10 December 2017

Enjoying the first snow day of this winter in London!

As you may very well have seen from the news, it was the first snow day here in London. In fact, pretty much all over the country! Once we found out it had been snowing, we got really excited and giddy and said to our daughter we should get up quick to go out. To which she said "Later, I'm watching My Little Pony". 

That, I suppose is one of those things that happen when you've had at least one proper snow-filled holiday a year as we have been visiting my family in Finland. She's seen so much snow it just isn't that special anymore! And she knows how harsh it can get...

girl in snow

local park in snow

dad and daughter walking in snow

girl making a snowball

But anyway, after a quick breakfast biccie and a bit more persuasion, off we went to the local park to build.... a pony. Because what else would a My Little Pony- mad child want to build? The hair and tail was made from twigs, the eyes from mini snowballs, and it got many admiring looks from passers-by. And in the end, it was difficult to get Aili to leave the park, as she wanted to stay there to cuddle and kiss her pony. Not to mention, when she realised we had forgot to make a cutie-mark, we nearly had to turn back!

dad building a snow pony

girl rolling a snow ball

mum and daughter petting the snow pony

family picture in park

hugging the snow pony

After more than an hour out we were thoroughly soaked and our cold toes really needed some warmth. A cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows home was just what the doctor ordered! 

Now we're just left wondering how the rest of the week will go - as is usual, when there is even a smattering of snow, London seems to grind to a standstill, the shops are empty after panic purchases of all the bread and milk and eggs, and the trains and schools grind to a halt... 

Did you enjoy the snow?

3 December 2017

Some very exciting family news over here!

So... I've got something to tell you all.

November 2017: Wave to Mummy family picture

You may have noticed that I have been complaining a lot about being oh so tired, and oh so lacking in energy, and a bit sick recently. Or more likely, you may not have noticed as I haven't been here on the blog much the last three months. Alongside just normal work, the mere thought of doing anything extra has been just too much. But the fog is lifting, and I might as well cough it up. 

Next May our family of three will become four!

Pregnancy announcement photo - holding four fingers up

While our daughter wasn't too bothered by the news when we first shared it (check below the video!) since she has become incredibly excited and told everyone she knows, many many times, every single day, how there is a baby in mummy's tummy, and that she will be a big sister. Her poor teachers are bearing the brunt of it. 

As a little baby gifts, we've got her the book There's a House Inside My Mummy, and a bright pink I'm a Big Sister T-shirt, and she has been revelling in her new status.

Showing pregnancy scan

In other areas, our November went pretty normally.

For me:

  • I was busy at work, surprise surprise, and starting to very much look forward to my maternity starting next year April time(ish)!
  • Went to YouTube HQ, where they have this hang-around cafe/area/studio for "creators". They did a special course for us would-be parent vloggers, and it was great to learn something new. 
  • Consequently, I've really wanted to put a bit more time into YouTube - it just feels so fresh and fun to do something I've never done before. I'm a big photography fan, and have written a blog for ages, but video... That's totally new (and a bit scary!) for me!
  • Tried marbling for the very first time, and it was incredibly easy!
  • Went to HyperJapan with my daughter - it's this big event where you have all kind of Japanese things from anime characters to fried noodles. It was a bit manic with a four year old in tow... 
  • Went to the Vuelio Blog Awards - not that I was up for anything, went there just to wine and dine and clap to others. 
  • Oh yes, and the last thing I just remembered... It was also my birthday! I'm now 34 years old and feeling very very old!

Family picture November 2017 Wave to Mummy

For Aili, my daughter:
  • She has been very excited about being a big sister and asks constantly if the baby is coming yet. 
  • She is also obsessed about bunnies. Absolutely obsessed. If you ever want to get her anything, if it's got bunnies on it, she will be happy. Her obsession is also seen on the video!  
  • I don't know what they do at the reception all day, but her outdoors jacket is usually covered in paint, and her cardigan in glue when she comes home. She seems to be very creative over there, and as the chief laundry maker in our house, it's a bit painful for me...
  • She hasn't been eating her lunch at school so we've had many many chats about it. And last week she finally finished her lunch, and got a sticker and was oh so proud! So we bigged it up of course, her finishing her lunch of fish and chips and beans ha ha... 

For my husband:
  • He has still been suffering from a trapped nerve in his back, but that's finally getting a bit better, yay!
  • He's been getting very into buying rugby shirts... He's got all the colours now!
  • He's got a new funky chair now - some sort of an ergonomic back-saving chair which takes the pressure off the spine. It's surprisingly comfy although I still prefer a normal chair. 
  • He's been enjoying getting gently back into the gym and getting the sweat on.  

How has your November been? And don't forget to check the funny reaction our daughter had to our pregnancy news below!

30 November 2017

My favourite 2017 Christmas jumpers for 1-5 year olds: Girls and boys

I'm such a big fan of Christmas jumpers. I love prowling the shops for them and it's become a bit of an annual blog tradition for me to share my favourite kids jumpers here. This year I've decided to share my favs for both girls and boys! So without further ado...

For the girls jumpers I found some gorgeous ones from Next, Marks and Sparks, John Lewis and Gap. In order they are:

  1. Red girls reindeer jumper, Next, 3 months to 6 years
  2. Navy snowman jumper, Next, 3 months to 6 years
  3. Blue penguin jumper, Next, 3 months to 6 years
  4. Navy polar bear jumper, John Lewis, 2 to 12 years
  5. Bunny on skis jumper, John Lewis, 2 to 12 years
  6. Penguin Christmas jumper, M&S, 3 months to 5 years
  7. Pink all over deer print jumper, M&S, 3 months to 5 years
  8. Polar bear ruffle sweater, Gap, 1 to 5 years
  9. Cozy reindeer head jumper, Gap, 1 to 5 years

As I'm a mum of a girl, I haven't really looked through boys clothes before but I was pleasantly surprised how many fun and colourful jumpers they had! So many fun things. Tyrannosaurus Rex seemed to be a bit of a fun Christmas theme in some jumpers, and I chose my favourite T-Rex here. 

  1. Red reindeer jumper, Next, 3 months to 6 years
  2. Grey Tyrannosaurus Rex Santa, Next, 3 to 16 years
  3. Christmas Elf sweater, Next, 3 months to 6 years
  4. Blue penguin ski jumper, Next, 3 months to 6 years
  5. Green polar bear jumper, John Lewis, 2 to 12 years 
  6. Navy Howick Christmas reindeer sweater, House of Fraser, 3 to 12 years
  7. Grey polar bear by Polarn o Pyret, House of Fraser, 6 months to 6 years
  8. Santa in the chimney, M&S, 3 months to 5 years
  9. Stripey reindeer jumper, M&S, 3 months to 5 years

So, time for a bit of Christmas shopping then! I have a bunny mad daughter so I think for us it's gotta be the number 5 from the girls list. 

What's your favourite of these?

1 November 2017

What our family has been up to October 2017

So these monthly family portraits and family catch-ups are back on again! The last time I wrote one of these posts was in August, where it was all about camping. I missed out on September, as I just physically couldn't get myself on the computer for ages. Blame it on tiredness, feeling a bit sick, and just plain forgetting that it was the end of the month and we hadn't taken a family picture yet... Any multitude of reasons! But I am glad to be back writing these again, and really looking forward to looking through all our pictures at the end of the year and seeing how our family has changed throughout the months.

This past October we have got hooked on Game of Thrones, enjoyed getting dressed up for Halloween, and been rather sickly family, with me having repeated colds, hubby getting a trapped nerve and slowly healing his cracked ribs, and our daughter just not getting rid of her impetigo. Poor little one is now on oral antibiotics.  

That said, this October I have loved:
  • Game of Thrones! We started watching the programme in September - we are now just about to embark on Season 7. 
  • Jon Snow ;) 
  • Finally getting back to blogging after a month long break
  • Doing a sugar skull make-up for Halloween. 
  • Reading books again - got Zadie Smith Swing Time as a commuting read.
  • The return of Stranger Things on Netflix - and of course the new Start Trek too!
  • Seeing how Aili is loving practising her letters, and writing three letter words all by her self!  

This month my daughter Aili has enjoyed:
  • My Little Pony - we hear the theme tune sang at us at least once a day. 
  • My Little Pony film. Very exciting and quite scary, she cried and wanted to go back home a few times during the film, but bravely sat in mama's lap through the scary bits and did enjoy the film in the end. 
  • At school she is doing lots and lots of "gift guides" it appears. They cut things out of toy catalogues and glue them on an A4. We now know that My Little Pony, Shimmer & Shine, Paw Patrol, babies, Barbies, doll houses, My Little Pony castles, amongst about a million of other things are expected for Christmas. 
  • Having her very first sleepover at her best friends house. And her best friend also coming over to ours for a sleepover. 
  • Going to a baby disco at Rave-a-Roo.
  • Being the Chief Toy Tester for the near-future Christmas gift guide on this blog!
  • Playing with her new mobile phone - KidiCom Max, which she loves.  
  • Having had a massive haul of Halloween candy on her first proper trick and treating experience. 

Hubby has loved:
  • Game of Thrones, just like me!
  • Daenerys Stormborn ;) 
  • Half-term, and having the little one home. 
  • Having the little monkey enjoy her time with nanny and us being able to have a couple of date nights. 
  • Halloween and Rave-a-Roo baby disco.
  • Getting two big contracts for work!

 So that was our October. How was yours?

You might also like: How did July 2017 go for our family? and What have we been up to June 2017?

24 October 2017

What we think of the home security system Y-Cam

Recently I got a Y-Cam home security alarm for a review. A home security system has been one of those things I've wanted in my home for ages now. It's been the combination of a slightly anxious nature, reading too many real crime stories online and an overactive imagination. Touch wood, we've never been burgled, but as we live in an end of terrace home it's been one of the things that do make you worry at times. Having a home alarm system has helped my mind ease a lot. 

Y Cam Protect alarm home security system bundle

As for the home security system, I've been very pleased with our Y-Cam - it was easy to install, has been easy to use with apps on our smartphones and works well. It alerts us via noise and a mobile notification if alarms are triggered - obviously it's only ever been just us forgetting the alarm was on and walking in! You can have different levels of service - we don't pay anything monthly but if you want additional services such as recording on a camera (if you have one) or SMS alert messages, you can opt for one for £5.99 a month.  

Our bundle is the Y-Cam Protect. It comes with the hub, one remote, one motion alarm and one access alarm (used on a door or window). The amount of alarms in this package is perfect for a flat. It is also just about enough for a normal sized house, if you can position the motion alarm in a sensible way. That said, for a house I would recommend getting a more substantial version, or perhaps buying one or two more access alarms to properly cover the whole house. 

our living room

So what have I been particularly impressed by Y-Cam system?
  • Easy to use: I installed the system and apps in less than half an hour. You literally just plug it in the router, add the motion and access alarms on your app and stick them where you want. Easy to use also on your mobile via an app. 
  • Smartphone application: Instead of a remote you can use the app on a smartphone. You can turn it on an off anywhere with internet, so even if you forget to turn it on before leaving, it's not a problem. You can link several apps, so everyone in your home can use it via a smartphone. You also get notifications on your mobile if someone activates the alarm, or if alarm is triggered.  
  • Cost: The bundles are very reasonably priced for home security systems. Ours costs £149.99 which is very affordable for a home security system. You can have bigger bundles of course, or add to the bundle, which also increases the cost.  
  • Responsiveness: I've tested the alarm myself obviously, with accidentally walking in the room, and yes - it works really well. The motion alarm has a great reach! 
  • Adaptability: You can buy additional motion and access alarms so you can fully cover your house. You can also get a camera, internal and/or external, so you can check on your house when away. 
What could be improved with the Y-Cam system?
  • The alarm sound: To be honest, the alarm sound is quit quiet, and could be difficult to hear upstairs if you were sleeping. This could be improved if you could purchase an additional internal siren to use upstairs - none were available when I checked. 
  • Internet-only for a non-subscription version: As part and parcel, if you want the additional cover which is not only reliant on WiFi, you have to pay - £5.99 a month. You get additional benefits too, such as more customisable cover of the house (use only part of the alarms for example), camera recording and logs and SMS messages when alarms triggered. This is standard for home security systems so not a real negative - but worth remembering that full cover requires some extra cash on a monthly basis. 

our kitchen

Overall I have been very pleased with our Y-Cam home security system. We have the bare-bones version but we find it is sufficient to provide a decent level of cover. The biggest benefit I think is how easy the system is to use via a smartphone app - you can literally turn it on anywhere there is either WiFi or 3G, and you also get notifications via the app if the system has been activated or alarms triggered. 

Have you guys ever had home security systems? Have they eased your minds?

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