20 Jul 2014

Birthday celebrations

Well this year's birthday celebration was a first...although a trip to the seaside wasn't that unique...a trip to Peppa Pig World certainly was!

Even when Baby R was just a bump we promised E a trip if he was a good big brother and he really has been. Always wanting to kiss her, always telling me if she is crying and always putting her dummy back in. So another deal had been made.

We drove down to the coast on my birthday in one go, not bad going for a 3 hour drive with an 8 week old and a 3 year old. We went for lunch in the lovely Lymington at a really nice boutique hotel, Stanwell House Hotel, which offered a great lunch and children's menu. A great find considering we were about to go in to a Costa for a sandwich! After a feed for all of us we headed down to find the sea and had an ice cream at the harbour.

We then set off to continue the journey to Bournemouth to check into our room for the night, a Premier Inn Family Room. A sleep on the way revived us all (apart from our driver, Mr B!) and after a little play in our hotel room, possibly the biggest I have ever seen, we headed down to Bournemouth for dinner.

If I have ever been to Bournemouth then I can't remember it but we were pleasantly impressed. A very long beach, a pier to wander down, boats to spot and money to 'gamble'. Time was ticking on and tummy's rumbling so we went to find somewhere to eat. I had seen Aruba mentioned in a leaflet and am so glad we decided to try it, despite the many stairs to get in. It was as much a bar as it was a restaurant but the atmosphere and music with it being my birthday was perfect. Some great menu choices, especially for vegetarian Mr B and I even had a cheeky glass of wine.


The perfect birthday, even if E didn't go to sleep til about 11pm!

The next day meant Peppa Pig World and despite us trying to leave early we were too busy eating breakfast. Even though we didn't arrive until 11am it wasn't too busy, and was much better than I was expecting. Paulton's Park where it is based was very well looked after, lovely gardens but the Peppa Pig area was clearly the place to be. We probably queued for a maximum of 40 minutes for any one ride and went on Daddy Pig's cars, Peppa's house, the Dinosaur Adventure, Helicopter Flight, Grandpa Pig's little train (baby R even joined us on that one), Grandpa Pig's boat trip and the play area. The food was reasonable and there were plenty of places to sit and park the buggy. We would definitely go back but might try and wait a couple of years first!

We left around 4pm and with a sleepy E in the car headed back. After freshening up at the hotel we decided that Poole harbour was worth a visit. There was a Mini meet on the harbour so there was lots of reminiscing from me about my first car, and no interest whatsoever from E. We walked around  for a bit and chose Pizza Express for dinner, a bit of a cop-out but you know it will always be good.

Soon it was Saturday and our last day. Despite being at the seaside for a couple of days we still hadn't ventured on to the sand and with a day of sun forecast we headed to Boscombe Beach. It was only a 10 minute walk according to Google and after a look on satellite view it looked like we could walk their via a park. Well I am glad I found that shortcut, it was beautiful. Called the Boscombe Chine Gardens it was a Victorian park with an adventure golf course and great kids playground. Well we were more than impressed when we reached the seafront, it was stunning. First, a quick stop at a shop to buy a towel and couple of bottles of water, we had not come prepared for the Mediterranean temperatures! A walk along the front and we picked our spot on the beach and dragged the pushchair kicking and screaming on to the sand, I am not loving having to take the pushchair everywhere again! Within 30 seconds E and Mr B were paddling and then I headed in for R's first paddle. It was obviously met with cries but that's another milestone passed. After a couple of hours on the beach, two wet boys and two hot girls we headed for lunch. We spotted Urban Reef, a great modern looking, family friendly restaurant. The food was very nice and I went all out and ordered half a lobster. Well it was my birthday weekend after all.

We headed home with the usual conversations of 'shall we move to the seaside' knowing we never will. But we were refreshed and bizarrely slightly sun kissed!

Until the next time, seaside x

I'm linking up with Country Kids again, championing the outdoors!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

2 Jul 2014

Adventures in the deep dark wood

As I am sure is the case in many homes The Gruffalo is a popular choice at bedtime. When I saw that the Forestry Commission were helping to celebrate the Gruffalo's 15th anniversary with a number of activities I was intrigued.

After a quick search I found our closest Gruffalo sculpture and activity trail was at Sherwood Pines in Nottingham and although an hours drive away we decided to add it to our Summer to do list.

We had never been to Sherwood Pines but were pleasantly impressed. Despite the rain and being quite ill prepared (I keep forgetting you have to remember so many extra things with a baby!) we ventured out of the car to track down the cafe to purchase the activity leaflet. I wouldn't bother with that again although we did all get a sticker!

Attention quickly turned to trying to find the trail. The first thing we spotted was the Gruffalo. At first we weren't sure whether this was the sculpture we thought we would be looking for in the deep dark woods. Turned out it was. Luckily E wasn't bothered and still wanted to explore. It did however seem a bit strange to put the 'treasure' of the hunt at the beginning?

We carried on to find the trail which included all the characters you would recognise, the mouse, owl, snake. There were other activities along the way which would probably help keep older children's attention but E was a little too young.

At Sherwood Pines the trail is amongst the other play areas for children which were all excellent. We eventually teared E away with the lure of cake in the cafe. Towards the end of the day there wasn't much choice left but Baby R needed feeding and there were a couple of chocolate options :)

We will definitely be going back to Sherwood Pines in the future and there is another chance to meet the Gruffalo in August, a little closer to home in Leicestershire for the Gruffalo tour. We may just have to convince E that that Gruffalo is still just a 'pretend' one!

I am also linking up with Country Kids!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

27 Jun 2014

Pretty peonies

I love the idea of having a fruitful garden and calm, uncluttered home interior.

I have neither but I am going to pretend I do with the following photos ;)

I am also joining in with this week's Floral Friday by Emily Quinton at Make Light.

14 Jun 2014


I love food. I just love other people to make it for me!

Mr B has always done the cooking. This actually started by accident as Mr B was always the first home from work in the evening as I had a long commute. Then the less I cooked the more I feared it. There has also been some catastrophic failures on my part (thinking evaporated and condensed milk were the same!) which haven't helped my confidence. Then there is the added complication that Mr B is vegetarian.

With maternity leave approaching I decided I wanted to 'earn my keep' and start preparing dinner in the week, well at least a couple of evenings anyway. I also wanted to try and save some money on the groceries, to move away from the nearly-ready meals and to stop throwing food away which we had become terrible at. These past couple of weeks, as I have started to find my stride as a mother of two, I have started to experiment with some recipes.

I figured the key to succeeding in this must be the planning so I have been pinning to my 'food' board on Pinterest for quite some time. That has been a great source of inspiration, along with the contents of the fridge and the BBC Good Food website has also become my new best friend.

Some hits so far have been:
We'll enter my third week next week when I've got mushroom and bean hotpot, veggie bolognese, lentil chilli, spinach lasagne and chickpea curry to choose from. That's if Mr B can keep himself out of the kitchen!

13 Jun 2014

She's here

Well this is a very belated post but I had forgotten how hard it is to get even 10 minutes to yourself with a newborn baby, let alone with a 3 year old too.

So baby R arrived, slightly by surprise, on the 9th May 2014. I really need to find the time to write up her birth story which was amazing but in the meantime here are our first few weeks. How is she a week old already?!

She arrived perfectly and her big brother loved her immediately.

Feeding is going well (especially compared to last time) and she has been putting on weight since she was born. At one point at least 1oz per day. She is still small but a lot bigger than the 6lb 1oz she was at birth.

She has fitted into our family with ease and is happily very content.

The weeks are going far too fast and we are starting to go out and meet new friends and reconnect with old.

Life with a family of four is pretty damn good!

7 May 2014

The Gallery: Faces

I knew it had been sometime since I took part in Tara's weekly linky, The Gallery. What I didn't expect was when I checked when it was, it is almost 3 years ago!

My last link up was in June 2011 and focused on E being 4 months old. Now as we await the arrival of baby number 2 (less than a week and a half away!) it was quite a timely read and made me remember how precious those first few weeks and months are. They really don't last long.

This week's prompt is 'faces'. One thing we have always done with E is to take family selfies. I love doing this as they really catch a moment. The expressions, the location, the feelings at the time. Here are three of our most recent taken at Christmas and on our holiday back in March.

I really am looking forward to there being four of us in the next family shot!

If you hadn't guessed it yet I am linking up with Sticky Fingers The Gallery.

6 May 2014

How to turn a breech baby

Step 1... don't ask me!

Baby has been breech now since our 20 week scan. Not a problem we thought, she'll turn. Now at 38 weeks this is seeming increasingly unlikely. At full term only about 3% of babies are likely to still be breech. In our quest to encourage her to turn I have learnt a lot that I thought may be worth sharing. I have tried lots of things, clearly with no success. They all have varying success rates, many not proven but I figured we may as well try everything. I hope these are useful to someone...

2 May 2014

My little sister

E has been a major part of our journey with baby. Right from when he was eating his dinner with Mr B and I read out the pregnancy test result. He has even chosen her name (more on that in the future!) and is constantly hugging and kissing my bump.

He's always asking 'what's baby doing', 'does baby want some juice', 'is baby OK mummy?'. Occasionally he will kick me when playing and when I tell him to be careful the answer is always 'it wasn't me it was baby' said with his trademark cheeky smile.

I, being an only child, always wanted to be able to have a brother or sister for E but part of me was always worried about him feeling left out and us not being able to devote as much attention to him. I guess this is what all parents go through when deciding to have a second baby. However, these past 8/9 months he has really taken to the idea and is very excited about getting his new little sister.

The shouts of 'baby get out' are becoming more often and he wants baby here now. We have tried to explain that she is not going to do much when she arrives - just cry, sleep and have cuddles. Despite this I do wonder whether he thinks she's going to come out a fully working playmate.

Since I started drafting this post we have had the ECV to try and move baby which was unforunately unsucessful. We now have to decide whether to go for an elective c-section or to attempt a 'natural' breech birth. Just re-reading this has actually reminded me what is important. The birth is such a small part of her overall story and that is what I need to focus on whilst I tie myself up in knots trying to make a decision which is best for all of us, as a family of four.


25 Apr 2014

Easter...time for a break

The week before Easter was always going to be a momentous one for us. It was my last week at work before maternity leave and Mr B's first week in a new job. Thank god it was only a four day week!

We had a lovely long weekend kicking off with some much needed jobs around the house on Good Friday, and some baking on Saturday. Now this might not sound very impressive but it is VERY rare and E had started to think it was only possible to make cakes at Nan-nans house. E and I had a lovely time together mixing and making. We even produced some edible crispy cakes and biscuits!

On Saturday we ventured out of the house to see my parents and visit a vintage fair at the great, Great Central Railway which we are very lucky to have on our doorstep.

Sunday brought not only the Easter Bunny but also Nan-nans birthday so we packaged up some of the products of our labour and off we went to see the other side of the family. The annual Easter Egg hunt (which I have been taking part in since Mr B and I got together 13 years ago!) was as fruitful as always. It is not unheard of us to have Easter chocolate left at Christmas.

By Monday we wanted some time on our own so waited for the sun to come out playing in the garden and after a lovely lunch prepared by Mr B we took the short 5 minute drive to our local woods (Martinshaw Woods) to spot the bluebells. I love this time of year!

Finally we dropped E off at grandparents for a sleepover ready for our early scan at the hospital on Tuesday. Unfortunately baby girl is still breech so after chatting through things with the doctor we are booked in for a ECV next week. Fingers crossed we can get this little monkey moving!

I am linking up with Country Kids from Coombe Mill.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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