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Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Viking Invasion

Yesterday our local town was having a Viking Festival. My husband is very excited by anything Viking related so we have had this date in our calendar for some time. I must admit I do like it too but I also enjoy teasing him about his geeky behaviour when it comes to Dark Age history! Sometimes you see these events advertised and when you actually go they never seem quite as good as you hoped but I have to say that we had a great morning there. There were plenty of ‘Vikings’ roaming about the Church Square;  hubby excitedly darted about before finally chatting to a very pleasant Northman who kindly explained some Viking games to him, most of which involved drinking and bluffing! He also made two Viking coins; one for Luca and one for our nephew who came for a day out with us. He has been proudly showing these off to anyone who enters our house! The boys were too young to take part in the activities but there was plenty for families; make your own pottery, storytelling, rope making, weaving and battle re-enactments. 

We are quite lucky because we live close to two big cities so we have access to some great free events but our local town has made a real effort this year with entertaining goings-on, especially for families. It has encouraged us to research some more events and in a couple of weeks we will be going to meet Mike the Knight and at the end of October there is a ‘Pirate Week’ we’ll be attending. Have you tried any free local events with your family?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Coping With Sleep Deprivation

If you’re pregnant I bet you’ve heard it; “make sure you get your sleep now.” My family had said this to me and I just laughed it off. My midwife even said to me on our last check up, “Take any chance you get to sleep; you know sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.”

The lovely Shona and Cecile from Wriggly Rascals asked me to do a guest blog on the topic of sleep deprivation; something I know plenty about thanks to my little cherub, Lucas. The lack of sleep was possibly the hardest thing about the first few months of Lucas’ life so I decided to share my experience and hopefully it will help some other parents. You can read the full article here.

How well did your little one sleep? Were you able to get some sleep or a nap when you had a newborn? Please take this short survey and share your experience of the inevitable sleep deprivation, it could help a new mum.

About Wriggly Rascals
Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at

Wriggly Rascals are also on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Our Week That Was #4

This week has been pretty busy and it seemed to fly by. Monday afternoon I had a hospital appointment so Lucas had an afternoon with Grandma and Grandad but I believe he was a bit sulky because I left him! He may be getting too used to having me all to himself. Tuesday we went to Tots and Tinies as usual but my sister in law had a day off work so she came along with our nephew. It was lovely to see her and we went out for lunch with the boys afterwards, a nice treat. On Wednesday I was minding our nephew in the morning which I was a little anxious about; two little boys under two! However, we had a great morning and the boys played nicely together. At one point I had a boy on each knee eating their snack, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. That night my best friend and her boyfriend called round for tea to celebrate her birthday. We gave her a recipe book from Paperchase that you can handwrite your favourite recipes in. I filled it with some of our favourite baking recipes; she usually phones me up to ask what the ingredients are when she is in the supermarket so I hope she finds it useful.

Thursday we went for a lovely long walk and I went hunting for conkers but settled for collecting some pretty leaves as the horse chestnut trees had already been raided. On Friday I had decided to take Luca to Read and Rhyme at our local library. It was so much fun and I will definitely be going every week. They were reading Dear Zoo this week, a favourite of Lucas’. He especially liked the beginning when we sang hello to every child; he had a big grin on his face when they sang hello to him.

We had arranged to meet some of our friends at the new Costa Coffee that has opened near us on Saturday morning. We are really lucky that our friends are ‘baby friendly’ and Lucas very much enjoyed the fruit salad and some lemon muffin! I think this will become a regular hangout. The weather was so lovely that day we went for another long walk that afternoon and I dragged the husband on my hunt for conkers, still to no avail. We had some fun with Lucas at the playground, he is always making us chuckle. Sunday we went swimming for the second time with Lucas and he seems to be getting used to it but he is definitely much more reserved that the other children, he clings on to us if there is too much splashing. That afternoon my Mum was cooking us Sunday dinner which was a lovely treat. It also gave us an opportunity to visit the horse chestnut tree we went to when I was young and it had plenty of conkers!! I have them in a little tub in our living room and Lucas thinks they are treasures. That was all our adventures this week.

Playing with glasses, our nephew, sticky Autumn leaves, my brother with The Conkers, 'having fun' at the playground.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

I Heart Autumn

I've seen a few posts floating around about Autumn and the changing of the seasons but I couldn't resist doing one myself. I just love Autumn; I always liked going back to school, getting the new uniform, winter coat, shoes, stationary and pencil case. Makes me sound a bit nerdy but I guess I was! I've started to get our winter coats and woollies out ready. I’ve got Lucas some hats, scarves and mittens, wellies and the pram blanket is coming out of the wardrobe. Boots and tights are making reappearances, and I'm browsing through all the lovely knitwear when we go shopping. I always feel like buying new things in Autumn, I think it must be the back to school attitude! Lucas has got new long sleeved tops and cord trousers, cosy jumpers and fluffy socks. I'm looking at new bags, coats and boots all in gorgeous warm Autumnal colours.

My winter pyjamas are out and although we have pyjama days all year round in our house, the cooler weather seems a good excuse to do it more often. It’s so nice to have a day in when it’s raining outside and just snuggle up all cosy to watch some films and play board games. Luckily, Lucas is quite happy with this arrangement too and I’m still training my husband. Hot chocolate is starting to creep back into my life and I love long hot baths when you’ve caught a chill from being outside. I've also rediscovered warm squash, does anyone else drink this? My Nana used to make it for me when I was a little girl and Lucas and I are becoming partial to a glass on a chilly day. I’m in an argument with my husband over when to put the heating back on regularly and get the winter duvet out. He says I’m nesh (soft) but I love to be all toasty and warm.

We went for a lovely long walk this week, it was a bit chilly but the sun was out. While we were out I spotted a boy out of his pushchair with his grandma, wandering round staring at the floor under a tree and I realised they were looking for conkers! This set me off on a hunt for a horse chestnut tree. It’s still a bit early and all the trees I found where near schools so I suspect they have been plundered already. My Mum used to take me to the same horse chestnut tree every year and collect conkers. It was hidden away on a country lane so there were always plenty; I am in fact thinking of going back this year with Lucas and seeing if I can get some from there.
Seen as I couldn't find any conkers I settled for collecting pretty leaves instead and I filled the bottom of the pushchair with them without really thinking what I would do with them. When we got home I ended up covering them in sticky back plastic, mostly to stop Lucas eating them, and we stuck them on the window with blue tack. They look very pretty with the light shining through, a little reminder of the change of the seasons.

Last years pumpkins, Autumn leaves, sticky leaves, Lucas playing.
Pyjama days, sunny day, on the hunt for conkers, hot chocolate.

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Friday, 21 September 2012

September Books

This month, true to form, I’ve had several books on the go. I’m still reading ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest’ by Stieg Larsson I know, I was so late coming to these books but I have a good excuse! I hardly did any reading for the first six months of Lucas’ life; as soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep. I know most people have read these now and everyone was telling me how good they were. I must admit it took me a while to get into the first book, I think I expected to fall in love with it straight away. I’m glad I stuck with it and about half way through I was hooked and it’s been non-stop reading since then. The last book a fair bit longer than the other two but I am really enjoying it. Lisbeth really is a character that gets under your skin and I can’t wait to see how the book finishes.

I’ve also been reading a book on my Kindle, I think I was browsing through science fiction special offers and thought I’d give it a go. The book is ‘Among Others’ by Jo Walton. I’m enjoying this but it isn’t the same frantic read as ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest’ so I haven’t made much progress with it. It’s a nice read but the thing I do miss when I’m reading on my Kindle is being able to flick through the pages, look at the blurb at the back and read about the author. It’s so easy when you have a book to just have a rifle through and get feel of where the book is going. It’s written in diary entries from the main character Morwenna; you are given glimpses of her back story, mixed in with some fantasy so I am intrigued to read the rest of the book.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about my readinghabits; I’m trying to cut down on re-reading the same books every year. Since I wrote that though I fell off the wagon and couldn’t help but start ‘The Hobbit’ again! This book is such a favourite of mine and it takes me right back to my childhood. My mum read it to me over and over again as a bedtime story and I frequently got it out from our local library. I have a couple of copies at home and one of them is the same as the book I got out from the library so for nostalgic reasons, that is my favourite. It is such a feel-good book for me and I find it really comforting, isn’t it funny how books can make you feel like that? I’ve only just started it so there will probably be much more about my love for it in other posts. Also can’t wait for the film version!

Have you got any good books on the go? I can add them to my pile at the side of my bed!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Our Week That Was #3

We've had a quiet week and me and Lucas are settling into a nice routine, it's like we've always done this. The first week we had some epic toddler tantrums as he tested how much Mummy would let him get away with but he has calmed down this week, thank goodness!

Monday was a day in, Daddy had gone off to work with the car seat and the weather was pretty terrible so we watched a couple of DVD's and had some cuddles. Tuesday was our first Parent and Toddler group. I was really looking forward to it and Lucas absolutely loved it! I can't wait to take him again now he knows what to expect. He especially likes the singing and musical parts and that is the only time he sat still too. He was so exhausted afterwards he slept past his lunchtime, this never happens in our house! Wednesday we went for a long walk and visited Grandma and Grandad, another chance for Lucas to tire himself out running round their house. Thursday it was time for a spot of baking and a friend called in on her way home from work so we had a quick catch up and Lucas showed her his new toys. 

On Friday I had planned to meet up with my Nana and do a bit of shopping; we also caught up with another relation and had a good natter! Lucas was as good as gold even though we were out for a while and he was in and out of pushchairs and high chairs. It's such a relief when we eat out and he is a happy little chap. Trying to keep up our family activities we were out early on Saturday to take Lucas swimming. This was his first time; we were a little bit late taking him as he had bad eczema when he was younger. We had so much fun! I think it's fair to say I was a bit nervous, he has only recently started enjoying his bath time so I wasn't sure how he would react to a pool full of people but as usual I needn't have worried myself. We are hoping to go again next weekend and maybe meet Nanny there. On Sunday we had to do more shopping, new shoes this time for Luca. We spent the afternoon playing with rainbow rice, I'd been inspired by Emma's blog and I'm glad I made it, we had a lot of fun with it! That was all our adventures this week.

Waiting for Mummy to finish shopping, eating Grandma's yummy pizza, rainbow rice, retail therapy.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Toy Story

As many of you may know my little boy turned one last month and we welcomed an assortment of new toddler paraphernalia into our home. We didn’t buy him too much and most people asked me what to get so we received some useful gifts. We tried to get him toys that are going to last a few years now; the Mega Blocks table has a permanent spot in our living room and there is always plenty of space for books.

All of these new additions can be overwhelming for a little boy and it has taken him a while to investigate and explore to see which his favourites are. As we laid the presents out the night before, me and James were taking bets as to which he would like most. Typically neither of us got it right. His favourite by a long way is Archie the Owl.

We picked Archie up in Ikea; I was shopping with my mum and as it was near his birthday she claimed him so someone could give him as a present (I was just buying him because I thought he was cute). This was a few weeks before his birthday and I had long forgotten about Archie so when he popped up in the present from my Auntie I was thrilled he had made it back to us. Lucas took a shine to him straight away; we named him Archie after the owl in Sword in the Stone, Archimedes.  He is a hand puppet so of course he is brought to me several times a day then I can bring him to life and Lucas chuckles away as Archie tickles his feet and swoops around. Lucas is around the age when he would start to find 'favourites' in his toys and I think Archie will be The One. In fact I am thinking of buying a spare!

Seeing him with Archie has made me think about my toys when I was young. I’m not sure what my favourite was when I was a toddler; I had A LOT of teddies! However, a certain cuddly toy by the name of Pink Puppy still has a hallowed spot on my bedside table. I remember the day I got Pink Puppy; it was my first visit to see my new brother in hospital and I was four. My Dad had picked me up and on the way we stopped so I could get a teddy to give to my brother (I can’t remember what I got for him) but I was also allowed to pick one and Pink Puppy came into my life. Other teddies came and went but Pink Puppy had a permanent spot in my bed and he came on countless holidays with us. He is a little bedraggled now and isn’t so much of a pink colour anymore but he is still there by my bed. Luckily I never lost him; not that I know of, unless my mum had a spare. I remember my brother losing his favourite, an Ed the Duck puppet, off a multi-storey car park. I wouldn’t have liked to gone through the horror of losing Pink Puppy, especially in such upsetting circumstances.

So maybe Archie will become a permanent fixture in our lives, at least for a while. Only time will tell but it’s nice to think that this little owl will be around to offer comfort and maybe in years to come he can have a spot on a bedside table too.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Our Week That Was #2

This week has been my first full week as a stay at home mum. My husband was back in work after his summer holidays and I was looking forward to having Luca all to myself. Monday and Tuesday were quiet days; we pottered around the house, went to the shops and visited the park. 

On Wednesday we went shopping with my brother so I had a good catch up with him. I didn’t buy anything for myself but I did get some bargains in H&M for Luca and I couldn’t resist a couple of books for him from Waterstones. While I was in there I saw you could pre-order the new J K Rowling book so I must go back and pick that up when it is out! 

On Thursday we went to the playground bright and early at 9am and we had it all to ourselves. Luca suddenly turned into an adventurer and went climbing up everything in sight. This lead me to order reins when I got home, he has given up holding my hand already! He is turning into a very independent little boy, which part of me loves but I also love his cuddles.

Friday we had a quiet morning; more walking. Grandma and Grandad were back from their little holiday in the Lake District so we had a visit from them in the afternoon and they brought us some treats too. 

On Saturday the hubby very kindly took Lucas out for the day so I could reorganise our kitchen. The weather was so nice as well and I was stuck indoors but I am happy with my productive day. To make up for my day indoors James suggested we go out on Sunday. The weather was still good so we packed a picnic and headed off to Formby. We had such a lovely day, even if we did get lost on the Red Squirrel Walk (and didn’t see any red squirrels).  James is usually so busy with work at the weekend but we are going to try and have more family days out; Luca had so much fun at Formby and it really tired him out! It was so nice to get out the house and we both got to spend quality time with Lucas. I treasure these days so much, they leave us with happy memories. That’s all our adventures for this week.

Adventuring in the park, shopping for books, a quiet walk, me and the hubby, sandy little feet.

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Saturday, 8 September 2012

Book Worm

Reading in the park.

I thought I’d start some posts about the books that are part of my life; books  I love, books I’m reading, books I’m reading to Lucas or anything I’d like to read.  I’ve always loved reading and although I don’t have as much time for it as I used to I have fallen in love with it again now the sleepless nights have passed and I have the energy to read before I fall asleep!

I tend to have several books on the go, something that drives my husband crazy. I have books all over the house and even put back in the bookcase with a bookmark in waiting for me to come back to it when the mood strikes. I just find that sometimes I’m in the mood to read different things. It also usually depends when I'm reading. I probably read the most in bed before I go to sleep, which means I don’t want to read anything too strange.  I read ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ by Ray Bradbury before I went to sleep and I had the strangest dreams, obviously too much stimulation for my brain at that time of night!
I also like to read a book in the bath (I thought everyone did this, but apparently they don’t!) but if I’m really into something I end up in the bath until the water has gone cold and my fingers have pruned.  

I’m hoping to try and fit a bit more reading into my days, Lucas doesn’t have very long naps so I tend to run round and get everything I need doing done in the time he is snoozing.  I would love for him to sleep for a couple of hours so I’d get chance to have a read. I do sometimes manage to catch up on my blog reading though but it doesn’t help my pile of books go down.

When I get obsessed with a book, or usually a series, I find myself frantically reading while Lucas is quiet playing. Not good when I got lost in the book suddenly panic I’ve not heard Lucas and a box of tissues is strewn all over the floor. I did this with the Hunger Games trilogy; I just couldn’t put them down. I even read the final one until the wee hours, something I did a fair bit pre-Lucas but not something I would recommend when you get awoken at six.

I re-read a fair amount so this year I decided to make an effort to read more new books. I think I have only re-read one so far (apart from maybe Fifty Shades, sshhh, don’t tell anyone) and that was ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger.  I originally read it not long after it came out and happened to catch the film on TV and thought I’d revisit the book. As usual it was so much better than the film and as good as I remembered. I usually re-read my favourites, Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights and The Hobbit every year. So far I have managed to resist them but I’m sure I’ll want to read The Hobbit when the film comes out. I don’t think I’ve gone a year without reading any Harry Potter since they first came out (I don’t even want to think how long ago that was).

Look out for my future posts about books and please tell me about your reading habits and what you enjoy reading. Let me know if you're reading anything good, I'm always on the lookout for a new read.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

What Shall We Do Today?

This is my first full week as a stay at home mum and I’ve been plotting the numerous ways in which I can keep my little boy entertained. This summer we moved back to our hometown so we are closer to family and friends but when most of them work fulltime it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be seeing a lot more of them. We've had to make some cutbacks since I’ve finished work so I’m always on the lookout for reasonable activities I can take Luca along to then we can both meet new people. While I was in work he went to a child-minder three days a week and he loved the company of the other children. It was a bit of a worry for me when I decided to give up work that he wouldn’t see many other children; I’m sure he needs more stimulation that me chattering to him!

Lucas’ Grandma took the initiative and signed us up for our first Parent & Baby group. She looks after Lucas’ cousin so we’ll be meeting up there. I’ve grabbed this chance to get out the house; not only does it give me a reason to brush my hair but I’m looking forward to meeting some other parents. Most days I am quite happy pottering around the house and going for walks in our local park but I can’t wait to see Luca interacting with other children and (hopefully) having fun.

This set me off looking up some other activities we can get involved in so I nipped into our local library and I’m hoping to try out ‘Read & Rhyme’ next week. I’m also looking forward to getting my library card! When I was a child I loved spending time in our little village library, picking out my books with my mum and brother. Luca is only just one but I hope as he grows up he’ll enjoy the library as much as I did.

I also discovered that our local museum and art gallery in Liverpool run FREE Parent & Baby groups with arty and cultural workshops for the little ones! What a great idea! In the next couple of weeks we’re going to hop on the train and try and make it to one of these. I've said it on here now so I have to pluck up the courage to go. Also gives me an excuse to have mooch round the shops once I’ve tired Luca out.

What groups do you go to with your little one, do they enjoy them and do you have any tips for free activities in your local area? I’d love to hear about them! 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Glance Back

This has been such a busy week. Our little boy turned one; this meant an action packed week! On Monday we went to watch 'In The Night Garden Live' at the Trafford Centre (on a bank holiday...what were we thinking?!). It was fantastic, much better than I expected and Luca loved it. I was in work Tuesday and Wednesday; my last days for the foreseeable future as I have now become a full time, stay at home mum. It was more emotional that I thought, leaving my working life behind, but it is something I have wanted to do for a while and I've made the right decision. 

Thursday was 'The Big Birthday!' It was such a busy day; we had a birthday lunch with the Grandparents and Luca's cousin then tea with Nanny and Uncle. Luca was ready for an early night, as were Mummy and Daddy! Friday was lost in preparation for the birthday party on Saturday. There was a flurry of activity in the kitchen as I made my very first home-made Mickey Mouse birthday cake and plenty of fairy cakes. 

As Saturday dawned, we prepared for our visitors. Luckily I had only invited close family and friends so it was all quite informal. Having said that, the best part of the day was when everyone had gone and we had an hours play before bedtime - Luca was full of chuckles! After such a busy week, today has been a day for serious relaxation. We all stayed in our pyjamas till late, grudgingly got dressed to shop for some essentials and then returned to put our PJ's back on and watch some family films. A blissful Sunday. How was your week? 

Opening presents, on the way to In the Night Garden, Mickey Mouse birthday party, new toys, fairy cakes.


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