Half term and when I met Darth Vader

Half term and when I met Darth Vader

Half term is here and the sun has come out! We have no last minute holiday plans this time as the Other Half has to work. Boo hiss! So, instead, we have days our planned for most of the week and some much needed lounging about scheduled in. It feels like it’s come around really quickly this time but our Easter holidays were so late this year that I think that’s why. Not that I’m complaining. Any school holiday is welcome in our house. Little Z has had a good term and his reading and writing is coming on nicely. He is now writing in sentences and in dreaded cursive. It takes some concentrating to read what he’s read as the tails on all his letters are quite extravagant but I’m hoping they calm themselves a bit by the end of the year. He’s also learnt how to repeatedly run across the playground and finish by skidding on his knees, Dirty dancing finale dance style. I was very much hoping to keep his last two pairs of good trousers going for a few more weeks but there are more new trousers in our destiny for this school year. How is his reception year almost finished? I can’t believe it’s flown by so quickly. And what a transformation in just a few months.

The baby has decided to stop sleeping for a few hours each night and seems to be showing signs of teething all over again. We have 0 teeth so far so I’m hoping this means some will start popping out soon but I’ve been told it can take up to two years for even the first ones to make a show. CBeebies is helping us in the early hours when he’s very ratty and I’m developing a love / hate relationship with Duggee from Hey Duggee. Right now, I would happily smash his banjo to smithereen and then explain I’ve not slept very well the last week. I’m sure he’d understand. The poor husband is trying to slot in a lot of late hours of working too so we’re all looking a bit bleary eyed.

Despite our zombie like state, we popped out to wander about the Trafford centre today and to catch the big Optimus Prime truck, which was there for one day only. We were very excited to find a lot of the baddies from Star Wars had popped by too and we’re raising money for the Manchester children’s hospital. I’m not sure if they were on some kind of intergalactic community service but we went slightly trigger happy taking photos of them all. Little Z looked ever so slightly bored. I met Darth Vader, on the other hand and I think it was the highlight of my afternoon!

Darth vader

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When the second baby is in a huge rush

My mum always told me stories of how my brother, who’s 18 months younger than me, started walking when he was 8 months old. Apparently, he would watch me and wanted to follow very quickly. I always thought she was exaggerating. Until now. 
This week Baby E has tried to stand up whilst playing in his new toy car. He’s just about hit the 8 month mark and seems to be in a huge rush. Not content with his new found crawling skills, he’s now trying to stand up at every given opportunity and, at the moment, mostly manages to lean up firmly on his knees. I now think he may be walking within the next couple of months and all of a sudden I don’t feel ready.  

Little Z didn’t walk until he was 13 months old and, back then, it was me that was in a hurry to reach this huge milestone. It would look so cute, a little baby learning to toddle with a huge smile plastered across his face, landing on their nappy bums. Then getting up and trying again until they became more and more confident in their abilities. What you don’t anticipate is that they turn into little hurricanes that destroy everything at shin level.  
This time I’m in no rush at all. It feels way too soon and like my little baby is trying to catch up to his big brother at the speed of light. The crawling stage is tiring but so lovely to watch. All the new and wide eyed exploring and the unique way in which every baby learns to move about. In the case of Baby E I think we may speed through the stages straight to toddling. Things are already being moved higher and higher in anticipation of the next big stage. When he’ll be officially known as a toddler. I am very tempted to hide any toys with a bit of height away to stave off the attempts to stand at least for a little bit. So that he (and I!) can enjoy the crawling stage just a little bit longer.  
  

Photalife

A review of the Pao Papoose – 3 in 1 baby carrier

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

We have been reviewing the Pao Papoose 3 in 1 baby carrier by We Made Me for about 3 weeks now and really, really like it. It’s a carrier that is suitable for babies aged 3 months and over to approximately 36 months and has been perfect for us on the school run. Ever since baby E came along, we had using a wrap based sling which was both beautiful to look at and very lovely to wear. As the baby got chunkier and bigger, I found I needed a bit more support on my back and this is where the baby carrier has been great for us as it’s given me extra support on both my shoulders and my back, which is where I need it the most.

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao papoose

Pao papoose

The Pao Papoose is a 3 in 1 baby carrier, which means you can use it in 3 different ways. It comes in a very neat little carrier which you can use as a day pouch too when you’re out and about and the outer box is very pretty. My favourite hold is known as the Bear necessities hold, which is where the baby faces you in the sling and this is the one I use the most. It cocoons the baby up nicely and is the hold I use the most. The second position is known as the Doe-a-Deer hold, aka the world facing position where the baby is still on your front but facing away from you. And the 3rd hold is known as the Racoon ride, which is where you wear the baby on your back as if in a rucksack type of hold. Each one takes a a tiny bit of practice (or a dry run!) and you’re set to go. There is a little “Read Me” pouch on the inner side of the carrier which carry little quick reference guides on how to wear each so you’re never lost of scratching your head about how to put them on. When you take the carrier out for the first time I’d definitely recommend spending a few minutes just adjusting the straps so that it fits you properly. It’s so easy to do and you only need to do it the one time.

It includes a nifty little hood which you can hide away when you don’t need it and pull out easily if it’s windy or raining. I find my baby doesn’t like this very much yet but then he doesn’t like any kind of hat right now so I’m hoping he’ll just grow out of that soon. The carrier comes in a range of colours including black (which we have), pebble and lavender. It also hides drool stains quite well which is perfect right now as the baby is constantly trying to use it as some kind of teether.

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

One of my favourite things about the carrier is how the straps are quite thick and cushioned and and can be adjusted quite a lot in order to provide a safe and secure hold. Once you put the baby in a particular hold its still very easy to adjust to whatever suits you and it means you don’t have to keep taking entire thing off and re-tying, which is something that a sling can sometimes make you do. I would completely recommend this baby carrier to anyone that has to pick up a child from a school run. I find Little Z wants to hand over his coat, bag, water bottle and his latest piece of art work about 2 seconds after he’s darted out from the school gates. Having the baby in the carrier makes it so much easier to hold his hand and carry all his bits of paraphernalia. I mostly drive to school and don’t really like taking a pushchair out for the few minutes I’m hanging about waiting to pick Little Z up so the baby carrier is the right solution for us.

You can see more of what I think of the baby carrier in my vlog review of it right here. Hulk bear helped out quite a lot as the baby was sleeping through the filming of it all (and is still going through his high pitched screaming for laughs when he’s awake!).

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose

Pao Papoose


Disclaimer: We received a Pao Papoose baby carrier for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are our own.

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We're going on an adventure

The fabulous weather

Don’t we have fabulous weather right now? Of course, now I’ve written that it’s probably going to snow next week. It’s been such a lovely few days with nice sun and blue skies though. It makes such a difference to everyone and what makes it so much easier to just pop out. I have to admit, I am the over protective school mum that still puts a winter coat on Z. Just in case. His school is on a really high point and really cold in the mornings especially. Can never be too cautious and all that. Maybe next week he’ll go in his Mac but, for now, he’s still going as someone resembling Sajid from East is East.
I don’t know if it’s the lovely weather or the big break we recently had, but something has clicked in Little Z and he’s found a love of stories and writing. Each day there is a different picture and a couple of sentences. They mostly tell of his baby brother, or his latest adventure at school. They’re usually only one or two sentences but for someone who hates cursive writing and avoids it like the plague, it’s a huge milestone to see so much interest in it. And they can’t just be any old sentence. According to him, they have to be “wow sentences”. It’s amusing to watch my 5 year old slowly morph into a teenager. He rolls his eyes when he talks to me, like he’s imparting wisdom with frustration and I don’t think it’ll be long before he picks up good old British sarcasm. I am hoping this doesn’t come till at least aged 7. I am probably wrong though.

We discovered that Baby E doesn’t like grass this week. He spent the entire time sat very still on it, refusing to move and with a thunderous look on his face. We did what any good parent would do and went to his rescue but not before taking a pile of photos with the same look on his face. We eventually stopped once his cries got louder and he got his revenge by waking us up countless times that night.

I know I say this every month but it’s hard to believe time flies by so quickly and Z will soon be in his very last term of reception and E will be approaching one whole year in a few months. Surely someone needs to invent that pause button now?

image

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A trip to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

I have been meaning to write about our trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi for an entire year. My facebook keeps telling me that this time last year we were in Mauritius and Abu Dhabi. That means I was about 5 months pregnant with Baby E and starting to get a bit huffy and puffy. Luckily, my gestational diabetes hadn’t been diagnosed as yet so I was still stuffing my face as if it were my God given right.

We stopped in Abu Dhabi for one whole day. I didn’t really have any burning passion to see the city but I did want to see one of my oldest and bestest friends. I think we’ve been friends since we were around 4 years old. Possibly 5. We’re not quite sure, but it’s definitely a long, long, time and that one year is probably not that important in the grand scheme of things. I am pretty trigger happy with my camera by nature, but I was at the stage in my pregnancy where everything made me hot, I didn’t ever want to carry anything and I really didn’t want to crouch down to take any close up photos of anything. I distinctly remember taking an age to get down to photograph a chameleon in Mauritius and then finding I could’t get back up again! You can see all those right here.

We wanted to see the Grand mosque of Sheikh Zayed and I don’t think I appreciated just how big it was. We got to the mosque after sunset so we didn’t get to see the mosque with all the white marble glistening in the sun. I believe and hear it’s an impressive sight and the marble shines different shades of white at different times of the day. We did get a stunning view of it all after dark though. The lighting of the mosque has been designed with beauty in mind and the results are something a photographer will love to spend time on. One day we will go back and see it all in daylight too. The Other half took all of these and I always meant to put them up somewhere. So here they are:

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

A sunny day out stuck in time

With the lovely sun finally coming out we decided on an impromptu trip to Knowsley Safari park today.  Armed with a nice mini picnic, it quickly dawned on us that the baby is still going through his screamy phase and can only be strapped into his car seat for a limited amount of time before he starts having a meltdown. Scaring the animals with high pitched screeching, whilst driving through where they live is probably not ideal for any car or wild beast so, at the last minute, we decided to detour to Blackpool.  

Blackpool is somewhere our parents used to drag us for years and years growing up.  We would excitedly go whilst we were young and run around the pleasure beach sitting on absolutely everything and posing with the various statues that look about a 100 years old.  We would go a bit more reluctantly when we hit our teens and, like with most teenagers, there came a point where it was just not cool to go to Blackpool (or anywhere!) with your parents anymore. 

Now that I have my own little kiddies, I love nothing more than dragging them to that same cheesiness every so often.  The baby really doesn’t care either way but Little Z gets very excited about 2p machines, candy floss and walking on the golden mile.    Everything always looks like it’s stuck in time and takes me straight back to my childhood. Back then we would pile into cars without obligatory car seats and pack huge picnics to enjoy.   I always get the feeling Blackpool tried hard to shake off its kitschy image and then decided to just embrace it all. 

I haven’t been to the pleasure beach in more than 15 years and it feels like it’s not changed one bit bar a few new rides.  It has the same rides it’s had for more than 30 years and they’re still going strong.  The same Noah’s ark, the same ghost train, the same Valhalla I’ve still never sat on!  Taking round Little Z made me feel very nostalgic about it all especially when I found the bench that I first took a photo on when I was about 8 years old.  I have the photo somewhere and need to dig it out! Obviously back then I had no inkling I’d be taking another snap on it about 28 years on with my 5 year old.  He refused to sit down on it as it was soaking wet!

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9 things bloggers do at a bloggers conference….

1. Worry about what to wear in order to look effortlessly stylish and like you could drop and flat lay on Instagram instantly. Oooze the coolness. Ooze it.

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2. Wonder how its been SO long since you’ve seen your blogger friends in actual real life

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3. Spend half the conference screaming with delight when seeing the blogging bestie and throw arms around them in a tight embrace. Whether they want to or not.

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4. Take picture of everything. The brands! The people! The shoes! The selfies!

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5. Fangirl / boy your favourite blogger and completely chicken out of speaking to them in real life. Giggle a bit too much around them.

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6. Go to some actual blogging sessions and learn awesome bloggy things

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7. Have good intentions to put everything you learned into action and use your blog to try to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

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8. Say your goodbyes at the end of the day. Until next time! Now to go home and blog immediately. 

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9. Go home and collapse into bed.  

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Baby E at 7 months old – The screeching banshee stage

Baby E has hit the 7 months old mark and suddenly found that he can scream the house down.  From the moment he gets up he treats our ears to continous screeching throughout the day.  We end up with either a ringing in our ears or that feeling of deafening silence because we’re getting so used to it.  Our neighbours have suddenly disappeared for a few days and I don’t think this is a coincidence.

Ar 7 months old, we now have a commando crawler on our hands and he is absolutely everywhere.  Underneath tables, underneath our legs, underneath Little Z.  As soon as our backs our turned he makes a bee line straight for someone’s shoes and tried to swallow it whole.  We’ve had about 35 near misses and a handful of drenched shoe lace incidents. He is getting speedier and speedier day by day and I think the next month is going to be exhausting!    Oh and we almost have a clapper on our hands.  He hasn’t quite done it yet but I think it’ll happen soon.

He loves reaching out to random strangers now and trying to throw himself into their arms.  This is cute until it’s some dodgy looking / random human that looks delighted. I’m spending all my time grinning nervously, stepping backwards and trying not to let potential weirdos touch the baby. I’m not too sure why big milestones  are happening all at once but I’m hoping the next month takes it a bit easier on us all.  My mission for May is to not step into the doctors surgery at all.   Being germ free for a while would be so perfect.  Else I think I’m going to have to invest in a glorious moustache and wig to give me a good disguise.

7 months old baby

7 months old baby

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