Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Elarna at 15 Months

What has Elarna been up to since her last update I hear you ask! Well this little button has been busy growing, finding her feet and her voice! 

I feel like since turning one she has developed from baby into proper toddler......although in my eyes she's still my baby. She is into EVERYTHING. Mostly the cupboards and anything that she can destroy mainly. She is a speedy little thing and loves to march around with purpose but does have to be careful at times as her feet run away with her and she ends up toppling over......we've had several bumpy incidents and a couple of bloody noses due to her faceplanting, poor love. She's quite excitable and can't control her feet!



She continues to absolutely idolise Alfie (most of the time), anything that Alfie is doing she is interested in and wants to watch him or join in. While we were on holiday and most recently at Alfie's pre-school leaving party she just wanted to join in with the big boys and girls and threw some amazing diva strops when I wouldn't let her (I'm not mean but I just couldn't let her get in a bouncy castle with 10 kids bouncing about, ha!). Alfie still finds her difficult to deal with at times, he's much more caring towards her now but at times is still so rough with her.....she's going to be very robust when at school. Bear hugging her is one of his favourite things to do, I just don't think he realises that she's much littler than him so sometimes we do have to tell him off but most of the time he is great with her. 




She is fiercely independent, this has taken me by surprise! She wants to feed herself with a spoon, and is actually pretty good, she likes to walk by herself, shakes her head vigorously when she doesn't want something or isn't happy, wants to drink out of a beaker and generally once shown how to do something will try and do it herself. When Alfie was her age he was relatively independent but not to this degree, he was a bit more reliant on us doing things for him and giving him confidence so seeing her this independent is both fascinating to see and sad for me as she growing up too fast.



She is the happiest and smiliest little girl but I tell people not to be deceived by this as beyond the cute and sweet exterior lies a very defiant little diva. This girl can strop. Her little princess moments are hilarious, if she isn't happy about something we certainly know about it. Her strops are like no other! She is loud and very dramatic, sometimes it's hilarious, other times it's just hard work! Although as quick as she starts stropping she can get herself out of them pretty sharpish. 




She continues to thrive and enjoy nursery, she goes twice a week and is usually shattered when home. I think she loves that the room she is in now offers alot of free flow so she can head into the garden if she wants or stay in the room and play. At home she still has 2 decent naps a day, usually around 10am for an hour or so and then perhaps about 2pm for 90 mins, again, very different to Alfie who dropped his naps quite young, he was about 18 months. At nursery she tends to just have the one nap lasting over 90 minutes but for the moment I try and keep the 2 a day when we're at home. I'm not too precious about it however and if she doesn't have one until lunchtime then it's not a huge issue. 




She's at that age where she is really enjoying her food, we are exposing her to loads of flavours and textures and she loves trying new things. She eats brilliantly. She continues to fit into to some 6-9/9-12 clothes and 12-18 do fit well other than dresses being a little long. She was never going to be blessed in the height department, same as Alfie because myself and Adi are not very tall. She's got the cutest little short legs, they may be short but they take her far.




Sleep at the moment is a little bit odd. She sleeps well when settled but recently when we put her in her cot at bedtime she's really unsettled. Now this might be because it's been super hot and stuffy but I wonder if it might be a bit of a developmental leap as it seems to have started quite quickly. Adi thinks that she has become a little wise to the fact that if she starts screaming we will head into her room and give her attention. After a couple of nights of this we realised we were basically giving her what she wanted and opted for a little bit of controlled crying which was always the best method with Alfie. It's not something I hugely like to do but if it works then I am more than happy to do it. 




I just adore these 2 pictures of her in the swings - it completely captures her cheeky, happy persona. She was giggling her head off at this time too, it was utterly cute. Those cheeks and that smile, ohhhhh I always just want to squish her. 





She is a complete loon at times, she loves to charge about the house and laughs her head off, especially when Alfie joins in, this photo below captures her running towards me, hence the blurry feet! Full of happiness and laughter, it's just something that I want to bottle up and keep forever. She looks sooo grown up now! Thanks for the dress Sarah Run Jump Scrap by the way it's gorgeous.




She is babbling so much at the moment, I probably sound like a right weirdo but I almost have conversations with her on a daily basis, we communicate through babble and I can almost get what she is trying to get at or want. There is some definite words starting to form, we definitely have cracked 'hiya' and nearly 'hello' and mama and dada are already well defined in her vocabulary. We are also fairly sure she refers to Alfie as 'bro' as when she says what we think is bro she either points to him or goes to find him, it's very cute. 





I never thought it possible to have so much love for these 2 little monkeys in my life. I l really like this age, yes she's all over the place and I rarely sit down (other than when they are in bed) but oh she's alot of fun to be around and seeing her little personality really shine through is fantastic. I'm wondering what we have in store over the next couple of months. 


Best of Worst

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Camp Like a Champ!

Heading to festival this Summer? Glamping or camping? If so check out this cool infographic. Camping doesn't break the bank and can be a whole lot of fun! Whether you are staying in a tent or glamping in a yurt, heading off with some family or friends would be a fab option should you be looking for a outdoorsy holiday.

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Friday, 22 July 2016

Our Week!

What a beaut of a week! Absolutely scorchio. Let's rewind back to last weekend, it was little mans graduation from pre-school. Officially he is still attending until starting school but last Saturday and the coming weekend are a couple of events for the leaving kids. I felt quite emotional about the whole thing, I just can't quite believe that come September he will be starting school. The current nursery/pre-school him and Elarna go to really is ace and it was a lovely couple of hours spent in the garden with other parents and kids with a disco, face painting and a magic man. On Sunday Adi took Alfie to the cinema (again) this time to see Ice Age, he loves the films and we've been waiting an age to see this but instead of trying to get a sitter so I could go I decided to stay with Elarna and get some jobs done. After a couple of hours they returned and Alfie was full of beans to tell me all about the film. In the afternoon we decided to pop out to look at some new cars, we've managed with just one car now for a good few years after selling our 2nd car but the time has come that we need to get a 2nd again. In our heads taking the kids to car garages on a hot day seemed like a good idea.......it wasn't. We will now be looking this weekend when the grandparents have kindly offered to watch them for a couple of hours! With our disaster of car shopping soon over we though the best option was instead to head over to the pub for a little beverage and snack before heading home for some food. Then, just like that the weekend was nearly over.

I was actually fortunate enough to have my days off slightly changed this week so was working Monday but then was off on Tuesday and Wednesday so managed to enjoy the 2 very hot days, and hot it was! We didn't do much, especially on Tuesday other than fill the paddling pool and spend alot of time splashing about it it. There were iced drinks aplenty, ice lollies and putting the gazebo up in the hope to shade us from some of the heat. On Wednesday it was just myself and Elarna, Adi's Dad and his wife took Alfie to the seaside for the day and he was out for hours having a whale of a time. I managed to be quite productive and although didn't do too much did manage to get Elarna fitted for some new shoes and put a ton of washing away (again!). Alfie then returned from the seaside, absolutely knackered and with a dead jellyfish in tow, proudly showing me it in his bucket (see pic below, ha). It was already dead before he brought it home I'd like to add!



Thursday arrived and I was back to work for the morning. I was lulled into a false sense of security being off on Wednesday and woke up thinking it was Friday, when actually it was not! So I spent the morning at work and then spent a few hours at Peterborough City Hospital with a couple of colleagues at the cytology lab (where they process and examine all the cervical smear samples), it was really quite interesting to see what they do and view some samples slides of what we are screening for. I had the rest of the afternoon off and spent it sitting in the garden enjoying some more warmth! 

Our kettle also started giving up the ghost recently but thankfully House of Fraser stepped in and sent us a rather lovely Delonghi replacement, RRP £74.99 but currently on sale for £59.99). This kettle is gorgeous, not only does it look super pretty in a pearly matt white colour, it's ever so quiet and boils very quickly. It also features a concealed element, 360 degree rotating base and a generous capacity so it is a fab kettle to have in a family home.


So this is my hot and sticky week, how has yours been?

* Please note I was kindly sent the kettle free of charge. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Best and Worst Linky #57

Beautiful Things


Run, Jump, Scrap!

Hi everyone and a huge welcome to the best and worst linky run by my lovely friend Sarah who blogs over at Run Jump Scrap and co-hosted by myself. If you're new to the linky we're delighted for you to join in, please do have a read of the rules. If you're a regular then thanks as always for the support. Sarah and I split the commenting now, it is working well doing it like that. You should have received a comment from one of us so if you are missing one please do drop us a tweet or email. We've had some great posts over the last few weeks!

This is the linky where you can tell us about the best or worst things that have happened in the last week or even the last year, this could in the form of a blog post, a photo or even a video. It can be an old post or a new post, we don't mind we just want you to share it with us. We want you to share your babies firsts, the crappy day at work you've had or a makeup disaster basically the good, the bad or the downright ugly! We want to share your excitement and tears, highs and lows no matter what it is.

Each week we will both choose our favourite posts from the week before and feature you on the next weeks Best and Worst, we will also feature you on our Twitter feed. 

So as always, on with the linky........please have a little read of the rules and we look forward to reading this weeks posts.

Sarah's featured post this week was from the brilliant Mummy Muck Ups - this is fab, you MUST go and watch this vlog! 

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My featured post this week is the lovely Emily from My Petit Canard. Oh this post.....I remember it so well, adapting to being a family of 4. Lovely post. Sorry lovey I couldn't grab your image to feature it on here.



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Rules
  • The linky will open at 6.30am on a Wednesday and close at 23.55pm on a Friday
  • You can link up one or two posts each week
  • Please comment on the 2 posts before yours and have a nosey at the host's too. We've noticed that some people have just been link dropping and not commenting on the 2 in front, please do return the favour so everyone gets some comments and linky love, thankyou.
  • ***Please add the badge to the bottom of your page so everyone knows where you have linked up***
  • Tweet your hosts @helsy_1983 and @RunJumpScrap once linked up so we can retweet you. When tweeting and commenting use the hashtag #bestandworst so everyone knows where you have come from
Best of Worst





    

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Thinking of Renting? Some Tips...


Ever considered renting? We used to rent many years ago and now we are actually landlords to a property. This is a very interesting article with some fab tips if you are thinking of entering into a rental property.



3 mistakes you won’t want to make as a tenant

So, you’ve found the perfect rental home and you can’t wait to get the keys and move in. Before you do though, it’s important to make sure you’re in the know when it comes to being a tenant. If you’re not careful, you could end up facing a range of unnecessary expenses and problems in your new pad. With this in mind, here are three mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
1. Not taking out insurance
When people get a mortgage to buy a property, their lenders usually require them to purchase certain forms of insurance. In contrast, tenants aren’t under any obligation to get cover. However, ignoring the issue of financial protection could prove to be a costly mistake. If you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth taking out contents insurance for your rental property, spend a few minutes calculating the value of all the possessions you’ll be taking to your new home. Unless you can afford to repair or replace these if they’re damaged, stolen or lost, it’s a good idea to take out tenants’ insurance. Also, bear in mind that as well as your own possessions, you might be liable to cover the cost of any damage you cause to your landlords’ property. You can find this out by checking the terms of your tenancy agreement.
Taking out appropriate cover will ensure that if a problem does arise, you’re not left out of pocket. There are a variety of policies available now, and it’s important to find one that suits your specific needs. For example, if you want tenancy liability protection in addition to cover for your own possessions, you may want to consider HomeLet tenants contents insurance, which can include up to £10,000 of cover if you damage your landlord’s property, fixtures, fittings or furniture.

Key, Colorful, Matching, Number, Security, Raw
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
2. Failing to pay proper attention to the inventory
Moving to a new home can be hectic, and in the excitement and stress of moving into your new place, it’s easy to overlook the importance of doing a detailed inventory check. It’s important to avoid this pitfall though. After all, this document is crucial if you want to get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy. The inventory lists all the items in your rental home, from beds to light fittings, and it details their condition. Make sure you go round the property with your letting agent or landlord to check that the information in this document is accurate before you sign it. It can help to take photographic evidence at this stage if you think there may be a disagreement later on.
Although going to this effort may seem like an unnecessary hassle when you’re moving into your new home, it could prevent stress and expense further down the line.
3. Not reading up on your rights and responsibilities
You have clear rights and responsibilities when you’re renting a home and it’s essential that you’ve got a good understanding of these. For example, you’re entitled to have your deposit protected in a government approved scheme, live in a property that’s in a good state of repair and be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent. Also, your landlord must provide you with at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property, unless there’s an emergency that means they need instant access.
Meanwhile, your responsibilities include taking care of the property and paying your rent on time, along with any other bills specified in your rental contract. Also, you must not sublet your home unless your tenancy agreement permits you to do so. If you breach the rules, your landlord might take legal action to get you evicted.
As long as you avoid making mistakes like these, you should be able to protect your finances and your rights. You also stand a good chance of having a harmonious relationship with your landlord or letting agent.

* Collaborative post.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Holiday 2016!

I am still sweating, wine, cheese and pain au chocolat. I'm certain. We have returned from a non-relaxing, busy and warm 2 weeks away in the Dordgone, South of France. My happy place. I seem to have spent the last few months willing the holiday to come around and as quickly as it starts we drive home. Bad times. As we have over the last few years, we stayed at the Gites Lacombe in their 3 gites Ferme de la Garrigue. This is collection of gites with a private pool with space for up to 4 people per gite - perfect for our family and our friends family. We spent the first week with our friends and their little girl before my BFF and her hubby came for the 2nd week.



So we left a VERY gloomy UK behind and set on our way to France (after waiting almost 2 hours to get past border control - not a great way to start the holiday, bloody Euros). 

To get to where we stay in the Dordogne it takes around 8 1/2 hours or so of driving (from Calais) but with a few stops it does take probably around 10 hours so we had an overnight stopped around halfway down to break the journey up. I love the French roads, yes you pay tolls for the privilege but they are much less stress than the UK roads in my opinion. I'm not going to write a huge amount in this post as it's mainly a picture post but I will touch on briefly some of the things we did. Because we have visited the Dordogne many years now I think a separate post will be beneficial with ideas and suggestions of places to visit.



So we arrived at our gite at about 5pm (ish), we had a fairly good journey with the kids  -other than Alfie having some travel sickness and chucking up in the car on the twisty roads. Luckily I managed to catch most of it in a plastic bag but then found this had a hole in it and some puke did manage to escape so I ended up chucking the sick bag back at my husband (while he was driving) in the hope that he would throw it somewhere (not sure where, out the window maybe) but in the end it ended up back in my lap to which I then threw it another bag that I found, fun times (LOL). I'm sure you can imagine the scene, our friends who were driving behind guessed something odd was happening as we were swerving somewhat, ha. Once we'd cleaned Alfie up in a services and started on our way we then had a HUGE panic that we'd left bedbear 3 aka teddy as we couldn't find him and ended up having to swing back round into the services to have a proper look and thank christ that he was just buried. So, no major dramas haha. 

When we got settled it actually wasn't very warm. In fact it was pissing down with rain.....not a great start. We have always been so lucky with the weather visiting at the end of June, in fact last year was our hottest year to date. We were all slightly concerned that we had packed the wrong type of clothes and for that evening we ended up sitting inside and our friends having the log burner on! We needn't have worried though because the weather did pick up and over the next few days it was beautifully warm and sunny.




Everything was delightfully green and lush this year. The Dordgone does tend to be a very vibrant and rural area but more so this year and when we were chatting to the gite owner she had told us that it had been a very wet few months which would explain just why it was so green this year.  God I just love the area, everything about it just makes me so happy. 




The view from Domme.

A view up to Castelnaud.


We managed to get a good mix of visiting tourist spots and chilling out. There is a hell of a lot to do in the area and we've managed to see quite alot over the last few years but there is always something that we like to return to and generally something we do that we've never done before or if we have, left it for a few years and it is fresh and new again. Like I said I'm going to talk about these things in another post but here is a brief list of the things that we did do.

  • Castelnaud - a large medieval fortress, alot of fun to walk around. The walk up to it is errrr steep, yes steep, very steep!
  • A visit to Domme, a beautiful Bastide town up in the hills - gorgeous.
  • Sarlat - my favourite medieval town (and where hubby proposed!), the Saturday market is a must.
  • La foret de singes, Rocamadour - a free roaming monkey forest!
  • Prehisto dino park, Rocamadour - a dino walk, this I wasn't overly impressed by.
  • Gardens of Marqueyssac - one of my favourite places to visit, miles of boxwood and incredible views, it is sublime.
  • Aquarium du Perigord Noir, Mirror Maze & Crazy Golf - A fantastic day out.
  • Canoeing - I didn't canoe as Elarna was too little but everyone else had a great day.
  • Gouffre de Padirac - A deep and underground cave, it is quite something else to see and sooo far down. I didn't visit this year but Adi took Alfie with our other friends and he loved it.

Sarlat.


We had a few boozy nights. There was several games of 'who am I' and cheat, we had alot of fun. We are soooo rock and roll being parents and all that I think our latest night was 12:30am. The fresh air and running around after 3 lively kids mixed with drinking copious amounts of booze on the evening made us all pretty tired to be honest.


A very rare shot of me makeup free!
Possibly THE best ice cream parlour.
A trip to Sarlat is not complete without a visit to the biggest and best ice cream parlour I have ever been to. Ahhhh there is so many flavours to choose from and I remember when we first visited and hubby got a 5 boule (scoops) cone, it was flipping huge - I must try and track down the picture. Seriously though every year I have a different flavour and it tastes amazing, I have been known to make a special detour for ice cream and cakes, because the cakes are pretty special too!


Elarna stole Daddy's ice cream, no really.


There was alot of fun to be had with the bubble tornado, I had to mention it because I took this picture of Elarna and I don't think I could have captured it any better, she literally looks like she is wearing bubble glasses. Love it. 



The next few pictures is basically spam. Some stunning views, a few from the gardens and the aquarium. There is just so much to feature!




















We spent a fair amount of time by the pool. Alfie has always loved the water and I feel Elarna is following in his steps and Daddys (when Adi was younger he was a triathlete and a fab swimmer so clearly the kids get it from him). Alfie would spend all day by the pool and in the pool if he could, his swimming has always been pretty good, he literally has no fear around and in the pool, this holiday he began to swim an awful lot without his floats on, when he did wear his floats he really was full of confidence - I adore seeing him develop like this in something that he truly does love. Elarna also just wanted to be in the water, she is such a curious little explorer at the moment and we did have to be very careful with her around the pool because when the big kids were in there she wanted to join them! She loved it.



I love this picture so much.

We even managed to get out for a meal out the 2 of us. Our lovely friends babysat for us and we jumped at the chance to head into Sarlat for a lovely meal out. We ate a fab little restaurant right in the market place, not one we would normally choose as we would prefer to head off the main street but I'm so glad we picked this one as it was lovely. It was so nice to get out just the  of us and not have to worry about entertaining a 1 year old and 4 year old!





We really did have a fabulous 2 weeks, it was over far too quickly and doesn't the end of a holiday suck. I apologise for the poor photos of our gites below, I've no idea why they have come out a little hazy as it wasn't when I took them. Anyway you see now the lay out of the 3 gites and we were in the one on the right as you look at the picture. It's such an idyllic situation and it was private and secluded enough to let the kids play in the garden safely. We love returning back to the Dordogne and I'm already looking forward to our return visit next year (not officially booked but it will be by the end of the year I'm sure!). 





We left on the Friday with one set of friends to have a stopover in Champagne before returning home, I'm not going to talk too much about it in this post as I think I might write a separate post on Champagne too - this is a fun place to visit but I feel we need more time there as we always seem to be rushing. 



Writing this post has given me the holiday blues back again! If you are looking for a place to visit that is beautiful, historical, warm, rustic and family orientated I can't recommend the Dordogne highly enough, if you don't want to drive the whole way there are several airports that you can fly to. 

I hope you've enjoyed reading my holiday rundown and the pictures I have shared. Would you consider a trip to the Dordogne?