Family Christmas Wish list

On the fifth day of advent my kiddiewinks brought to me 

5 Christmas lists,

4 early mornings

3 spectacled reindeer

2 Santa decorations

And a tantrum round the Christmas tree

This year I thought I would share our Christmas wish list, top five things for our family of five. We tend to make gifts with the kiddiewinks for auntie and uncles, and in turn they just buy gifts for the children, it all gets crazy otherwise and our family make Christmas about the kiddiewinks. So mummy and daddy’s wish lists are more pipe dreams than anything else…

Mummy

1) sleep- a lovely lie in with breakfast on bed please!

2) a relaxing spa break and pamper- hair and nails done would be great to make me feel less like a scummy mummy 

 

3) s’no queen sexy thermals- these are totally awesome and after reading Sadie’s review at Fit for parenting, these are definitely on my wish list! Despite, never having never been skiing, these are just fab, even for the school run ;  ) but for those skiers among you, these are a must. At over £100 for the set, it is definitely something I can’t just treat myself to, so on my wish list it goes.

   
4) pandora charm- my mum and sister treated me to a long awaited pandora when the littlest was born. I still only have 4 charms, so would love a few more to bling it up

5) a family escape to London- I would love to take the family to London for a weekend; see a show, meal out, hotel and explore but money won’t stretch to it at the  moment . So this is definitely on my Christmas wish list( pretty please Santa) 

 

Daddy

1) sleep and a long lie in

2) a tidy house all the time (haha, he can dream)

3)x box 360- he would absolutely love one! Again, he can dream

4) Victotinox Swiss army watch– hubby currently doesn’t have a watch, and he took a particular shine to this one the other day. This looks a bit like the one he broke, but it is on a whole other level of watch! Lots of choice on the precision time website all authentic, brilliant sale on at the minute too. If you have a spare couple of thousand, there are some amazing ones to be had.

 

5) a pressure washer- couldn’t believe this was high on his list but apparantly he wants one for the patio and cars!

Kiddiewink 1(seven)

1)password secret diary 

 

2)Blu blu dolphin- as much as she would like it. Call me a cruel mummy, but she is not having it, she will play with it for a few days tops! I have told her I sent a message to Santa with the elf, saying it was too babyish for her. 

 3) family trip to London- she wants to be the know it all to her brother, as she’s already been.

4)Lego City- we discovered on little mans birthday, that she is desperate for some of the Lego city range, cue lots and lots and lots of tears when  he got a space rocket and a police helicopter. 

 5)a pet rat- she has wanted a little pet for ages. Luckily, pets at home persuaded her against hamsters so she is now eagerly anticipating a cheeky rat, or two(they are better in pairs)  

Kiddiewink 2 (five)

1) Lego City swamp

2) a gold power ranger costume – unfortunately these do not exist. However, when I explained this to little man, his reponse was that Father Christmas was magic, so he could make on(hmmmmm, wish us luck with that one) 

 

3) performing arts classes-a born performer who would love some fun lessons; confident is one word that could be used to describe him.

4)a new light on his bedroom ceiling; we recently moved and the light is not exactly to his taste.

5) The next book in ‘The Faraway Tree, Endi Blyton’ series; given we have read the three books in the series already, he could be waiting a long time. 

 


Kiddiewink 3 (22 months )

1) a spare of the bunny she takes everywhere -typically she adopted it after next stopped doing them, their newer version just doesn’t put cut it and we are totally screwed if she loses it.

 

2) a power ranger of her own ( sheis always nicking her brothers) what’s the betting she still wants theirs?

3)a pet of her own (she wouldn’t be fussy: a dog, sheep, horse…) 

 4) chocolate and lots of it (again she wouldn’t be picky, anything chocolate will do)

5) paw patrol on DVD (although daddy also loves it dearly, I am pretty sure this will be vetoed)!

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Kiddiewink essentials when staying away overnight! Create Christmas calmness…

On the sixth day of advent my kiddiewinks brought to me

6 ways to Christmas calmness

5 Christmas lists

4 early mornings

3 spectacled reindeer

2 toilet decorations

And a tantrum around the Christmas tree

Yeah right ! Christmas is many things in my house but Christmas calmness, hmmm  not to sure about that! There may be moments of Christmas calmness in my house; but more likely it is Christmas chaos/carnage/craziness! When staying away with children, for all the loveliness, it can also add lots of stress. Here are my top five kiddiewink essentials for staying away with family during the Christmas season

1)your kiddiewink’s comforter– teddies, blankets, dummies. Without them you’re screwed! Even if you believe your seven year old doesn’t need it, guaranteed they’ll decide they want it when you are miles and miles away from home


2) Firm favourite storybooks– these will help keep the bedtime routine familiar. We usually can’t go wrong with Julia Donaldson, althoug now we need to remember the bigs ones chapter book we are reading. Chances are you wont take the exact one they decide they want that evening (at least you tried)

3) Plenty of snacks and drinks-my kiddiewinks are always hungry and there is nothing worse than hungry  moaning child when you have nothing to give them. I am sure it’s not justmine that turn into monsters when they are hungry! (Please note:Sod’s law they will want some different snack and drink)!

4) A few favourite toys and activities– we generally take pens and paper, figures, my little ponies, DS or the hudl-  the electronic devices are more for nights away without any other children where we are going. Again, once more, even thoughthey chose which toys to take, they generally change the mind. Resulting in either a row with a sibling over their choice of toy; tears over the toy left behind.

5) Gro-anywhere blind this is an absolute life saver and has made a massive impact to our sleep! Before having one, we would often be woken ridiculously early at sleepovers where the curtains were thin, now the children sleep as normal, oblivious to the daylight outside. They fit any window and are so easy to put up and take down! If you haven’t got one and you take your kids to stay in different environments- get one! It may well save you from even more deprivation. To be fair though, this can even be used in your own house for a quick fix to more sleep (well, you can live in hope). We recently moved house, so have been using that on the little ones window (after two very early awakenings it had to be done)! Any product we have got from the gro-company has been brilliant

  
6) Patience and humour– unfortunately I can’t make any suggestions for where you can find some of this, but if you find out, let me know so I can tell my hubby where to find it.

Even reindeers wear glasses…

On the third day of advent my kiddiewinks sent to me…

  
Three spectacled reindeer

Two Santa decorations

And a tantrum about the Christmas tree…
These lovely reindeer were sent to us by the lovely lady at tomato glasses; the children were really excited to get one each. If anyone’s children need glasses, I cannot recommend the frames highly enough! The kids took to them like ducks to water, comfy, practical and very very cute

For more information visit tomato glasses website 

   
   

Children’s Book Review- Mr Cleghorn’s Seal by Judith Kerr


We were so excited to be sent the new Judith Kerr book to review, among and the Tiger who came to tea are firm favourites in our house, daddy in particular loves them!

This new book did not fail to disappoint. A lovely hardback book, delightfully illustrated. It was somewhat longer than I anticipated and definitely aimed at a slightly older audience, so our main argument was whether daddy or I got to read it to the kiddiewinks, with it being a book to read over several nights, we wanted the reader to be the same, I won and by paragraph one my eldest two kiddiewinks and I were hooked.

For me, I loved the way the name Mr Cleghorn rolled off the tongue and the scene was set beautifully. The book prompted some interesting discussions about the past, as both recognised it wasn’t set in modern day Britain, they were fascinated by the use of horses!

The book provoked a wide range of emotions while reading it – one minute the kids were giggling, then they expressed borrow and empathy. They were still talking about it when cleaning their teeth, horrified that the seal may have been ‘killed’.

The book reads well all the way through with a great attention to detail, really helping th children picture the scenes as they unfolded. We would all wholeheartedly recommend this book, but it definitely takes longer to read, so set aside a week of bedtime stories to really savour it. My kiddiewinks are only 4 and 7, so I imagine a slightly older child would enjoy reading it to themself.

It would make a perfect Christmas present for the book loving family to enjoy together.

 

 

Geronimofest 2015

When I initially saw Geronimofest advertised, I thought it sounded brilliant! When I saw the cost however, I decided we couldn’t justify it, not with spending money on the house. It was then I spotted an advert on Facebook asking for volunteers, in return you received a free family pass. Daddy was on a stag do that weekend, so Granny, had the pleasure of the kiddiewink’s company on the Sunday 7.30am- 5.30pm, while I volunteered at the festival. I had an absolutely brilliant day, (albeit exhausting). I am so glad I volunteered as I love every minute (even the rain and cold weather). The organiser, Simon, really worked hard to act on feedback received, and will build on its successes and tweak it,based on what families would like to see next  year, I am sure. Keep an eye out for this one and if you can get an early bird ticket, and you plan it carefully, it actually seems well worth the money. I was skeptical about this due to initial outlay being quite high, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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The festival itself was set in Tatton Park and was full of exciting and memorable things to do and experience. Despite being there 7 hours, we still didn’t get chance to experience everything. Volunteering helped as I knew where things were, useful tips etc and it really did help us get the most out of the day. The weather was bloomin freezing, but even that didn’t dampen our spirits (well maybe Daddy’s a little). With so much to see and do, the children wanted to be here, there and everywhere. It helped that lots they did together, and when kiddiewink 2 & 3 got fed up in the circus show, we left daddy and kiddiewink 3 to it. Having two adults really helped, as for the few things we needed to queue, one could wait and one could let them run of steam somewhere. On arrival we were directed towards information to get free t shirts (these had been five pounds the previous two days), the lanyard guides were also free (previously £3). Thre freeness meant, not all those that wanted them got them, and a few families abused the ‘freeness’ (although the pretty sure they were in the minority). We ended up with two 9-11 t-shirts which they loved wearing to bed.

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The festival grounds were split into different zones, spread out well in the venue. Funky zone (DJ, samba, Zumba), Cookery and craft, princess tent, a bear hunt and wigwams, bikes, sea life and legoland, CBeebies and other performances with meet and greets. On arrival, mean mummy made them walk past all the fun, to book onto ‘Monkey Do’ as the previous day’s it had become booked up quickly. I am glad we did, as there were lots of sad children who didn’t get a turn and my two loved it. Such a ‘different thing’ for them to experience.

 

Neither child wanted to get off, but the circus show tempted them off. Eventually, hubby and I tempted them to the stage area so we could grab a quick sit down and a bite to eat. Kiddiewink 1 nd 2 just tore around, occasionally stopping to check out the stage; kiddiewink three chased them around like an injured dog ( her crawl really is something else).

Pip the flying circus we timed to perfection, getting there for half two, we discovered the next session was about to start, they can’t accommodate many kiddiewinks, so mine were doubly lucky to have a go. The staff were super and the kids loved the dressing up, and helping manoeuvre the strange contraption.

 

The performances didn’t really interest my three  particularly so there was never an urgency to get to the stage.(Daddy was relieved, but I had quite fancied meeting Mr Bloom…) While eating lunch, they enjoyed the shows but other than that, they just loved the atmosphere and festival environment. As for kiddiewink 3, she had a twenty minute power nap all day, and loved being on my back, or crawling around the grass.

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The tamer things they enjoyed were donkey and pony rides, seeing the ducklings and the helter skelter… The cookery lesson didn’t really  impress the kids or daddy, I was supervising kiddiewink 3 in the soft play at this point.

At the end of the day, we finished with the high ropes and zipwire and what a way to end…despite a long queue, it was well worth it. My eldest two kiddiewinks proved to be proper daredevils and my eldest particularly surprised me! She can be very shy and get sad if she finds something a challenge, however, she does have great perseverance which she demonstrated in abundance today. She mastered pulling her own safety rope along the course, which could be quite stiff and tricky. She was really very confident. Little man was too, until he lost his footing, then his bottom lip briefly trembled until the man helped him move his safety rope. Considering he is only four and the ropes were too high to reach, he did brilliantly. They both love the zip wire and as we were almost the last people of the day, they even got two goes, much to the kids excitement.

 

Then to end the day, we popped to the market stalls, to buy some discount muffins and sweets (last festival day so 50p muffins to be had)

We had three exhausted children (and parents). A fun, fun day we will all remember for a long time!

Things that weren’t perfect (although these didn’t take away from the fun for us)

  • lack of consistency with charging for merchandise some days, but not others
  • not enough coffee vendors, massive queues because of the weather
  • Clearer guides and suggestions with regard to booking activities (we told everyone who ventured to information, but not everyone headed to the ‘Info point’ so didn’t realise
  • more to see and do while waiting in queues (for this I have had a few ideas)
  • a few more activities for under twos needed perhaps (I had a few moans)
  • order the sunshine next year please

Do they tell you if I have been fighting…

Kiddiewink 2 has always been ridiculously honest! Telling us what he is about to do, before doing it or telling us not to look…
The other day he was helping me make the bed when he dropped this little bombshell!
“Do they tell u if I have been fighting”
“Why have you been fighting?”
“Yep but only once it was with the Lego. W and I made guns and were shooting everyone but then the teacher saw us and said ‘No guns allowed’ and then she took the guns of us
And that is the end of the story! Now cuddle!”

It really tickled me an the voice he put on to illustrate what the pre school member of staff had said was hilarious!

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A labour of love…

I am no baker by any stretch of the imagination. Fairy cakes and your usual sponge is about my limit. Every year, however, without fail I am determined to make my kiddiewinks a cake. Kiddiewink 1 has always put in requests, and always likes me to make it. Kiddiewink 2 on the other hand, couldn’t give a monkeys. Despite this, I set myself my biggest challenge yet… A deep sea diver cake.

After lots of searching I came across one on a cake blog, it had instructions for some bits which made it much easier. For the sea creatures, I printed a template and then cut around it.

I am so proud of my scuba diver, I gave him a name… I had to make him a few days ago so he could harden, and I christened him ‘Sid’. Nobody is eating him ever!

Covering the cake was a nightmare, and due to not having enough hands it broke, some folded onto the chocolate buttercream and there was very nearly tears from me. Luckily, with a lot of delicate jiggery pockery, I covered it. I had no more so I was determined to try and salvage it. I am still a bit gutted about how that bit turned out but I am really pleased with the rest of it. To be honest, I am pretty useless with arts and crafty things, so this really was a challenge, and although by no means perfect, I am convinced and happy that Kiddiewink 2 will love it. ( He better had do, it cost enough time and money to make haha)

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