Sunday, 30 October 2016

Things I've loved lately.

A very random post here, but I thought I'd share some of the things I've been loving, doing, reading, making, thinking and what not. By the way, who else is loving Autumn so far? I am! I mean I love all four season in their own right but there is something extra special about autumn, the colours and natural beauty is stunning. Endless play opportunities for the kids, the weather isn't too hot or too cold, we have those beautiful chilly mornings with sunshine peeking through the mist, and don't get me started on the hot chocolates and candles! So here's my little round up...

I've recently purchased some new autumn knitwear, two similar colours but I love them both, one's a ochre chunky knit, and the other has a beautiful zip detail down the back. I haven't bought myself anything in ages but it felt good and I am loving wearing them, stylish them with the usual Mama uniform of Jeans, jeans and more jeans with a dash of converse! I also treated myself to a lovely boyfriend fit leopard print coat the other week, it's super stylish and can be dressed up or just worn casually which is a bonus.

I finished watching the series of 'Victoria' last week and wow wasn't it great! The acting was wonderful and I just love anything to do with period dramas. It's really interesting to learn the rough history behind us all isn't it? I've also really been loving watching 'The Michelaks' youtube channel, they're on their Australia adventure at the minute but their Vlogs are just fabulous, the style of editing is amazing and its something i'd love to know more about when it comes to making my films. I love the effects with the drone too! (something I am lusting after and will one day purchase!)

Last night I started reading 'Girl on the train', I've heard great reviews and actually borrowed the book from my Dad as he always gets a new book when going on his travels so I thought i'd give this one a go! I have always loved books, since becoming a Mama though I find myself not making enough time to read anymore, but it felt good to actually sit down with my cup of chamomile and read a good few chapters into this book, to delve into something completely separate from being a Mum, something to make me think about and look forward to reading more, something other than looking at my phone or trying to catch up on blogging, to switch off and just read....I'm definitely looking forward to reading some more each day.

We made some delicious banana breads the other day, I did a combination of a recipe I looked at via the lovely Esther at Inside out & about blog, and the one in Fearne Cottons new book. I kind of took snippets of each and created my own, doubled the mixture to make more and they were delicious. The only thing that wasn't 100% great was that I didn't have the coconut palm sugar so I used honey and a little amount of demerera sugar instead but only very slightly. We've also consumed other types of cake in the form of a very 'not so healthy' rainbow cake for my biggest girls birthday that was on Thursday! She was SIX! ...Seriously, breastfeeding just makes me want to eat cake all the time!

So yes, My biggest girl turned the big SIX on Thursday, such bittersweet feelings, she was over the moon with her new bike. Her little face lit up just like on those other five birthday mornings, She really is a ray of sunshine in our lives and it was a day I felt so emotional at many times but so happy to watch her grow into such an incredible little person with such a big heart.

The past few weeks we've been planting our bulbs for Spring next year, I really hope they take well and we end up with a huge section of flowers, ones I can cut and arrange them myself into our home knowing that they are truly home grown - nothing better. We have a selection of bluebells, Iris Hollandica, Crocus chrysanthus, Narcissus, Tulipa Triumph, Mascara armeniacum, Allium, Ranunculus. We've also got a little plant we're growing called a 'snake bark maple Phoenix' so we shall see!

I've also been working on a few posts featuring some great brands for the past few months, compiling all my content, words, images and film and can't wait to share. Time is just extremely limited with having four small little ones and I'm really trying to find the right balance of it all while creating a 'slower paced' life. well a happy life to be honest, but trying to not get worked up when I can't complete something right away, and just trying to not be so hard on myself as the past few month have been intense what with rubbish health and just the overwhelming feelings of not keeping up with things. But in recent weeks, I am taking it day by day and i'm glad to have had all my littles at home for the half term, I'm equally sad to see my big girls back to school tomorrow too, I miss them so much every single day. We did lots of making though including a paper mache house for the Ninja turtles, halloween masks and new bird feeders for our garden - the girls love this job!

So this post has been a rather waffling, random post, maybe its the supposed extra hour I've been given, or its that I feel completely out of sync and should really be in bed catching up on sleep considering I have been feeding little lady multiple times a night in recent weeks, either that or one, two or all three of the bigger children want to alternate who needs a wee or poo, blanket back on, blanket not on, cuddle, or just a general chit chat in the small hours.
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

6 months old, here's what we love to do together.

I recently wrote how our littlest lady turned six months old, I thought I'd make a little post about what we've been enjoying lately as a way to remember all these little things as its so obvious how things fast are going already & I want to preserve these little moments as best I can. Our little Didi, a smiler, happy, and loving little gem.
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Friday, 21 October 2016

Time together, Father & son. (Featuring Jord Watches.)

Since starting his own business about six months ago, Mr T has been able to have a bit more flexibility when it comes to working and spending time with our littles or our family as a whole. He works so hard to enable this balance and its definitely benefited our home so far. This past week, he has taken Phoenix swimming a couple of times after finishing work - this was very excitedly received by our little lad who absolutely idolises his Daddy. The older girls were at school, Élodie & I were at home for an hour or so before going to pick up the girls and I had some extra cuddles with her too. We usually go swimming as a family, we haven't all been at the same time for a few months but its something we're scheduling in as we all love it and its something we include as quality family time. These particular days though I think they both deserved that time together to be honest. As much as being at home with my little ones is full on, I know Mr T would give anything to be able to spend more time with them, so thats just what he did with Phoenix as he's not at nursery yet. I had a little one to one with our littlest lady and those two got their quality time. I did feel guilty (as always) that the older girls were missing out as they love swimming too, but they both have lots of time with us after school or at the weekend where we all make up for it as a family, they also have after school activities on a couple of days so we thought it would be something special for Phoenix as he does a lot of school runs, in & out of car seats so he deserved it the most! Something we have been striving for is balance. Its an everyday challenge and always will be when we have four little ones so close in age. The one thing I've come to realise though is that one to one time is good all round, it can seem unfair in some ways but its great in so many more ways and I feel we all appreciate each other so much more when there's balance.
I took these photos the other day when this pair were sharing a cuddle before bedtime. I love to watch them together, their bond is incredibly close and our little Phoenix is so lucky to have such an amazing role model to grow up with. The way his little eyes light up when he realises Daddy's work van has arrived home, or when he bursts with excitement when Daddy acts like a Ninja Turtle with him, How he gets all giddy when he knows he's going in Daddy's van, especially to swimming is so sweet! ...And the way his Daddy looks at him, and showers him with so much unconditional love. I hope that as life goes by they find this special time for each other as a bond with your children is enough to see you through anything. I feel so happy to know that our little Phoenix has someone to look up to, someone who is strong, loving, and brave. Equally, it's a lovely feeling to know that his Daddy has him to have by his side throughout life too.
daddyphoenixgardenone daddyphoenixgardenthree daddyphoenixgardentwo
This post features a wonderfully designed watch by Jord wood watches. This great company design for both men & women with such a authentically styled product. So when discussing the watches, I left the choice for Mr T as I thought this particular style would suit him so much, he searched through the fabulous collection, filtered down to the 'Dover series' in which he finalised his decision on the 'Ebony & Copper' design. What is really cool is that you can read more about the woods used with each style, their sustainability and origin etc. You can read all about the 'Ebony' wood here. If in doubt about taking care of your watch, its features, or specific details you can read that here too.daddyphoenixgardenfiveBefore delivery we were sent a digital ruler to print to ensure we ordered the correct sizing by asking for removal of a few links. daddyphoenixgardenfourUpon receiving the watch we were really pleased with the overall packaging. The watch comes in a beautifully crafted wooden box with the Jord Watches logo on it, then inside the watch is securely placed around a hessian pillow for extra protection. We were amazed at the unique, & elegant design that included a really cool non-battery operated automatic mechanism. Mr T was very impressed with the fresh & stylish design, the contrasting elements between the ebony black colouring to the genuine copper face. Its a piece that can add class to any outfit for any occasion, and is lighter than what you would expect too.jord2jord3jord
You can get this particular series in four colours, and retails for £227.
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*Disclosure: We were sent this watch for the purpose of an honest review. All images, words and opinions are our own. Thank you so much to Jord Watches for creating such a stylish timeless piece.
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Siblings in October 2016

This month has see our little gang bonding more and more each day (along with the occasional squabble!) As the two bigger girls are at school now, I am seeing more and more how much the little two have a blossoming bond as well - with a different and less distracted set of eyes. As a foursome though they are so close, sometimes clash but love each other fiercely. They've been enjoying the last of the summery evenings and the signs of Autumn approaching, talking to each other about how when the leaves fall of the trees they can them call them 'Bald heads'. Our school run journeys seem to be a lot more chilled these days with a more chilled out two year old who actually seems to enjoy the ride most of the time now - it's still such an effort getting all five of us in the car though, sigh! So we're very much looking forward to half term, more time to spend together as a whole and lots of time for playing and taking it easy, or living at a less schedule pace at least!
ourtribeoctober2016-4My three girls & my boy - What a lucky Mama.
ourtribeoctober2016Little Didi's expression doesn't change throughout the images bless her, sleepy but probably thinking how on earth the ended up in this bonkers tribe. ;)
ourtribeoctober2016-2His face in this is Priceless, sums up his cheekiness!
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Elements of Élodie – The first six months.




 I know it sounds cliche but I can’t believe that we’re here already. It seems so clear in my mind that I gave birth to you in the most beautiful and relaxed (but speedy) water birth. The weeks seemed to last a life time yet soon turned into months and here we are now. You are such a delightful little baby, and you just ooze happiness. Holding you close and feeling as you relax when with me, how you snuggle into my neck and go bashful when people chatter to you are some of the little things that I want to remember forever. Those along with so many more, including this little list i’ve been making since you were weeks old. Simple and ordinary things that I don’t want to forget. I am absolutely loving this stage we’re at right now, there was never going to be a feeling of if having a fourth baby would fit in, you do it so well, you’re the piece to our puzzle that seems to have been here before, I have said it since the moment you were born and you were wide awake taking everything in, gazing all around you as if you knew something, as if you had been here before, listening to our voices, moving around your arms so peacefully. Then that went on to how you started interacting with people, and still do now. You gurgle and coo as if you have all the answers, as if you can suss everyone out. Your sparkly blue eyes are so twinkly, your little button nose is the double of your big sister Halle’s, your hair is very similar to your biggest sister Yve’s and you’ve found a new best friend in your big brother. You’ve recently discovered a love of Daddy’s beard, twiddling it as you peacefully go off to sleep, dreaming in the land of nod, that is until you realise Mummy isn’t right next to you and you wake up for a feed, and again, and again some nights. You don’t cry, you just fidget something chronic and love to be close, to feel my cheek and to be next to you. Some nights you like to sleep in your bed too, but for now I think i’m embracing all the extra cuddles with my last littlest baby.
I feel so proud to watch you grow even if I wish time to slow down, I want to remember it all, treasure it all, forever and always.
Heres the list I made of all her little quirks and things I don’t want to forget about these first six months of having her around:

The first few weeks: I just can’t get enough of her soft sweet smelling skin, chubby cheeks that are so kissable. I knew she was going to be a little chunk from looking at her last scan photos, her cheeks were huge! Like her three older siblings she finds a lot of comfort when snuggled into Mama’s pink and brown polkadot fleece dressing gown, The thing I wore hours after giving birth to each of them. Her lovely long legs I could stroke for hours, soft fluffy hair down her back & arms just like her big sister Halle’s. She really is such a content little thing, and is so loved by her older siblings. Something I remember with all of my little ones is the way they do the funniest grunts when feeding as if to say ‘Thanks Mumma’. One of her Aunties gave her first bath at one week old, her skin was so fresh and un touched yet so clean before the bath anyway! Breastfeeding is a huge struggle as I have an open wound and intense pain 24/7, we’ll get through it together though. Her first outing in a pushchair was on the 26th April 2016, other than that she goes in the Liberty sling which she loves, and me as it makes things easier with four little ones, especially on school runs! At three weeks old she had her first little smile that wasn’t due to wind, it was in response to the sound of Mamas voice, so sweet! Her usual night feeding is around 9pm,12,3,6am give or take an hour. She doesn’t cry, just fidgets a lot and is settled back off to sleep pretty easily (most of the time, or she will just stare at me with big eyes that I can see only with the light from the moon creeping in from the curtains!)

Aged 7-9 weeks: – Our feeding journey is a lot better  and she is sleeping well most nights waking only once or twice.

12 weeks: She loves being in the water so much, maybe it’s being a water baby that contributes to this. Something thats so sweet is how Phoenix refers to Élodie feeding as “Élodie kissing your boobie Mummy?” or “Élodie biting your boobie Mummy?”. Feeding is now completely blissful and without any pain which is making so much difference in my stress levels as I can concentrate on enjoying these moments with her more now instead of dreading the pain every feed. I find it much more easier to feed her upstairs on our bed if she’s due a nap as she will just drift off and I don’t have to move her. She usually has around two naps a day but can get disturbed if having to move her on the school runs or just in & out of the car. Ever since birth she has been so strong, but over the weeks she’s definitely gaining so much strength and lifting her head lots and reacting to the noises of her older siblings.

14 weeks: Rolled onto back from tummy, She’s still loving the Snuzpod thats next to Mummy even though she ends up snuggled with us anyway. She’s also had her first couple of trips to one of our favourite places, Mudedford.

17 weeks: Hello sleep regression! She’s absolutely loving holding, grabbing and playing with toys and laying on the playmat. Something she’s got a little habit of is hold hands together like she’s praying when feeding and sucking on her thumb at the same time as feeding too!

18 weeks: Loving on grabbing faces lately, especially Mummy’s when feeding or when playing peek-a-boo. She has started to realise when i’m not in the room or when I leave the room without her in my arms. She will be sat on Daddy’s lap all happy and then will make the cutest noises as if she’s calling me back! She really is such a happy little baby, we keep talking about it all the time that she seems like she’s been here before and got it all sussed out. She is almost out of 3-6month clothing and already wearing some 6-9 month ones and will usually feed in the night 2/3 times between 9pm & 6. She recently had her vaccinations and this breaks my heart overtime, I think I cry more than the baby! but she was full of smiles after cuddles from us all and handled the aftermath okay despite having a slight temperature. She’s loving sitting on our bed, but finds it equally amusing when she flops to the side within about ten seconds.
21 – 23 weeks: Hello food! She’s had a little try on an apple recently, I think she was chewing it more than eating but she’s enjoyed trying out a biscotti in her highchair taking in all that surrounds her – usually crazy siblings! Something else she is loving is butter on toast, all three of her siblings loved this too. Cucumber has been a nice change, she first tried this while we were having lunch in a restaurant and it definitely kept her entertained! She is now chuffed to pieces that she can sit with assistance, even better when on harder ground but just needs to learn how to land gracefully. The interaction with her older siblings is the most beautiful thing to watch, she loves them all in her own little way it seems already. She’s now developed a love for playing with hair or Daddy’s beard, also just like big sister Halle. Its funny how siblings can be different but have similar things in common whether physical or in characteristics. I see this in all of them. Yves & Phoenix look more alike, and now Halle has a mini-me too! This cheeky little monkey keeps sitting up in her bouncer chair so I think the days are numbered for that now even though she does like to lay in it when she’s sleepy and watch the fishtank. She’s just overcome her first little cold, all bunged up and wow doesn’t t interfere with feeding – definitely more night wakings as she was just so sniffly, poor thing. (and poor Mummy’s eye-bags!)
24-26 weeks: Slowly chasing after her siblings in her walker is a new favourite, that and hanging out in the highchair with bread sticks or veg. She’s recently tried cheese & potato pie which she loved, also enjoying trying out the ‘My Little Piccolo’ Range that we’ve kindly been sent. We’ve moved her out of the beloved Snuzpod now (full review coming soon!) and she is now into the cot thats gone through all four of our babies. It’s crazy too as for some reason with the other three I never thought about taking one side off and attaching it to the bed in the same way the snuz does, I’m so sad that she’s making this transition from the snuzpod to cot but its basically the same format but on a bigger scale – still manages to be in our bed in the small hours though some nights. I’m not sure why we never thought of having one side off before with the others?! Only realised now with the fourth, typical! …This little lady finds her Daddy’s beard very comforting nowadays, especially when very sleepy or needing to drift back off to sleep from being woken up. She’s familiarising with so many people as well now and gets all giddy when being spoken to and tucks into mine or Daddy’s chin. Even though she’s always been a smiler and giggles, today on her six month day she let out the hugest laugh at mummy playing peekaboo while she had a top on her head playing either side like floppy ears, it was adorable and had us all laughing! She also has decided to give kisses, to Daddy in particular at the moment, so sweet! She is just such a delightful baby and yes i’m sad that she’s not tiny anymore and I keep having tears prickling my eyes, feeling a huge pang in my heart daily and for the fact that all this has also been so fleeting with my three other little ones too, but I’m excited and feel so happy that Im someone who gets to watch her grow.
How has it gone so fast? I’ve also found it so hard to choose photos as I have a million and love them all but here’s a little selection!

I love you to the moon & back….and more.
Mama x

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Making the most of the weekends.

Once we know it's Friday, something appears in the air that makes us feel so glad that the weekend is finally here. Not that we're wishing the week away or making the most of each day and all that but for me, it's the knowing that for a couple of days, there are no structured plans, no time limits, and this means more time for them to play, get creative, and to spend with us. Their Daddy sometimes works Saturday mornings, and has football in the afternoons, so this leaves me thinking what we can do to occupy some time (usually the days when they're asking what to do, or saying they're a bit bored - it's funny how as an adult you see quiet time as blissful, yet we probably were all the same as kids, striving to fill up all the time with play, activities, and adventures!).

So if we're not off out on a trip to the park, adventure of some sort or a day out we will either go to Grampy's for a play (and to get a chocolate treat!) you'll usually find us making the most of being at home. Now it's obviously not always plain sailing as kids will be kids, sometimes days don't go to plan with regards to them being happy or not arguing, but on the most part, they enjoy a bit of 'down time' in their own territory, with endless access to the craft cupboard, playroom, kitchen, garden and usually a bit of DVD time. 

Last weekend Phoenix wasn't feeling too well, so he had a snuggle & went for a much needed lay down. It's takes a lot for that little dude to just give in and recharge but he did it and felt much better for it in the end. At the same time, Élodie went for a nap and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to have a little play with my big girls without distraction. We were recently sent a kit from Aquabeads, to have a little party and share our creations, we wanted to have a bigger party inviting friends around but as little Phoenix wasn't feeling too great, we stuck with making our own at home. This included bunting, balloons, and we made some cake too! When Phoenix woke up that little bit brighter, he wanted to join in and was itching to make a racing car bead. This set is really cool actually as it give them a guide to design and make but also enables them to use their imagination and create anything. 
Yves made up her own baby chick, snails & sweets, Halle loved making some flowers with stems, sweets & snails and you can see phoenix's racing car he made with mummy along with some other lovely creations.
Now we love a bit of messy play in our house, but sometimes the tidying up isn't what I want on my list along with the mess I'm already tidying up so the good things about these is that you don't need glue, you simply place your design and when completed spray with water and leave for an hour or so for it to set - easy as that! You can see the whole selection on the website.
Usually it's all of us having a part in the play, or they play together while I'm feeding (sometimes bickering!) or I'm finding myself trying to juggle the play on all four levels but usually it goes okay! The past year or so I have found it hard to adjust to having a school girl, and more recently two school girls, emotionally more so but the practicalities of not seeing them as much is a change and I miss them lots. Of course I am loving spending some quality time with my little two, but it's only natural to miss my big girls and this makes the weekends so much more special. A time to make the most that little bit more, especially as the weekday evenings tend to whizz by in an instant, fitting it stories, home work and after school activities. 

Weekends are definitely welcomed, family time, and no plans to stick to!
*Thank you to Aquabeads for sending us a great kit :)



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Saturday, 1 October 2016

The most important thing you can wear, is confidence. (Featuring Kurt Geiger)

When growing up, something I found difficult to be was comfortable in my own skin. There were times when I just went with the flow, believed I looked and felt good in what I was wearing but 80% of the time is wasn't the case and thats not something I would like my children to grow up feeling like. 

I'm still on a path of feeling confident in what I wear, since becoming a Mama, and more so of now four littles its safe to say my body has changed over the last few years. So I want to keep trying & show my kiddo's the true meaning of having your own mind, and loving yourself inside & out. 

With children we can often (us included) try to dictate what they wear, I mean sometimes we would talk them into wearing some outfits if we're going somewhere nice or they had been gifted them for some reason or another but as the bigger girls have got bigger, (well they have always had strong heads on them when it comes to clothing!) they have a real interest in what they wear and it shows in how they feel when wearing them. As they are now getting more individual, I think it's really important to let them explore with their clothing, to what suits them, comfort, colours, textures, you name it. Its a wonderful element of them building their own personality and its amazing what differences we see between them even though they do still sometimes love the same thing too!

I want my children to grow up with the deep knowledge that they can wear whatever they feel comfortable in, embrace their own style and to forever stay true to their authentic self. This is something I've grown up not finding as easy thing to do, and i'm still learning now at the age of 27. I'm battling through each day to try and change my way or thought, remember that I am my own authentic-self too. Having kids has changed my body, but I have had these feelings all my life. If anything, having my children is showing me that having the confidence is the best thing you can wear. If you've got an outfit/pair of shoes/ hair do' that you aren't really feeling then you will deep down feel rubbish and that can eat away at you. It will take me time, but with each day, its one step closer. 

I just love the attitude kids have towards anything, I love the way they see past imperfections, don't even recognise them at all or actually find them beautiful. They can combine so many items of clothing and feel amazingly cool, if I wake up feeling less than perfect, they show me all the reasons to feel great about oneself, they show me that the beauty oozes from within, and filters out.

After all, 'It's not what you wear, it's how you wear it'.



This post isn't really about clothing as such but shoe wear and so when we were very kindly given the opportunity to each choose a pair of shoes from Kurt Geiger, I stood back and let my girls choose their own as did I choose mine.  

Here's what we decided on:
Halle chose this stunning pair of pumps by Mini Miss KG. The crushed glitter effect on the top is something she was drawn to right away, The elastic inserts make it much easier when wanting to get out to play faster! I also only noticed once we received them that they say this on the back of each shoe - suits her so much! 
A wonderful thing about kurtgeiger.com is that you can purchase lots of other different brands, they also have some great sales at times too. Yves chose these lovely shiny rose gold TOMS, they were a little bit big but she's growing into them and they look fab, and comfortable! I have a pair of TOMS autumn boots from last year so I know the potentials for comfort. 
They absolutely love their choices, as do I.
Bruises on legs from being adventurous (or clumsy like me), childhood in its truest form.
As for me, I was asked by the people at KG to choose three choices and they would send me one pair, I originally had a pair of grey leather high top pumps but due to my wide foot they didn't fit right for me despite being super stylish, so we returned them and I was sent these in return. How gorgeous are they? I've been searching for a while now for some really nice black leather chelsea boots, these ones have lovely detail on them with the different textures contrasting with each other and I really love the elasticated side panels too which are great for the mad morning dash ready for the school run! I don't usually like the pointed toe shape but these are just very versatile and make any outfit look that little bit more special.
Whats great about the kids section is that if you can order some of them in adult sizing too but with them still staying the childrens pricing, bonus!
Our cheeky Halle who loves a bit of sparkle.
Our little Yve's, who turns SIX at the end of the month, where have those years gone?
The older girls having a go at photographing Daddy, they love taking photos! 
Here's a grumpy outtake for good measure ;)
This post is in collaboration with Kurt Geiger on there 'Mommy & me' Campaign. All images, thoughts and opinions are my own.
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