Thursday, 21 May 2015

MADRID, BABY!


When your job description reads stay at home mum, it is safe to say you're going to need a little time to yourself occasionally. When I don't, the crazy starts to set in, totally an occupational hazard, but then let's be honest if you applied for this job in the first place you've clearly already got crazy written on your CV ;)

Crazy and proud.

Now when I say time to myself, I generally class a solo trip to the bathroom as a major success, so the opportunity for an entire weekend away with my girls literally had me peeing in my pants, sod the solo toilet trip, I was off to Madrid. Yeah, not so bad for some solo time hey :p

And the cherry on top of the cake? As if Madrid wasn't enough. I didn't organise a single thing except my flight. Now for a person who organises two little people down to the nano second this is a HUGE deal for me. Total. Dream.

So just me, my passport and my hand luggage, off to Madrid I went. It was my first time ever flying abroad solo and I knew once I arrived in Madrid I would have to make my own way to the hotel and that the girls wouldn't be meeting me until later in the evening, no big deal, but for a girl who always has bodies attached to her at all times, to not have, and to be finding my bearings in a foreign country was exhilarating. When I arrived at the hotel after two trains and getting a little lost walking I felt such a rush of achievement. It may sound silly as it's really no big deal, but I think it was so good for me, to realise my capabilities outwith being a mum, to remember the girl that makes the mum.

If finding my hotel on my own made me this happy you could then imagine how spending a weekend with my girls in such an amazing city went down.

Madrid, I love thee. Thank you for making this crazy mama feel gooood.

And my girls, I love you even more ♥

* I can't take credit for finding all the lovely places we ate in and the great hotel we stayed at, but I had to share them with you they were so good. You can thank my girls, Heather and Elaine ;)

We stayed at Praktik Metropol just off the Gran Via. Super central, super easy on the bank balance and lovely attention to detail and style. 


A must see, eat and drink is Mercado de San Miguel or as I like to refer to as HEAVEN on earth. Seriously, I could have stayed there all day. Stall upon stalls of yummy food, you just grab a drink of your choice and then try to figure out what the hell you're going to eat first.









At first glance Madrid's architecture seemed no match to it's good looking sister, Barcelona, but I eat my words. Okay, it may not be as dramatic as Gaudi, but I fell in love with the original shutters and balconies that lined the streets. I just couldn't stop looking up.







No visit to Madrid is complete without a drink at a rooftop bar, we loved The Hat's secret rooftop bar, understatedly cool, and if you want a bit of glamour of an evening head over to Me Melia's The Roof.


Blue skies for days ♥





If you're a fan of brunch then Dray Martina is the place, and if you're not, what the heck is wrong with you??! ;)
Think freshly squeeze juice, bloody marys, and the best food. I went for the lambwich and I'm still thinking about it.





Until next time Madrid....♥



Wednesday, 6 May 2015

BROTHERLY LOVE



As of last week we have a crawler!! Archie, finally graduated from bum shuffling to crawling. Well, the one knee and then leg drag crawl, and let's not forget the occasionally walking on hands and feet, but technicalities aside, he is fully moving, and fast.

As with all milestones, I always have an internal freak out.

One. They're growing up, way too fast for my liking, and two, how on earth is this going to work?!

I always feel like it takes a good couple of weeks to find our groove. Adapt, and figure out a new routine. You know, the boring stuff like how do I get anything done with two, TWO, moving bodies dangling off me at all times?! Not too mention the need for having eyes in the back of my head grow bigger every day.

But after a few bruises, tears, late dinners, and cutting the feet off outgrown babygrows for bedtime, because well who's got time for actually washing clothes these days? I finally feel we've got our groove back (kinda), and although two moving babes can at times feel overwhelming, what also comes with new stages is new loves.

Now that Archie is moving it really has made him an equal to Caleb. As he sheds his baby-ness (sob,sob) I see his excitement at being able to join his brother in play, and although initially alarmed, Caleb is adapting. They're learning and understanding that neither is the centre of the universe, and I have to say I'm hooked. The age they are both at right now, has to be my favourite. Until, I find my next favourite that is ;)

But wow, is having two little ones active and moving, and barely ever stopping exhausting.

I mean, I love them, but I'd be lying if I said that bedtime wasn't one of my favourite times of the day just now.

That moment when they're all clean, freshly brushed teeth and looking extra cute in their (washed and well fitting!) pj's. Seriously, what is it about little ones in their pj's? Gets me every time. Then comes the bedtime stories and goodnight kisses and then, ahhhhh, adult time.

It appears though, Caleb and Archie's friendship hasn't just grown in the daytime, it's also an after hours thing too. Just last night as we were about to flop on the couch, when we heard giggles erupt from their room which the boys share together. Our first thought was, ugh, come on, are you not asleep already?

We then exchanged, that look with each other.

You know, the who's turn is it? look.

I gave him my best I've been with them all day face.

To which he returned back with his I've been at work all day face.

The classic parent stand off.

Meanwhile, the giggles grew louder, something absolutely hilarious was clearly going on in there. Sod the parent stand off, we  both wanted in on this joke. As we crept to their room desperately trying not to laugh or be spotted, we could hear Caleb out of his bed playing the fool while Archie, who usually is out like a light when you put him down, was sat up giving his best belly laugh. Archie spotted us, and flashed us his biggest smile. Busted. Our oh so serious trying to parent was not so convincing as we struggled not to laugh when reminding them both it was bedtime.

The laughs continued for a further thirty minutes, until exhaustion gave out.

We both sat there on the couch smiling to ourselves, I know, both thinking the same thing...

One. How did we get so lucky?

Two. Thank God, they are now asleep.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

CONFESSIONS OF A BAD BLOGGER


Oh hey blog, remember me? I'm that person who said I was going to update you more.

I know, I know. I'm all talk.

You see the thing is, I've got two kids. Which currently makes me feel like Cru from Despicable Me, with a million minions. I swear when I'm not looking they have a party behind my back and invite their friends because I just cannot comprehend how two so little could create so much mess in all of three nano seconds. Oh and don't get me started on washing. I have the wash bag of a thousand men, who all wear at least two pairs of socks a day it would appear.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning. Okay well maybe I am just a little. Life is good, in that I'm exhausted and at times I want to pull my own hair out but also never have I been happier kind of way. You know the sort ;)

There however, just doesn't seem to be enough minutes in the day. Gone are the days of plonking my butt on the couch at 7.30 pm whiling away the time writing and editing pictures, I'm lucky if my backside sees the couch before 9 pm these days, and when it does, oh does it hit it hard. Like Keeping Up With Kardashians and Geordie Shore hard. Yes, I choose watching Geordie boozy bust ups over opening up my laptop. There I said it. Now you know the truth.

But like always, when I neglect you, poor blog, I miss you. You're my little space, which okay yes is about my family, but is a place just for me, to pour my thoughts, push myself photography wise. Which ironically lately I've been doing, I've literally taken a gazillion pictures of late, always intending to post here but come the evening the idea of editing them is quickly quashed with the promise of seeing whether Bruce Jenner has become a woman yet or not. I know, I've never been prouder of myself ;)

So, I've made an executive decision, blog. Instead of thinking I need to update you with everything that has been going on the last month picture by picture, which in part has made me stay away from my laptop all the more. Let's draw a line under it shall we. Start a fresh as it was. It's not like anything major has been going on anyway, I mean Caleb only turned three, we sold our flat, had friends stay over for a week which equated to six kids in total, a weeks caravan holiday, and of course Easter. So like I said, nothing here to see. All very quiet ;)

*can I also just tell you that before I hit the publish button on this post and was about to congratulate myself for finally doing a blog, Archie decided to projectile vomit all over his cot. Yeah I've totally got this two kids and blogging thing down, ha! Now where is that bloody remote control....

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The little BIG moments #4


This isn't actually a little moment in my book.

This is big.

Huge.

My baby boy went for his first proper haircut and came back a fifteen year old.

It all started with a little trim by moi. Said trim turned into a disaster. One word, mullet, and not the cute kind (wait, is there a cute kind?!), it looked baaaaad. So I tried to rectify the situation, ya know, a little trim here, a little trim there, until it looked really, REALLY bad. So bad in fact I kind of missed the mullet.

I awoke the next morning as if it had all been a bad dream and that I had not butchered my boy's beautiful blond mane. Pahhhh, denial, as a seventies inspired, wonky haircut danced into our room. 

So I did what any good mother would do, begged my husband to take him to the barbers and save me the shame of showing off my handiwork. Obvs.

He agreed (what a guy!) and then looked at me horrified as I started sending him Pinterest images of little boy haircuts to his phone. I clearly had not been schooled in the local barber's etiquette, apparently you just sit in the chair and hope for the best, you absolutely do NOT show pictures of random kids that aren't your own on your phone (my husbands words). I mean, who knew ;) 

They left. I felt sick. I looked at Archie and made the mental note to never cut his hair myself. See, there are some benefits to being the second child!

Before long I heard that familiar, 'HI' and the stomping of his feet, it would appear that's where the familiarity would end though because in walked a different boy. My jaw dropped.

'So?', my husband nervously asked. 

'He looks like you.', I said stunned, and then burst into tears.

Yep, sorry about that hubs. I promise it was just the shock ;)

Just like that, it felt my toddler boy and his blonde locks were gone, and in his place was this little grown up beaming at me because he now had hair like his daddy. Seeing him love it, made me love it all the more. Oh and the blond curls, I've got them tucked in an envelope next to my bed. A lock of his toddlerhood that I'll keep forever. Sob, sob.

With the big three just around the corner (eek this coming Saturday!) this boy has got the threenager look down, and of course the behaviour. Oh, dear. Guess I can't blame the barber's for that one.

Monday, 9 March 2015

CH - CH - CHANGES


Changes have been happening daily over here.

Notably my hair. Oh yes, I'm a walking talking cliche. New baby, new hair. I always wondered why mothers did that. Now I know the answer, or well at least I have mine.

1// Postpartum hair loss is real, people! I've been leaving a hair trail wherever I go, and when you find full-length strands of hair in your baby's hands, mouth, nappy, you know it's time for that cut. Plus I needed to do something before my hoover went on strike :/

2// That need to claim back that bit of you. You know, that bit that is not determined or decided by another person. I'm learning though that trying to morph yourself back into the 'before kids' you, is futile. The old you had never carried and then squeezed out little people from her body. The new you, has. So she kinda bloody rocks in her own way. She deserves to feel good and celebrate that change.

So snip, snip, snip.

Ta-da! I can now walk freely without worrying that I'm a modern day Hansel and Gretel who had swapped breadcrumbs for hair strands.

Next change, I didn't see coming.

Archie self-weaned from the breast. It all started with him waking up loads in the night a few months back. He was starting to use me as a dummy, a few sucks and he was out like a light again. Good for him, not so good for me. I always said I would exclusively breastfeed Archie as long as it suited the whole family, and me getting up exhausted and grumpy everyday from being a human dummy in the night wasn't fair on anyone.

Up until this point Archie refused a dummy or a bottle, so I decided to give him a dummy to play with in the day, he would mostly just bite it and then occasionally suck it. Then when he woke of a night, he happily accepted the dummy, soon spit it out and back to sleep he went. After just a few nights of that he actually stopped waking up for it.

Seeing him happy to take a dummy we thought we'd try the bottle with him again. Michael has been desperate to feed Archie, I think it can be hard for men when their partner breastfeeds. It can not only be excluding but I know it made Michael feel pretty useless when a feeding frenzy stage was happening, wanting to help but unable to. I think it was also harder on Michael as he helped feed Caleb when he was younger and it was something he didn't want to miss out on with Archie.

We tried a bottle randomly one night fully expecting him to decline it, but no, he sank the whole thing. I was thrilled for Michael, but devastated for me. I knew in my heart the timing to share feeding Archie was right, but my goodness it did not make it feel any less bittersweet.

So when I got over the initial shock of him accepting a bottle, I then thought, yay! Great, we can now have the best of both worlds, breast and bottle.

Silly, silly me. When will I realise it is not me who makes the decisions around here.

I should have known actually, when I look back there was defiant signs. For a few weeks leading up to giving Archie the bottle I had noticed he was more distracted and less interested feeding from me, and biting was becoming a common occurrence (ugh that was not fun!), looking back now I think he was frustrated and hungry but not feeding long enough to up my supply. No wonder when we gave him a bottle he sank it straight away, and no wonder just a few days later he refused to feed from me at all :/

Big, fat, ugly tears have been cried over this. I know looking at the bigger picture this is such a good and positive thing. It's been Archie's choice and he's now gone seamlessly into his next stage, but oh my mama heart. I wished I could have known it was coming to and end, to have been able to savour those last few weeks more. But again, I keep looking at the bigger picture. The last 8 months of feeding Archie have been incredible, yes at times tough, but on the whole incredible. I am so proud of him and of me too, and although that stage is over, its forever ingrained on my heart. Those precious months have now given my boy the confidence and assurance to be in charge of his own feeding.

Oh did I mention he doesn't allow you to feed him the bottle?! That's right, he has to do it himself!!! How on earth can I go from having a breastfed baby who refuses a bottle to a baby who wants to feed himself the bottle!??! I think it suits how he's used to being fed from the boob, he likes to be able to take the bottle out himself for a little breather and then pops it back into his mouth when he's ready. I honestly just sit there stunned even now. When did my little baby get so grown up?

Next up in our world of changes.

Moving house.

I swore the last time I moved I would never move again. My gypsy heart was done, but now two kids in and realising we need a garden of our own, it's time to move.

It's not as simple as just finding a house with a garden though, we have the dreaded two words to think about....school catchment.

We're torn between getting a fixer upper job in our area, and knowingly letting ourselves into a year of renovation hell with two little ones, or moving area.

My dad laughed at me recently when I said I was worried about switching areas, he couldn't understand how the 17 year old me could decide to move to Edinburgh and the complete unknown, but the 33 year old me was worried about moving areas within the same city. Crazy, huh. I think I need that 17 year old to sit my ass down and give me a good talking to ;)

So yes, as you can probably guess my head and heart has been a bit all over the place of late. but my hair hasn't, so you know. There is that at least.

Oh and Archie, he may not want to feed from his mama anymore, but he sure wants to cuddle a whole lot, and that is more that fine by me ♥


Friday, 20 February 2015

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS - featuring PIPSTICKS


Spending one on one creative time with this guy is so important to me. He has taken Archie coming into our lives completely in his stride, and as much as I love daily activities as a three, I know that it is also important that they get that much needed one on one time from me also, for Caleb especially with his speech.

Recently we have adored stickering (hmm pretty sure that's not a word, but I'm going with it ;)) together thanks to Pipsticks.

Pipsticks is a monthly kids sticker subscription with the most gorgeous sticker packages delivered straight to your door. It also happens to be the brainchild of a lovely mama herself, Maureen. I adore not only finding new companies with a great idea, but companies that are ran by mothers themselves. I always find it so inspiring. You can read more about Maureen and what inspired her here.

Anyhoo back to the sticker fun!



On opening the pack I was met with squeals of delight from Caleb that got higher and higher as he spotted all the different sheets. Like seriously, my poor ears. What was really wonderful for us is that it's a great task for focusing on Caleb's speech, naming what all the stickers were, the colours, the shapes etc.

This was such an enjoyable thing to do together, especially since I was quite the sticker enthusiast when I was younger. Any of you UK lot remember Stationary Box??! I swear I kept that place afloat with my pocket money!










For us it was also a great task to work on Caleb's focus. This is one I always find tricky as Caleb is a really physical kid, he's at his happiest when he's running about. I don't want to ever force him to do sit down activities, but I equally know that it's important that he does. It was lovely to see him so focused when playing with the stickers, it wasn't a chore keeping him alert and entertained, the stickers did that for me. Win, win.

It's lovely watching Caleb's interests unfold outwith running around like a Tasmanian devil, I honestly think it's the key to his speech development.  He's slowing down, taking in the world more, his curiosity for what everything is called grows daily. It is a pleasure to watch and even lovelier to be a part of.

For all you sticker fans out there Pipsticks, is offering you a free months subscription if you sign up to either a six or twelve month subscription. All you need to do is enter LITTLEHOUSE11 at checkout, or if you don't want to commit to a subscription why not try their taster pack and see if it's something your children would enjoy, and yourself of course ;)

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