taken last weekend by my talented friend Jeanette (again! thanks lovely lady!). Seeing that I've had a pretty bad week and didn't take many pictures, plus the fact that I absolutely adore this shot, I thought I'd use this one for this week's Sunday Photo post. It totally captures Alex's favourite thing to do - take his food and instead of eating it himself, feeding either of us *read: shove it in our mouths whether we want to or not*. 


7 Nov 2015

Night Terrors

 The calm before the storm. 

I’m writing this post with a fuzzy head and foggy brain. For the last two weeks Alex has been waking with night terrors, and slowly but surely the sleep deprivation is starting to get to us.

On the first night it happened, we were actually in Wales visiting the in-laws and Alex had a bad chest infection and struggled to breathe, so I put down him waking just after 1am and being wide awake until nearly 5am to his illness.

However, in the days that ensued, and despite his infection getting better on antibiotics, he’s continued to rouse. The pattern is either for him to wake up screaming and shaking and obviously terrified of something, and subsequently being awake for prolonged periods, or screaming and shaking for a few minutes, not quite or not at all waking up, settling himself eventually only to wake-up in the same state in ten or twenty minute intervals throughout the night.

Alex is still sleeping with us in our bedroom, so John and I stir from the smallest of whimpers – though this is actually hugely noisy and quite scary to witness – so to say that we are knackered is the understatement of the year. Strangely, Alex seems to be fine during the day and unaffected by the considerable sleep deprivation he suffers, too.

At first it didn’t even occur to me it could be night terrors. I remember Becky going through the same, but I believe she was quite a bit older, and I can’t recall that it was quite as dramatic. I thought it was a combination of illness and teething, but despite giving him Calpol at night, it continues. And I don’t think teething would be causing him quite so much distress. So judging by the sheer panic in his voice and cry, as well as having read up on it, I do believe that it’s night terrors. He is inconsolable, and picking him up and trying to calm him actually makes it worse – it only works once he’s settled himself, at which point John and I are wide awake anyway.

Everything I’ve read on various advice sites and forums states that it’s best to leave them to settle themselves and not pick them up, because this can scare them further and escalate the situation, and that does match his symptoms. But it goes against your instinct to not pick up your crying and distressed baby.

I’m at my wit’s end. Not only because I’m not used to the sleep deprivation anymore as ever since he was tiny he’s spoilt us with sleeping really well – bar the occasional rubbish night - but more importantly, because it’s actually horrible to see your baby in this kind of state.

I really hope it’s just a short phase and will pass soon. If anyone has any tips, please share them, I would love to hear from you! 

4 Nov 2015

Our Day at the deer park

On Sunday we took a little trip to a deer park, as the weather was gorgeous - warm and sunny, and just a little bit foggy. At first Becky wasn't fussed about going, as she's not a keen walker, but in the end we convinced her and she actually ended up being a great sport and managed to walk loads on the day and through the vast grounds of the estate.

Because the area is mostly woodland, I decided to leave the buggy at home and instead to dig out Alex's baby carrier (a Beco Gemini, if anyone is interested - I can thoroughly recommend it), which I hadn't used in ages. As Alex is now a lot heavier than when he was a tiny baby, I decided to try carrying him on my back instead of the front, something I had never done before, and I was pleasantly surprised just how comfortable it was - for me anyway. Alex, however, wasn't quite so keen, at first at least. I think he was a bit bothered that he couldn't see me and that he was strapped in without much room for wriggling, as he prefers to do. But after a while he got used to it, and I "bribed" him into being accommodating with some biscuits and a couple of marshmallows, and he was happy enough in the end (which explains his messy face in some of the pictures below).

The setting was gorgeous and John managed to take some lovely shots of us - well, of us three, as he is always the man behind the camera and rarely gets a chance to be part of our family shots, probably because I'm so rubbish at operating his pro camera and literally haven't got a clue what I'm doing, and he always hates the snapshots I take.

The deer were beautiful, such stunning animals, and they were so used to being exposed to humans, we managed to get really close-up and almost able to touch them!

I managed to get at least one nice shot of John and Alex - I'm actually really pleased with this shot of my two men.

I'm really happy that we managed this family selfie at least - sometimes phone cameras are just so handy!

We ended the day at the on-site playground with some old tractors, which Alex and Becky thoroughly enjoyed sitting on. Alex clearly felt like a big boy, pretending he was steering the wheel - such a proper little boy! And Becky was happy goofing around, as always. By that point (ca. 3.30pm) it was getting seriously foggy and a lot colder, so we decided to make a move and head back to the car park, which was another twenty or so minutes walk away, taking in the stunning autumn scenery and the atmospheric foggy backdrop.


3 Nov 2015

My October 2015

I’m a little late with my October round-up. Half term is over and it’s back to school and work, and life’s busy and hectic again *sigh*. October has been good to us – we’ve had some lovely experiences, milestones and plenty of fun, and I’m so glad that I have the pictures to look back on. I know I say it a lot, but I can’t believe we’re heading straight for the end of the year – just 52 sleeps till Christmas, people! Ok, I won’t freak myself out any further, and go straight into my highlights of the month.  

1. Date Night! John and I actually had a proper grown up outing, just by ourselves this month! It was the first time in nearly three years (!) and included a lovely Thai meal (both our favourite food) and hitting a few pubs afterwards. Long overdue!

2. Lots of lovely days out with the kids, making the most of the sunshine and the spectacular autumn colours. I love this picture of Becky being swung around by her Daddy, she couldn’t stop giggling and pretended not to be dizzy afterwards – hilarious!

3. A visit to Nanny & Granch’s house, where Alex and Becky continued to bond and beautifully played shopkeepers together (though Alex was more of a shoplifter than a good customer, mind).

4. Alex came down with a bad chest infection and spent last week on antibiotics. His cough was awful and the weekend before last he struggled to breath and scared the living daylights out of me, but he was still in good spirits and continued to clown around all the time. Bless him.

5. Buying Alex his first pair of shoes. They are so adorable and he looks even cuter in them!

6. The clocks going back, which I was not looking forward to. Luckily, both Alex and Becky managed to adjust to the time difference within a couple of days, which I’m so glad about.

7. Discovering the scarecrows on the scarecrow trail in our village as one of our half term activities – it was brilliant.

8. Lots of playground outings with Becky and her little friends – half term well spent!

9. And finally, Halloween celebrations on the last day of October. We had a spookily good time, and Becky thoroughly enjoyed dressing up as a witch and carving pumpkins.

* Linking up with #ShareWithMe

2 Nov 2015

Half term, Halloween & Holiday Fun

So, our first half term is ticked off, and today it’s back to school and work. I’m not sure Becky necessarily needed the break, but boy did I!

Saying that, the week hasn’t actually been as relaxing as I’d hoped, though I guess, that was to be expected, entertaining kids during autumn for a week! I ended up childminding Becky and a few of her friends for most of the week, and even though they really were a delight, by Thursday evening I felt a bit deflated and in need of some peace, quiet and head space, which luckily I got on Friday, as Becky spent the morning and afternoon at her friend’s house.

But despite the week being quite intense in terms of children’s entertainment and constantly having a full house of kids, it was actually lovely to spend some quality time with my big girl, and especially not having to be on a hectic and stressful schedule like normally. Most days we ended up dropping Alex off at nursery for 9-ish, and then we eased ourselves into the day with breakfast and lovely chats.

So what did we get up to? Nothing too taxing or spectacular, after all this was supposed to be the week we relaxed, so we just hung out at home with Becky’s friends, she went to the cinema one afternoon with her friend, we played, drew, created and baked and snuggled up watching films. We also went on a scarecrow trail in our village to discover some brilliant scarecrows which had been especially erected for half term and meant we had lots of fun discovering them while making the most of a couple of days of autumn sunshine.

It was nice that the week culminated in Halloween, which Becky had been looking forward to for ages. We went to a party at our friend’s house, where lots of Becky’s buddies dressed up (see top photo), and afterwards we went trick or treating and Becky and her friends managed to scoop an impressive amount of sweeties – which left the kiddies high on sugar (and the adults giddy on G&Ts and Desperados *ahem*).

All in all, we’ve had an intense but lovely week, and I’m not exactly looking forward to being back at work today, as November will be a busy and full-on month. I think I could have done with another couple of days off just to myself, to recuperate my energy levels and generally recharge my batteries. Oh well. C’est la vie.  Roll on Christmas I say (you’re allowed to mentione the C-word in November, right?). 

* Linking up to #ShareWithMe

1 Nov 2015

My Sunday Photo 1st November 2015

This was taken during one of our half term activities. Local churches had come together to organise a scarecrow trail, which Becky, her friend, her Mummy, Grandma and I went on earlier in the week. Some of the scarecrows were truly spectacular, and each represented the people who had made them - in this case, a family obsessed with Spiderman. What a great idea!

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