23 Oct 2016

Num noms Wacky Baker

So I've already blogged and vlogged before about our love of the cute Num Noms. My Toddler still plays with them all the time and the Baby still enjoys chewing on them! We had a play date last week, with older girls, and they really enjoyed stacking them up, lining them up and playing games with them.

Since Autumn brings new changes and a certain television show encourages everyone to try baking we decided to copy some of the Num Nom flavours and make a good after school healthy treat. We made banana, stawberry and blackberry smoothies. We used frozen fruit (that we make into smoothie bags in the freezer ready to go) and natural yogurt and orange juice. He enjoyed it but was distracted by the Num Noms in these pictures.

What flavour smoothies do you like to make?

29 Sep 2016

Farewell to the summer...

September has brought some delightfully sunny days and so we have been making the most of it and spending lots of time in the park and in the garden. We were invited to a family blogging event in July by Cotton Traders but were on holiday and so they kindly sent us a box of goodies to play with.
Ellis enjoyed playing with the beach ball and even sitting on it.

Mia liked the blow up fish too - it has been a summer of obsessing over Finding Dory. 
We also got paints to decorate a kite and of course had to go with a Batman theme. Ellis was so excited to get a new kite; our last one got stuck in a tree and even though it was months ago he still talks about it to this day.

One of our favourite things to do on a sunny day is to have a bowl picnic. We chose a different snack to go in each bowl - grapes, crisps, wraps, raisins - and then we all dig in. Admittedly some bowls are more popular than others - I'll leave you to guess which ones. 

Look at that cheeky grin!

And then the best part of a busy day in the sun - a big bubble bath!

What do you like to do with your family on a sunny day?

14 Sep 2016

Me and Mine: August 2016

Thought I'd jot down a few memories from Summer 2016 before Autumn takes over...

Daddy - has been getting really excited about starting his teacher training. He got a bike from his grandparents and has been taking it on some trial runs. Ellis thinks that he is going to 'Monster's University' which is really cute! He enjoyed his time in Belgium and spending some quality family time before he starts an intense year of study.

Mummy - enjoyed spending time in the sunshine with her family. Although sometimes wishing that she had a few more hours in the day to spend time creating. I'm loving making videos and getting to grips with using our go-pro and video editing.

Ellis - this has been the summer of the zip line! You are so adventurous and have no fear when it comes to new adventures. We have started on the rocky road of potty training and are having a mixture of success' and failures! You enjoyed spending time at Rara's (grandad's) house and Oma's house and both times got very upset when you got back to mummy's house - apparently there are monsters in mummy's house. You are fun, lively, charismatic, loving and adorable and a bit stubborn and frustrating at times but our lives would not be the same without you.

Mia - this has been the summer of putting everything in your mouth that should not go in your mouth: stones, sand, paper (a big favourite), toys, shoes and her clothes! You are hitting all your milestones like pulling up, standing alone and cruising a bit. Everyone who meets you adores you as you are so smiley and personable. Your smile is very endearing and are really comfortable around strangers. 

A lot of things are due to change in September with my return to work, the Belgian starting University, Mia going to the childminder for the first time and Ellis starting his new pre-school. It's been nice to savour these six weeks together before going back to the grind.

3 Aug 2016

London on a budget with kids: Blog and Vlog!

So as mentioned in the previous post 'vlogging' is my new passion. Well making videos. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a vlogger when I have two subscribers on youtube! Haha! 

So The Belgian needed a new passport and they've upped the ante and so he has to go and have an interview with the Belgian embassy in London. It happened to coincide with two inset days at school and so, despite being broke on maternity leave, we decided to make a little mini break of it. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, We were on a strict budget and I did a lot of research before we left and so I thought that I'd put it into a blog post to share it in case it helps someone else planning a trip to London over the holidays. 

So here is the vlog with our new toy the go-pro and the details of our trip are below:-

Top five things to do in London with kids (on a budget):-

1) Natural History Museum - its free and there are big dinosaurs. I have read that there are huge queues on weekends and holidays and so we were really lucky to be able visit during term time. The queue was about fifteen minutes. The building is gorgeous and the facilities - baby changing, cafe, shop - are very family friendly. We only went into the dinosaur exhibit and the insects one briefly as dinosaurs are his main passion.

2) Science Museum - this is right next door to the Natural History Museum. We skipped the proper stuff and just headed straight for kids sensory play area in the basement. We probably spent an hour at the water play and I wish we could build one in our garden as it was so fun and interactive and right up The Toddlers' street. This is a must visit - they even provide you with water proof aprons so that the kids don't get soaked,

3) Queen Elizabeth Park - it was a gorgeous day and the views of the Olympic Park were amazing. This park is amazing and has loads of climbing walls, sandpits, bridges, slides and is above and beyond your average park. The splash pad was a five minute walk away and was so fun and we stayed for ages. We had brought a change of clothes, but the weather was so nice that he literally air dried and we just changed his shorts. The nearest tube stop is Stratford and it was just two stops away from our hotel. 

4) Hamleys - now you may be wondering how this fits in with a budget? Kids in toy stores can be particularly covetous, but it was The Toddlers birthday and so we had told him he could choose any toy for £25 or under. However, this place is magical and there are so many demonstrations and hands on toy tables that most children would be very happy. After exploring every floor he decided he wanted a £1.99 Cars grab bag so that was a result! 

5) Eating out - we opted for the buffet breakfast at our hotel (Travel Lodge, London Docklands) as kids eat free and we really loaded up for the day. These are links to sites telling you where kids can eat for free in London here, here and here. The Belgian got accepted onto a teaching training course and so we wanted to go somewhere nice to celebrate so we went to Bodeans. It is a BBQ smokehouse and offers kids meals free between 12-5 with a paying adult - extra tip get their free Q card from the website and you get a further 20% off. We had drinks and mains and desserts for the kids for three adults and two children and the bill was around £35 - which is a bargain I'd say.

All in all we had an amazing two days and are so glad to have all those happy memories without breaking the bank! 

31 Jul 2016

Mia's birth video

finally got round to editing Mia's birth and I love this video. I only wish we'd had one from our little boy but we only used our phones and so the footage isn't very good. Making videos is my new obsession as it really captures the moment in a way that still images can't always convey. Enjoy...

13 Jul 2016

Num Noms Series 2 Unboxing and Giveaway

I basically only became a teacher due to my love of stationary. In fact growing up my sisters and I all collected rubbers (erasers for my American readers). There was a cute little toy shop in our town called Lornas Toys and we used to literally race the half an hour journey to get there to see if they'd had a new shipment of scented rubbers. Do you remember them? One shaped liked a chocolate milkshake that smelt like it too? Bliss!

So when we received our parcel of Num Noms I don't know who was more excited - my Toddler or me. Check out our unboxing video below - let's just say we won't be going viral on youtube anytime soon! Haha!

These cute little scented mini foods that you can stack in loads of different combinations of flavours. For more detailed check out their website here. Series 2 has just been released and the flavours are almost good enough to eat! We got the Freezie Pop Deluxe Pack which contained 6 freezie pop Nums, 2 motorized Noms, 1 freezie pop container, 1 freezie pop accessory, and 1 collector's menu. My little boy loved the motorized noms the most and enjoyed raising them around on our wooden floor.

We also got a mystery pot which The Toddler loved as its like his favourite surprise eggs. Each pot contains a soft Num and then a Nom that is a stamp or lip gloss. Luckily ours was orange flavoured and was a cute little stamp which he loves to play with. 

I have one of these mystery pots to giveaway to a lucky reader. To be entered just comment below or on my twitter or instagram or facebook telling me what you collected as a child. 

I will announce the winner next Wednesday 20th July. 

Terms and conditions: Only open to UK 

11 Jul 2016

Let's talk about date night...

So we are almost approaching seven whole years of marriage. People talk about the seven year itch, but I think we had a one year inch and found that first year together really tough! Getting used to each others habits and quarrelling about really stupid things like Ikea flat pack and how to squeeze the toothpaste from the tube.

Although having kids together is amazing I find it crazy when people say they're having a baby to save their marriage. Babies and the subsequent lack of sleep is so challenging to any relationship - so you need a solid base in the first place. But it can be so hard not to let raising babies completely consume you and forget to find time for each other. 

So when we got invited to our lovely friend's wedding we decided we'd have a little weekend get-a-way and stay in a hotel. I will admit that at the thin end of the wedge maternity pay wise I was scouring the internet trying to find us a really budget deal. So I was all ready to book a travel lodge and get my 20% cashback via quidco; however when the Belgian googled the location and pointed out that it was in fact next to a service station on the motorway. Romantic! So we upgraded to the Village Hotel. Not a lay by or Little Chef in sight!

We were so glad we made the decision to ditch the kids with my parents and found that what we enjoyed most was that we could actually finish a conversation - a very underrated plus of attending a social event sans kids. Like big deep and meaningfuls, putting the world to rights without tantrums, tears and teething getting in the way. 

We were put on a table with a couple who were juggling a six week old baby and a very lively toddler. We kept catching each others eye as they said things in strained voices like, "its your turn to chase her" or "can I eat my food now?" You could say we were somewhat smug - well smug in the knowledge that we would have fallen out by that point if the kids were involved.

We got to slow dance and remember the 'good old days' together. Some ceroc dancing with the Belgian to cheesy love songs was good for the soul. Plus my outfit remained intact with no snail trails or grubby little fingerprints. Plus I had time to do my make-up and attempt a hair style.  

Back at the hotel room it was a luxuary to have a bath without sitting amongst smelly, mouldy bath toys. No errant bibs, Paw Patrol toys or half drunk baby bottles littering our room. No chores to do before bedtime. I was really looking forward to my lie in in the morning, but for some reason I was awake by seven thirty - typical hey? But at least it wasn't five am and I didn't have a toddler using my head as a bouncy castle.

Last, but least, hotel buffet breakfasts. Enough said.

On our drive back to reality the Belgian said he'd like to do it every month. The grandparents looked pretty exhausted when we got back so not too sure they'd be on board but I think every three months is reasonable - or at least a date night every month. 

And the smile on the Toddler's face when I got back - priceless!

30 Jun 2016

Wild Ones // Temple Newsam

In England you have to make the most of the sunny days and as so on Saturday as the sun shone we decided to head to Temple Newsam in Leeds. I used to go there in my student days and so it was a nice trip down memory lane and great to share it with my little family too. 

We had a picnic and the baby, whose recently been weaned, was hoovering up all the leftovers. Then we explored the gardens of the house and the Toddler enjoyed running around the maze. We even managed a really rare family shot with the self timer. I also love the pictures of the kids with their daddy. We love spending weekends together as a family. 

We got ice-cream as the Toddler is obsessed and always ends up covered in it. The grounds are massive and the Toddler did really well running everywhere and exploring it all, but ended up on daddy's shoulders as it was too much walking! I'm glad to have these photos as after this day out daddy took the Toddler to the hairdresser and cut all his golden locks off. Waaah!


24 Jun 2016

You know you're married to a Belgian when...

1) You go through a tub of Nutella a week. At least!

2) They are horrified at the cardboard sold in supermarkets in the 'bread' aisle and that this so-called-bread could have a sell by date that lasts a week. (Can you believe that in Bruges they have bread vending machines as all the shops shut at six?)

3) A bum bag in considered an appropriate 'fashion' accessory.

4) They will only drink sparkling water.

5) They drive way too close to the car in front.

6) They turn their nose up at waffles (too touristy) and always order pannenkoeken met suiker.

7) They are obsessed with football and force your whole family to get dressed up for every game and go crazy when a goal is scored - in Flemmish of course.

15 Jun 2016

The Siblings Project // June 2016

I can't believe that one of the things I was most concerned about, when pregnant, was the bond between these two. I thought that he might be jealous or that he wouldn't be very interested in her until she was mobile.

Well in fact the best thing about having a second baby has been witnessing the bond between the two of them grow. No-one can make her laugh quite like he can. If she's being grizzly we ask him to try and cheer her up and he dances, manically, in front of him singing the Go Jetters theme song, 'go, go, go, go, go, Go Jetters!' She kills herself laughing. She always looks for him in the room and is captivated by all his crazy antics. 
He also enjoys entertaining her by launching himself off the sofa. I think they will be a frightful duo when she is older! Even now she enjoys going high on the swings and going down the slides with us.

Our local park is a bit limited in that it only has a slide and swings and so we have to make up games to amuse ourselves. One of 'their' favourites is putting her at the end of the slide and then he races down and I lift her out of the way just in time. He calls it the 'crash game' and it is requested often, but I do get some looks from the other mothers in the park!

He loves to cuddle her, sometimes it verges on squashing - but I think that he has good intentions! He likes holding her hand and when I pick him up from playgroup he always has a little chat with her in her pram - as if he's missed her. 

In many ways she's a very similar baby to him - in looks and personality. She is very wriggly and always wants to be upright or standing checking everything out. She rocks back and forth on the spot or in your lap desperate to crawl. She is commando crawling now - a very similar age to her brother - and I'm sure it won't be long before she perfects the technique. They sleep in a similar way with their hands above their heads. She is very smiley too and, like her brother, her smile lights up her whole face. They were both very sociable babies too and love having lots of family and friends around.

We ask him, "is she cute?"
"No she's a girl." 
Could be a sign of things to come!
In fact now she is shuffling around she is starting to grab his toys more and chew them and he's not very keen on this, so I can see some sibling rivalry in the future but for now watching their interactions is the sweetest thing ever. In fact it makes my heart very full.

The Me and Mine Project

13 Jun 2016

The Toddler Turns Three...

I always seem to do these updates sporadically, rather than on specific but today I am in time for his third birthday . But I am always glad when I do publish them as you think you will remember all the little things, but already his first year is becoming hazy in my mind and now confused with his sister so some things I want to remember about this age...

For me it is the best age. The terrible two tantrums have calmed down and you make me laugh all the time. You've lost the baby cheeks and dimples and now you've grown into a solid little boy, you look light but are very heavy - must be all the muscles.

Your favourite things to do:

* Go really fast on your scooter down a hill

* Make 'fwends' with older boys at the park or soft play and join in their games

* Complete puzzles for 5 year olds

* Play with other peoples toys

* Make up little stories using his Batman legos or dinosaurs

* Watch tv - especially 'wetwix' and youtube which you call 'game' as you watch it on the tablet and you used to use the tablet to play cbeebies games but now you're all about Thomas and Friends stop motions, Ryan's toy review and watching other people play computer games

* Be chased and play hide and seek - your hiding skills have vastly improved from when you used to hide behind the curtains every time. You barely cover your eyes and say, "1,2,6,9,10 ready I come!" Plus if you don't find him quick enough he shouts, "I'm here!" or just pops out from his hiding place.

* You're obsessed with ghosts and monsters and every random noise is always one or the other.

Your speech has improved a lot this year and you've progressed from saying a few words and phrases to sentences. Some of my favourite things that you have said lately, "mummy I yike your tshirt." "Rara is my favourite." You call upstairs downstairs and nothing will change your mind about that. You sing along to all your favourite cartoon theme tunes and often only actually know a few words and just sing them really loudly - its very cute. 

Your favourite foods are pasta, sausages, fish fingers, chips, pineapple, toast and porridge. When I say we're going to the supermarket you say, "supermarket?Popcorns, sweets, guagagine (magazine) ..."


Your best friends are Nancy and Annabel as you see them the most. You also like playing with your other nursery friends Jessica, Huxley, Miriam and the 'twins'. You love 'Sasher' (Asher) too and go swimming with him and Jon and the 'gerls' every Saturday morning.

Quiz your toddlers: Ellis at 2 3/4

What's your name? Ellis

How old are you? Two

When is your birthday? Batman

How old is your mummy? Umm…

How old is your daddy? Daddy sleep

What's your favourite colour? Blue

What's your favourite food? (Big pause) Pasta

Who's your bestfriend? Mia

What's your favourite tv programme? Wescue Bots

What's your favourite film? Monsters Inc

What's your favourite song? Popcorn Popping and Twinkle Twinkle

What's your favourite animal? Wions

What are you scared of? Doggy

What makes you happy? Puzzle

You really are such a fun, lively and charming little boy. Parenting you can be exhausting as you're so full of energy and love to run off in public places. However our lives would not be the same without you in it. You are the loveliest big brother and really make your sister laugh and are always very concerned when she's crying etc. We are so blessed to have you in our family!

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