Monday, 21 March 2016

MUSING & CONFESSIONS ON THE TODDLER STAGE


Here's the thing, I'm that mum, the one who adores the baby stage. For those of you that don't, I know what you are thinking...I'm crazy. Well actually I am, but that's another post ;)

You see to me the baby stage is completely instinctive. When they say you learn to tell what their different cries will mean it really is true. I remember being pregnant worrying about that, how would I know what my baby wants from a simple cry?? But true to people's word soon you pick up on a different tone that tells you they're hungry, or need a nappy change, or overtired, or just need mama's cuddles. To me, although that stage is exhausting, it's pretty damn wonderful. You feel like superwoman when your actions ease their woes, and let's not forget about the boobs. Sorry, but when you're as small as I am in that department you embrace those C cups, so much so that you actually ponder the thought of expressing for the rest of your life to keep those babies (I joke, kinda). The leaking though, oh I don't miss the leaking. My friend (also small in that department ;) and I leaked the entire time we breastfed, we once joked that it must be down to good milk supply and a lack of storage :P

So yes, I love the baby stage. Now granted I have not had a child who has suffered with colic, or reflux or something else underlaying. I applaud you parents who have, because that shit is tough. I can't imagine months of crying, and I can understand as your baby grows you are glad to shut the door on that stage and embrace toddlerhood.

My problem is I feel like I suck at the toddler stage. I can no longer fully rely on my instincts, and jeezo, if you misunderstand a toddler be aware to suffer the consequences. You didn't realise that your toddler wants your help but actually wants to do everything themselves so is infuriated by your help, then shame on you, how dare you try to be so helpful. Thou shalt be punished with crying and a throw down on the floor by the wronged toddler. That'll teach you. But actually it won't, because toddlers change the goal posts. Constantly. What appeased them yesterday won't today. What was a favourite food one day will the next time go untouched and end up decorating your floors and walls. When you ask for a cuddle or a kiss nine times out of ten you are met with a NO. Gone are the particular cries, now the cries mesh into one as you frantically try to figure out what on earth they want. 

I find this stage exhausting. Yes, the rewards are huge when you see them master new skills and become their own little person, but I'll be honest with you, mostly I find it exhausting, and then I feel guilty because I'm not fully loving this stage.

I actually told Archie to shut up a few weeks back. My exact words were, 'Will you please just shut up, Archie. Just SHUT UP'. (I actually thought this was fairly polite, it didn't feature any swear words which surely counts for something). Do you know he actually did shut up. He must have sensed my tone. At that point I thought, thank god. You've shut up, marvellous, not the best approach, but hey I got my result.

I then later listened to Caleb tell Archie the same thing at the dinner table, 'Archie, will you just shut up'. I died. Gone are my baby winning days, here I am smack bang in toddlerhood losing on all counts. I then had to sit and explain to Caleb how that's not a nice thing to say and that mama was wrong for saying it too. No gold star for me that day.

So this is where I'm at right now, dealing with a little person who's mind is quicker then his tongue and feet. He knows what he wants but doesn't know quite how to express it always, and he wants to always be faster than his feet will allow. It's a stage, and if motherhood has taught me anything in the last nearly four years is that the phrase, 'this too shall pass', is a wise one, because it will. It's also okay to not love every stage too, I'm learning that myself. I need to cut myself some slack. This stage doesn't bring out my inner Mary Poppins, and that's okay.

Let's not forget this stage has its bonuses too. Like the two hour nap ;) ;) ;)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have a favourite stage? Like me do you too struggle with the toddler stage?? Or is it your absolute favourite?

Oh and please don't worry if your comment doesn't show up immediately. I have the approval comment on so as to avoid spam. Once I've approved it shows right up ;)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

ADVENTURES WITH GRANDMA LIVERPOOL


You know when you just want to press a repeat button on a weekend?

Well that was this weekend just passed.

We had my mum visiting for the first time in our new home which we were all beyond excited about. I've been missing my mum like crazy lately so this weekend couldn't come soon enough. As soon as she arrived she was treated to the fastest tour guide in the world, Caleb, who dragged her around from room to room in all of about 30 seconds, all whilst shouting, 'Tanma 'poo, come here!!!'. How's that for an unfortunate name when your grandson has difficulty pronouncing certain letters?! :P 

With the tour of the house out of the way ;), we could get busy enjoying our weekend together as Mikey headed off for a friend's stag do.

Here's a little vlog below of all the things we got up to. For those that have been asking, I shoot these just using my iphone and then edit on the imovie phone app. It's super easy, trust me, because I can do it.

I love how these little clips can be put together capturing an entire weekend in three minutes. I hope the boys will love them when they are older, they're already obsessed watching them now. Think Joey from Friends, 'There I am, there I am, there I am.', and that's pretty much Caleb when he sees himself on film. Oh how I love that boy.

 
March 2016 from Claire Stewart on Vimeo.

Music by Tessa Rose Jackson '20 years'.

I love new finds, and one of the places you saw there in the vlog was, The Secret Herb Garden. It's been on my list of places to visit for some time now but just never got around to it. Then two people mentioned it to me in the space of a week saying how much I would love it. So, I thought it would be the perfect place to visit when my mum was up, and it was.


Think child-friendly (ie parent heaven), fresh herb teas, beautiful settings, vintage wares and more. We sat in the cafe to begin with munching on the most delicious scones but the real gem of this place is the glasshouse where the boys could run about daft and play with various toys scattered about whilst we sat sipping tea on old vintage couches. 



Quite the view with these beautiful flowers, ha! Thanks, Caleb.


The best tea!


Hello heaven. I purchased a dustpan and brush and I'm ashamed to admit just how excited I was about that.



Happy, happy boys. Which means, you guessed it....happy, HAPPY mama!

Now excuse me while I go overload you with pictures of Archie, when oh when did this baby of mine become a little man?!













Also in the vlog we visited the National Museum on Chamber street, usually a huge hit with my kids, but that day they just weren't digging it. Archie was overdue a nap, Caleb was in a mood because he wanted a red slush puppy (like seriously, it's winter, kiddo!!) and was not best impressed when we couldn't find one on our walk up to the museum. So, as the smiles turned to tears we ditched the museum, that's one thing I'm learning with the boys is just to know when to let plans go, rather than stubbornly stick to an idea that was meant to be fun but everyone just ends up miserable, me included.

Archie ended up napping as we walked around Edinburgh soaking the city up and I realised that I take for granted just what a good walker Caleb is and how much he loves it. By ditching our original plans it totally turned our day around for the better. Lesson learnt.

Another place in the vlog was Almond Valley Farm where Grandma was showing off her bouncing skills ;). Its a place we visit a lot as there's so much to do there, even when the weather is rubbish which it was that day.

We then had to bid farewell to Tanma 'poo, much to everyone's upset, but we have her up again in three weeks time for Caleb's birthday, yay!! Did I mention hes going to be four?! FOUR!!! I really am struck by just how fast these boys are growing at the minute.

Someone please stop time, already.


Thursday, 4 February 2016

NEW HOME. FRESH START. & TWINNING


Is that a Santa hat you spy?

Oh yes it is, but don't worry, we don't have a Christmas obsessed Caleb, although he does keep picking his Christmas books to read each night for bed ;). Sorry, kid, it's a once a year thing I'm afraid.

These pictures were in fact taken in December, and of course I'm late sharing. It was our first weekend in our new home and we decided to take a break from all the boxes to get some fresh air and stretch our legs.

I remember it being so cold that afternoon but we all walked around with big giddy smiles on our faces. It had been exactly a year since we first thought about putting our old place on the market, and now here we were, walking around our new neighbourhood, complete with our own mini Santa ;)


Ain't she pretty? We pass this canal every day to get to Caleb's nursery and the sight does not get old.

Talking of nursery, Caleb has fitted in seamlessly which we couldn't be more thrilled about. We were a little worried about all the change that had happened in the last year that we felt a change of nursery might be one change too much. Turns out I think it's me who worries about change more so than my boys.


You see I like to think I'm good with change and that I just roll with the punches but I find the older I get the less so this is true. Therefore I couldn't be happier to say we are loving our new area!

I worried moving a little further out from the city would be quite isolating, but quite the opposite. For one, every person you pass pretty much says hello, which suits my Liverpudlian personality down to a tee. Then there was Caleb starting nursery, which in all intents and purposes feels like you the parent is starting school all over again.

Cue new mum at nursery who knows no one. Talk about unearthing that nervous young girl in me. I class myself as a fairly outgoing person, but with a tough year last year and just feeling a little out of sorts has made me shrink back in myself a little. Lucky for me I've met some lovely, lovely people. 

I've been struck of late just how truly lovely people are, whether we've known them for years or just a short amount of time. The support that has been felt after losing my grandad has been amazing. There isn't a thank you big enough really. 


In other news, Archie likes to walk everywhere now! Until well, he doesn't want to walk and then he'd prefer mama's arms over his pram.


My Sorel boots have been a lifesaver this winter, I had them in mind for all the snow I hoped we would get, no such luck, they've instead kept my feet warm and dry from all this sodding rain. Oh and it's meant I could twin with my boys, do you think they'll find this cool still when they're 25?! ;) 


As you can see Daddy is quite partial to a bit of twinning too.


For those that are interested in outfit details, I'm afraid there's a lot of last season rocking going on, not to mention Caleb hand me downs to Archie ;)

My boots c/o Cloggs are these Sorel boots, and they're now on sale with an extra 10% off too!

The boys duck boots can be found here, and also on sale.

My poncho is a good old Tesco number, don't you just love an outfit purchase mid food shop ;). Similar can be found here. My go to waterproof trousers (thank you, pleather!) are H&M, and my hat is Zara last season but you can find similar here.

Mikey's trusty Northface jacket gets pulled out every year, and I've been known to steal it for the nursery run ;)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

FAMILY. THIS IS FOR YOU, GRANDAD.

Family.

Now there is a word to start my first post off for 2016.

It's the most important word there is after all.

It's what life is really all about.

A life to love, to experience, to adventure, yes; but at the end of the day it's who we let into our hearts that truly count. Whether the people surrounding us (physically and figuratively) are blood relatives or friends, to me they all come under the same word. Family.

My grandad taught me that. My amazing and incredible grandad who passed away in his home, surrounded by the love of his family on the 30th December 2015.

I've no words to describe my level of heartbreak, only that it is a small price to pay, however painful, for everything he gave me. He taught me how important life is, especially in his last year. He left us with a family bound by his love and our love for him. That was his gift to us, a gift that cannot be taken away.

I could write forever about my grandad, but what I want to do is instead show you a video. A glimpse into my grandad and his beautiful, simple legacy, family.

The video captures a weekend of all our family together celebrating my grandad's 80th birthday. A birthday we had been warned by doctors he might not make. He did, and we weren't surprised. My grandad wasn't going to give up this life easily. He was a fighter.

I'm so happy that my grandad, himself, got to see this video. His first response was, people need to see this. I don't think he was talking about yourselves in that moment, per say, but I knew what he meant. He was so proud of his family and everything he had achieved, I think that's what he wanted people to know. To gift people with the simple knowledge which is to love and cherish those dear to you. Do that, and you can't go wrong. 

So this blog is for you, grandad. My most favourite reader of all. A man who read every post I ever wrote and would complain when I didn't update ;).

I love you more than words can say, and I will keep writing for you.


FAMILY from Claire Stewart on Vimeo.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

HONG KONG AND MY FIRST VLOG


If you follow us on Instagram you will have seen we visited Hong Kong recently, without the kids!!

Yep, you read that right.

No. Kids.

It feels crazy to me now that we had an entire week away from the boys and got to have this experience. It was a long awaited trip to visit my dad, and thanks to the best babysitter ever (Love you, mum!), we were able to really enjoy it as a two.

Oh and let me tell you as a two, wow, you really get to sightsee. You know, like really sightsee. No timing around naps, or strict eating schedules, or abandoning plans altogether because you ignored those two factors and it's now tantrums you're dealing with. Oh yes, been there and done that. Never ignore naps and food, unless you're crazy ;)

So this was a week of pure indulgence, the biggest indulgence being we only had ourselves to think about. Throw in the best tour guides ever, my dad and his wife, and this is a trip I will remember forever.

Thanks to being inspired by a fellow blogger, Sara (Me and Orla),  I've been delving into the world of creating short video clips. It first started because I wanted to capture my boys with their great grandparents, and since then I've been hooked. There's something I'm really drawn to about this medium of capturing memories. I love the rawness of it, no fancy editing, just moments in time collected together to act as one big memory.

Eeek so I give you my first vlog. I'm very much learning as I go so bare with me!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

AUTUMN, A GOOD MOAN & AN UNINTENDED FASHION POST ;)


We're still here. Still in our rental. Life on a funny sort of pause, yet moving as fast paced as ever.

I nearly had a mini melt down on Sunday. Okay, kind of did.

Living in a temporary rental indeed has a shelf life when you have two little ones. Living out of boxes gets tired quickly and don't even get me started with the amount of times I've stubbed my toe or banged into something because, well, there is just stuff and boxes everywhere.

So looking to Mikey trying to laugh our current situation off, we decided to grab the boys, pack up the car and hit the great outdoors, and let me tell you, the perfect medicine for my little fed up soul.

Autumn, seriously, you have my heart. I'm like a child every year when it rolls around, the colours, the light, the joy on my boys faces as they collect sticks, leaves and other woodland treasures. Oh yep, you bet I'm the adult scouring the woods and parks for conker trees and then squealing in delight when I find one. I'm happy to report I've now passed that on to Caleb too.

We decided to head out to Archerfield Walled Garden, knowing that it wouldn't disappoint on a beautiful Autumn day, and that it didn't. It's the perfect place for kids AND adults. There's a play park just off from the cafe and then the grounds to roam. Just as the sun got low in the sky we set off on our walk. I still have to pinch myself a little when I see Archie strutting his stuff, he started walking not long after moving into our rental and the boy has not stopped since!


Can someone please explain to me when this boy of mine grew up overnight?!


Along the trail there were lots of little places to explore.


I just can't get enough of all the golden hues with splashes of orange everywhere.


I seriously won't be doing this with Archie for much longer. Ton. Weight.



He's loving my cuddles. Totes loving them, I tell you :P


The Wishing Tree, tie a ribbon on a branch, close your eyes and make a wish. I made a wish for a special someone.


My big boy!!!!


Does the hat look familiar?! Remember a certain wee boy who was totally obsessed with it and wore it all day, every day for what felt like FOREVER. Ha!


Mama uniform. All day. Every day.



I'm crazy about my three guys, well they drive me crazy, so that's the same thing, right?! ;)


There really is nothing quite like fresh air to shake away day to day stresses. We left Archerfield feeling a whole lot happier with perspective gained. Not long now until our big move to our new home. Three weeks and counting!!!! Eeeek!!


For those that also may be interested, I've been receiving emails and messages asking where particular items of clothing we wear are from, I've never addressed it here as I've never seen this as, 'a fashion blog', per say. I am however a girl who loves her clothes, and since becoming a mother it's been important for me to keep wearing what I love but to also make sure it's functional and fits in with running after two boys all day long.

Where I can I will link to what we are wearing and I hope this helps for those that are interested!

You can find my cardigan here, and I'm forever on the quest for the perfect white tee and this COS number is pretty damn close. My jeans can be found here, and my boots here. My current favourite Mac lipstick is Lady Danger.

Caleb is wearing a Zara tee, and his boots can be found here. His long loved hat is from Gap a few years back, but we're also loving this one too.

Archie's jumper can be found here, his hat here, and his boots like Caleb's are from Clarks.
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