6 September 2017

Summer Recap

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Damn it. Summer is over. There's no use denying it or refusing to acknowledge it any longer...tomorrow is the dreaded back to school and Boy is now in Year 2 of primary school. Am full of woe and have been grumping on and off all day. I say 'on and off' because ironically, today he has been a tiny gobshite who I would have gladly pinched at times. Other than that IT WAS A MAGICAL LAST DAY TOGETHER ;-)

I managed to write some posts for the first few weeks of the holidays and then life took over and I somewhat fell apart. Apologies. Here's a brief and random update post...disclaimer, parts of this may be in the wrong order!!

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We have gone ahead and ordered our new kitchen from Ikea!! Long time readers will know that I have hated our kitchen since 23 minutes after we moved into this house and I have been systematically dismantling it in the hopes that one day, Husband would come home from work, realise we had no units left and announce 'huh, I guess we'll need to buy a new kitchen?' in a confused and bewildered voice. This plan didn't work. It would appear I am married to a man who a) doesn't really pay much attention to stuff and b) doesn't care if he lives in a shell. So I scrapped that plan and got pregnant, demanding a new kitchen with a fast approaching deadline. Winner! We've gone for the basic white and oak combo (see above) and the whole thing, fitted, is running us less than £3k which I can't complain about considering the room is fairly small and whilst we like to cook, we're not 'foodies'. So yay!! Roll on October 9th!!


Boy managed to lose his balance and slip off our bed, cracking his head on the fireplace as he landed. Cue blood all over our new mattress, my jeans, the bedroom carpet, all the way to the bathroom... Mama fainting when she looked to see how bad the damage was and a frantic trip to A&E. Some clever doctors and some glue later and this was what we were left with. Aargh! It lasted around 12 days and then started to come away from his scalp BUT would not budge out of his beautiful long hair. After consulting with our local hairdressers, I soaked it with acetone for 4 nights in a row and nothing. In the end it had to be cut out. I may have wept a little bit. Luckily the bald patch and scar is pretty much in line with his natural hair line so not massively noticeable and should grow back quite quickly... even so :-( Sad faces all round. God bless the mighty NHS!!


Our biggest news this summer was received at our gender scan where we found out that baby on board IS A GIRL!! Boy was delighted, Toddler said 'no thank you, I want a boy baby' and proceeded to grump for an hour and Husband just said 'I knew it' because he is infuriating and annoying. We have named her, started buying things she'll need, picked the nursery wallpaper and are all very excited to meet her. I think I was in shock for a few weeks, after all the sonographer usually says it's a boy!, but I think I'm slowly coming round to the idea. Just today in the car I turned to Posh Mama and said 'eeshk, we're going to have a real life BABY!!' Ha ha!! Roll on January!!


We discovered Alderford Lake which is both beautiful and naked-child friendly. Boys ran off on the path ahead and this is how I found them. Yikes! We didn't get to eat in the cafe this time but the menu looked good, there's a small play area and the icecream was delicious. Check it out!



Boy celebrated his 6th birthday with an epic Indiana Jones themed birthday party in the garden. They used a metal detector to hunt for coins in our sand pit, followed a treasure map to find things all over our garden, decorated their own treasure chests, dodged snakes and tarantulas and even had to wrestle an inflatable alligator (Toddler wound up sitting on his back shouting 'yee-ha!'). Nana made this amazing Indiana Lego cake and the entire thing was relaxed and perfect. Massive thanks go to Posh Mama who came round early to help me set up and at one point was found sweeping the yard whilst I stood around yawning and generally being useless. Pregnancy sucks!!


After the party, we packed the car and whizzed over to Pentreclawdd Farm in Oswestry to do a bit of glamping for the night with friends. This is such a great little site. We are not a camping family but this place was amazing. The pods were pristine, fully equipped for what you'd need for a short stay, the site was child friendly and secure and the pods were so cozy and warm overnight. I was genuinely surprised. Whenever I've camped in the past I've moaned about being cold and damp...it turns out that glamping is the way forward!! They close the site for the winter soon but if you're looking for somewhere nearby to spend a few nights we would definitely recommend this place...we're planning on returning for the entire weekend of Boy's birthday next year.


Boy spent a happy afternoon at the local library Lego building event; this was his creation. Apparently it's a prison for all the bad guys and he made a special room for Donald Trump. Am so proud!


We whizzed back to down to Devon last weekend for some beach time with Husband as he was unable to join us in July. The trip was short but sweet (we only stayed 2 nights), the weather was shite, but the food here and here was excellent and the time spent in the surf with Daddy was priceless so...


And today, to celebrate/mourn the end of summer we went to the Ice Cream Farm in Cheshire with Posh Mama and her daughter. Such a nice venue. We hadn't been since Toddler turned 2 (you may remember the blog about his birthday party there...it was a bank holiday weekend, the less said about the crowds the better, eeshk!) but today was lovely and quiet. Boy was rude and obnoxious, I suspect he is both ready for the routine of school and anxious about returning, but on the whole it was a fun day. Posh Mama and I nearly had unfortunate pant-wetting accidents when she pushed the roundabout a little too vigorously, walked off looking victorious and both boys toppled off backwards in a comedy confused-face slow-mo fashion, I haven't laughed so hard in months!! Yes, we did get filthy looks from other parents and no, my children weren't harmed in any way or I would have assisted them instead of bending over double howling, obviously!!

So there you have it. That has been our summer holidays. I have little to no idea how I'm supposed to get them both up, fed, dressed and out the door by 8.06am tomorrow morning. Not only have they been sleeping in until anything as late as 8.30am but I could be overtaken by a geriatric tortoise at the moment (DAMN YOU, PELVIS!) and Toddler is taking full advantage of my reduced mobility by misbehaving just out of reach whilst grinning at me like a demon. 

Maybe I'll set the alarm for 5.30am to be on the safe side?!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and is coping with the return to monotonous routine. Am trying to focus on the great things autumn has to offer, like dark nights and tartan scarves and ankle boots and soup not to mention the opportunities for daytime napping that school provides...also it's only 32 days of school until half term!!

25 August 2017

OMG

How am I the Mama of a six year old? Six. SIX! How did that happen??? 
He just arrived. I want him back in babygrows!!
Spent the evening wailing into his presents as I wrapped them, as is tradition, while Husband sat and stared on in befuddled amazement. 
Now am feeling fine and looking forward to an Indiana Jones themed lunch with his two besties before glamping tonight. Wish us luck!!

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And I shall be back, but, you know, summer holidays! We've lost a child (again!) and been to A&E, I've been rather busy ;-)

See you all soon, am off to find some cake x

3 August 2017

Summer holidays week 2&3

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Greetings from the trenches, friends. It's now nearing the end of week 3 and here's where we're at currently:

Some days I can't get to the front door without stepping on Lego

I have finally got used to making lunch every day (yes, they want food EVERY day around 12.30pm, easy to forget!!)

The boys have gone through the yay-we're-together-every-day-phase and the subsequent urgh-I-hate-you-every-day-phase and are now in a happy medium which is fairly settled and calm (long may it last)

I wake up every day with no idea what day of the week it is

So far (touch wood) we're managing a nice balance of activity days and home days and not feeling too frazzled or cranky. Being pregnant and so tired I could sleep standing up is helping on this front, I think. We're watching a Disney film every day at 2pm too (ps is anyone else's 6yr old Boy addicted to Moana? I sing it all day long!)

So yes, so far it's going quite well. Here's couple of pics when I remembered to get the camera out:


Mama invested in a TV/DVD combo for the bedroom which a) makes me twitch but b) has paid for itself in the last 2 weeks alone. Pregnancy = naps!!


Our sibling tops arrived and I LOVE THEM SO HARD!! Get them here on Etsy.


We're heading back down to Devon in the final week of the hols so grabbed these shorty wetsuits in Aldi last week for £10 each. This is Boy pretending to be on a jetski so you can see how it will be used?! Random...


We took the plunge and ordered some bunks from Happy Beds. Their room suddenly looks huge! After months of asking, Boy was up there for approx 3 minutes before he decided he is now too close to the loft hatch and freaked out...*eye roll! 


And this happened at 5pm on a Wednesday after a bike ride round Weston Park and a swimming lesson. Uh oh!! Bonus: he clearly wasn't going to be ready for bed any time soon so we convinced Husband to take us all out for dinner. Woo!

Next week we have swimming lessons every morning, our NCT birthday party, the electrician coming to sort out our outside lighting (we have switches, we have cables, we have lights...why won't they turn on?! Hopefully he'll be able to solve this mystery since we've now lived here 2.5yrs!) and WE HAVE OUR GENDER SCAN!! Now THAT'S an exciting week!!

Hope you're all coping with the summer holidays and it isn't too frantic your end. Am off to Ikea tonight with Posh Mama to play with their kitchen planning software, we know how to live ;-)

Take care xx

25 July 2017

News from Devon

Hi friends, we've just got back from a magical few days in Devon and we are HOOKED. Have always driven a little bit further in the past and stayed in Cornwall but we may be officially converted after this trip. I can't tell you how badly this Mama needed a change of scenery and a break from reality. Due to work overload and dog-sitting issues, Husband wasn't able to join us this time but we had a wonderful time with family and the boys were angelic (mostly!) which made life easier for this tired Mama. It helped that Devon has so much to do!!

Here's some photos for you and some links to our very favourite places in case you're ever in the area and need some suggestions...


An evening walk on the farm we stayed at.

Due to the size of our party, we rented this place, the lovely Grascott House in...well in the middle of nowhere really. The owner, Sam, can literally not do enough for you, the house is set within over 200 acres of forestry which you are free to roam as you like and you can take up to 5 dogs with you (didn't read that nugget of info before we went, durrh!) The only downside is having to get into the car every time you want to head out, there is no 'local shop' and each beach is around 30mins drive. This annoyed me for the first 48hours after driving all the way down there from Shropshire (I couldn't even look at my car after THAT trek!)...but I soon got over it and appreciated the isolated feel of the place. We could leave the doors open, the boys could be as feral and wild as they liked, on days when this pregnant Mama was too tired to venture far there was more than enough for them to do right outside the front door, the dogs were ecstatic... by the end of our time we were sad to leave and determined to return. The house sleeps 10, is homely with a lived-in, cosy feel and we loved it.  

Side note: the drive is a mile long and pretty bumpy and pot-holed. This didn't bother us one bit, in fact Boy had many, many driving lessons up and down that drive which is a memory I shall treasure forever ;-) But it's mentioned frequently in the guest book, just felt I should pass it on!


Skimming stones in the ford at 9pm ;-) 


Beautiful Instow beach. Make sure to grab brunch at Johns; everything was delicious, they couldn't do enough for the boys and health-conscious Nana even got her hands on chia seed pudding. The cakes to take out were immense too. We will DEF return to this little treasure next time we're down. 


Boy suddenly felt very grown up this holiday; I'm not sure if it's him finishing Year 1 or becoming the eldest of three but it's breaking my heart!!


Happy as pigs in poo!


A little play sans pants at The Glorious Oyster cafe in Instow. The fish options on their menu are to die for. If you get chance, go!


We hired some bikes and hit up the Tarka Trail one day. There are plenty of places to hire bikes from but we opted for the friendly guys at Bideford Bike Hire who pointed us in the right direction for cafe stops and sandy beaches for the boys. 5 bikes and a trailer set us back less than £75 and helmets are only £1 to borrow for the day (safety first!) which I didn't think was too bad. Considering we pulled into the carpark behind a minibus full of school children (I inwardly groaned!), we were sorted out with wheels and on the trail within minutes - first class service.

The mileage we actually covered when we checked the Strava at the end of the day was pitiful to say the least...BUT we did eat a lot of amazing cake and the children all had a blast so not a total loss of a day! We stopped at Fremington Quay Cafe for hot chocolates during a light shower and wound up staying for an entire lunch. Seriously delicious food and such lovely staff. The place was packed and deservedly so, def add this place to your list of must-visits.


Okehampton Castle on the one rainy day.


Never one to let rain stop play, we headed to nearby Okehampton when we woke up to drizzle and explored the ruins of the castle before enjoying a picnic in the grounds when the clouds parted. This place is the perfect size for little people, just enough to explore and roam without getting lost or feeling overwhelmed. The lady at the ticket office makes a mean hot chocolate, too! 

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When the boys had burnt off enough beans, we walked into the town and discovered Koast, a cute little clothing shop in the Red Lion arcade. Full of gorgeous childrenswear, this place stocks everything from Frugi to Catimini AND they had a pretty impressive sale on. We grabbed armfuls of things in the boys' sizes and left happy. If you're in the area, aren't a massive fan of Clarks and need children's shoes (random, but could happen?!) I also spotted lovely things in that section but didn't get a proper chance to look... check it out!


We stopped off at The Rydon Inn in Holsworthy for a delicious Sunday lunch and it was worth the drive. The roast was impressive in itself...but then the waiter brought out the dessert board. OMG! After much discussion, we eventually ordered five and rotated them around the table. All incredible. Holiday calories don't count in Devon...


Toddler discovered a love for the sea. Here he is at Westward Ho! beach striking a pose...


...and getting cosy again! Boy already knew he loved the water, so we didn't really see much of him once he purchased a boogie board but it was so sweet watching little Toddler experience it properly for the first time. 

We ate at the Beach Bar Diner both days we were here and it was the greatest place for naughty treats. Burgers, nuggets, hot dogs, milkshakes as big as your head...the perfect food after burning loads of calories and energy in the water all day. Get there before 12pm and there's waffles!!

And the last place I must tell you about is Barnstaple. Mama felt the need to shop so on our penultimate day, under the guise of soaking up some cultural heritage, I dragged the whole lot of us into the biggest town nearby and hit up some shops. 

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I bought some lovely baby toys in Little You (and then half an hour later had to go back and buy some Spiderman Duplo for someone..!!) 

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We had a delicious lunch and cream tea at The Cream Tea Cafe where they not only had the best scones we'd eaten all week but also a Star Wars book for small customers to read whilst waiting. Travelling with a 5 year old? Make sure this place is on your list! The owner's daughter happened to be there when we were enjoying lunch and had a new box of Lego...cue a sweet conversation between littlies and soon enough we had directions on how to get to the shop where she'd bought it! (Thank you, S, we came home with some Star Wars Lego!)

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I also found Coast and Country where they stock, amongst many beautiful things, the gorgeous O bags which I already have one of, but needed new handles for (see? Random shopping does happen on holiday!) Apparently they also have a store down in Bude (opp Costa) so you can find them there, too. Lovely people, many lovely things for the home.

So yes, Devon is truly delightful. We only explored a teeny, tiny portion of what it had to offer but we loved it. Both boys were MAD for the sea and I'm sad Husband wasn't there to encourage them more (Mama only encourages them up to knee height and then she gets nervous!) but we've said we'll try and squeeze down another few days before school starts back if we can so that they can have some proper surfing lessons. I've just got to find a short-term let at short notice. Any suggestions? No pressure!

Have you guys got any recommendations to add to the list for our next visit? Can't wait to take Baby next summer, and the boys have requested wetsuits so I think they're quite serious!

7 July 2017

Limping towards the weekend like...

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My God, is it just me being pregnant and exhausted or does every week seem longer than the last at the moment? We are all shattered over here in the shire, nerves are rattling and tempers are frayed. I'm not sure I'll make it to next Friday without throwing one of my children out of a window?! 

ROLL ON THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS!!


Here's little dot at our latest scan...crazy how much they grow in such a short amount of time; he now looks less like a kidney bean and more like human bean!!


And here's the nappy bag I treated myself to when we got a clean bill of health! Except in the end I think I ordered it in grey...I can't bloody remember?! Will let you know what it's like when it rocks up.

Have a long list of things to do...have been just about keeping on top of the laundry but then it has just been piling up in the utility room until someone shrieks 'I haven't got any pants?!!' at 7.55am in a morning. So that mountain really needs tackling before we officially run out of clothes in our drawers. I've also got to walk to the bank - why must people insist on paying me with cheques? Bastards. I hate cheques. I don't WANT your bloody cheques. I want cold hard cash or an online transfer like a NORMAL PERSON. FFS!

What else? Buy shampoo. Ring someone about railway sleepers for Husband. Shop for supper for friends coming over tonight. Find out how much it costs for CBeebies Land. Sell a kidney to fund tickets for CBeebies Land. The list is endless... Best crack on or I'll sit down and it will be game over.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. It's the Newport Show over this way so we'll be spending tomorrow looking at sheep and tractors with two small excitable boys!! Then they're having a sleepover at Nana's in their brand new bunkbeds before ski lessons on Sunday. Husband and I are going to celebrate our child-free evening by...going to bed early. Can. Not. Wait!! x