I have a SIX year old….

Well, my darling boy, this hasn’t been the sixth birthday we had hoped for, but you don’t seem to be too fussed. If only everyone in the world could see everything through a six year olds eyes, such innocence. I’m still finding it hard to let go of the ‘baby’ days, and find it baffling that all the little ones are turning six!

A lot has changed in a year; you finished reception and have started Year One, we moved house (yes, again!), started tennis lessons and continue to thrive at swimming lessons. Reception was hard for you, you struggled to adjust to some new challenges, but we got through it. You’re a good boy at heart, and I’m slowly working out how to read you and prevent the tantrums that ultimately come. You have taken to Year One like a duck to water, you have two wonderful teachers who have worked wonders with you, and I pray you can go back and finish year one before the school year has finished.

You are still very much an outdoor lover who will ‘help’ Mummy and Daddy in the garden for hours on end. You are happiest when you’re out on your scooter, bike, tractor or just out walking. You are inquisitive of everything outside and are filled with joy when you find anything new outside.

I’ve been thinking about which words to use to describe you best, the first one is definitely a CHATTERBOX; honestly, I don’t think you shut up from the minute you wake up until you go to sleep. Not only do you talk non stop, but you are so so loud!! ADVENTUROUS; you love going on an adventure, and especially love anything forest school! LOVING; you love nothing more than a cuddle with Mummy every morning and last thing at night, and I sincerely hope that doesn’t stop anytime soon.

Happy birthday my darling (not so) little boy, I hope you have a fantastic day and enjoy your family party. We are all looking forward to the next year of craziness!

All my love, as always

Mummy

x x x

Moving House

Well, we ended 2018 by selling our family home and the prospect of moving to a new village to a house with an absolutely amazing garden, however, we ended January 2019 with a big decision to make. A house had come on the market in our village; a village that has become a big part of our life….

So, what was our decision? Well, we pulled out of our purchase and secured the house in our beloved village. Although, we were moving from a detached house to a semi detached, the plot has more than made up for it. We are lucky enough to now have field views both at the front and the back. Wand I thank my lucky stars that we were fortunate enough to have stumbled into this wonderful rural village 6 years ago, and to tell you the truth we haven’t looked back!

A house literally COVERED in ivy!

Now for the inside, somewhat dated and a bit of a project, but actually quite inoffensive as its all BEIGE. However, first on the list is creating a big kitchen/diner. The current layout has the kitchen and dining room spread over three (yes, THREE!) rooms which isn’t ideal when cooking and eating with a 5 and 4 year old, in fact, its been a right pain in the bum! We have redesigned our new kitchen/diner, and are creating a downstairs bedroom come office in the process. The work started six weeks, and hopefully we are now on the home stretch.

Estate agent photos!
Top – both halves of the kitchen
Bottom left – main bedroom
Bottom right – lounge

The beauty of this house is the potential. It was initially a bit of conundrums what to do with the rabbit warren of rooms, yet we were also mindful of not wanting to lose any value and also get the most use as a family. I think we’ve made the right choice, and still have more options for upstairs (possible extension to create a fourth bedroom upstairs with ensuite, sorry Stew!)

We are coming up to 6 months since we moved (its taken a while to pen this post!), and I still can’t believe we have this beautiful garden and soon; what’s next on the list? Who knows, but I would love a new bathroom downstairs, a boot room revamp, a woodburner in the open fire in the lounge, a new front door, a wider driveway, a new patio in the back to complement the new bifold doors and a bit of garden design (or someone to just tell me the names of the plants!), not much then, ha!

Next page will be of our downstairs renovation!

She’s FOUR!

I can’t believe that the little dot who was born weighing just 5lb 8oz is now four. I am shocked that you will be starting primary school next September (I’m certainly not ready for that!) and I am thankful that I have one final year of fun with you.

You seem to have changed so much this past year; you’re no longer a toddler, you’ve grown into a little girl. You are such a caring little one, who adores looking after babies, has developed a love of crafting, but is also quite fond of getting outside with her brother.

You are such an independent little girl which makes me very proud but also a little sad that you’re doing things yourself now. With your independence, comes a little bit of an attitude and some sass! You are a feisty one for sure and can certainly hold your own.

Two years on and you are STILL flamingo mad, so we are off to the zoo today to see them. Amongst your other favourite things are unicorns, rainbows, playing with dolls and running about with your friends and Henry.

I am pleased to have a feisty, independent daughter; keep growing and being you my darling. Have an amazing day celebrating.

Lots of love

Mummy

xxx

The Smeds and The Smoos by Julia Donaldson

What a truly heartwarming story !

Julia Donaldson never ceases to amaze me with how she grips children’s imagination with every single book, and this is certainly no different.

The lovely Tammy at ‘Books With Tammy’ kindly sent us this book to read. And we are so glad she did. It is instantly enjoyable and has the trademark rhyming style of Julia Donaldson.

“Janet, like all the Smeds, was red”

“Bill, like the other Smoos, was blue”

The story begins in a far off land by a Loobular Lake….where the Smeds and Smoos aren’t friends. But Janet and Bill become friends against advice from their grandparents. They fly off on an adventure together and despite being enemies, their families become friends in their quest to find them.

We’ve read the book every night since and I enjoy more each time. So far, my favourites are the crazy name for the planets and their inhabitants (Klaboo has Klabs, the Scloopies from Scloop wear kilts, Planet Vumjum houses the long armed Vums), BUT my most favourite part of the book is the last rhyme

Play with the Smeds and play with the Smoos.

Play with whichever friends you choose.

Then close your eyes and, whilst you snooze,

Dream of the Smeds and dream of the Smoos

An abolishment delightful book, and thank you once again to Tammy for sending it to us. Be sure to pop along to her shop linked here where it is just £6.99!

AD – we were sent the book in return for a review.

All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Five years of fun!

And so, it is that time of the year again when my first born becomes another year older. I know I say it every year, but I can’t believe you’re FIVE years old!

A lot has happened in this last year, you’ve become dry at night, we’ve moved house (twice!), finished pre-school, started swimming lessons and started school!

School has been the biggest change this year, and I have to admit, I think we have both struggled with the transition. Me, because I have loathed losing my time with you, and you have struggled to adjust to the many rules that school entails. Now I know I don’t have a naughty boy, but school presented itself with a few challenges initially. It took us a while to figure it all out, but we got there in the end. I hate that everything is such a rush in the mornings and evenings, I wish we didn’t have to go to school everyday (which I guess is bad coming from a teacher!). That said, you seem to have come on leaps and bounds and are enjoying learning new things; your reading has developed so well and your handwriting is fantastic. We are still working on enjoying maths (and PE!) but we’ll get there.

You are still very much an outdoor lover, always wanting to go outside and play football, collect sticks, puddle jumping or gardening, but your new favourite activity is litter picking ! Our village is now super clean. I can’t wait to take you out into the forest in the summer and utilise all my forest school skills and teach you all sorts, especially now I have a bowsaw!

Happy birthday my gorgeous (not so) little boy, I hope you have a fantastic day and enjoy your disco party at the weekend. We are all looking forward to the next year of fun and frolics!

All my love, as always

Mummy

x x x

Review: Sacrewell Farm, Christmas Experience

“A truly magical experience for little ones.”

We haven’t visited Sacrewell for a while despite its close proximity to us; I think as its being undergoing a bit of a revamp. When L was born, I had an annual pass and spent a good chunk of my maternity leave lugging L through the play barn chasing after H!

So when we were invited to come along and try their new ‘Christmas Experience’, we jumped at the chance.  On arrival, we received a lovely welcome and were given our Father Christmas tickets and tractor ride wrist bands.  First stop was the big man himself.  A short walk past the goats, new improved outdoor play area, we came to the drive up to the old farmhouse.

The walk up was pretty, with stars hanging from the trees and there was a real Christmassy feel. The Farmhouse is adorned with sparkly lights and surrounded by Christmas trees, but the main attraction is Father Christmas’ amazing sleigh. If you pose on the sleigh and use the hashtag ‘Sacrewell Christmas’ you are entered into a prize draw to win a family annual pass!

The entrance hall to the farmhouse is lined with twinkling lights, christmas trees and gorgeous animals (reindeers, penguins, polar bears).  Mrs Claus greeted us as we entered and talks to all the children ensuring the excitement builds. She then helps each child make a bag of reindeer food, and explains how you put it out on Christmas Eve.

Its then time to enter into Father Christmas’ room.  The open fire is lit, there is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and homemade mince pies for adults, creating a homely feel.  Father Christmas is sat next to the fire with a stool either side for children. He was such a genuine man, and made such an effort to engage with each child; asking their names and what they would like for Christmas, etc. Each child/family then has the opportunity to have their photo taken with Father Christmas (which are purchasable for an extra cost). After each child has sat with Father Christmas, he then holds out a bag which holds the ‘magic key’.  

H and L both got a key, and after leaving Father Christmas they discovered it opened a very special door indeed.  The key opened the Elves Workshop! H and L thought this was just fantastic, and even better that they were then able to choose their own toy (from a good selection). H chose a bug excavation kit and L, a puppet elephant now named ‘Ellie’.

         

Upon leaving the Elves Workshop, there is a table set out for writing letters to Father Christmas with beautiful headed paper and an array of coloured envelopes.  We chose to bring ours home to do as H and L are still a bit young and need quite a lot of help. Next up was our tractor ride. This was a nice little amble through the grounds of the farm and into neighbouring Riverford. H and L both enjoyed looking at the scenery and were quite chatty about what they were seeing.

One of the main attractions of the farm, particularly in the winter is the ‘Playbarn’. It can turn what could be a wet, cold trip out to somewhere were you can warm up and have a cup of tea. H and L have been to the play barn quite a few times and wasted no time in running straight in. After lunch we came out for a walk and found a new obstacle course which they both loved (as well as Mummy and Daddy!), we then took a walk to the outdoor play area and to see some of the animals. Despite their pleads to stay a bit longer, we were all farmed out and headed home for a rest.

All in all, a truly magical Christmas experience for H and L and I would recommend it to other parents. The play barn is fantastic, however, my only criticism would be that there were fewer animals to pet/feed than on previous visits and I think children enjoy this aspect of the farm. BUT, that said, Sacrewell are doing a great job of bringing the farm up to speed!

Price: Adult £7.00, Child £12.50, Under 2 £5. This is for the peak periods (weekends and the week before Christmas) and includes the Christmas experience.

Disclaimer: We were fortunate to have been gifted a Christmas Experience at Sacrewell; however, I have carried out the review independently, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thank you

AWOOE x

Forest School….

So if you already follow me on here, you’ll know I have been dabbling in a bit of Forest School. A PE teacher by trade, but I fancied upping the ante a little bit. So, in February I embarked on my Level 3 Forest School leader training.

If you’ve never heard of forest school, it is really hard to describe without sounding like a bit of woodland weirdo. But there are so many things I enjoy about forest school! The comradery that forms between children, the confidence and resilience it develops through risk, learning life skills such as making fire, tool work, building dens, there’s just so many. Forest schools education explain it well here.

Back in February I started the course and boy was I a rabbit in headlights (I still am sometimes!). The course is not for the faint hearted, it’s been a big learning curve for me and a steep one at that, but over the past 6 months I’ve come to enjoy learning new skills and practising them, but most importantly I cherish every moment outside with my children. Now H and L are regular forest schoolers as they are very lucky to have weekly session at their nursery. But they have loved going out into the woods with me and learning / trying new things. They relish the chance to collect sticks and forage for silver birch bark.

On completing the training element of the course, five of the most intense days of my teaching career to date, I was sent away to try and complete my portfolio; 61 pieces of work (yes 61!). I started off with great intentions but as usual life just got in the way and my discipline to forest school wavered. Come June, I was called back in to complete my Outdoor First Aid certificate which was absolutely fantastic. Our Dave, the instructor had great fun making us over during our casualty simulation. I was given a burn, someone else had an amputation, and there were lots of other injuries with varying degrees of severity.

Fast forward to the summer holidays and I started flapping that I was nowhere near done on the portfolio and assessment week was looming. Over the summer, I think I managed to complete between 10-12 assignments before the practical assessment. This meant working for 1-2hrs of an evening after having the children all dat. September 10th saw the start of the practical assessment and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified!

Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th – thank the lord these were revision sessions, but Dave (our instructor) definitely put us through our paces! We practised tying our knots (timber hitch, alpine butterfly, trucker hitch and a quick release knot), making and keeping a fire going for 10 minutes, boiling water in a kelly kettle, putting up shelters and using some tools; the bowsaw, billhook and sheath knives. It’s safe to say I was exhausted after day one and two BUT I had a fab time rekindling my love for forest school (ok maybe not whittling!) AND best of all having a great time with my fellow forest schoolers.

Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th – now these were the real deal, our actual assessment. My peers and I had gotten ourselves a little stressed about Wednesday as who doesn’t get a little panicked by a ‘test’. Now today was going to be a real test of not only my forest school skills but my time management. We’d been split into 3 groups, a starter, main and dessert. Throughout the day each person had to demonstrate how to use knots: putting up a shelter, making a low ropes course, making and keeping a fire going for 10mins using their own foraged materials; cut, split and whittle a tent peg, show how to clean and maintain the tools, teach another person for 5 minutes AND if that wasn’t enough, we also had to heat water in a kelly kettle in a group, make a piece of furniture and cook a course of food whilst managing a fire for TWO hours. I think it was safe to safe we were all flabbergasted at the extent of tasks for the day. I don’t think I stopped at all well apart from to eat all our delicious food. We made vegetable soup (from scratch), Gaelic mushrooms on toast, chicken and chorizo risotto and chocolate cake cooked in oranges with hot chocolate. Everything was absolutely delicious. With Wednesday and all the individual tasks out of the way, that meant only Thursday was left. Today we had to lead a session for a group of children. Easy you say, as we had all lead 6 sessions as part of our portfolio leading up to the assessment week, BUT this was Little Acorns ‘Stay and Play’ session! Now if I lived closer, I would taking my little ones to stay and play every week. Between myself, Abs, Jen, Ruth and Hannah we ran a ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ session for 2hrs. Well, what an amazing experience! It was so so different leading an already an established session and I learned a lot. Being a teacher I’m used to planning my lessons and 99% of the time they go like clockwork BUT forest school is so different. Whilst the sessions are planned, the plan isn’t the ‘be all and end all’, I enjoyed the challenge of mixing it up and going with the moment. I’m really lucky that my children attend a fantastic nursery near to where we live, one which uses a ‘planning in the moment’ system. It’s so so important to allow children to discover things and engage with what they want learn. So it’s ok to sometimes go off piste and I did just that today. I was able to work one on one with a pre schooler using a tube we’d found. We tried putting things through the tube and seeing which would come out the fastest, and rolling things down to discover which rolled the furthest. A child’s mind is like dry sponge and as adults we need feed them droplets of knowledge to allow them expand their mind and grow into well rounded individuals.

Now my assessment week is complete and date I say that I enjoyed it. If it wasn’t for all my fantastic and hopefully lifelong friends, I might not have survived the last 6 months with a smile on my face. I am astounded and excited that going into my 11th year of teaching I am doing something new AND that with a huge sense of relief, a big slap on the back I have PASSED the practical assessment of my training. Now with a kick up the bum I can begin motoring through my portfolio and finish those pesky 61 assignments!

Watch this space, who knows what the future will be for me!

Books, Bakes and my Babes

Well, its been an awfully long time since you last saw a post from me, but I think life has just been happening.  I have been beavering away trying to get through my Forest School portfolio (with A LOT of moral boosting texts from my fellow FS pals Abs, Jen and Ruth!), plodding my way through my reading challenge, new bakes, and there have been some challenges to deal with in the holidays with regards to the children’s behaviour.

BOOKS:

So far I am on track with my reading challenge.  My target for 2018 is 25 books, and I am 60% of the way through so far with about 4 months to go.  I’ve tried to branch out and read some new authors, but my favourite picks so far are:

Gail Honeyman: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I got this to see if it lived up to the hype.  It was slow to start for me as it didn’t grab me, in part because its not my usual style, but it was a fabulous read and you really feel like you are part of the story. A definite must read.

Jo Watson: Love to Hate You, Burning Moon and After the Rain. If you’ve never read Jo Watson before, they are all romance novels which are lighthearted but addictive to read.  I’d say they are relatively short as I whizzed through them, but I think I am also a fast reader.

Louise Pentland: Wilde Like Me and Wilde About the Girl. Bookworm and Theatre Mouse kindly sent me Wilde Like Me, I started this after my Spanish adult holiday (although I took a mid book break, something I don’t usually do!). What a lovely read. It took about 4/5 chapters to get into it, however once I got into it, I really enjoyed it and I was thinking about when I’d next be able to able sit down and read it! And lucky for me, no sooner had I finished it, the sequel Wilde About the Girl was released, which is beautifully written account of a turbulent year in the life of Robin Wilde; a tale of heartache, romance, family life, and happiness all rolled into one.

Whilst I may have read already read 17 books this year, I STILL have a huge (and still growing) ‘to be read‘ (TBR) pile which includes:

Terry Hayes – I Am Pilgrim; I have heard great things from this book, but I am daunted at starting it because of its length.

Jojo Moyes – Still Me; I LOVED the two previous books in this trilogy, and I watched the film after reading them, so I have high hopes for this one.

Ruth Hogan – The Keeper of Lost Things; I’ve heard good things about this book and despite hoping my ever faithful bookish friends (Hayley From Home and Bookworm and Theatre Mouse) have read it, they have not. The synopsis tells me that it is a ‘charming, clever and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyous discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us’. It’s sounds a little off the track of my usual reads but I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons from my usual traditional romance stories and favourite others. It’s on my list, so watch this space.

I’m currently reading Paige Toon – Five Years From Now as my blogger friend ‘Mummy Matters‘ suggested her as an author I might like. I’m enjoying it so far although it has quite long chapters which isn’t a problem but I have a weird OCD about not finishing a chapter. I keep track of which books I’ve read and my TBR reads on Goodreads if you fancy following me on there.

BAKES:

Like all parents, by day five of the school holidays I had already been asked for a snack 3,947 times and it was getting tedious to say the least. I knew I had to up my game as all the snacks I was giving them were full of sugar and expensive. It was then that I discovered ‘My Fussy Eater‘ on Facebook. And I haven’t looked back. Ciara’s recipes are just delicious, I originally bought the book after seeing her wonderful yoghurt bark flash up on my Facebook feed and boy it has not disappointed so far. I am a passionate believer of homemade sweet treats (and I’m in no way saying you can’t buy shop bought as I do that too for convenience!) but I know exactly what goes into a cake baked by me, no preservatives, just simple ingredients. It is great to see that Ciara’s sweet recipes are mostly healthy as they are made with coconut oil and/or peanut butter but there is butter in them too. Whilst cooking some of her recipes I discovered a new peanut butter and just how unhealthy the peanut butter we were using really was. I now cook solely with FUEL peanut butter as it contains no added sugar and no palm oil (which is great for the environment). I have also been trying to think about being environmentally with our lives and I really want to try being plastic free but I need to research a bit more before I jump in. I have seen an amazing company called ‘Global Wake Cup‘. They produce some fantastic reusable cups and bottles as well as backpacks produced from paper and best of all: 10% of all profits go to the Marine Conservation Society.

Anyway, I digress; so far, the children have been enjoying her sweet treats, in particular her: chocolate chip granola bars, cranberry cookies, chocolate chip energy bites, raspberry twists, and oaty biscuits. My husband and I have also been enjoying her savoury meals and my favourites are currently the apple, carrot and chicken balls, pesto salmon and chicken and mango burgers, although sadly the children haven’t been fans of these yet, but I won’t give up that easily!

Left to right: TL – cranberry cookie and chocolate chip energy bite. TR – carrot, apple and chicken balls. BL – strawberry quinoa bars. BR – yoghurt bark.

MY BABES:

I can safely say it’s been a tiring and challenging yet fulfilling summer holiday with the children. We appear to have reached a few milestones with L as not only has she potty trained, she also given up the dummy. Now both of these weren’t without their teething problems; the potty training seemed to go on for such a long time despite L being a really quick learner. She grasped the concept of going for a wee really quickly, however using the potty / toilet for a poo was a different story. It wasn’t until around 7-8 weeks after initially potty training did she grasp the concept. In that time, there were quite a pants thrown away and a lot of “FML” muttered under my breath when I was once again dealing with a poo in her pants. Thankfully, in the last 2-3 weeks she’s come on leaps and bounds and has been nailing it; hoorah! And the dummy, well I somewhat foolishly chose the hottest night of the decade to give that one up, but 6 weeks in and she hasn’t asked for it since about day six or seven. It has however made her night wakings that bit harder to deal with resulting in one tired Mummy.

Whilst his sister has been hitting some developmental milestones, H has been testing my patience somewhat. It often appears that he and his peers develop a universal non listening function the second the summer holidays begin and at times it has felt like a long and exhausted summer ‘break’. I often feel guilty for wishing the time away, but it has felt stressful and consuming quite a bit of the time. I have actively tried not to take them out on big days to lots of new places as I think it gets too much for both myself and the children so I tried to stick to a rule of a day out, a day in rule. For my day out rule, I think we only visited two brand new places and all the rest are frequent haunts of ours.

I think part of the problem is that all they hear is my voice ALL DAY, so I guess I can become a little overbearing and the same is definitely said for both H and L.

This September sees H begin reception and whilst I don’t feel upset in the grand scheme of things, I feel shocked that it seems to have come round really quickly. Last week, we attended his graduation ceremony for nursery and it is all so real now as I held the past 3 years of H’s nursery life in a folder.

It’s September next week and that will see me only looking after one child on my days off. It will be so strange just having L at home with me, and I think that’s what I’m most sad about. Whilst I am (almost) ready for summer to be over and our routine to be restored, I don’t want to miss anymore days with my little H. Some days he still seems so young where as other days he is totally ready; I think it will be a steep learning curve for him as he is such an active boy and really yearns to be outside so I’m a little anxious for September. I’m sure he will take it all in his stride though.

Review: The Bakehouse Cook School

Well, where do I start! I stumbled across ‘The Bakehouse Cook School‘ whilst scrolling through Facebook one evening about a fortnight ago. To my excitement, they not only had a parent / child workshop, they even had spaces left! Fantastic I thought, and I quickly booked H and I on.  And at £32.03, it was an absolute BARGAIN (£2.03 booking fee). We were going to bake cookies, cheese straws and cake truffles, perfect!

I had been telling H for a few days about our special Mummy and H treat, and when the day came, he was really excited about doing some baking.  Both H and L often help me make cakes, cookies, etc, but I was hoping this would be a more pleasurable and less stressful experience.

Sarah and Evey gave us a lovely warm welcome when we arrived, Evey took our bags and put our containers out ready, H and I were offered a drink which was greatly appreciated. Having just run a 10k in 24 degree heat, I was a little parched (but thats a story for another day!), I had a cup of tea, H some orange juice and we both dabbled in sampling some of the very delectable snacks (what we would be making!).

After donning our aprons, it was straight down to business and we began with preparing our COOKIES.  Certainly not for the diet conscious (a WHOLE pack of butter!), we creamed our sugar and butter, then came the flour and coca powder.  H loved getting his hands stuck in and mixing it all together (something he doesn’t usually do at home, so that was a welcome change). Once it was all combined, we then rolled them into walnut sized balls.  I’ve never made cookies this way before, and it was so child friendly, so we will be definitely be doing them again. H then pressed down on each one with a fork (a little too over zealous on a few!). The mixture made a massive batch of around 25-30 cookies, great for a class birthday. We labelled our trays, and Evey popped them in the oven to bake.

Next up was the CHEESE STRAWS, now those who know me will know I dislike cheese.  I hate the smell, the texture, and the taste; but I dug deep and ploughed through. Another really simple, yet effective recipe. A sheet of pre-made puff pastry (seriously who’s got time for making that).  We laid it out on the worktop and rolled it slightly thinner, a task H very much enjoyed. Once rolled, we egg washed the whole sheet, and sprinkled with both cheddar and parmesan cheese.  I won’t lie quite a bit went in H’s mouth, but its all part of the fun.  We decided to spread half of our baking sheet with some basil pesto.  I love pesto, but there were other options, marmite (love it or hate it), red pesto or sun dried tomato pesto, all of which would have been delicious (apart from maybe the marmite, yes I’m a hater). We folded over the sheet of puff pastry and trimmed the edges. H and I then carefully sliced the pastry so we had strips, then we twisted them slightly as we lined are baking tray with them. H was then tasked with sprinkling yet more cheese over them. Off to the oven with them, next up: CAKE TRUFFLES.

This was so easy! And involved ZERO baking. A shop bought Madeira cake had already been blitzed into crumbs for us. We then melted some milk chocolate over hot water and combined the two. Once all combined, we did yet more rolling and made some cake balls. H found this difficult as the mixture was less malleable than the cookies so he was tasked with the decoration. Which, lets face it, when you’re four years old, is way more exciting! We decided to flavour our cake truffles, one vanilla and one orange, they were then covered in chopped nuts and/or sprinkles.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Evey were beavering away getting our cookies and cheese straws out of the oven and displaying them for us. There was so much food!

H and I had a blast, Evey and Sarah were so attentive throughout, nothing was too much trouble at all. We will definitely be back for another round or I might try an evening adult class. I would wholeheartedly recommend giving it a go. H was almost 4, but I would definitely consider going with my 2.5y old.

Well done Bakehouse Cook School. We had a fab time!

Disclaimer: I have carried out the review independently, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thank you

AWOOE x

Four seems so grown up…

I feel like today has been looming for a while, but somehow it still seems so odd that I now have a four year old.  I read my post from when you turned three, a whole year ago; and you have grown so much, yet I still feel you are my baby boy.

You are still an inquisitive little soul, you never shut up (which can be very annoying at times!), and you still absolutely love the outdoors, which is a bit of a concern for school come September, but I absolutely wouldn’t change you for the world.

Last year I wrote about meal time woes and having my patience tested.  We seemed to have turned a corner recently with the eating; although you still don’t have a vastly varied diet, you will generally eat most of the time, now we have learned the art of reasoning! My patience, however, is still tested, at least once a day (usually). Most of time, you go on the naughty step for not listening, but we are getting there.

Since your last birthday, I have changed jobs and gained more time with you; going from five days to three which includes a full weekend as a family, and I have LOVED every minute of it.  We have been able to go away for weekends, plan day trips on BOTH days and it has been marvellous!

You are so independent when we go out, always trying the park equipment, even the tall ones I hate. Sometimes you attack things with no fear, other times, you panic and need my reassurance.  I don’t know if its a boy thing or a toddler thing, but you seem to have boundless energy, and my favourite way to spend time with you is inventing adventures when we are outside. We do love a bear hunt or a treasure walk.

School is now looming and it still fills me with horror that in four months time you will be starting school.  We were lucky enough to gain a place at our preferred choice, where you currently attend pre-school.  Looking back it was a hard decision to send you to pre-school, but you settled well without a backwards glance as I always knew you would (even though there were a few niggly doubts at the back of my mind).  The real tough decision was giving up some of my precious time with you. Knowing school is around the corner has got me worrying over things you are not doing and should be doing.  A daily battle I am trying to win is getting dressed. On days we are rushing out to work / school, I find I am dressing you as if left to your own devices, we wouldn’t arrive until lunchtime.  However, other times, you are so independent and demand to put your shoes on yourself.

For your birthday this year, we have kept it quite low key with no party, which I have to say has been nice.  Daddy and I are taking you see a theatre show of Julia Donaldson’s: Tiddler, Squash and a Squeeze and The Smartest Giant and I can’t wait. We haven’t had any time just the three of us since your sister arrived in 2015! For your actual birthday, you are in nursery for half a day so you can celebrate with your pals and of course cake! You will be going to your favourite place, the forest for your weekly forest school session. And I have to say, I feel I have peaked with your cake this year; I’m not sure I can top it, like EVER!

Although, I am anxious about what this next year will bring, I am so incredibly proud of the little boy you are becoming and I can’t wait to see what memories we will make this year. I hope the next year brings you as much joy as the last four have given me.

Happy birthday my beautiful little boy.

All my love

Mummy

x x