EEEEKKK we are less than a month away from Little I's first birthday! I just can't believe how fast the year has gone. This time last year I had finished up work and was 'nesting' at home. Seems unreal.
Standing is still her favourite past time. She hasn't made any attempts to walk unaided yet but her balance is so good now she can walk along holding just one of your hands. She continually stands up in the bath so we play a game where I continually sit her back down and bathtimes get a lot shorter!
We've been on a couple of days out to Hobbledown with Husband and Alice Holt Forest with Nanna which have meant a lot of time bundled up in the pram watching the world go by. She is particularly interested in dogs and loves to watch them. Unfortunately the soft play at Hobbledown was not such a hit as Treasure Chest the previous week so we'll avoid that one on future!
And tooth #7 cut through so that is 7 teeth in less than 3 months. The late starter has caught up fast!
One of the things I love most about having girls is shopping for them. I hold my hands up and admit it is a guilty pleasure. Their wardrobes are bursting with the prettiest clothes. I just can't get enough because secretly I want to wear them...
When House of Fraser got in touch about reviewing their kids and baby collection my inner shopping addict did a very excited dance.
I admit I don't often shop in House of Fraser. I think this is because subliminally I expect it to be too expensive due to the focus on branded clothing - it is a department store afterall. So I was pleasantly surprised when armed with my £30 budget I was able to buy all this...
So what did I get. Well Little E chose her own dress. It is a cream dropped waist cotton dress with a butterfly motif by Uttam Girls.
Now I admit it is January so pretty much everything is in the sale but even so the clothes really were not as expensive as I was expecting. The fact that I got the girls a dress each plus a pair of tights for Little E for under £30 astonishes me.
It is definitely a summer dress as it is quite thin. We ordered age 4-5 (Little E is 4 next month) but it is on the small side and very short. The butterfly detail on the front is very pretty. She is in love with it and it'll look great with a pair of cropped leggings underneath to negate the shortness. I would recommend you buy a size bigger if you can. We paid £12 (non-sale price £24)
We also chose a pair of sparkly tights for Little E as she has become obsessed with tights this winter. We ordered age 4-6. She is pretty tall for her age and here we have the opposite problem - they are massive! The packaging actually says age 5-6 so they have been advertised incorrectly. I can't fault the quality though, they are stunning tights and will be put away for a year or so! £4.90 (non-sale price £7.00)
Lastly for Little I, who is nearly 1yr old, I chose a red stripey Pumpkin Patch dress with matching bloomer knickers.
Oh my this dress is adorable! I was expecting a thin summer dress, possibly even Jersey material but this is a beautiful lined dress with netting inside to poof it out. Look at the bow! I am in love! It is too big for her at the moment but will be perfect in the summer. £9.99 (non-sale price £19.99).
This experiment has really changed the way I think about House of Fraser and it will definitely be a destination store for my future essential (and non-essential but too cute not to) girls clothes. You can purchase their kids collection in-store or online by clicking these links:
I was able to keep the kid's clothing I chose for review but all opinions are my own.
Yes, that is Husband in the kids play frame at Hobbledown. Yes, he is just about stuck.
It was slow going but he did make it out, via the slide of course.
Little E has been displaying traits similar to a caged animal recently so we have been attempting to get her out and about as much as possible to negate this behaviour.
This weekend we went for a jaunt in the woods with Nanna. She lives close to Alice Holt Forest in Farnham who currently had a fantastic trail based on the Julia Donaldson book The Gruffalo's Child.
The trail is set on a pram friendly course with a wide path but with a few slopes. Along the course are a series of logs which have activities related to the book and the forest on. You can buy a trail guide for £2 from the cafe which makes the activites more interactive but it isn't necessary.
High up in the trees there are Gruffalo symbols which you need to spot to complete part of the activity pack. Just make sure your kids look where they are going rather than looking up all the time!
Along the route are a series of wooden animal sculptures which don't relate to the book but they are a lot of fun and the kids can climb in/on them.
Warning for adults attempting to climb te woodpecker sculpture - it is incredibly tight inside!!! I was lucky not to get stuck but we made it up to the top and back down again (eventually).
At the end of the trail you find the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo's child. Little E was very excited but expected them to be bigger!
For an extra surprise the rest of the characters from the book were hidden in the woods as we exited the trail. Little E insisted on hugging them all despite us having to go off road and navigate a small stream with muddy banks to reach them!
There were a few slips and our gloves ended up in the stream but we got to them all eventually (apart from Owl who was high up in a tree).
The trail took us about 90minutes which is plenty for little legs. Little I was quite happy in her pram and particularly enjoyed dog watching!
The Gruffalo's Child Trail is on until 28th February 2015 at forests across the country. It is free to take part (optional £2 activity leaflet) but you need to pay to park. Find our more at forestry.gov.uk
This week has been about one thing: standing.
Little I has found her balance and no longer needs to hold on to stand up. She sofa surfs like a pro and walks with her walker. Any second now I will have to declare her a toddler!
Tooth number 6 has made an appearance. She can chew so much better and is enjoying feeding herself. Teeth change her whole face and her gappy front teeth smile is beyond cute.
She had her first proper session at a soft play session with Husband and Little E. Despite being far more nervous than her big sister she really enjoyed it, as long as Husband stayed close!
We have her Gastro Consultant appointment this week. Fingers crossed they are as happy as us with her progress.
Little E has spent most of the month writing thank you cards. It has taken a while to get through the long list of Christmas presents but we have finally done it. Her birthday is next month so we'll be starting all over again *hangs head in hands and weeps*
I am sharing a photo of a little birdman she drew in one of the cards. I love him and didn't want to send him off but she insisted he belonged to the card recipient. So I photographed him for prosperity.
Last year we made the decision that I would not return to work at the end of my maternity leave. It made practical sense with childcare for 2 children virtually equaling my salary plus I have a nightmare commute, but it was a huge decision for me.
I have worked at the same company for over ten years. I finished university on Friday and started there on Monday. I got my degree results, went on my first date with Husband, moves into our first flat, got engaged, did my professional qualifications, got married, moved to a our house, worked while both my bumps grew bigger and bigger and brought my new babies into the office to meet everyone.
And that's just the personal stuff. I have a ton of memorable work moments which punctuate my career but there is one very precious thing I will treasure about working. Yes, it have me independence. It also gave me confidence. I learnt new skills and developed a career for myself. But the best thing about my job was the people I met along the way. I was very lucky to work for most of my career in a team which clicked. Often we didn't need to speak. One look (sometimes not even a look was needed!) and we knew what the other was thinking. In short I made true friends and they will be part of my life always regardless of where we all work.
Friday was my leaving do. Despite leaving whilst on maternity leave I was tricked into the office for a leaving speech. The whole thing felt very unreal, like I was listening to one of the hundred other leaving speeches I have heard over the years (although much funnier). I kept expecting to turn around and clap someone else.
So I still have to work somewhere doing something but plans are on hold until Little E starts school in September which reduces the childcare costs. Until then I'm winging it and focusing on the girls. They are only this small for a moment.
After a busy festive period it has been back to reality this week. Little I is beginning to show her mischievous side and keeps desperately trying to do things she knows she is not allowed. The stairs are her biggest challenge. Luckily we can close them off but as soon as she sees an opportunity she's off!
Her high chair is another opportunity for defiance. A naughty foot keeps popping up onto her tray. She looks at me as if to say 'and your problem with my foot is?'
The weather has been miserable but it's meant I can pop her in one of my favourite Christmas presents - her Ted Baker snowsuit. Look at how adorable it is! I love it so much I want one myself. It is so big she can't move but who need mobility when you are that snuggly?
The toothbrush has become a new object of wonder. There is certainly no problem convincing her to put in her mouth. In fact we can't get the bloomin' thing off her!
Speaking of teeth 2 further upper teeth are cutting which will bring her total to 6. She has discovered teeth are quite handy and uses them like a third hand. She has taken to carrying her muslin about this way like a dog. It is quite funny to watch.
After a month of illness we were finally able to meet up with Bestie. Little I looked so big next to Little T. They were interacting with each other and soon the 7mth age gap will start to close and they will be Besties like their older siblings and Mummies!
And she's walking unaided with her walker now and surfing around the furniture. If you hold her hands she'll walk with you. The 5 week birthday countdown has begun - will she be walking by one?
You think by now I'd have sussed this. #MummyFail
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.