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#whatwedidthisweek 12.02.18

#whatwedidthisweek – 12.02.18

#whatwedidthisweek – I thought I would resurrect this weekly post. I had been thinking about vlogging but I just can’t put myself in front of a camera.

#Whatwedidthisweek

Poorly Girl

So as not to stray from school holiday tradition isabelle was poorly. I’m trying desperately to dodge her coughs and sneezes but it’s almost a given that I’ll get it since her fave place is clamped to my side.

Before she got really poorly we went to Poundland at the weekend so that she could do a Poundshop Haul video. I’ve yet to edit it but will get it up as soon as I can.

We’ve done a few bits and bobs at home, such as make a cardboard car and a mermaid tail. She wanted to do some cooking but, well the permanent snot slug trailing down her face definitely says otherwise.

Orbies

I ordered some Orbies as Isabelle has watched loads of videos of kids sitting in baths full of them or putting their feet in wellies full of them. They arrived on Wednesday so we popped them in a bowl and waited for them to grow. It didn’t take as long as the instructions said and Isabelle couldn’t resist keep putting her hands in them.

Daddy wasn’t impressed as they kept popping out of the bowl, and these things ping in every direction and are quite tricky to pick. It’s quite therapeutic to put your hands in them, but as to what purpose they serve I have no idea.

The next day I said she could put them in a big bowl and put her feet in them which she really enjoyed. it was really cold and they squished under her feet. Any ideas for what to do with these would be greatly appreciated.

Days at Home

The rest of the week went by in a bit of a haze of playing board games, colouring, endless snacking and watching you tube video’s. Believe me there are only so many videos that you can watch before you start climbing the walls.

Isabelle did get a mystery Valentine’s gift through the post, the person responsible has yet to come forward. It cheered Isabelle up no end though.

Isabelle’s attention span is much the same as a goldfish so we start doing something and then she wants to go and lay on her bed. She’s not really eating very much, more like snacking. The poor dog is looking longingly at us to take him out, but as it’s constantly raining, Isabelle being full of a cold and me walking like an old lady due to back ache the poor thing has no chance.

The days have been long and really boring.

A bit of normal

Thursday we went out to McDonald’s for lunch. Isabelle still has a cold but the thought of going to McDonalds where they are also giving away The Amazing World of Gumball toys (if you haven’t watched it, don’t – it’s rubbish) was enough to get her out of the door. It was heaving and we were lucky to get a table but she enjoyed it enough before her face started to go red and blotchy and we knew it was time to make a move.

The McDonalds we went to is in the middle of a retail park so you can imagine what the car park was like. Not the best time for me to have to jump out of the car at the exit of the car park therefore forming a queue so that I could stamp out the pain going from my back and shooting down through my leg BUT I did it anyway. Flippin cramp and weird shooting pains.

Friday was Isabelle’s first full day of feeling normal (still snotty) so Daddy took her and a friend to ibounce to burn off some of the stored up energy and I got to do some work. I’ve started a course called Finance for Freedom which is really quite interesting. I’m totally British when it comes to talking about money, but it’s amazing how our finances affect our happiness etc so it’s a bit of an eye opener. I’m going to post about this separately as I’m sure you will find it an interesting read.

Saturday I finally went for the haircut that I’ve wanted to have for a couple of week’s. I thought pregnancy was supposed to give you lusciously thick glossy hair but mine has taken on the look of an abandoned birds nest. I’ve had all the dry ends cut off so it’s quite a bit shorter than I wanted but it feels so much nicer. I’m going to give coconut oil overnight conditioning a try to see if this helps to keep it from going so dry.

Today I went to see my dad who is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He’s had three cycles so far and has fared pretty well apart from not being able to sleep very well. He’s just started to lose his hair which given that he’s almost bald I don’t think he minds. His sense of humour took quite a beating but he seems to be getting this back a bit which is nice. He’s originally from Scotland so I thought I would buy him one of those ginger wigs with the tartan hat attached as a joke present.

Back to work tomorrow and due to our pretty miserable week, I’m really looking forward to going back. Not so much the thought of my alarm clock going off at 5.30am.

Have a great week.

Lisa x

#Blogmas – A Trip to the Christmas Lights

#Blogmas Day 8 – A Trip to the Christmas Lights

Yesterday was late night shopping in Exeter and as I’m feeling a little bit less exhausted at the moment we thought we would take the opportunity to take a trip to the Christmas Lights.

I met Chris and Isabelle in town after I finished work in the hope that we could catch the 5pm showing of Spark which are an LED drumming group in Princesshay.

A Trip To The Christmas Lights

We turned up just in time as they had just started. It was heaving so it was quite difficult at first to find a spot where Isabelle might have a chance to be able to see.

We did find the perfect spot where lots of children were and Isabelle had the perfect view until a group of women came and pushed their way through and stood in front of the kids. I was more than a bit annoyed!

A Trip To The Christmas Lights

However, it took a bit of an unexpected turn when the drummers started to march through the crowd and headed off through the shopping centre. Everybody upped and left to follow them.

At first we weren’t going to follow as there were so many people we didn’t think we’d stand a chance of being able to see them. We headed off in the directed of the Charity Christmas trees, which if you know Exeter are in behind the side of Debenhams and go along all the way past Chando’s Deli (yum) where you end up back in the centre of Princesshay.

It just so happens that we ended up in the middle of the Spark drummers. Quite literally as they went past either side of us which was quite a treat. We had a great view and managed to watch the remainder of the show.

A Trip To The Christmas Lights

We finished off our Christmas Lights outing by going for food of Isabelle’s choice, so off we headed to McDonalds to join the longest queue along with half of Exeter’s parents and kid population!

A Trip To The Christmas Lights

This year I think I’m going to try and convince Chris into taking us on a bit of a tour of the streets where there are houses that have decorated the outside of their houses. I thought that we could have some snacks, maybe some chocolates and even a cup of hot chocolate (in a travel mug). I’ve yet to mention this so Sshhhh…….

A Trip To The Christmas Lights

Charity Christmas Trees

A Trip To The Christmas Lights

Happy Days Linky – Loads to look forward to

Happy Days Linky

It’s been a while since I wrote a Happy Days Linky post. Mostly because we’ve been sitting on a secret. A big one!

As announced this week by Isabelle we are looking forward to becoming parents again in June 2018.

Whilst we’re extremely happy with this news, I’ve been feeling really poorly and was slightly worried about announcing to the world as we did have a bit of a scare at about eight weeks.

I am officially 14 weeks today and the exhaustion that I’ve been feeling has eased off enough to feel half human.

I feel a bit sorry for Isabelle as I’ve not really had the energy to do very much so we’ve watched quite a lot of films snuggled on the sofa where I may have had a sneaky catnap or two.

Advent Calendars – Isabelle has been on countdown for ages to the day she could start opening her calendar. We got her a Smiggle one this year and Nanny got her a My Little Pony Chocolate one. Ryan has two also but he’s far too grown-up to show interest either way. We also got Charlie (the dog) one which is full of gourmet dog treats.

We went to Isabelle’s Christmas Fair at school on Friday where there was a game where you either got a prize or a Brussels sprout. Isabelle asked what you did if you got a sprout to which I told her you had to eat it. She won one prize and one sprout. I burst out laughing when she turned round with her mouth full of chewed up sprout, crying that she was going to be sick. Of all the times to take any notice of what I say it was then. Bless her.

How was your week?

Lisa x

Our Day at Peppa Pig World

Our day at Peppa Pig World originally posted 26.09.13

I’ve just realised that I was meant to blog about our birthday day at Peppa Pig World.

Our daughter turned three at the beginning of September and we deliberated over whether or not we should have a party or a special day out. We thought we’d give Isabelle the choice knowing full well that she was going to choose Peppa Pig World.

peppa pig world

The drive there was plain sailing and only took us a couple of hours from Exeter.

On arrival we were directed to our parking space which is possibly the only thing that I could complain about as they packed all the cars in the carpark like sardines and as usual we managed to park ourselves inbetween a 4 x 4 and a person of larger proportions which meant that it was a bit of a squeeze to get in and out of the car.

Having a toddler and a teenager can cause a lot of problems, especially on days out which wasn’t a problem as whilst we visited Peppa Pig World, Ryan and his friend went to the normal Poulton’s Park theme park and just met us for lunch.

Isabelle was absolutely amazed by Peppa Pig World and didn’t know which way to look or run first. We had a quick mooch around to decide what we wanted to do, and whilst we made our minds up Isabelle went in the playpark which was Fab. Everything was made to look exactly as it is in the programme with attention to detail every step of the way.

It totally made Isabelle’s day when she spotted the Muddy Puddles Water Play area which is right up her street. Off came the shoes at the speed of light and off she went before we had a chance to head her off. We were going to save this for towards the end of the day but hey ho it was her birthday treat!

peppa pig world

This was loads of fun. I happily sat with the bags etc whilst Daddy went in for a bit of splashing. After much splashing and getting completely soaked it was time to move on to something else.

peppa pig world

Unfortunately the day that we went there were a few showers which were quite heavy but thankfully only lasted a few minutes at a time and a bit of drizzle towards the end of the day. We went on every single ride including Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter which was the one we queued the longest for, the Balloon Ride and Isabelle’s favourite was the Windy Castle Ride.

peppa pig world

We had planned to take a picnic, but in the end we decided to eat there instead. There were quite a few places to choose from dotted around both Peppa Pig World and the remainder of Poulton’s Park. We met up with the boys and sat underneath this huge outdoor roofed picnic area. This was when the first and heaviest shower started and we were grateful for the shelter.

peppa pig world

When we sat down to eat, Isabelle found it really amusing that like the real Peppa Pig the ducks came for a bit of our picnic (or burgers as was the case). The food was standard pricewise and more than acceptable tastewise. I had a spicy beanburger which was very tasty.

Hotfooting it into the shop which we had hoped to save until the end, but the rain started again Isabelle was again amazed at all the things that you could buy. As it was a birthday treat she chose herself a Peppa Pig Nightie, A Snack Box and Peppa Pig’s Teddy and away we went.

Throughout the day Peppa and George make guest appearances. Isabelle wasn’t sure about these so Daddy picked her up so that she could have a closer look. Isabelle seemed to mellow and even reached out to touch Peppa, at which point Peppa whipped her head round and headbutted Isabelle in the face.

peppa pig world

There was plenty of photo opportunities in and around the park which looked just like we were onset ourselves. We don’t really have a willing participant with photographs which generally come out looking rather blurred (or maybe I’m just really bad with a camera).

It was a great day and the teenager and his friend had a great day in the main part of Poulton’s Park despite the weather. I would definitely recommend it to anybody with a Peppa Mad infant, or just for a great family day out.

Happy Days Linky – Back to School and off into the world of work

Happy Days Linky – Back to School and off into the World of Work

Happy Days Linky – Social media will be packed full of smiling little faces stood in front of their front doors with their brand spanking new school uniforms, shiny shoes, bags and book bags all eager to start or be back at school.

Monday I was totally the beamingly proud mum sending off my ‘little one’ for his first day at work! Ryan started his first day as an Apprentice Carpenter today. He went off wearing his new work uniform with his high vis vest in his bag, his packed lunch and a smile on his face. Unfortunately he wouldn’t pose for the obligatory standing in front of the front door which is a bit of a shame. Nonetheless, it was a total proud parenting moment.

Routine – Tuesday Isabelle went back to school. She was pleased to go even though she was a little Monkey at bedtime last night and could barely open her eyes.

Birthday Cake Prep – With a full week at work I did something that I’ve never done before. I made the sponges for the cake and put them in the freezer. I knew that it would be stressful getting the cake made so I wanted to be as organised as possible.

Birthday – Friday was Isabelle’s 7th Birthday. The day started at around 6am and was a flurry of presents, pancakes and then a rush to get dressed and out of the door to school and work. The look on Isabelle’s face when she unwrapped her presents was what us mums and dads live for. We’re much more savvy with present buying these days. Quality over quantity. We bought her exactly what she’s been coveting for the last few months. She’s a huge Kids You Tube fan so we managed to get her a giant surprise egg which we filled with ‘blind bags’ such as Shopkins, Num Noms, Trolls and such like. Her face was priceless.

Birthday party – I am pleased to report that the birthday party that we arranged for after school at the local ibounce trampoline park was totally worth it. All the kids that were invited came (yey) and they all had an amazing time. I couldn’t resist a bounce myself and even went off the platform backwards with a little bit of encouragement from the kids! You can see that on my Instagram if you like!

More birthdays – September is the month for birthdays in our family. Clearly the result of all those Christmas party’s. Ha ha!

Sleepover – Isabelle had her first sleepover at our house this weekend. She has slept at her friends once before, and this was our turn. They had dinner then mostly amused themselves with all of Isabelles birthday presents. We watched Strictly which was a bit disappointing as there wasn’t much dancing. They did, however have a bit of a boogie in front of the TV. There was no fuss getting them to bed, and it was quite sweet listening to them whispering and giggling. They didn’t stay up all night as they’d planned and once they were asleep they were gone for the night. The morning saw them trampolining in their pyjamas before resuming trying to cram in a play with EVERYTHING. It’s fair to say that it was a success and I’m just waiting to see how long it is before we get asked again.

Photo’s – Don’t you just love it when the memories come up in your facebook feed? I love it and more so when it involves a birthday and all the pics from previous years come up. This picture is Isabelle’s first birthday when we bought her first trike. Look at that face!

New job – I know I posted about my new job the other week, but this is another new job. I’ve just had the official green light so am pleased to announce that I am the new Local Editor for Mumsnet Exeter. I’m really excited about this.

We’ve had a fab week. I hope you have too!

Birthday Celebration!

Birthday Celebration – Isabelle Turns 2!

Originally posted 09.09.12 before being a stand alone blog but such happy memories not to keep.

It was our daughter’s 2nd birthday yesterday and we had a lovely family Birthday celebration barbeque. We were deliberating over what to get her for a gift as we didn’t want to buy something just for the sake of buying. We took a bit of a risk with it but in the end I won, and got her a gorgeous wooden play house. I could picture her in my mind playing with it even in the cold weather. As long as the weather is dry she can go out with her wellies and coat on and get years of play out of it.

Children's wooden playhouse for the garden
Wooden Playhouse

Her reaction was exactly what I was looking for with squealing and laughter which made my day.

Despite my previous status of hating all things pink, I have been completely swayed with a little help of Isabelle and this was our outfit of choice. I think we may have to add some of these style dresses to the site.

Isabelle in a pink tutu on her second birthday
Pretty in a Pink Tutu

And to top off our lovely day, after much agonising over whether I could pull off the cake. This was what I managed to muster up.

Peppa Pig 2nd Birthday Muddy Puddles Cake
Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Cake

We were so pleased with how it turned out and Isabelle knew that it was Peppa and George straight away. Phew.

Mummy and Isabelle having a birthday cuddle
Having a Birthday Cuddle

Happy 2nd Birthday my Little Princess

X

Happy Days – A missed week and Pimms

Happy Days Linky  – Celebrating the normal yet small wins in life.

Oops I missed the Happy Days Linky last week, mostly because I spent the most part of last week at home coughing, sniffing and sneezing.

Unfortunately I shared my germs with Isabelle and so she was struck down as well.

Come the weekend we felt a bit more human and headed off to one of the local pubs for some food and Pimms. We sat in the gardens (which are huge) and had a relaxed lunch and a jug of Pimms.

Running – Isabelle made up a game where we took turns in picking a tree in the gardens and she had to run as fast as she could whilst we timed her. A very simple thing but it kept her occupied for ages.

Family BBQ – Bank Holiday Monday was scorching hot so we spent the afternoon in the garden with the paddling pool out, bouncing on the trampoline and cooking and eating yummy food. Actually I should mention that I did absolutely no cooking at all. That was all down to Daddy. My actual contribution was chopping the salad and getting all the plates and cutlery out.

Tuesday – Tuesday marked the official return to work for both of us. Isabelle is back at school next week so I suppose our real return to routine starts next week.

Birthday Preparations – Birthday preparations for next week are steaming on ahead. After lots of thinking we’ve decided on a trampoline park party at the newly opened iBounce.

Birthday shopping – Again all going well. I even managed to find a site that sells the giant surprise eggs that you get surprise bags inside. Isabelle is obsessed with youtube kids so I know she’s going to LOVE this – I might just be a little bit excited about this.

Summer Fair – We spent Saturday at one of our local parks at their annual Summer Fair. We were joined by my mum, niece and nephew. We played drums, hooked ducks, won raffle prizes, ate yummy greek food, had snow cones and finished off with a play in the park.

Today we had our first roast dinner in a long time. As it was pouring down with rain we watched trolls whilst it cooked and then stuffed ourselves silly. Yummy.

Bring on this week when Monday we send Ryan off into the big bad world of adult work and Tuesday Isabelle is officially a year 2 girl.

Have a great week.

Lisa x

 

Baby Not Included takes a much needed break – St Jean De Monts

Baby Not Included takes a much needed break to St Jean De Monts

This was originally posted 30.08.12 before being a stand alone blog but such happy memories not to keep.

Although we’ve been back a couple of weeks, I’ve yet to show you the lovely pictures from our much needed family holiday.

We went to St Jean De Monts in France and had a fantastic two weeks of sun, sea and family fun. Our journey started at Plymouth which is just down the road from us to Roscoff and then a five hour journey in the car.

Ferry journey from Plymouth to Roscoff on our way to St Jean De Monts
Plymouth to Roscoff

The beautiful white and blue house we stayed in at St Jean De Monts, France
A home from Home in St Jean De Monts

This was the gorgeous house that we stayed in. It was in the perfect location with everything from the beach, restaurants and bars all a stone’s throw away. It was quite an anomaly in the area as most houses were all on one level so we got quite used to being stared at from passersby having a nose.

We’re quite a foodie family and the restaurants were amazing and very child friendly even in the evenings. We tried all sorts from Moules and frites to Galettes (savoury pancakes). Daddy even tried Carpaccio of beef which he’d been eying up for days. I was a bit hesitant with the Galettes, but if you get a chance to have these then we highly recommend them. We were near a fantastic market which was open every day until lunch time selling everything (food wise) from fresh fish, meat, cheeses, fruit and an array of breads and pastries. The children got a bit used to the ice cream which came in every flavour imaginable.

Our favourite place

We visited some lovely places, but our favourite was the beach where we spent a lot of our days. The sand was gorgeous and the water was inviting and warm.

The beautiful beach at St Jean De Monts where we spent most of our time
Beautiful sandy beach in St Jean De Monts

A gorgeous sunset in St Jean De Monts as we took our evening walk along the beach
The sun setting in St Jean De Monts

It’s a shame that we had to come back home, but we will see that sunset again. Maybe even next year!

 

9 Top Tips for Starting Back to School

9 Top Tips for Starting Back to School

Isabelle is going to start in Year 2 in September. We’ve met her teacher and know which classroom she is going to be in. Whether it’s your little ones first day at school or if they are returning, here are my 9 top tips for Starting Back to school.

9 Top Tips For Starting Back To School

Tips

1. Make a note of all the important term dates. I don’t know about your kids but Isabelle likes to do a count down in days to practically everything.

2. Early nights – we all let the daily routine slip during the school hols so about a week before gradually return to normal bedtimes/wake-up times so that it’s not too much of a shock.

3. Name Labels – Schools encourage all parents to labels their kids clothes and it’s much better in terms of getting things back should they leave them behind. We used My Nametag Name labels with little Hello Kitty’s on them which made it much easier for Isabelle to find.

4. School Bags – again there are popular bags that a lot of other children will have so either choose one that will immediately stand out or make it more unique by adding a key ring to the zip which may have there name on. When Isabelle started one mum had actually made little laminate labels with her daughters picture on for her bag and her packed lunch box.

5. Lunch boxes – again I would recommend either trying to find one a bit different or personalising it as they usually all go on a trolley which then has to be collected at lunch time.

6. School Talk – Isabelle was really shy and the things that worried us the most was her not asking to go to the toilet or telling somebody if she was hurt or upset. Whenever she was unsure about something she would usually stand and not speak or join in. We talked to her about which people she should ask for things i.e. If she needed to go to the toilet ask any grown-up in the room and making her familiar with her things so she knew what she was looking for.

7. School shoes – this one seems quite simple but then you go school shoe shopping and the gorgeous Mary-Jane style shoes have are shouting at you from the shelf. WALK AWAY!! – Harsh I know but how many four year olds do you know that can do a buckle by themselves? Same for boys – resist lace-ups. Keep things as simple as possible. Go for Velcro straps so they can put them on and off as quick as a flash.

8. Lunch – maybe I should have out this in with the lunch box tip but Isabelle came home on three consecutive occasions where she hadn’t eaten her sandwiches but they looked a bit mangled and she hadn’t eaten her fruit winder which she loved. When I asked her about it, it was because she couldn’t take the cellophane off her sandwiches or undo the wrapper of the fruit winder and was too shy to ask for help. To make things easier we bought a little sandwich box and some pots that she could easily undo herself.

9. Try not to show your nerves- I know this is a big ask but try and transfer as much confidence to your kids as possible. It’s okay to have a few tears as you do the walk back across the playground minus your son or daughter. I unfortunately was that mum whose child had to be peeled off me whilst I walked away to the sounds of her pleading me to stay. It was horrendous. Don’t let that put you off, at this point Isabelle was still the most clingy child I’ve ever known!

These are my top tips but most schools seems to make it as easy as possible for new starters by using pictures instead of words. Isabelle was a ladybird which she liked a lot so all of her school things has her name with a ladybird next to it.

Ooh I almost forgot. Try not to make any after school plans for the first couple of weeks as they get really tired and ratty adjusting to the new routine. I think that may be where the term ‘Witching Hour’ come into play.

P.S – Take loads of snacks! When kids finish school the first question us usually ‘Have you got anything to eat?’

Let me know if you have any great tips in the comments below.

Lisa x

Happy Days – Our Holiday and being reunited with our pooch

Happy Days Linky

Happy Days Linky – I’m really glad that I started linking up with the #HappyDaysLinky with Katy and Sian as it does help you to reflect on the god rather than dwelling on all the rubbish.

As I write this post we’d just heard of the terror attack in Barcelona where Chris and Ryan were the day before the attack. The other attack is just six miles from where we are now. We watched the news in the bar along with all the other guests with disgust at these senseless loss of lives.

It’s scary knowing how close this is, especially as we’re in a foreign country that we don’t know all that well.

Holiday – for the past week we’ve been on holiday in Salou, Spain with Chris’ parents and sister. It was much needed and we did the usual beach and pool combination. I’m not a sun worshipper at all and at times I think I was pinned as a bit of a kill joy but I cannot stand too much sun. I have sunburn and blisters to prove this theory! Actually at the time of writing this paragraph I was sat in our hotel room with the air con up high smothered in aloe Vera gel with two soaked tissues on my legs to help cool my burning hot legs. I also have cleavage blisters I’m not doing a down the top shot for you!


Time with the teen – Ryan has been with us on this holiday. It’s likely to be one of the last as he’s way too cool to hang out with us. However, he was here with us and talked at dinner which is a step up from the usual eating in his room or not at all. As Daddy’s birthday treat we paid for a trip to Barcelona to tour around Camp Nou, the zoo and also see the sights which they did as a ‘lads day out’.

Sibling rivalry – not sure this should be on my Happy List but it does make me chuckle (not at the time). Standing in the dinner queue we have the usual:

‘mum tell Ryan to stop looking at me’

‘Mum Ryan’s smiling at me!’

‘Mum Ryan’s looking at me in a mean/rude/horrible way’

At the time it drains me, but I think it’s like a right of passage for kids growing up as I remember doing the exact same thing with my brother and sister. It seems that an 11 year age gap still doesn’t abolish this age old family way.


Birthdays – we’ve had two birthdays this week with both Daddy’s and my mother in-laws so we’ve had two gorgeous really light cream filled sponge cakes. Being birthdays we took them out for a lovely meal and drinks at the all inclusive hotel restaurant – ‘order whatever you like’ we cried ……… ‘No expense spared!!’

Swimming – Isabelle has Ben like a little fish this week. She’s either been in the sea or in the pool. She has armbands but she’s learnt to swim with her head under the water and jump in off the side. She’s been going to the deep end of the pool so can’t stand and she’s also been doing a bit of lilo surfing at the beach.

Reunion with the pooch – Although we were all sad when the holiday came to an end, but I was looking forward to seeing Charlie again. He was really excited to see us and it was great to hear that he’d had a great week of long walks on Dartmoor with his new bestie Zac. He did have a wiggy on with me which lasted from Saturday until late Sunday afternoon which I think was my punishment for leaving him.

What have been the highlights of your week?