Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Siblings Project {June}

Ever since I found out we were having another baby I have imagined the seeing our two together;
When we found out we were having a boy I immediately thought of all those memories they'd be making and couldn't wait to capture them growing up together.
Actually seeing them as brothers, playing, laughing, growing has been everything I hoped and more. They already bicker over toys and swipe at each other, but the love is already so evident. 
They make each other laugh like no one else can, they hold hands, play and splash around in the bath every evening. I didn't think I'd get to see these two become best friends so quickly but they are, and I hope they always will be.
 It seems silly to be picking up the Siblings Project again half way through the year but I absolutely love this link up by Dear Beautiful; Lucy's blog is one of the first I ever read and really inspired me when I first started blogging. It's still one of my favourites; I love her gorgeous family snaps!

Hopefully I'll remember to do this every month so we can have these beautiful memories to look back on.


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A Different Sort of Day {My Little Piccolo ft. Hartbeeps}

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Piccolo asked us to pop down to our local Morrisons to help them celebrate the launch of their yummy pouches in store.
We were sent a gorgeous selection of their pouches just before little E started weaning and he took to them straight away, as did his big brother who kept sneaking off with them!
Piccolo pouches-if you haven't heard of them yet- are the newest range of organic baby foods inspired by the Mediterranean roots of their founder Cat. What I love about Piccolo is the passion behind the product. They believe in fresh, wholesome, organic ingredients and in teaching children to enjoy their food and get involved in preparing it when they can! The pouches are not just basic flavours but have hints of herbs and spices to get little ones used to trying new flavours and expanding their taste-buds. As someone who loves cooking with their children their whole ethos is something I can really get behind, So I was looking forward to meeting the team!
 We headed to Morrisons cafe where we joined the other mums and little ones for an activity session with Hartbeeps. I've never taken little E or his brother to anything like it before but they absolutely loved it! The lady running it was great with the children and my usually extremely shy little E was on his feet dancing in front of everyone! It was such a colourful, hands on experience and even the tiniest and the oldest (mine) enjoyed it; I believe they run sessions all over the country so if you have one near by I recommend them wholeheartedly.
After that we listened to Alison from Piccolo talk about weaning ideas and had a little Q & A about feeding babies; it was really interesting to hear from someone in the know, even as a mum of two there's still lots to learn and more ways to be inspired when creating healthy and enjoyable meals, so I found it great. The kids tucked into some homemade flapjacks and fresh fruit before trying some of the Piccolo flavours which went down really well; my two looked like they'd been in a fruit fight by the end but both were very happy!

It was lovely to spend the morning with Piccolo and we're very happy to have been part of their celebrations as their company grows;
Thank you Piccolo!



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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Our Little Adventures {YippieYo}

One of the things we love to do is get out in the fresh air together;
It helps somewhat that we live in a place(Yorkshire) where there are so many areas of beauty to roam as well as incredible ancient historical landmarks to explore. 
Joe and I both got into biking after we got married and started taking out TJ when he was a year or so old; We got him a seat fitted onto Joe's bike at Halfords and he really loved sitting in it on the back on of his Dad'd big bike. Being able to see so much of the open countryside in a relaxed way is something I've noticed that children love. When we didn't bike, often we would take long walks through the dales and although he loved it after a while he couldn't keep up and would end up having to be carried in turns by us. Initially we used an all terrain pushchair and a backpack carrier but he has always been tall for his age and quickly outgrew both. As he is only four he still often gets tired going on long walks; I did buy a double Baby Jogger just before Christmas which is fantastic but it was a squeeze for him and I just found it too difficult to push with them both in, especially over bumpy ground. I think after a certain age children don't feel comfortable in a pushchair either, which was also the case for him.
When Yippie Yo asked us to try out their all terrain buggy I was amazed that something like this existed. You can get bike trailers and even wagons to pull little ones in but I've never seen one like this. The Yippie Yo was designed by a Father in Germany who loved taking his children out on long walks but wanted a way to transport them when they became tired.It needed to accommodate older children and still be able to go over rough ground. After some thinking he created the first buggy out of an old cart but it was eventually recreated to become the Yippie Yo Cross Buggy.
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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Crafting Days {Sugar Art}


Our little ones really are wild in every sense;
they are full of energy from the moment they open their eyes and generally come rain or shine need a large open space to run free in before they'll even think about going to bed at a reasonable hour.
The other things I've found though is that they need to exercise their creativity just as much - I'm speaking mainly about TJ as little E's character has yet to unfold further!) 
He loves being creative, obviously baking is a major creative outlet for us (and of course Lego), but also any sort of art work- he often tells me he'll be an artist when he grows up (that or a Lego master Builder) He'll never turn down an opportunity to paint or do any sort of gluing and sticking work and I love that about him. He's a really creative little soul and I've discovered a few hours of craft or creative play does (almost) as good a job at tiring that wild energy out..!
I have a few Pinterest boards to give me some ideas and often we'll sit together and pin a few ideas that he wants to try. This week I saw someone making those glass bottles with sand in that we used to make as kids- anyone else remember these from the 90's?! I noticed that they used sugar and chalk instead of sand and thought it would be a good idea for sand art (another 90's throwback!)
Last summer we went to a local urban beach; one of the activities was sand art and he absolutely loved it. This morning little E went down for his nap so it was a good opportunity to do something together. It was a really simple (and cheap!) activity so i thought I'd share it here; It's always good to have go-to ideas when the kids are bored so maybe you can Pin this one for a rainy day.
All you need is caster sugar, then just powder the chalk and stir in! (you can use a butter knife to scrape the chalk or give the kids a plastic one and let them do it- another way to keep them occupied for a while!) We used sticky back tape to create the pictures on some white card and it worked great.


TJ loved this one; I think it makes a great summer hols activity for outside too!

What are your little ones favourite crafts?




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Friday, 16 June 2017

Life Lately


I feel like it's been forever since I just posted about our life at the moment; The last few months have flown by and I can't believe we're almost half way through the year already.
It's hard for me to remember what it was like before we had little E. Just a year ago we were a family of three but it still feels like he's been here forever. Those first few weeks of adjusting to this new life passed by in a big happy blur and now we're settled into it, it's our new normal. When I first became a mum I struggled with the changes so much; I wasn't sure whether I would ever get used to my new self or this little life. I think it's fair to say that we found those days tough and wonderful in equal measure. Nothing beats the feeling that experience gives you though, and this time around we've found ourselves much more relaxed about parenthood; yes we still worry about everything, and having two under five is hard work, but we take a lot more in our stride; seeing them growing so quickly and learning every day brings me so much contentment. 
I've always wanted to stay at home with my children; I know it's not so common nowadays, and financially it was always going to present a struggle. It's not easy doing something that so few people are and that everyone has an opinion on. I wouldn't want to provoke a discussion over working vs stay at home mums here; there's plenty of that going on all over the internet!- all I'll say is that it's what I feel in my heart is best for my children. I have been in the workplace since I was sixteen; I have worked full time time in care homes and nurseries and can honestly say this is my hardest job yet! It is non stop, 24/7 emotional, physical, mental work. Funnily enough though I was never asked when I worked in a nursery, "What do you do all day!?!"
Our days are long at the moment especially with the the light mornings and evenings;
both boys are up early, little E around 6am and TJ around 7.30am. We get washed, dressed, have breakfast, play with toys, with Lego, in the garden; little E will have a nap though not always, around mid morning but usually it's only about half an hour; then generally it's just playing, cleaning, tidying learning; TJ is doing basic phonics, number work and science(We also bake a lot, as you'll see in our previous posts!) I try to get them out swimming, to the park or playground or something else to get some energy out before bedtime; they both get really cranky without it! Then its tea, bath-time, stories, prayers and bed. In between all of this is the constant flow of washing to be done, pots to be washed, floors to be swept and mopped and meals to clear away. After they both finally nod off I try to get on with blogging or watch something - if I can stay awake-Joe will tell you I'm a serial half film watcher though as I always nod off..!
It's not easy to not have a pay packet or hours sheet to show for work but its never been about what other people perceive my value as; any Mother will tell you, we find our worth in our children. seeing them thrive, and grow and make their way in the world. All we can do is our best; to nurture them, protect them,love them unreservedly and encourage them to do the same. At the moment our days are all about these little people, they are both in days that are the most important but are also so fleeting. between Joe and I we're trying our hardest to make them as happy as possible and still keep everything going. It's a juggling act at times but it keeps us busy! My favourite days at the moment are the most ordinary. The days we're all at home together, not doing anything in particular. I love the days we can live slowly; just having a walk, all being around the table or watching a film together on an evening. I know it's these days that I know I'll miss the most one day when our boys are all grown. I started blogging when TJ was only a few months old. I was finding the early days of motherhood difficult and came across a few blogs that I really enjoyed. As well as being a great way to record memories I loved reading about other parents normal days and to me it seemed like a good way to count my blessings. I've since expanded the blog and it's now about all of our life rather than just our children but it's still the main reason why I love blogging and why I've kept it up for much longer than I've ever stuck anything else out! I'm so grateful for this life we have and our little lovelies, even on the most ordinary days.




















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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Holding Memories {Cheerz}

Just before our eldest little ones first birthday my younger sister bought me my first ever proper camera. It was a Nikon D40 and is still the camera I use for blogging now.
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

My Little Baker {Baking with Lili&Dex}

I love cooking with my children- 
well, Little E is still little so it's just me and our eldest, who is four, at the moment! 
I got into baking when I was in my teens and have loved it ever since. It's more than just a hobby to me though now I'm a mum; it's a way for us to re-connect, to do something creative together and a chance for me to pass on a skill that I hope he'll be able to use in the future. 
Baking is something I've discovered that most children enjoy doing; they love getting involved, getting messy and showing off their creations proudly. In general we bake quite often together; it's something I myself make time for as I always have done but that's not to say that its always something great or well put together! More often than not its making biscuit dough or cupcakes while little E is occupied or napping. It also tends to get messy whatever we're making; I've found that planning ahead is best as you know you'll have everything to hand. 
I know baking is not everyone's fortay and quite often, we mums just don't have the time! I'm sure everyone wants to do more creative things with their kids but a lot of the time life just gets in the way or there are a million other jobs to do.
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Monday, 12 June 2017

The Bathtime Routine {Kokoso Baby}

We love our bath time in this house, especially the little guys. It's just the best way to start the bedtime routine, they love having a splash (or a flood as is often the case) together and I just think getting little ones into the warm water at the end of the day settles them down a bit and gets them ready for a relaxed sleep. When T was born being a first time mum I naturally assumed that normal baby branded washes and soaps would be fine to use on his skin but after a short while he came out in a rash that was quickly determined to be a result of irritation; the same thing happened when I used certain washing powders and wet wipes. We immediately stopped using anything on his skin and went in search of more natural products. My mum gave me a pot of coconut oil - actually for cooking! - and as soon as I tried it I thought it was brilliant. I've made sure we've been well stocked ever since and used it for everything from soothing rashes to moisturising dry skin. It's the only thing I use on my childrens skin- if it works and is completely natural, why use anything else?
Kokoso Baby kindly sent me a pot of their Coconut oil while I was pregnant with little E; I usually just use jarred organic Coconut oil from our local supermarket so it was lovely to see a brand specifically with babies in mind! 
Kokoso was launched by a mum after discovering the amazing benefits of Coconut oil. The Coconuts they use are organic and a special process is used to create a super lightweight oil that is much more easily absorbed. I used it straight away on little E; for baby massage, as a barrier cream, to clear up his cradle cap and as a gentle cleanser. It was so soft and gentle and melted so easily onto the skin. I loved not having to worry about any adverse reactions, knowing it is completely safe and natural. 
I was thrilled when Kokoso contacted us again to get involved with the launch of their new baby hair and body wash. I know that they've been working hard over the last year to create an ultra gentle wash, safe and natural enough to use on newborn skin, that has been tried and tested. I couldn't wait to try our the new body wash at bath-time and it really hasn't disappointed. It is a silky formula that smells very coconutty! It lathers up gently and leaves your skin feeling very soft and moisturised. I've used it on both boys, it works beautifully for hair and their skin is even softer- but I'm not going to lie I've also been using it myself! I hope they won't mind me saying but it is amazing for leg shaving and I've even used it as a face wash..!
So there you have it, perfect for Mama's and little ones-  I'm really hoping a mum's range is next on the cards!







NB In collaboration with Kokoso Baby however all opinions are entirely my own,
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Baking Days {Madeleines}

Something I've noticed about myself is that every so often I really need some creative time. It's become where I find myself getting stressed if I don't get five minutes to write or bake or just sew something. It's my little bit of escapism and helps my mind to switch off from trying to do too many things at once. Baking is something I've done a lot since my teens and even more since having children; I think I just love how easy it is to get that feeling of satisfaction from creating something. Especially when its something other people can enjoy. Everyone loves cake. 
People often ask me where I find the time but in truth it's not that I'm any less busy than any other mum, I just make time; usually with one in a highchair playing with pans and spoons and one "helping" stood on a stool at the side of me. One thing I've discovered is that if you love doing something you'll always find time to do it.
I- like a million other people- spend probably too much time trawling through pinterest for new ideas of which some are permanently stored in my brain until I have tried them (cloud bread anyone?) but some days I resort to grabbing my favourite actual cookbooks off my shelf and get inspired old school style. My two best books are Nigella Lawson's Feast and Kitchen. They are my absolute favourites that I've yet to have a bad recipe out of. I got both on different birthdays quite a few years ago- Feast when I was working in a kitchen and learning to bake properly. The lady I worked with was a really traditional cook and what she didn't share with me while we were working I watched her do. Every day she would bake a selection of cakes from scratch for afternoon tea; Eclairs, Victoria Sponges, Scones, all with fresh cream and iced by hand. She made it look extremely easy but I understand now it was down to many years experience!
I was often put in charge of the kitchen and I think that's when I really started to enjoy cooking. Having children has definitely made me much more passionate about what I cook for them and getting them involved. I don't mind them helping me in the kitchen at all - some days it is stressful but it's only mess after all (says me!!) and it's such a valuable skill for them to learn (a good mantra for when you're cleaning cake mixture off the walls...)
I decided this week to do some baking with both boys in tow; The little guy got set on some biscuit dough and I set about looking for something sweet that didn't require too many ingredients !
A couple of summers ago I was gifted a gorgeous set of pans by Denby, one of which was a Madeleine Tin. I love the look of them but I've always shied away from baking them as I assumed they were complicated, and that I'd end up overfilling those tiny little shells with too much mixture. After having a look I found they aren't actually complicated at all, just cakes with their ingredients in a different order. They are such an enjoyable bake as they look gorgeous straight away with their pretty scalloped edges; the tin worked perfectly without any casualties sticking to the tray.
I'd never had a home baked Madeleine before and after these I don't think I'd bother with shop bought ones again. You just can't beat that buttery taste and sweet crust on the outside. If you haven't given these a go before they really are a must.
After clearing up flour from every surface (thanks T) I went all fancy and got my favourite teacup out for high tea with my lovely warm Madeleine's. The rest of the house was in chaos but you've got to create your own miniature oasis of peace every now and then...!
I'll pop the recipe below if you find yourself with some time to spare to whip up some of these dainty treats; I have adapted the recipe slightly using Self Raising flour and Vanilla instead of Lemon as the traditional recipe calls for. Madeleine tins are pretty easy to find in any shop that sells baking supplies and they're relatively inexpensive. I'm sure once you've made them once, you'll want to make them again.

Madeleines

Ingredients

2 x Eggs
100g Self Raising Flour
125g Icing Sugar
125g Butter, melted and cooled
2 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Method

Pre heat your oven to gas mark 4/ 200C/ 400F and grease the tray with a little melted butter.

Whisk together eggs and sugar until frothy then add vanilla; whisk in icing sugar until thick and smooth.
Sift the flour and fold in gradually before folding in the melted butter.
Spoon the mixture into the shells filling them 3/4 full, don't over fill them!
Bake for around 10-12 minutes and cool slightly before removing.
Dust with icing to serve or anyway you like!



Have you managed to find some creative space this week?











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Friday, 9 June 2017

Father's day


Father's day is just around the corner and I know that a lot of people dislike celebrating these seemingly commercial holidays but Father's day is actually not just a day created to sell greetings cards;
Since the middle ages Fathers day was celebrated on March 19th on the feast of St Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, however it is now much more commonly celebrated on the third Sunday of June following the American tradition started 100 years ago by a lady in Washington.
I think it's always important to be grateful to our Dads and I love St Joseph as a role model to fathers; it's a good day to remember to tell my Dad that I love him and appreciate everything he has done and continues to do for us and to encourage my children to do the same by showing their dad love too!
There's so much heartache in this world, if we can take anything from the recent events it's that we need to cherish each other more and show love as often as we can.

I'm generally unorganised when it come's to holidays of any kind really- hence why I'm always baking in my PJ's - and as far as gifts go they tend to be simple due to lack of time- again down to my lack of organisation in that area!
My Dad and Husband both dislike too much fuss but I know they secretly enjoy getting gifts they like - and there are only so many pairs of socks a person can need!
I thought I'd have a little browse of some lovely Father's day gifts and share them with you- hopefully I'll get inspired and maybe you will too...

1Dad Life Backpack by Mommamakes I Love these backpacks - there are so many mama themed accessories, it's great to see some for dad's. I like how they're stylish and not overstated; something my husband would definitely love.There are also other really cool matching accessories on the site for Mums, Dad's, kids and Grandad's too!
2Breaking Dad Sweatshirt by Parent Apparel Hilarious and stylish as always by the brilliant Parent apparel.
3Brass Photo Print by Oakdene Designs  This solid brass print is such a gorgeous idea; I love the simple design and that you can add a special message on the bottom- perfect as a unique gift.
4. Big Breakfast Biscuits by Biscuiteers  These guys certainly have the wow factor when it comes to  biscuits; guaranteed to make any dad smile!
5. Father Mug by Doris&co - I love Doris Mugs and this one is perfect for a Dad.
6. Memory Box by Cheerz  These memory boxes come with photo credits that can be used throughout the year so they can keep being added to whenever you like- I know my dad would love something like this!
7Dinosaur Egg cup by NHM Shop If you've got a serious dinosaur fan on your hands (like me) This is just one of the huge selection of Dino themed gifts in the NHM shop; I just like this cute little egg cup.
8. Chocolate Tools by The Amazing Chocolate Workshop No these are not actual tools, but amazing chocolate creations that are in fact edible! I've been lucky enough to try these before when someone bought them as a gift for my brother and they are just as real looking close up (and delicious).
9Wood Watch by Tribe I came across these recently and love them, my husband isn't really a jewellery wearer and these look really natural and understated.


I hope these have given you a few ideas for Father's day;
What are your plans for the day?















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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Finding Peace

This Blog has never a been a place for me to air my opinions or comment on the world as such;
It's our place to share our day to day loves and adventures and also a creative space for myself; I love taking photographs and taking pictures of things we make and do.
I decided to take a break this weekend from social media; sometimes I find myself looking more at my phone than I do at the sky, answering emails in the middle of playing with my children and trying to capture perfect images for just a little too long; as a blogger is in the nature of what we do. We work around our families and sometimes with them as it's the only way we get things done. Our work and life generally have to blend together and sometimes it can be difficult to separate the two.
As this blog has grown and more opportunities have come our way I'm still trying to get the hang of this work/life balance but when I can I like to be able to just switch off and be as present as I can to my husband and children; the most important things in my life.
It was a stark reminder of how precious life is last night when I saw the news from London. Another group of innocent people have lost their lives at the hands of hatred only weeks since the Manchester attack. There just aren't the right words; As human beings with any empathy at all, it goes without saying that we passionately condemn the actions of these people; that our hearts ache for the grieving, the injured, the fearful and the lives lost.
Should we be spreading hatred towards these people? Will it change anything or just incite more anger and suffering? 
Maybe we just need to keep reminding each other that despite this broken world we live in that we are not meant to be people of fear; we are people of hope.  We can't change anything in this world unless we start with ourselves. We have to forgive, we have to love, we have to be hopeful. 
Atrocities like this go on around the world daily, it seems all the more real though when it is on our own soil. Maybe we need to feel that sense of outrage and compassion even more now, and be bold in spreading a message of joy.
Equally I think we need to show this light to our children, more than ever, and not shelter them from the pain of others but encourage them to show love and compassion.
It seems like every day there are more reasons to feel afraid and mistrustful of the people around us, but that is the spirit of these acts, to turn us against each other and live in their shadow of fear. It seems to me that the only way we can overcome the darkness is to reject it and refuse to let it dominate us. To be people of light and joy and goodness and find our peace there.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 
-2 Corinthians 4:7-9 

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