Bullet Journal #101

Dotted Leuchtturm1917

Back in the new year, I trialled the idea of keeping a ‘Bullet Journal’ in my trusty old Filofax starting with a 2017 Bucket List, and a Book List.  Last month, I decided to dive into the bullet journal world with two feet (with some encourage from the ever useful life guru that is Hayley from Home!). Well, what can I say, I am a bit hooked…

Here are Five Things that will help get you started on your first bullet journal:

1. You can use any notebook or pad – I had a trial go in my trusty Filofax notes pages. Only when I decided to get a bit more adventurous did I plum for the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted notebook because I liked the flexibility it gave with the dotted squares rather than lined or squared. But you can use virtually anything! There are some incredible people you can follow on instagram: ‘Adventurous_Planning_Cat’ uses a Filofax ballet hournal with some fantastic layouts. She even prints her own dotted paper. ‘Boho Berry’ uses a Leuchtturm and her pages are simply stunning.

July memories, Packing list, August, Book list, Birthdays, Blogs, linkies

2. You can start anytime – Unlike a traditional diary that will go from Jan- Dec or Sept-Aug; you can start whenever you like with a bullet Journal. You could even start mid month, that’s the beauty of a ‘Bujo’ !

3. You can set it out however you like – after doing a few pages here and there, I decided to start setting out a monthly page with a memories page afterwards. The ‘Memories’ are by far one of my favourites. It really showcases all the fun adventures we’ve had over the month.

Allotment plan and May memories (my favourite page)

4. Creative organisation – an easy way to describe a bullet journal is: all your to do lists, dreams and a diary all in one. Have you ever found some diaries just don’t meet all of your needs? A bullet journal is a way of having a diary, but set out exactly how you want. I’m trying a double page spread for the next few months with a corner for ‘to do next month’. Over the summer I’m going to do a spot of research and see how I might change my set up for the month and/or weeks for the new academic year.

June spread

5. Daunting at first but loads of fun – at first I was really quite apprehensive about starting as I didn’t want to make a mistake in my precious new notepad. I’m a bit OCD like that. I love everything to be neat, always have. I was nervous about doodling pictures for fear of it looking awful. I did an outline of my first page in pencil and then went over it in pen. However, a few weeks later, and I just go for it now, but I do wile away the time drifting through Pinterest searching for new ideas for pages, layouts, and doodles.

July, June memories, Recipes, Bucket list, DIY list Master shopping list

One thing to watch out for is ‘ghosting’. This is where the pen bleeds though the paper. I’m currently using the Staedler fine tips which are great, but prior to buying them I was using Wilko own which worked fine.  The only reason I bought the Staedtler was because the red ran out in my Wilko pack and I LOVE station. The Staedtler ones were ynder £10 from Amazon and only a couple of pounds more than the pack of 20.

Ideas and thoughts for new pages are always as welcome.  I’m currently thinking of starting a Netflix/Series one, but I need to pick some new series to watch first. I might try and keep a sleep diary for L for a month and see if there’s a pattern to her night wakings.

Happy reading.

Bloggers and Linkies to follow:

@boho.berry

@adventurous_planner_cat

@bulletjournaler

#bujo

#bulletjournal

#bulletjournalinspiration

‘Bad Mum-itis’

What is ‘Bad Mum-itis’?

I think we all suffer from this at some point. I know I have and still have my moments! I suppose Bad Mum-itis is your inner Mum conscience….


As Mums, we are constantly fighting a battle to be the ‘Supermum’, bake cakes, have a tidy house, make wholesome healthy meals every night or do something your friends did or just being better.  I’ve managed to keep two small humans alive, fed, watered and happy for 3 and 1.5yrs.

The fact remains; we are all GREAT Mums and we shouldn’t be second guessing ourselves or our ability. I think the very fact we do this to ourselves or strive for better makes us fantastic at what we do, because we care. 

These are exactly the values I want to instill in my children; not the negative side, but the positive: that I care about doing better, having the resilience to forget despite a bad day. Motherhood is a HUGE learning curve (a steep one too!) but that’s all part of the fun. I’m not ashamed to say I’m probably ‘winging it’ 99% of the time or take the easy route just for some peace and quiet (hence why my 19 month still co sleeps with us because I actually get some sleep!).

In light of recent events, I think we need to stop worrying about what you think you should be doing, or what you aren’t doing and start celebrating what you ARE doing. Because believe it or not, those little humans love you regardless. Live each day as it comes and cherish EVERY moment.

Review: Spokes Cafe, Harringworth

I stumbled across this new ‘Pop up Cafe’ in Harringworth last night whilst scrolling through Facebook. And wow, what a delight it is! 

This weekend was the grand opening. Usual opening hours are Fri 10am-4pm and Sat-Sun 9am-5pm. Spokes Cafe was a real weekend treat. Set just off the main road through Harringworth, it will be popular with cyclists (hence the name I guess!). 

I had a bacon bap, I asked if they would  mmind adding an egg which was no trouble at all. My husband had a sausage bap and the children shared another. I had a cup of tea and Stew had an Ethiopian drop coffee, all of which were simply delicious. An even bigger treat was that they were made of Kings Cliffe Bakery bread which is our local bakery. 

The courtyard with picnic benches, a beautiful array of garden pots and umbrellas was lovely. After a yummy breakfast we walked down the road to see the viaduct and stumbled across some pigs and chickens. A fun walk for H and L! A perfect morning breakfast. 

We decided (couldn’t resist!) to buy some cakes to takeaway for lunch which are all baked by Alice and boy, they did not disappoint. We bought two slices of Victoria sponge, a slice chocolate cake, a slice of carrot and a slice of coffee and amaretto cake. Delicious! 

My picture doesn’t do them justice!
Simon and Alice were diligent and friendly hosts, nothing was too much. A real countryside haven. We will no doubt be back SOON! Thank you again. 
Spokes Cafe, Wakerley Road, Harringworth. 

How are you three?

Wow, I still can’t believe three years have passed since the day we met you.  It seems to have gone by in a flash.  On the one hand, I fondly remember all our adventures over the past three years; and on the other hand, I recoil in horror at how much time seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye. 


I remember everything about my labour and delivery with you like it was yesterday. The excitement on my due date at already being 2cm dilated, the anticipation of when the real labour would start, the drive to hospital, my dispair at how long it took, my first words when you came out (don’t ask), the exhaustion, being re-admitted to hospital with a case of jaundice, and finally coming home and enjoying my maternity leave.  I have taken great joy in sleepy cuddles (I still do!), laughed at being sprayed with wee, projectile poo on the walls, long summer walks with Reggie and our first family holiday as a three to France, your first steps, your baby sister coming along and how affectionate you are with her (although sometimes a bully!), our first holiday to Centre Parcs as a four, the bout of chicken pox you caught on your second birthday, learning to talk, your gorgeous smile, your endless independence and potty training.  It seems crazy that you are now three!

I seem to have a little boy now, rather than a baby boy.  Your speech has exploded in the 6 months and you are such a little chatter box, sometimes I can’t shut you up.  You have such a mischievous grin and do the funniest things, I can’t help but giggle at everything you do.  You’re so inquisitive and are constantly asking questions. 

I feel like we’ve jumped into boyhood these past few months, we have recently moved from nappies to ‘big boy’ pants. This has made you seem so grown up now you are independently taking yourself of to the toilet. Earlier in the year we dropped the nap, it took me a while to come to terms with it as it means the days are so full on with you and your sister. You still can’t manage the day without a wee catnap though, so we settle for a rest together in the afternoon whilst L sleeps and you often nod off on the sofa whilst watching your favourite tv show of the moment: Blaze and the Monster Machines or The Krats. I love looking at you sleep, you look so adorable and I feel like I can cling onto some of the baby years. It’s one of my secret nightly pleasures, sneaking a quick kiss and stroking head every night before bed. 

You’re starting to need me less and less, but I still love our nightly cuddles and stories, and our snuggles and tv at weekends.  Despite the lovely snuggles and cuddles, you can still test my patience; mealtimes are the worst. At home, you don’t have a vastly varied diet as I tend to just give you what I know you’ll eat. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with your fussiness, and the mantra ‘he’ll eat when he’s hungry’. 

With turning three comes the inevitable ‘threenager’ problems although these tantrums feel like they’ve been around for a good few months. You’re getting into the swing of having meltdowns over nothing, but generally you just whine about not getting your own way. There are constant squabbles between you and your sister not wanting to share which can get me down, but then it all gets washed away when you play so angelically together.  We’ve become accustomed with the naughty spot and naughty step recently, you don’t like it and I hate putting you on it, but for now it is working. 

Now you’re three, we enter your pre-school year in September, yes PRE-SCHOOL! The thought of you starting school next September fills me with horror. I can’t believe it’s happening NEXT YEAR! How has it happened so quickly. We are currently in the process of organising some sessions at our village pre school with all his friends. I’m excited for him to start attending pre school with his future school friends but also terrified at the thought it. Will he settle well? Will he enjoy it? Will he be upset when I leave him? Although I’m sure he’ll be fine as he’s a confident, independent little boy. 

All the days when you feel sad you’re not doing a good enough job. I then lie back at night and think about how beautfiul you are, how well mannered you are, how imaginative you are beginning to be when playing, how well you mix at nursery with your peers. I can relax a little and stop worrying about doing a bad job and whether you watch too much tv, aren’t interacting enough with your sister, not doing enough craft activities or educational learning. Well we’ve made it to theee unscathed. Hopefully the next year will slow down and we can enjoy yet more family adventures! 

For his birthday this year, we had a joint party with one his friends and Nanna and Grandad came over this weekend and we went to the beach, the farm and did some gardening. I real treat of a weekend. Building sand castles, rock pooling, paddling, fish and chips, tractor rides, picnics, play parks, piglet racing, animal feeding, scootering and digging. It went by in a flash but lots of memories made. 

Happy birthday my sweet little H. Keep being you and fly x x x


 

Potty Training: Part Two

Well, I’m hoping we’re almost at the finish line now, 4 weeks in….here are a few highs and lows:

Day Five

Impromptu to the park, I’d already established that with a boy we can ‘water the trees’ if necessary/desperate when out and about. So, my two siblings, parents and I with the 5 grandchildren went to the park after lunch to burn off some energy. All was going swimmingly until H had an accident (a no. 2 accident). I was ill prepared for everything, no wipes, spare clothes, nappies, nothing, nada! Being caught out, all I could think of was to take off his shorts and underpants and deposit the underpants (complete with turd) into the dog poo bin (I apologise to the council member/dog warden who has to empty that bin)!

Day Twenty-Four (yes, really!)

I LOST THE PLOT! It was first day ‘off’ with the kids and I was busy rushing around doing jobs (why do I do this on my day off!). Going to Asda to collect shopping because I was too cheap to pay for the delivery on a Friday, and waiting for a plumber. Two accidents in 15minutes despite asking H less than 5 minutes before if he needed the toilet. Theee accidents total by just after lunchtime led to me losing the plot and shouting at him for weeing on my carpet. This basically resulted in H crying and me feeling like utter crap and I put him in a nappy for the afternoon! 

 

But since then it has been great. Loads of days accident free and a few accidents, but more importantly, three weeks after we started we finally managed a poo on the toilet! Hoorah. He’s now started taking himself off independently for the toilet which is great, but we still have to remind him to go when he gets engrossed in playing. 

In hindsight, I don’t think H was ready, but we are hopefully out the other side now and still have some sanity left. I’m a little bit sad (not about changing a pooey nappy) that he feels more grown up now, like I’ve lost a bit of my baby. It will make me treasure the cuddles just that little bit more. 

Potty Training: Part One

Well…..this is new! It’s like weaning for the first time again (well weaning of a different kind) = Mum out of depth. 


Day One – Tuesday 4th April:

I decided to jump in to the potty training world around 10.30am after a lazy morning  and when I asked H if he wanted to wear big boy pants, he actually said YES

Not a single wee/accident until I went out of the room to prep lunch, cue ‘mega-wee’.  Full change of bottoms and a scrub if the carpet, but all fine and still insistent on wearing big boy pants. Lunch went without a hitch, we then put his sister to bed and had some quiet time together. 

I asked him if he wanted a snack, and asked him to do a wee on the potty. Hoorah, a big wee on the potty and a biscuit with jam in for H (otherwise known as a nutri-grain bar!). 

Getting ready to visit Nanna and Grandad and another accident, so a quick change before getting in the car. I popped a bed mat in the car seat to keep it dry if there was an accident. H fell asleep a nanosecond into the journey, but thankfully dry on arrival to Nanna’s. 

At Nanna’s, he managed three wee’s on the potty which was great and I praised him lots afterwards as did Nanna. Back home and time for bed. I feel a bit like I’ve taken a backwards step tonight putting a nappy on, a bit contradictory I suppose. Is this normal?

We are going on a 3hr car journey tomorrow, do I put him in a nappy or stick with pants and the bed mat in the car seat?? Help!!

What are your tips for potty training? Lots of praise? Treats? Reward charts? 

Watch out for ‘Potty Training: Part Two’ or ‘I Give Up!’ 

A few of my thoughts lately…. 

Firstly, I really must apologise forbeing a bit lacklustre recently and not writing a blog post for a while. Work has had me so busy, and we’ve been having a bad run of sleep with the little one. So here are some thoughts…

Is it possible to find the right work life balance?

I like to think I was a relaxed Mum with H, but I think the reality was, I probably wasn’t! We were blessed with our first, H, he was reasonably chilled, happy, and a good sleeper from around 12 weeks. However, I think I was a bit of stickler for routine and probably a bit of a ‘Mum-zilla. 

I went back to work just before H was 7 months old (December 2014) which in hindsight was probably a bit too soon. I wish I’d stayed off longer as I missed so much. Anyway, I went back to work part time, working Tuesday-Saturday. I enjoyed my work, spending time with my colleagues and I enjoyed my Mondays with H and other Mummy friends. I was happy. Fast forward to February 2015, I took on a new role at work which meant going back to full time. I was sad to lose my Mondays with H and it did make me value my time on Sundays with H and Daddy more. Little did I know that L was just around the corner, literally! Shortly after accepting and starting my new role, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant with L. Oops! 

I returned to work properly following L when she was 11 months old. It was ok to start with, but the endless list was tough going, I remember dropping L off at nursery and arriving at work on October 5th 2016, feeling like a terrible Mum for not being with her. I even shed a few tears! I’ve adjusted a bit more to my heavy workload and hours now and I feel like I manage it slightly better, but it is hard going. 

Managing a job, a house, a marriage, and two children is proving more difficult than just one child. And I’m still searching for the right balance. I currently work 5 days in my teaching job, which is actually 0.8. My husband has a long commute so I manage the drop and pick up and most bathtime. It’s quite tiring, but I’m managing with a small amount of sanity left. Roll on the Easter holidays for a ‘rest’ and hopefully less hours come September. 

Jumping From One to Two:

H meets his little sister

My second pregnancy whizzed by and October 2015 soon came, L arrived and so did my maternity leave, albeit somewhat abruptly [see birth stories]. I was determined to have longer off this time and had scrimped and saved throughout my pregnancy to help. The first 10-12 weeks were an absolute blur of expressing, sterilising, nappies, sleepless nights, but I was enjoying spending time with them and admittedly probably enjoying H more as at 18 months, he was just so scrumptious and cute. Poor L would get lugged around to toddler groups and passed around from pillar to post for cuddles. We were lucky enough to have H in nursery two days a week when L was here, which meant I got two days to myself with her. 

When number two comes along, you have to adapt. I had to learn to relax a little (this was quite hard for me particularly as my husband says I’m borderline OCD!). Having two 17 months apart was about survival (still is!). I still throw a tantrum when the schedule gets too much, and go on a cleaning rampage whilst my husband looks on exasperated! I don’t think that will ever change. 

Second and Third Babies:

Most of my Mummy friends I made when H was a baby are on baby two as well so we are in the same boat (which often feels like we’re up the creek without a paddle). Other friends are starting their journey with baby number two (and in some cases two and three!), and I am left pondering whether we should have a third and pining for another round of baby days. My husband isn’t keen (and on the 9/10 days L doesn’t sleep, I don’t think I could cope either!), and I’m fairly sure my in laws would think we’d lost the plot. I think my desire for more babyiesncomes from a fear of our two growing up. I dread September 2018 as it seems so close, yet H seems too little to start school (how is it possible it’s happening so soon!). 

I’m one of three (the forgotten middle child), my sister has three, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a third came along. I love my two; I’m really not sure we’d ever have a third especially as we’re getting on a bit now (over the 30 hill, 33!) and I’m permanently shattered with just two, but I’d never say never. Hats off to those with three, you are superhuman.

Everyday is a Learning Curve:

I’m still learning how to be a good Mum to my two, and I shudder (panic) at the thought of my big one turning three in a couple of months and our ‘baby’ turning two in the autumn. Why does it have to go so fast!? I really didn’t wish away the baby days, but I felt like they the milestones whizzed by in the blink of an eye (another reason I’d love a third, to relish the baby stage just one last time).

This made me giggle, although this is my life ALL the time!

What we’ve learned (so far) when parenting two, it’s ok if:

1. Your kids eat soil (yes both mine have done this and the pink one is very partial to a mouthful of soil)

2. Your kids eat cereal for dinner. 

3. You let them watch the iPad/tv for 20 minutes so you can drink a HOT drink or go to the toilet in peace (FYI: I don’t spent 20 minutes in the toilet!)

4. For your house NOT to be showhome ready all the time (or never!)

5. You have a bad day and feel a bit crap or like you’re not good enough. That right there means you have done a great job because you CARE. 

6. They eat ‘beige’ food. 

7. Not to care about washing your hair anymore, dry shampoo all the way or in my case, do neither!

8. To go out in snot covered jumpers/clothes. 

9. To ONLY wear jeans to go out in public, I’m all about the lounge pants!

10. Well, you can add your own one here…

P.S I’m pretty sure the husband doesn’t read my blog, but if he pours himself a LARGE whiskey tonight I’ll be certain he does read it and has read the comment about having a third!!

P.P.S Turns out, the husband does read my blog and has commented that he would ‘self vasectomise’ (yes he used this very term!) if we had a third child! Ha ha

Birth Stories

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky you are when you get bogged down with the day to day slog. I, for one, am so so grateful to have been blessed with my two beautiful children and I thank my lucky stars everyday that they’re safe and well. But there is that odd occasion (60% of the time) when it’s 1am, and I have to be up for work at 6am, I wish the pink one would just go to sleep!

It amazes me how each and every one of my friends has a totally unique birth story, all different from the last, yet they’re all still precious because no matter how ‘it’ happened, it’s how we came to meet the wonderful little people who stole our hearts at first sight. 
Now, I think I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy labour and delivery (although I hated pregnancy!). There is no better feeling than winning the race and getting your prize: the gorgeous little bundle you spent 9 months training for (well 40 weeks is actually 10 months but no one tells you that!). And us women all LOVE a good birth story. And I, am afraid, no different, I love hearing about people’s birth stories. Whether it be a quick labour, a lengthy labour, sweeps, flat tyres on route to hospital (yes, this actually happened to my good friend!), relaxing water births, hypnobirthing or a caesarean, your birth story is something to be proud of and embrace (even if it wasn’t what you had planned) because it is how you met your beautiful baby or babies.

With my first, I had quite a long labour and I don’t think I was quite prepared for how to deal with labour and wanted to lie down or float in the birthing pool, but my body wasn’t keen and consequently made my labour last hours and hours. For some reason my contractions were pretty strong and close together yet it took about 15hrs to go from 4-6cm. I enjoyed being in the birthing pool as it was relaxing, but I wasn’t progressing, so the midwife made the decision to move me to another room , by this point I was so out of it on gas and air that I didn’t care ( I think I passed out at one point!). Within an hr I was fully dilated and exhausted and in a position I hated, but too exhausted to move. I pushed and I pushed and finally, after an agonising (literally) 24hours, our little H had arrived and despite it all being a bit of a car crash down there and me feeling (and looking) like I’d been in a car crash, we had this gorgeous little bundle, weighing 6lb 8oz.

Little H; 10th May 2014, 1.02am, 6lb 8oz

Our second little bundle, who arrived just 17 months later; well she was a totally different story. I had measured small all the way through my pregnancy as I had with her brother (I must say that my wonderful community midwife, Alison, whom I was lucky enough to have through both pregnancies was so so thorough and for that I am truly grateful). At 37.5 weeks, I went for my last appointment with the midwife before what I hoped would be birth at 40 weeks, and again I measured small.

I managed to rejig some work commitments to attend what I thought was going to be another routine growth scan, I came away from the hospital late on Friday night being told to come back the following day for a sweep (I’d managed to convince the midwife I was wholly ill prepared for the arrival of No 2 and staved off the sweep for 18hrs). So I drove home in a daze thinking about how both the Moses basket and car seat where still in the garage unwashed. Yikes!

So at 38 weeks, I toddled off to the maternity ward, via Mothercare for some ‘tiny baby’ babygrows knowing the car seat covers and Moses basket sheets were drying on the line! A sweep (these aren’t that pleasant at the best of times, and at 38 weeks I wasn’t disappointed) and some monitoring later I was on my way home safe in the knowledge that if nothing happened overnight I would be induced the following day.

Despite the midwife insinuating I would go into labour overnight, I awoke as usual, still pregnant and no labour pains at all. So after breakfast we all went for a long walk, what would be our last as a threesome.

After lunch, I phoned the maternity ward and dutifully turned up to be induced at 4pm on Sunday night. My husband joined me later on around 7pm and nothing much was happening and at 10pm I sent him home. By midnight, my contractions had picked up and I was pacing the corridor to entertain myself. At 2am, the midwife came back to monitor me and I must say being monitored lying down in full blown active labour is horrific. She had barely strapped me up and my waters broke and in ran about 3 other midwives. I was measured at 7cm, so I quickly rang my husband mid contraction ordering him to come back now as, and I quote ‘it was getting pretty bad now’. I made the call at 2.30am, and I was wheeled round to delivery. I climbed on the bed, had one puff of gas and air and with the next contraction, L arrived at 2.42am. And my husband leisurely strolled in around 2.55am! Our beautiful baby girl, a petite 5lb 8oz was here and perfectly healthy if a little dinky. 

Tiny L; 5th October 2015, 2.42am, 5lb 8oz

So, whether your birth was exactly what you’d imagined or far from it, be proud of what you achieved and every time you have a day that is less than desirable, just look at your gorgeous little bundles sleeping or playing with their sibling or just being ‘them’.

Review of Eastbank, Ballater

Wow, what a cottage! 

If you ever venture to the Highlands for a Scottish break, then look no further. Eastbank in Ballater is by far one of the most superior holiday cottages we have ever stayed in. A beautiful log burner, thoughtful family touches, lovely garden, gated driveway, car port and only a short walk to the town where there is a good array of shops, cafes and a supermarket. 


The cottage happily sleeps 6 adults in 2 double rooms (one ensuite) and a twin room, however, each bedroom has their own bathroom. 

Downstairs, there is a beautifully laid out conservatory, gorgeous dining room (although we made that a no go room for our littles), a lovely office area, a twin bedroom and the lounge. Both the lounge and conservatory have Sky tv packages and there is wifi throughout the house. But by far, the pièce de résistance is the kitchen…

….the kitchen was like my dream kitchen! Farmhouse style, butler sink and the most wonderful Aga. I have never cooked on an Aga before, but it was wonderful and the dog certainly enjoyed sleeping in front of it in the evenings. The breakfast bar was also a fab addition and our son enjoyed sitting there having his breakfast in the mornings. Fresh eggs delivered each week and a lovely loaf of bread and bottle of wine to enjoy for our arrival. And I’ve saved the best bit until last…THE PANTRY! 

I was green with envy when I opened the doors to the pantry.  So cleverly set back into the wall and better stocked than my own cupboards at home. Amazing!

The cottage is stunningly beautiful and you’ll be hard pushed to find any faults (I’m yet to find one!) and so ideally placed for a wonderful Highland getaway. Things to do nearby are:

  • Craigendarroch Hotel (1 mile)
  • Ballater Golf Course (1 mile) 
  • Balmoral Castle (7 miles, Apr-Jul)
  • Royal Lochnagar Distillery (8 miles)
  • Braemar Castle (16 miles, Apr-Oct)
  • Spittal of Glenshee for skiing (31 miles
  • Aviemore (51 miles)

And plenty more as you are right in the middle of the stunning Cairngorms. 
Jerry and Joss have made their family home into a 5* holiday cottage and when we next travel to the Highlands, we will definitely look it up again! 

Disclaimer: a big thank you to Jerry and Joss for allowing us to unleash 2 toddlers and a dog into their family home, we had a thoroughly fabulous time. All words and opinions are my own. 

Scottish Adventures: Part Two

Gorgeous weather, Castles, fussy eating, bamboozelling, night time monkeying around, Scottish edibles, and family adventures. Wowzers, it has all been going on this week!

Fussy Eating

Both my children have been through and still go through fussy eating phases. Currently, it’s the big one and it is so so draining. We deploy all the ‘bad parenting’ tricks in the book to get H to eat. He can never sit still for longer than 30mins and often gets up from the table mid meal. It’s taken me such a long time to get over my children missing a meal and telling myself ‘they’ll eat when they’re hungry’. It can be so frustrating sometimes when you prepare wholesome food for them and they don’t eat any of it, yet they eat all their food (and often seconds) at nursery. This week has been testament to that and I’m ashamed to say H (and consequently L) have eaten ‘beige’ food a lot more than usual this week. My saving grace for H is that he devours fruit and so I hope he gets some vitamins.  Anyone else have a fussy eater? What tricks do you use to get them to eat? 

Night Time Monkeying Around

Both H and L have tested mine and Stew’s patience this week. We’ve had every trick in the book from H: snuggles, stories, snacks, clean nappy, you name it we’ve had it. I find it hard to resist when he asks for a snuggle as I love having a cuddle just H and I, but I have to drawer the line sometimes and camp outside his room checking social media until he gives in and stays in bed.

L on the other hand is definitely a night owl. She goes to sleep (usually) straight away and wakes up around 10pm, my particular favourite time is at exactly the same time as my foot touching the bottom step as I trudge upstairs exhausted after a day at work and catching up on school work of an evening. We are regular co sleepers as it’s a quick and easy solution for us to actually get enough sleep to function! A bad habit to have gotten into, but the simplest and easiest solution. She can sleep through, and when she does it’s usually twice in a row and then not again for another 4-6 weeks. We had a sleep through on Thursday night, so that should be us now until at least March! Do you have sleep issues? How do you try and combat them? 


Scottish Edibles

Having never really visited Scotland until I met my husband, we’ve been quite a few times over the years as he is of Scottish Heritage. Since our visits, I’ve come quite partial to some Scottish delicacies. I do love some good honey, haggis, neeps and tatties, butteries, potato scones and our favourite is a steak pie from the bakery in Ballater. The one thing I have never gotten into though is whiskey; we did a tour of the Glenlivet distillery some years ago, but I spent the whole hour holding my breath as much as I could as the smell made my stomach churn, but my husband loves some whiskey and we picked up some Royal Lochnagar Whiskey this trip. What are your favourite holiday treats? 

Family Adventures

Landmark Adventure Park is somewhere my husband frequented every summer on his family trips to Scotland as a child, so we decided to take a trip over there for the day. Sadly, on arrival we learned all the play areas were closed (which was a shame as we’d driven an hour), but the ‘Bamboozeleum’ was still open, so we paid £6 to go in. H and L thought it was great fun, and Stew and I had fun messing in the funny mirrors and playing with the illusion pictures. My particular favourite was the weird hand grabber illusion…

L loves a good mirror and ever since Christmas, H loves some sparkly lights! There were crazy mirrors, sparkly lights, illusion pictures, an interactive floor tv, and some other pretty cool bits. We then went on a red squirrel hunt on the wooden walkway. Definitely worth a trip, and we’d go back when it’s fully open next time we’re in the Motherland.

After our jaunt up Craigendarroch Hill and trip to Landmark, H was quite tired so we decided a bit of a lazy day was in order, so we went for a walk around Ballater and visited the sweet shop and the park. The park is actually brand new after ‘Storm Frank’ caused a lot of flood damage back in December 2015. Both H and L enjoyed a run around and H especially enjoyed looking through the ‘telescooter’ (telescope).

L’s first flump, and H exploring the park

H was wanting a visit to a castle, so not wanting to disappoint; we popped to Balmoral, the Queens Summer Residence. Sadly she wasn’t there to say ‘hi’ nor was the castle open to visitors, but we did manage a walk round the village of Easter Balmoral and up a hill for some lunch which gave a beautiful view of the castle on what turned out to be a beautiful Scottish spring day. We sat overlooking the castle scoffing our steak pie from Chalmers bakery (Prince Charles’s favourite bakery).

On our way back down we searched for pine cones, squirrels, diggers and tractors. On our way back south 🙁 we stopped in to H and L’s Great Aunt in Braemar on what was yet another gorgeous spring day and popped to Braemar Castle for a sneaky peak and then had lunch in the ‘Bothy’ in Braemar. We even managed to see a red squirrel!

The long drive south was much less eventful for the kids. They napped until Johnstonebridge where we stopped for dinner and then watched the iPad for the last hour before we handed them over to Nanna and Grandad so we could enjoy a peaceful cuppa!

The River Dee; Looking for the Queen; Tree peeping; Cheeky grins; Balmoral Castle; Braemar Castle; Shadows; Lunch; View admiring.

Scotland, it has been a blast and we will most certainly be back, until next time!