Thursday, 31 December 2015

A year of family portraits - December 2015

I feel I have been a failure with my blogging. Life has been extremely hectic, like for a lot of people obviously. I've just felt that when i'm trying to juggle too many 'eggs in one basket' I end up failing then feeling even more rubbish that i've not managed to keep up with all the things I want to do in this blogging world along with living my every day life and keeping up with that too, but we have the memories that fill our hearts and thats all that counts. This year has been such a crazy one in more ways than one, the biggest factor being that we're expecting our fourth bundle of joy in April 2016. This is something so exciting but equally making me wonder where the rest of my brain cells will disappear to with all the extra busy moments, ha. 

This months portraits are different to what I had planned as I love to do a themed type photo depending on whats going on, but these are far from the festive looking ones we did last December but in more ways this months are such special ones to me. It was such a relaxing morning a few days ago after the Christmas buzz where we went to a local park in the country, the only ones there, being silly with each other and just really enjoying ourselves. I look at these photos with such pride & amazement.

This is our little family,
that we created. 
Elements of each other filtering into one another.
Blossoming through growth.
learning new paths.
But mostly going through life, together.
amongst days of happiness, days of challenges,
I feel my heart beating harder & harder with sheer love for these souls.
We made this tribe, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We're really looking forward to starting a fresh new year as our little unit, except for the new change of becoming a family of six in a few months time which sounds completely bizarre to me still. 

I want to welcome the new year with open arms, a clear head and fresh mind. There's so many things I want to try differently this year but thats for another post maybe. For now, i'm just super thankful for these people right here, including some family members and a couple friends including new ones who really inspire me and stand by me, who have shown me that they are for real when being part of my life. 

For now, I'll wish you a Happy New Year and here's to an awesome 2016 & beyond!
A round up of family portraits in 2015:

January 2015 - A new year 
February 2015 - A sunny afternoon
March 2015 - Woolacombe
April 2015 - Blossom
May 2015 - Rapeseed field
June 2015 - The New Forest
July 2015 - A nature walk
September 2015 - A trip to Cogges Farm
October 2015 - Seaton, Devon

August & November seem to be lost! will update when I've sussed it out...

Here's to another year of capturing our family and watching it grow :-)


dear beautiful
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Sunday, 27 December 2015

A simple Christmas Featuring B&Q

This year has been a complete whirlwind.

We've moved home back in April which has made us so busy trying to fit refurbishment around working time and raising three littles, and we found out we're expecting our fourth little baby - again making life a whole other level of bonkers, the starting school/nursery along with life in general. Having three (almost four) littles aged 5, 3 and a half and almost 2 and being nearly six months pregnant makes life very busy to say the least! 

So with this our housing decor seems to have taken forever to evolve from the absolute state it looked when we moved in. We've managed to fit a new kitchen, downstairs flooring, new bathroom but so much more is on the list to be done on the journey of making it really ours

This had led us to have even more of a simplistic Christmas this year, particularly as its our first in this home sweet home of ours, and the house isn't anywhere near finished. So we've focused on the rooms that have been changed from the previous tenants taste to our very own. 

We also chose to have a real tree for the first year and wow does it make a big difference. The smell, the look, the way the decorations fit and to just and our simple little extras in the two rooms we spend most downstairs. We love to let our littles get involved in the process and let them choose some decorations each year, along with the ones they make at school and nursery. So far, we've been really impressed with our choice of 'a first real Christmas tree', the needle drop hasn't been too bad at all and it really is stunning, I think we have been swayed into buying one for future Christmases, they really do look so much better! 

Any Christmas tree will never be 100% safe when you have small children so we try to be as relaxed as possible and realise its just going to get poked and prodded now and again and when decorating, its the thought of the process and the memories made that counts, not the perfection.

Here's our choices of decorations featuring some beautiful designs and a real Christmas tree from B&Q. We all chose some each which I love as it adds a personal touch, along with all the handmade nursery/school ones from the littles too of course ;)
Halle's choice
Christmas with 'sparkle'
'it's the most magical time of the year'
'I just love them all!'
Looking so grown up since turning the big FIVE.
Phoenix's choice
One of Yve's
Daddy's
I chose these, loving the gold mixed with white.
Our beautiful Christmas tree.
A post is coming up very soon about what Christmas has meant to us this year, including a little film.

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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas 2015 - The first and last.

This Christmas is a special one in more ways than one. I mean every year its obviously something to look forward to, but with our experiences before having children, and when having children, we've also experienced some pretty worrying and stressful times when it comes to the festive period. I have always been a huge lover of all things festive, I love December, I love the way its even more exciting (albeit also stressful) now that we have our littles but its a time of year, along with all the colder weather and cosy evenings that I do look forward to. That being said, Christmas itself seems to have transformed into something so far from what it actually should be about. 

Yes its lovely to give and receive presents.

 Yes its fabulous to have amazing decorations, go all out with interior and even exterior decor, Its wonderful to be able to keep up with all the wacky trends.

But ultimately

it should be about spending time with the ones who mean most to you & vice versa. As mentioned above, I've had some completely shitty Christmases in the past due to having to spend time alone away from my loved ones, suffering lots of family trauma, and just generally feeling on edge. So for me, it's lovely to make the efforts but when I feel its getting a bit much, I remember what it really is all about.

For me, it's about these elements here:

 Its the best feeling in the world when you see the magic and belief in your children's eyes, Its such an incredible feeling when you know you can spend at least one cherished evening with your loved one having a much needed date night that doesn't come around too often (we're working on this!), sharing wonderful stories and conversations with one another, building deeper connections as a family, the sight of when your littles are getting into bed so excited that they will be getting a visit from Father Christmas very soon, the morning they wake up and realise he has in fact been and left them the most wished for yet simple presents that they will be ever so grateful for, not hundreds upon hundreds of lavish yet unnecessary gifts that will either go to waste or ultimately leave them with lack of appreciation for what they have, and giving them more ammunition to not see the real meaning of this festive period. 

Don't get me wrong, all kids love the idea of presents, we've all been there and we can still admit it is a lovely thing - me included. This isn't safe-proofing the 'i'm bored' moments, or the 'is there anymore?' because they are still small ages and as much as we try to let them know the real meaning, it's still a bit hard when 1. they're small ages and 2. it really is bombarded everywhere, particularly in city life!

What I mean is we haven't drummed into our little ones head about the latest trends, allowing them to have every single thing they see on the adverts or what their friends have. Over the past few months we've listened and watched, waited to see what truly interests them. We were given little lists from the two girls including a couple of things each that we know they genuinely will love and talk about a lot, and Phoenix has shown a huge interest in Bob the builder diggers and tractors so it was an easy thing for us. Adding in a couple of stocking fillers (and cheeky chocolates, that I promise I won't eat....) but us personally, we haven't gone over board. 

This Christmas is and has been a very significant one for our family as its our very first in our new home since we moved here in April, not only this but on the flip side its our last as a family of five. Next year it will be a different ball game completely with a new family member, I will be cradling a breastfeeding crawler no doubt while having my other three treasures tucked on my other side sandwiched between Daddy & I, time may be limited to how we can see to everything but our feelings will remain the same. 

Time is precious, its sacred, its to be cherished. Having a simple Christmas is what its all about.
First born duties.

I was thinking of writing little details of our festive days, but to be honest its just been relaxing (with the added strops of course) but in all fairness, we are just enjoying having time together as a family, a week of it being about us, having Daddy at home as the next time this will happen will be next year for this amount of time. So instead of me waffling on, i've made a film of our month of December, and Christmas itself.



You can also see my post about our simple Christmas decor this year.

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Build a bird nesting box as a family - Featuring B&Q.

If theres something we love to do as a family, Its to spend simple time together. Less of the distractions, no time limitations of having to be somewhere, and just going with the flow and when that includes doing some fun family crafty time - it's a bonus. To be able to do this more and more would be the dream but we make the most of the time we do spend together and sometimes it does include little projects to do as a team. 

Having three little ones aged just five and under can make things interesting when trying to meet everyone's age abilities but we do have fun for the most part. So that leads me to a little but very important project we were invited to get involved in with B&Q. This project is about keeping wild birds fed throughout the colder season. Building bird boxes in your garden is one of the best ways to encourage birds to not only visit, but to find a safe place to either feed or nest, man made or natural sloping bird baths are also wonderful for them throughout the year enabling easy hydration.

With this in mind, we had a fabulous little package and a voucher sent to us and our aim was to build a safe nesting box, decorate it and get it prepared for our wild friends, including the children on the action too. They're huge fans of anything constructive and definitely anything that involves using Daddy's tools, especially little chap!

We decided to paint the bird box with neutral colours ensuring they were the correct paints for the outside weather, The kiddies wanted to add their personal touches too so this we included with joy, after all they are the main participants in this family project. They're very much use to bird and helping to feed them as Grampy has always had an avery ever since I was a little girl. He's always spoken about the importance of keeping them well fed and especially prepared for the winter. When he goes away on holiday we are entrusted to care for his birds which the kids really love to help with. They love to get right inside, turn over the dirt for the quails and give out nice portions of new food, we also replenish the wild bird food tables too as every little helps (Even if the squirrels do try to scoff themselves silly on it!).

So for us, this was a project we really felt passionate about as to be honest its such a nice sight when you see them fly into your garden, stocking up on food then flying away to keep their own little families fed & safe during this time of year. This was also a great project for us to do as a family as it catered to all of our abilities and interests and its something we can hang up and show the little ones in the future that they helped to keep the birds safe and healthy. 
You can't complete a bird box construction without wearing your absolute favourite Frozen dress right?
 The concentration on their faces was adorable!
All this little chap wanted to do was to "bang bang" anything in sight, but really loved the helping out of the bird box making.

 Our biggest girl looking so grown up.
 The littles are huge fans of getting involved in anything crafty.
Concentration.
Undercoat
One side of our finished bird box.

A big thank you to B&Q for supplying us with the materials needed for the bird box along with a voucher for any additional items we wanted to help personalise our finished product. All images, words and opinions are my own.
Heres a little film to see how it went.



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Friday, 18 December 2015

Tapestry boots, Christmas crafting and Santa Babies.

Read
Magazines! (still not read them yet though, i'm saving for this afternoon! 
A challenging couple of weeks, so I may have flicked through these two books. Always wondering if i'm doing a good enough job, then remembering that they are still pretty small and everyday is a new day, with new challenges and I need to learn to take it easy a bit more and not take the 'i'm going to tell my friends that you didn't let me have all my advent calendar' to heart ;) 

I've got more rambling on this parenting malarky very soon!


Watched
Not much at all, X-factor thats about it, had no time! Isn't Louisa amazing?

Heard
Christmas songs, radio one mix tape this morning and just the general excitement of 'how many more sleeps now Mama?' 

Made

Loving my home made broccoli & stilton soup.
Phoenix loves arts & crafts now, so much fun to watch him creating.
While Yve's has been writing all of her cards from start to finish, amazing me with her writing skills, Halle & I made these yesterday and she also wrote her name on her own! Learning from the best big sister.
The kids and I made some cranberry biscuits and Halle wanted to make a hot chocolate gift jar for one of her teachers at nursery, here's the rest of our teacher gifts. 

Wore
The first time i've worn my tapestry ankle boots even though i've had them about 5 years!
Bobble hats and cheesy grins as he met Father Christmas for the very first time, ran up to him and 'high fived' him. haha

And lastly...
it's officially the Christmas holidays with my babies, i'm off to pick up my girls and looking forward to lots of family time, no school run car journeys 6 times a day and of course CHRISTMAS itself, our first one in this house (even though it's not decorated yet) but hey, we'll be together, that's all that counts.

There will be a few recent posts coming up over the week as i've literally not had time this week, so please to check back in!


Have a lovely Christmas everyone! 


Linking up with Morgana from Coffee work sleep repeat.

My blog wont centre align this for some reason! argh!
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Friday, 11 December 2015

A break, nativities and cosy knits

So, I haven't done a 'Little loves' post in a while now. Life has been somewhat very hectic since starting the new nursery/school routine (six 25 minutes trip per day!), finding out about our fourth pregnancy - and coping through very hard months with illness and worries, all that alongside trying to build a different way of life, spending time with my little chap, doing up our house and trying to make something out of my little blog space/ and trying to build myself WFH. But I thought i'd try to join in as I love to look back on simple little things i've loved and appreciate them too. 

Read
We've been reading our 'book advent' each evening, and i'm also trying to finish a few books too. 

Watched
Yve's first nativity since starting school. It was the most adorable thing, she played one of the angels and was so excited to be part of the team. This was a big step for her as for about a year she hated doing things that involved big crowds, where as now - she's so confident, and really enjoyed herself up there singing her heart out. We've also been to watch Halle's first Christmas carols a week or so ago and she was in her absolute element, anything performing related and Halle is there. her little arm swing for the 'HEY!' part at the end of jingle bells was perfection!

I've also been enjoying watching a few 'vlogmas' on Youtube, I would love to be able to do this daily but finding the time to get it completed would be near impossible right now! busy is an understatement. I am however combining clips from the beginning of December up until next week or so, which will be a 'getting festive' kind of film, then there will be the actual Christmas side of things as it will be linked with a little collaboration we're doing. (Oh and along with trying to complete movies from the past few months including birthdays and holidays, eep!) I need more time in each day! 

Heard
Coughing, lots of it, the kids have all had this niggly cough, as have I - all recovering from being ver run down...... and along with the nativity, I've heard lots of Christmas songs being sang to me by the kids then me eventually joining in! I really need to get some time to appreciate music again, but this time of year I do love Christmas songs.

Made

This week we've been doing some baking, little H had laryngitis last week so we made christmas biscuits to help cheer her up.
 i've also been making the house look more cosy for the festive/winter season.

Wore
I am living in cosy knits at the moment!

Love this scent, Diamonds by Giorgio Armarni.

And lastly...
I can't wait to share more of our Christmas interior this year, it's our first Christmas in this home and we're also doing a lovely little collaboration to link in with our usual traditions :)

Have a lovely weekend everyone! 

Linking up with Morgana from Coffee work sleep repeat.
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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A cherished moment - First school nativities

A few months a go I was absolutely dreading the reality that our biggest girl would be taking the huge step in her childhood and starting primary school in foundation stage. If you're a regular reader here, you'll have seen that I was back and fourth with what the better option would be when it came to either formal education or home education/ unschooling. And as much as I have my doubts each day, more so about how much I miss her but also about the way it does change them in a way (more on this soon) I really do think she enjoys herself. Not only this, she has really overcome little things such as confidence in big crowds. There was a time that she hated doing things like sports day as she thought that people clapping was a bad thing, or that her first P.E session, she refused to join in as it was just something she didn't feel comfortable with and needed to do it at her own pace, with her own mind. 

This is a positive thing I do think about since her starting at the lovely little village school as confidence is such an important thing when it comes to life. Even from a young age, and I feel that when they feel at ease with themselves, this is such a lovely thing to watch. So the time came for the Christmas festivities to start, a few weeks ago, she rushed out of class with a huge smile on her face to tell me that she was one of the starring 'angles' in the church nativity. And as much faith I have in her, I was still holding that protective Mama feeling inside wondering if my little girl would be okay up there in front of lots of people having to sing and say her lines (confidence hasn't been a strong point of mind while growing up so it's something i'm finally trying to change for good as I don't want it to impact my littles and seeing her walk in so confidently made me realise what a strong little person she is, not that I ever doubted her ability for one minute. I think it's that initial 'oh my goodness, my first born, my baby is up there, doing something so new to me!)

She got all in position, and the nativity began. My heart was pounding with pride, I was fighting back the tears of joy and just in sheer shock at how amazing she did. shock just because that was our little girl stood up there doing her thing, singing her big heart out and looking like she really was enjoying every second. This was most definitely a moment I will never ever forget, I did get a little filming but not much. I purely wanted to embrace that short moment, cherish it and capture it through my eyes, and store it into my heart. 

Not only this big change with our biggest girl, we had another change with our littlest girl that she would be upping her hours at nursery to every morning. I was reluctant as this meant six 25 minute car journey's back & fourth to the school in total and I did worry if it was a bit much, but as it is such a motherly and playful setting - she loves it so much and I wouldn't second guess it now even though the driving to and from is strenuous at times. So along with the festivities starting, little Halle had her nursery Christmas singing the other week as well and to say she was in her element was an understatement. This little girl is at that age, or maybe its just her nature where she loves to perform. before the actual performance we had so many shows and renditions of all the songs she's been learning, telling us how she's going to stand, what she wanted to wear and that she was going to sing 'so loud'. Once we got into the church, she couldn't wait for the show to begin, she got all snug next to her friends, but made sure she could see me in the crowd in front to show off all her practicing. I did film a little clip with her too, but again, felt like I didn't want to watch through my camera, I wanted to soak in that moment of our little girl in her element. The amount of pride I felt rushed right through me and she just made me feel all happy inside. More than anything, it was adorable to see how happy she was being up there, and wondered why it was over so soon. We made up for it though with our little walk to the village fete and then to meet Daddy & Phoenix for a pub roast. 

All these little memories that I didn't realise were going to come around so soon can be so bittersweet, I want time to slow down, But while I don't have the actual control over that I will embrace and preserve these moments well & truly. 

Moments like these are to be cherished, forever. 


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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Celebrating small businesses with Kinship Of Oxford

A few months back, I was kindly sent a lovely package from the lovely Rosie at Kinship Of Oxford. I checked out their page as I am a huge fan of small businesses and believe they should be promoted more especially when they provide such beautiful things such as this selection below. Passionate about small businesses, Rosie does just this while stocking a fabulous variety of gifts handmade across the UK. Along with running her online business, Rosie also sets up 'pop up' shops in Oxfordshire on regular intervals, i'm yet to attend one of these but really can't wait to!
A beautiful hand delivered goodie bag just for us!
These polar bear & panda coasters are adorable, vibrant and add a little quirk into our kitchen.
I've been lighting this lovely rosemary & thyme candle each time I have a bath and also now its proudly sitting on our fireplace to add to the cosy evenings. What I love about this candle, other than the smell is that its handmade with plant wax, comes in a lovely smart glass & burns for ages!
We were also sent this wonderful table mat which is a huge colouring sheet. This is perfect for our littles, especially the girls and they would spend ages on little sections they wanted to complete. We've still kept it for other times in the future when they want to use it as theres so much space to fill on there! I think this would be a great gift for a stocking filler too, and suitable for a wider age range also as there are word searches, snakes & ladders along with other little games included. The link i've added is one similar, but a Christmas version.
These two little girls spent ages colouring in, and they still have so much more to complete! A great activity for little people who are eagerly waiting for their snack/ or dinner time.
Along with the lovely gifts for my small people, they were sent this writing kit as well. They both have a love of writing at the moment, Halle does prefer colouring in more so but it's especially come in handy since Yve's has started showing a huge interest in writing anything she possibly can, including letters to her Uncle and Auntie who live in New Zealand, practising her word formations and spelling since starting primary school, and just generally loving writing anything (must get that from me!) They have pretty, colourful illustrations on them and the best part is being able to use envelopes apparently!

Included in this wonderful gift bag was a pretty tribal print tassel scarf, and a very lovely 'make at home' paper bunting kit. These two I haven't reviewed yet as we're saving the bunting for when their bedroom is decorated, & the scarf for when Yve's can wear in the spring (yes, she has got her hands on it!)

*Thank you so much Rosie for sending us this 'goodie bag' for the purpose of an honest review, hopefully see you soon at one of your pop-up shops!

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