Starting Advent Traditions…

I don’t know if it’s the political climate, the trend for more considered and authentic celebrations, or having a young family, but this year, instead of stuffing the advent calendar with chocolate I felt the need to do something more thoughtful. (Strike that, as well as the chocolate! You can’t leave out the chocolate!) Part of it was wanting Bea to enjoy the build up to Christmas more than just wanting daily chocolate, and part of it was a desire to start creating new family traditions and making memories. So I decided to fill the calendar with prompts for fun and celebratory things to do in the lead up to Christmas.

I thought I would share them here (we were a little late starting due to a sickness bug doing the rounds,) and you could perhaps take inspiration from the idea for the future or just pick a few to enjoy this year.

1. Light the Advent Candle
2. Write a letter to Santa (post before the 8th for a reply!)
3. Buy a Christmas Tree
4. Read ‘The Night Before Christmas’
5. Decorate the Christmas Tree
6. Sing some Christmas songs/carols
7. See some Christmas lights (We are going to an illuminated Christmas trail at Dunham Massey)
8. Make some Christmas cards
9. Put up some Christmas lights
10. Make some Gingerbread
11. Decorate your bedroom
12. Take a festive family photo
13. Decorate a Gingerbread house
14. Watch a Christmas film (Our Favourite is The Polar Express)
15. Go to a Christmas Party
16. Make some Hot Chocolate
17. Deliver some Christmas presents
18. Wrap a Christmas Present
19. Play some Christmas music (on the piano with Daddy)
20. Do something kind or charitable in the spirit of the season.
21. Eat a mince Pie
22. Hang up your stocking
23. Go to the theatre
24. Put out the carrots and mince pies for Rudolf and Santa!

Before you dismiss the idea as being too hard work, I need to let you into a little secret here – make the prompts work with you, not against you! For example, on Mondays and Fridays Pete works late which means I do solo school pick up, dinner, bedtime and all the tantrums in between. So on those days I’ve put in really simple things that don’t require much effort or input and that I hope won’t aggravate an already tired 3 year old. I’ve also manipulated the prompts to include some activities that we already have planned – for example, on the 6th it’s Bea’s school Christmas sing-along, and she has been invited to a party on the 15th. We are going to see The Snowman on the 23rd, and to a light show on the 7th. On the 17th we are seeing family we won’t see at Christmas.

I’ve also included some things kind of twice – buying and decorating the tree for example – as we didn’t feel ready (or able, as Cora has been ill this weekend) to put up the tree today but wanted to buy it. And making and decorating a gingerbread house seemed a bit ambitious for one day!

I’m planning on using my diary to keep a note of upcoming prompts so I can include Gingerbread ingredients in the weekly shop for example, and so I can get the decorations for Bea’s room put into a box ready rather than scrabbling about for them on the evening we need them. More than anything I’m just hoping to make some memories and savour the build up to the season. Particularly as I’m on maternity leave and it’s Cora’s first Christmas (although this is heavily biased towards Bea!) I’m hoping it will go well enough to become an annual tradition.

I’d love to hear if you already do something like this, if you can think of any prompts I could include in future years (I’m thinking ice-skating…?) or if you are inspired to include some in your calendar. If you do join in with any of them, no matter what the order, please do share and tag your photos with #FFAdvent and I’ll have a peep at what you are all up to!

Rebecca x

Reviewed: Watergate Bay Hotel

As I write this, I’m sat on a lushiously plump sofa in front of a window bigger than the footprint of my bathroom, watching the surf roll into Watergate Bay. You could say this is my happy place and in fact this is the kind of post that I hesitate to write because I just don’t want to share it with anyone. But the secret is well out, not least because I always share copious photos on Instagram when we are here. So here you have it, my review of Watergate Bay Hotel.

To give you a little bit of context, this is our 4th visit in 18ish months. We first came when Bea was 18 months old, in February, then again that October (when I was pregnant with Cora,) this year in June and now in November. So we have seen all seasons. We have also stayed in 2 different room types, tried all the food options and given the Spa and Swim club a good work out, so I’d like to consider this an informed review. Importantly too, I’m not getting compensated for this post, we just really really love it here. I honestly don’t have anything bad to say.

First things first, getting there. We have driven and flown – FlyBe goes from Manchester to Cornwall and as we live close to the airport and it’s an internal flight, it makes it a less than 3 hour hop door to door, compared with 6 if we drive. Since having kids we prefer to fly, but we did this current trip by car and it was better than expected. There are advantages to driving as you can take in the local area, but to be honest we often find we don’t leave the hotel vicinity as we have enough to do here, so a car is definitely not essential. If you do fly, the airport is a mere 5 minute taxi ride away, though do book your ride in advance so you can get straight onto your holiday relaxation.

The hotel is perched on the cliffs overlooking Watergate Bay so there are quite simply EPIC views. Once you are checked in you can head straight into the Living Space, the hotel’s bar and casual dining spot which has a massive terrace for soaking up the view, and tons of lounging space alongside tables for eating. It’s one of those places where you walk in and look up, and the view takes your breath away. For me personally the feeling of relaxation and wellbeing that I get when I walk in there is second to none and plays no small part in why we keep returning.

The rooms (and the hotel decor) are coastal inspired but not in a cliched way. Think natural materials, driftwood panelling, and simple wood furnishings with waffle throws, sisal rugs and linen cushions. Add in wall mounted task lighting and it feels quietly comfortable. We usually stay in a House Family Suite, (room 51 is our favourite,) which has a bathroom, bedroom, small sitting area, and (best bit!) a bunk room within the bedroom which Bea goes in. This means we aren’t sat in the dark once she has gone to sleep, and neither of us disturb each others sleep overnight. Cue restful family holiday all round!

The second thing we LOVE about this place is the baby monitoring facility. Not just a baby listening service, upon check in you are given an android tablet and camera to place in your room. There is a rock solid separate wifi network throughout the hotel (it actually extends across the carpark to Jamie’s and The Beach Hut if you want to venture that far but we prefer to get a babysitter via the Kids club if we leave the hotel,) so you can have the total peace of mind that comes from being able to actually see your kids whilst you’re out of the room. You can even have two monitors if you have a child in each room. For us this absolutely makes the holiday as we get to go out every night alone for dinner after the kids are in bed, or for drinks if we have eaten earlier with them, and have some time to ourselves. It also means that nap time is golden hour. We have coffee, read, swim, go in the hot tub, use the spa… all whilst watching them sleep peacefully.

There are several eating options to enjoy – The Living Space that I mentioned above, and Zachry’s – which is where you have breakfast but also a more refined (whilst still far from formal,) evening restaurant. The food here is fresh local and we find it quite filling, so whilst the DB&B deals are great value, we prefer to have only one or two nights in the main restaurant. The Living Space menu is quite small but the daily specials are always interesting and enjoyable. Across the car park is Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and under that The Beach Hut – also owned by the hotel, which we love. The crab linguine there is not to be missed! The hotel also does a children’s dinner sitting from 5-6pm which is either a buffet (when there are enough kids in the hotel to justify it,) or a kids menu. This is included in the DB&B rates. Under 2′s eat free. This is great we find for feeding the kids without having to worry about other child-free diners and also early enough to get them into bed ready for you to go and enjoy the evening.

The other fantastic thing at WGB Hotel is the Kids Zone. This is the first visit which we have used the closed sessions from 10-12am Monday-Friday as previously Bea didn’t want to stay without us. She has had a whale of a time playing outside in the play area, painting, playing with the toys and all fully supervised by qualified staff. Sessions are for 6m-2yo’s and 3-7yo’s then there is also an evening 3-7yo session from 6.30 which is handy if you don’t want to leave your little one in the room while you eat later, or if they wouldn’t tolerate going down somewhere new. And when there isn’t a closed session running, the whole kids club area and facilities are open for you to use with your kids – great for entertaining them when they just need some playtime.

Although I’m writing this review from the perspective of someone who has children, one of the nice things about the hotel is (outside of the peak school holidays) it has never felt over run with children. There are just as many couples and groups of friends as there are families which gives a really good dynamic and I have never felt like the other child-free adults there really wished there weren’t children around. The hotel is dog friendly too and there is usually a fantastic vibe of friendly people around, dogs to stroke, other parents and kid to make passing conversation with and fun, helpful staff.

Lastly, I always try to fit a treatment in at the swim club. Every one I have had so far has been totally blissful. The Ocean Room is a quiet space for well behaved kids only and adults only after 7pm and the outdoor hot tub overlooking the beach is very relaxing. We go swimming at least once a day every day with the girls in the stunning sea view pool and I love that the changing facilities feel like a bathroom you would want in your home, not a public pool. Think countertop sinks, amazing showers, interesting tiles and slate floors in individual changing rooms. There is also an accessible/family changing room and a small gym.

So how do we spend our time here I hear you say? Well, we certainly kick down a gear and go at a slower pace. Breakfast starts at 8 and we are usually there soon after, for Waffles, bircher muesli, croissants and the usual cereals, cooked breakfast and fruit etc. (The breakfast is an absolute highlight!) Previously we would head straight to the pool after, but this time Bea has gone to kids club and while Cora naps we have enjoyed another coffee and relaxed. Then we might have a quick beach walk or swim before lunch (in the Living Space or The Beach Hut) and napping both the kids together before either swimming or walking on the beach again. WGB is massive so at low tide you can get a great walk up and down the beach plus you can take the Coastal path in either direction for some variation. We usually feed the girls at the kids dinner session whilst having a drink ourselves then head back to bath and bed them, but sometimes we might eat out with them earlier then put them to bed and go back downstairs for drinks and to read or talk in the bar. Then we do it all again the next day! We often think of going out, and we do go for the day to Padstow but we are more likely to get out of the hotel by walking some of the Coastal path or the beach, digging with Bea or building sandcastles. There’s a Surf school in the bay, Yoga and other classes. But mostly we like just pottering, eating and making the most of sleeping children!

I think I’ve covered everything… I could go into so much more detail and wax lyrical for hours but I think you get the gist! Please do ask any questions, I’d love to answer them. WGB really has become an incredibly special place for us and we hope to be coming back here for many more years as a family. If you have been thinking about it, don’t hesitate. It’s amazing!

Rebecca x

Psssst! While we are still here I’ve been posting loads of peeks inside our holiday and the hotel itself over on Instagram Stories. Head over to my Instagram profile and tap on my profile photo to see more!

Found: Your Super Model Smile

I don’t often write about make up because in all honesty, I don’t mess with mine much. I’m seriously loyal when I find something I like, and don’t get the time I would like to play with my look or get dressed up so much these days. Quelle Surprise.

However, what I do like, is beauty that works hard for me. I’m lazy and leave the same item in my bag for the school run, lunch with a friend and (once in a blue moon,) date night. And if it’s not too much to ask I want that product to function as a lip balm too, because despite owning about 500 Burts bees lip balms, I can’t ever quite manage to keep one to hand. So the good news is I have found a serious wonder product that I want to share with you all, because I think it suits EVERYONE.

It’s actually a product that came in the (2016) M&S Beauty Advent Calendar, the Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy. There are a few colours but the one to go for is Supermodel Smile. It’s an amazing glossy nude that looks incredibly natural. (I should add it’s nowhere near as pink as it looks here.) The colour seems to work just as well slicked on when I’m casting about in my bag for something to moisturise on a cold sprint to nursery first thing in the morning, as it does with a smokey eye for an evening out. It’s a gorgeous moisturising formula and a really soft smooth texture. Yet it doesn’t just slip off and disappear instantly.

It’s £12.50 and you need one in your life. You can thank me later. ;) And if you’d like to see more I’ll do a little video on stories of me applying and wearing it. Follow me on Instagram here!

Have a great weekend!
Rebecca

Found: Mid-Century style chandelier lighting

A quickie tonight readers… (I just can’t stay away after the warm reception you all gave me yesterday here and on Instagram. Thank you!)

I’m hoping to bring you all a before/after reveal of our dining room renovation very soon, but for once in this Forth Road Bridge of a house, I’d like to actually finish the room first. I’m very good at sorting the big stuff like fireplaces and decoration but not so good at styling the finishing touches. Must try harder.


Left – Made.com Tangle Chandelier, Right – M&S Sputnik

Anyway, we are currently short of some kind of mirror or art installation on two of the walls and a light. Lighting and I have a complicated relationship. I’m a bit of a fussy madam when it comes to light fittings and have expensive taste. Show me a design classic or something pricey and I’m likely to be all over it, but as my post alluded to yesterday, we’ve got a few outgoings planned (understatement of the year) with this extension so something a bit kinder to the budget would be preferable. Maybe it won’t be a forever light but let’s face it, it’s unlikely I’ll find another one soon and if I have to look at the Laura Ashley circa 2009 butterfly shade that is 50 shades of wrong in there any longer, I may just shut the door and never go back in.

So help me choose readers! Sputnik style or Asymmetrical glass shades? I need to move quickly on this one as the Sputnik style is 20% off until tomorrow night at M&S!

Love, Rebecca.

PS, before I spotted these two today, I was considering this Multi-outlet industrial style light fitting from Dowsing and Reynolds, with the plan to get longer cable and spread the bulbs out across the ceiling – let me know if you prefer it!

A tentative hello…

Well hello readers! Are there even any readers out there? I’d forgive you if not… it’s been almost 8 long months since I wrote a blog post here, announcing that Cora had arrived, bumping our little family to four. I’m lying when I say it’s been 8 long months though, good grief they have flown. The days have whistled past, the nights though? They have been loooooong. Having two children has Kicked. My. Ass.

So many times I’ve wanted to write a blog post but haven’t had the time. When I have had opportunity, sleep has often been higher up the agenda. Cora has not been a great sleeper… In fact as I write this, it’s 05.42am and I’m sat in the feeding chair, having failed to put her back down once and with the genius idea to try and use my time productively, I’m typing on my phone.


Cora at Francesca’s hen weekend // Plannign the amazing flowers with Miss Pickering // The Tipi’s pre-wedding // My sister, The Bride!

Aside from having a baby (which frankly, would have been quite enough thank you,) it’s been a busy old 8 months. Aside from the daily, no, hourly trials and tribulations of having two, we’ve had a few milestone events going on. My sister got engaged just two weeks before Cora was born and married a week ago. With a short engagement it was all hands on deck and lots of appointments and planning to be done that I helped her with. In September Bea started preschool nursery at the local primary school, a decision we had agonised over and I’ll come back to in a separate blog post at some point. And behind all of that… the project that has been grumbling along since we bought this house, but in ernest for the last almost two years, we are finally about to start the extension we had in mind when we first looked around this house.


Choosing floor tiles // My original inspiration for the extension // Bathroom shopping // Architects meetings

Some of you might remember the ‘monster pipe’ story. If not, here is the blog post if you want to read about it. Essentially our house is built almost on top of a large overflow sewer which predates the house and is massive. 1m across, 4m underground. (Which isn’t as deep as it sounds when you consider that we have cellars!) When we bought the house we were told there was no way we would ever be able to build over it but after realising (2 years in) that the house just wasn’t working for us with a baby in tow, we decided to make some bigger moves to try and get the go ahead. We managed it and then were planning to start in January this year when Cora was due in March, so we postponed. Looking back that wasn’t realistic at all… there have been delays and decisions at every turn and I’m determined to get this particular project right. Leaving the top floor aside, it will finish the house for us, adding a much needed family living/dining space and utility room, and rejigging the downstairs loo, hallway, landing and extending the first floor bathroom. What started out as simply adding a ‘glass box’ to the back of the house has spiralled somewhat… whilst I absolutely can’t wait to have it done, I really don’t want to ‘do’ it at all – particularly as we will be living in it throughout.

We’ve also been to Greece, Cornwall (twice) and The Lake District, Just So Festival, renovated the dining room and acclimatised to being a family of four. Honestly that has been my longest and toughest project, one I’m still working on, but also one that I finally feel comfortable with. It’s only taken 8 months!

Anyway, I want to expand on all of these things, and so many others, so I’ll be back. Fingers crossed!

Rebecca.

Meet Cora Clementine…

Today was my due date so it seems fitting to share here (apologies if you’ve already seen the news on my Instagram or Facebook) that we welcomed our second little girl 12 days early, on the 7th of March.

Introducing Cora Clementine – Born Tuesday at 04.18, weighing 6lb 1oz. We are in love.

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This time around was completely different, from her birth, to being home with Bea, but she is a tiny bundle of perfection and we are all loving getting to know her. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to share her birth story and a bit more about being a family of 4!

Rebecca x

The Hospital Bag…

Very quick post this morning readers! I’m after a bit of advice…

Last time with Bea I never packed a hospital bag for ‘labour’ per se – maybe it was a sign but I never felt the need then found out just short of 38 weeks that she was likely to be Breech and therefore that I would have a C-section. So whilst I packed a kind of over night bag and stuff for baby like nappies and gro’s, I didn’t pack anything for myself that I may need in terms of if I had stitches, or useful items for during labour.

I thought this might be the kind of info that other people find useful, so I’d ask your advice and open it up to others too. What could you have not lived without in labour? What helped or didn’t get used? I don’t want to cart everything but the kitchen sink in!

Thanks guys!

Rebecca x

Second time around…

I’ve realised that I haven’t written anything about being pregnant this time around, (who am I kidding, I’m not writing anything about anything really, blame the nesting!) so thought it was time I did! I’m well into my third trimester and I’m not going to lie, pregnancy has really taken it out of me this time. In all honesty last time I can say that I barely noticed I was pregnant. This time has been so much harder and I’m sure that 90% of that is going through it with a toddler thrown into the mix too. I became pregnant about a month before Bea turned 2 and whilst it’s a lovely and fun age, it’s certainly one you could do with being on your toes for!

Third trimester! #babybump #thirdtrimester #icarriedawatermelon #bigsister

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Physically, I feel the same as with Bea. I had very little nausea, and a problem free first trimester for which I still feel very lucky! I definitely ‘popped out’ earlier – I think it was only by about 20 weeks I had a is-she, isn’t-she type bump last time and this time it was fairly convincing at least a month earlier. I blame the lack of effort I put into core exercises last time… nothing to do with the cake. ;) Seriously speaking though, this time around I have definitely put less weight on. I haven’t given myself quite the same license to eat EVERYTHING as I did last time, though I’m by no means resisting much! I actually haven’t been as hungry I think and I have certainly reached the feeling ‘full of baby’ stage much earlier.

26 weeks and feeling massive! I'm sure I wasn't this big with Bea! #26weeks

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Last time I never experienced any braxton hicks (practice contractions when the womb gets tight and hard briefly) and this time they started around 20 weeks. It actually took me a few weeks to work out what was going on then I’ve had a good few weeks with none again and now they are back. Hopefully it’s all getting my body ready for labour as I plan to try and have a natural delivery this time (Bea was a planned C-Section as she was Breech.) Unfortunately the main thing that has bothered me has been my back and pelvis. My back has always been a bit iffy if I don’t take care of it and I do tend to over do things. Towards the end of my last pregnancy my sacro-iliac joints (lower back) were a bit sore but I blamed too much DIY as we were completing work on our kitchen and guest room. In all honesty it never really recovered as I think the pregnancy hormone relaxin affected me quite a lot, then it’s effects were perpetuated by breast feeding for so long – I only stopped when I was pregnant again this time. Going straight into another pregnancy clearly hasn’t helped and picking Bea up a lot still really takes its toll. Added to that I’ve had some very strange Pelvic Girdle Pain (the new name for what was formerly known as SPD or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) which has been really unpleasant at times. Thankfully it seems to come and go without warning and has mainly cleared up but I’ve had to take a massive reality check on what its sensible for me to keep doing.

27weeks: having 'cuddles on the sofa' with 'my baby'. Me too Bea, me too.

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The funny thing about this pregnancy has been that it is at once more real and more distant than last time. This time around I’m excited and desperate to meet this baby in a way I never was with Bea because I had no idea how amazing it was going to be. My placenta is at the back this time which means I’ve had loads of fun with amazing big movements and many a happy hour with Pete talking about the future whilst we feel our next little love wriggling in there. But at the same time it’s flown by with barely a thought towards preparation or time to think much about ‘being pregnant’. The weeks blur into months and compared to my weekly bump watch last time I have about a handful of photos this time – I keep having to remind myself to take one! Its bittersweet too. Bea is so excited about ‘the baby’ but I’m starting to really worry how she will cope with sharing me. I know she will gain so much from having a sibling but I don’t think there’s any denying she will find it tough for a while first. And it will break my heart I know.

I’d love to hear from any of you readers who are preparing for a second baby or who have already crossed that bridge. Was it the same for you?

Love, Rebecca.

Bea at Two

Just over a month ago, Bea turned two. Gone are the days of measuring her age in months and gone is my baby. Theres now a true toddler in the house, and don’t we all know it!

It’s true what they say, that they just get more and more fun as they get older. I couldn’t understand when Pete used to say already at even 1 year old that she was so much more interesting now than a newborn (that with Bea we were endlessly fascinated by,) and another small one would be so, well, boring by comparison. Although I remember that new mum obsession well, I can finally see what he means. Bea is my little companion now, chats all day and has her own little ways and plans. God help me when they don’t align with mine.

Beautiful balmy evening for playing in the garden!

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We still baby wear (the photo taken here was only a week ago), favouring it over a pram. In fact we used the pram for a wedding a couple of weekends ago, purely to put her in during the evening reception once she had fallen asleep in the wrap. The time I had used it previously was a few weeks before last Christmas for a big shopping trip – thats how seldom we do reach for it. I’m lucky I guess in that she is still pretty tiny for her age (she remains on the 9th gentile and currently weighs about 26lbs,) but she is also not wrapped for anywhere near as long as she used to be, having been keen to walk since about 22 months I’d say. Of course, little legs get tired and soon enough she reaches up with arms outstretched saying ‘carry,’ and now I can’t carry her as long in arms, she still has to go in the wrap. The difference is she often specifies if she goes on the front or back. In fact, beyond basic transportation, it has been a godsend for generally calming her as a toddler. When situations have been overwhelming, when she is tired, teething or unhappy for some reason, sometimes I still reach for the wrap just to reconnect and re-set and it has never failed us.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the ‘terrible two’s haven’t really hit here yet. Bea started to tantrum around the age of 1, when she couldn’t have a toy or some other item (usually something dangerous/unsuitable,) but was always easily distracted. Now I find her behaviour deteriorates when she is tired, (no change there then,) and also clearly when she is seeking attention. I have always said, Bea is 100% amazing when you give her 100% of your attention! Thats not to say she’s outwardly demanding it – she doesn’t dance around me saying ‘look at me’ just yet, but she does immediately start doing mischievous/naughty things when I’m not able to give her all of my attention and that’s when I really risk loosing it with her. No amount of ‘Just wait one minute while Mummy does this‘ will work and infact, she does progressively worse things which makes me more mad and I have to remind myself in these situations to just stop, sort her out and come back to whatever I was doing later.

Girl on the train. #toddlersofinstagram #biggirl #two #love

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Speech has been the biggest change in Bea over recent months. She really didn’t start saying words until she was about 19months, then new words came thick and fast. At two she was starting sentences and now she tells me whole stories about something that has happened or she wants to do. I absolutely love that we can have little conversations about things. At the end of the day she can tell me what she has done and her little observations can be really funny!

Just around the age of two we had a really difficult phase with pushing. Bea has never pushed other kids despite being subjected to it a lot herself and we couldn’t decide if it was a learned behaviour or frustration. I eventually recognised after a lot of chatting to mum friends and a bit of reading that she was feeling really overwhelmed and frustrated in social situations, particularly when toys were involved. It is natural for parents I think to encourage sharing as a necessary social skill but it took me time to realise she (and kids her age) aren’t capable of it. She was previously good at ‘sharing’ but on reflection she was just ‘giving’ toys to other kids when we asked. I eventually read a really useful article about how you shouldn’t encourage sharing, but the child (be it yours or another child,) who has the toy gets to keep it for as long as they want. You have to empathise with your child that they don’t get to have it just yet but explain when the other child is done, they can play with it then. This is supposed to make them feel more secure that when they themselves have a toy they want they will get to keep it as long as they would like and not cause pushing to get/keep a toy. It solved the problem here within 2 weeks.

Fortunately Bea continues to be a great sleeper. We have had our blips, often unexplained, but we had a month long particularly memorable spell of her not letting me put her down just before she was 2. I was exhausted mentally by having to wrap her or hold her for an hour or more and the effect that was having on my ‘me time’ after her bedtime. We thought about letting her cry it out as she was definitely of an age that she knew if she cried I would come back but she has never done this unless she has needed me for one reason or another. Leaps, teething, illness, so I ploughed through and just like that she stopped again and went back to normal.

We have also finally finished breastfeeding. I think bea was about 2 and 2 months-ish, and finally stopped of her own accord which was what I wanted. I have a lot more to say about our whole BF journey so I’ll save that for another post.

One major change that has come at just the right time, is that Bea is becoming really happy to play alone now. It’s a developing skill, but she will pick up books and ‘read’ (recite) them to herself or me, toddle off to the playroom to play with her train set or play with a puzzle while I get ready. It doesn’t always work and it doesn’t last for long but I’m certainly looking forward to it improving!

I could write all day about where she is up to and more, partly because this was such an overdue post but something else has been keeping me from blogging and that’s a new baby! :) I’m half way through now and we are incredibly excited and happy to be growing our little family. Bea is (so far) very excited too – most entertainingly looking into my belly button to ‘see the baby!’ and giving my bump big pats and cuddles.

Please do let me know where you guys are all up to with your little ones?

Rebecca x

A Tiger who came to tea Party

As you may have seen from this post, Bea recently turned two and we wanted to have a bit of a party to celebrate. Why not? Her absolute favourite book at the time was The Tiger That came to Tea and so I decided to loosely theme the party around that, more to give me ideas! A quick search on Pinterest gave me a few ideas for activities and I thought I’d just share it all here.

We ended up having 8 children there, most of whom were around 2 and a couple of older siblings that tagged along. I wanted to make sure they were occupied so the first thing we did was a craft activity painting a tiger face.

We put plastic table cloths down and I pre-prepared felt tiger noses, black cardboard tiger stripes, and google eyes. These were all put on the table in little pots, then each child got a paper plate and brush, and I squirted orange paint onto paper plates. They just had to paint the paper plate orange then add the eyes nose and stripes! I did pre-warn the mums to bring a bib for painting and not to wear anything they were too protective about too. ;) Obviously we all helped them but it kept them quiet and entertained for a while and they all behaved really well – I think because of the nursery ‘herd effect’ of them all copying each other! It’s a good idea to have a bowls of soapy water and an old towel on hand for hand washing afterwards too.

Next we moved onto party games and had a round of good old pass the parcel. After that we had the little ‘tea party’, again loosely based on the book so we had sandwiches and party ring biscuits along with hummus and carrot/cucumber sticks and some ‘tiger tail’ Organix carrot puffs. We already have one mini table and chairs, but borrowed another 2 tables and 6 chairs from friends to make the long picnic style table.

Lastly there was cake! I was intending to make a Tiger cake but frankly saw the light about 2 days before when I remembered that a cake decorating guru I am not! I opted for a ’2′ cake instead and was really pleased with how it turned out! It was actually really easy to make with just a round tin and a square tin (have a look at this tutorial here) although obviously just baking, cooling and icing/decorating did take a quite some time. (If you want a closer look I took a photo for Instagram on the day.)

We also decorated with tiger balloons we bought online and got inflated at the local balloon place. I added a foil tiger balloon because I couldn’t resist and we had an inflatable monkey hanging around too. (It was really hard not to deviate from the ‘Tiger who Came to Tea’ theme towards a jungle theme as the majority of Tiger stuff was jungle related.) As another bit of fun I asked my mum to make some long tiger tails out of tiger fabric and gave them to all the children to dress up in. Predictably some were not impressed but others wore them and took them home!

Over all we just really enjoyed it! It was a bit stressful to organise but I had lots of help and I was really happy to have marked the occasion and have all the memories and photos to look back on. And Bea had a whale of a time with all her little friends.

I hope it has inspired or given you some ideas – little people’s parties are quite a big deal it turns out!

Rebecca x