28 February 2017

February 2017 - What our family was up to

This year I have decided to join in a monthly family portrait photography project called Me & Mine. I've been a bit sad over the last few years how little family pictures there are of us. 

There are hardly any family pictures with the three of us in. There are lots of my husband and our daughter, some (naggingly acquired) of me and the little one, and loads and loads and loads of the little miss. But the pictures of us...? I can count them with my fingers. One hand would probably do. So here we go. 

family picture playing mini golf

In February we had a family holiday at Butlin's Minehead, and these pictures are from there, quickly shot at the mini golf range as people behind us were patiently waiting for their turn to put. 

We absolutely loved our Butlin's holiday. I was selected as one of the Butlin's Blogger Ambassadors last year and we finally managed to book our holiday with them this February half term.  Being selected as one of their ambassadors was one of my blogging highlights of 2016 and caused definitely the biggest blogging-related leap of joy I've had during my whole blogging "career". Isn't it just amazing some of the things you gain through blogging? 

After the Butlin's holiday we went to Plymouth to see my husbands family - grandmother and that, rather huge, side of the family. The family over in the West Country is so big that when my husband was a child, he thought they might be Catholic. Our daughter is, I believe, 13th great-grandchild on that side. Enough said. 

family portrait at mini golf range at butlins

family picture at butlins minehead playing mini golf

Other than the holiday, I have been quite stressed at work. I've started a new job on promotion a few months ago, and things are really picking up at where I am now. The responsibility is a bit higher than before, as expected of course, but it is doubly challenging when you start in a totally new place of work.

The little miss has been her sunny self, mixed with some terrible threenager behaviour. She can be such a delight, and then become this unruly, shouty, and quite frankly exhausting thing. I can't wait until the fournado years begin... 

And the husband... He has been doing some larger projects for his company this February, and we are just waiting that his freelance income will clear soon. And as soon as it does, we've got plans for it! Unfortunately it is nothing exciting. It is not a holiday. Or a new TV. Or even a fancy meal out. It is earmarked for re-felting our flat roof. Oh the joys of adulthood! 

How did your February go?

27 February 2017

How our first Butlin's holiday turned out... Fantastic!

We visited Butlin's Minehead this February half term. I loved our little mini-holiday, just the three of us spending time together as a family, having good family fun. We were invited to review the Butlin's holiday experience as one of their Blogger Ambassadors and yep. I'm now a total Butlin's convert. I loved it so so so much I would go back in a heartbeat. 

butlins minehead helter skelter

toddler laughing on a fairground ride

butlins minehead merry go around in the sun

toddler on a merry go around

butlins minehead west lakes village signs

butlins minehead parkview chalets

dad and daughter playing mini golf

family picture at butlins minehead mini golf

What I mostly loved was the ease of it all. We didn't have to think of anything. We didn't really plan the days. We had a look at the schedule and went where we felt like it, and there was always something to do. For some downtime we enjoyed seeing the shows, and the Skyline Gang songs are still ringing in my ears. A certain little someone was so taken by The Gang she got herself her own Skyline costume and has been practising her moves home too. 

We just went where the flow took us, and quite often it was down the rapids at the water park. If we asked our daughter what she wanted to do, invariably it was "Swimming!". So that's what we did! On the last day we spent about three hours in the water park... I was absolutely knackered by the end. 

The outdoors fairground took our fancy too several times and in the end were well acquainted with the three or so rides that accepted kids under 1.1 meters... I've never a been fan of fairgrounds but I loved the traditional rides and even tried a Helter Skelter for the first time in my life! 

watching shows at butlins minehead sky pavillion

teletubbies who at butlins minehead

meeting mimi character at butlins minehead

meeting candy character from skyline gang at butlins minehead

evening ride on a fairground merry go around

mum and daughter riding a horse on a merry go around at dark at butlins minehead

mum and daughter on a merry go around at dar at butlins minehead

The other thing I loved was how everything was geared towards kids. Our lives have totally changed after having our first child, and she really is the most important person on our holiday. If she has fun, we have fun. Doing things as a family, where she can properly join in, is exactly what we need and what I want from my holiday. And we did a lot of that. Spent time as a family. The little things that I noticed, how the staff would always talk directly to the kids and on their level made me smile too. It was the little things that made it special. 

Our whole stay was so relaxing, surprising really for a family holiday. We stayed in one of the self-catering chalets in West Lakes Village, which the check-in staff referred to as the posh accommodation, ha. It was lovely, and when my daughter exclaimed that "I love my holiday home" I really felt the same too. We didn't do much of cooking though, as we ate at the buffet-style restaurant The Deck for breakfast and dinner, and consequently rolled back to London at the end of our holiday... 

I will write an in-depth review of our stay, including the accommodation, food and entertainment once I get a bit of time. I also so many lovely videos too I have been crafting into a YouTube video. Just watch this space! I have been loving looking back at our first family holiday together, and I so want to go again! 

girl on beach at butlins minehead

butlins minehead beach

dad and daughter on a beach at butlins minehead

mum and daughter playing with seaweed on beach at butlins minehead

seaweed mermaid on sand at beach at butlins minehead

Have you been to Butlins?

5 February 2017

6 funny ways my kid tries to avoid sleeping

My kid has some right funny ways of avoiding sleep. Trying to get a three year old to go to bed without too much aggravation is, well frankly, futile. The ways my daughter has tried to get out of bedtime has had me laughing so many times. Here are a collection of her best sleep-shunning techniques. 

how my kid tries to avoid sleeping - girl standing in bed holding her teddies

1. One time I heard her jumping in her bed. I got up to her room, told her in a stern voice "Go to sleep, head on the pillow, NOW!". To which she responded by closing her eyes, walking in circles in her cot-bed and said back to me "Mummy, I'm sleep walking!"

Honestly, I could not handle it - I totally cracked up and giggled for a long time afterwards. 

2. Quite a few times she has also had these weird and random rambling play sessions in bed. I think we have given her a few too many soft toys to cuddle in her bed. So one night, instead of going to her room to tell her off I decided to sit outside her room and listen in. And this is what I wrote down.  

"Bunny, what are you doing? 
It is dangerous, I said it many times. Bad behaviour bunny!"
"I'm going to be scared, I'm a little bunny."
"Oh no I'm happy. Oh no I'm not angry, I'm not mean. I'm very friendly to you. Be quiet, here is your pop corn."
"Nam nam nam. More!"
"Here's pop corn for you."

"Did you eat my pop corn? Oh no my favourite pop corn."
"What have you eaten? My pop corn!"
"Oh no that's not good, we have to get some more from the shops Skye."

"I can come"
"Here is pop corn."


"Thanks you"
"Here's a cake from me Chase."

"Um nononnom nom"

And just to give you guys a bit of back ground - pop corn is possible her favourite food, and she is a big fan of both Paw Patrol (Chase and Skye are two main characters) and bunnies.

how my kid tries to avoid sleeping - pulling a funny face in cotbed

3. One recent gem happened as I put her to bed. She closed her eyes like a good girl, was under the duvet, relaxed. And suddenly she opened her eyes and smiled. I asked her "Why are you not sleeping? You need to sleep now". To which she said "I already slept. It's morning! Time to get uuuuup!". Yep. I tried keep a straight face while trying to sternly tell her it is her bedtime now... Guess how well that went? 

4. She quite often likes to sing to herself, and we get a rendition of a random selection of nursery songs, and sometimes slightly skewed lyrics. Such as 

"Too many Skye's, jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped her head,
Aili called the doctor and the doctor said:
No more pups jumping on the bed"

5. Guilt tripping is a speciality of hers. We have heard it all so far. There has been the fake tears and the fake wailing, which are quite easy to distinguish from real honest sad crying and wailing. It is the pauses. The little pauses between sobs which are for listening what the parental response is. And if there is no parental response there might be a bit of an increase in intensity by adding phrases such as "Why doesn't my mummy hear me? I miss my mummy!" or "Why is my daddy not coming to me? I love him."

little girl smiling and holding teddies - how my kid tries to avoid sleeping

6. And perhaps the sweetest one of them all has been the times when she just does not want to go to bed, and just wants that one more kiss. That one more cuddle. When she, after being given cuddles, being put to bed, having been read a story and sang a song, goes for the one more cuddle before bed time.
This happens usually as I close the door and I am about to go down the steps I hear a little voice shouting "I need a kiss mummy! You didn't cuddle me, I want a cuddle!"

It is just one of those little request, no matter how much she needs to go to bed, I just can't refuse. Seriously, could you? 

How do your kids try avoid going to sleep? Any similar techniques?

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4 February 2017

Do you think you can play out when it is freezing?

When it is -24 Celsius degrees out you aren't too sure if going out to play is that wise. That's what we faced when we were in Finland during Christmas. The fact is though, you can absolutely play outside when it is freezing. 

It is all about preparation. 

a child wearing ski clothing and playing out in freezing weather

father and daughter walking on a frozen beach

frozen beach in finland

a child playing in snow wearing ski clothing

They say in Scandinavia that there is no bad weather. There is just bad clothing. For properly freezing weather kids best wear balaclavas on their heads, and a couple of woollen mittens - one thin and one thick on top. Ski clothing is the best for playing out in the snow. Proper layering helps, and the most crucial thing about layering is that you try and create air between the layers. Think wool and fleece for best results. Shoes should have a thick sole, and not be too packed with socks. It is the air which really makes the difference. 

And while our daughter was dressed appropriately in her brand new ski gear, us parents weren't quite that prepared. My toes were freezing, as I had running shoes, and my legs were freezing as I had jeans on. Thankfully my jacket was a thick down jacket and my felt mittens were perfect for sub-zero temperatures. We were sort of half prepared - mainly our to halves. 

child playing with grand father in snow

frozen beach view framed with trees

father and daughter on a frozen jetty

father and daughter playing in snow

a child lying in snow wearing ski clothing

The best clothing to play out in freezing weather

mum and daughter in freezing Finland and smiling

mother and daughter playing in snow in Finland

mum cuddling daughter in freezing outdoors

We did pop inside every once in a while to warm up our toes and cheeks, and then it was out in the snow again! 

The cold really does hit you. Your breathing is more laboured. Your nose and cheeks feel a pinch and burn. Your breath creates little droplets on your scarf and starts freezing over. Probably the worst thing that affected the photographer me that I am though was that my camera kept running out of charge. I had to dig the batteries out every once in a while and warm them in my hand... But when you are having fun it is a small price to pay. We run around in the snow, dug snow holes, hacked ice, had a lightsaber jedi fight... As you do.

And then after an hour or so it was time to go inside and de-frost. 

So yes, you can play out when it is freezing. Even if it is -24 Celsius. And it will be just as fun as any other time, although it might not be for a very long time!

What is the coldest temperature you have experienced? 

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