As you’ll know by now my festive spirit is already alive and kicking. My heart leaps with joy at the sights and sounds of Christmas that are starting to creep in all around me. So when I was recently offered the opportunity to try a festive coffee blend I jumped at the chance. Being a mummy to a young baby who feeds two hourly during the night I need a coffee to get me going in the morning! Before I moved in with hubby instant coffee was my go to drink, however having lived with him for almost 10 years now my coffee tastes have changed. I describe him as a coffee snob as he really knows his coffee. He’s been through a fair few machines before settling on the one we have now. So although I know what I like coffee wise hubby will also be having his say on this one!

The coffee we were tasting was ‘Reindeer Rocket’ by the Big Cup Little Cup company who produce nespresso compatible capsules. As it was weekend hubby decided to try a new ‘duffin’ recipe he had found to go along with the coffee – I wasn’t going to say no to cake!

DSC_0374

Once the cakes were made and decorated we opened up the coffee, I was delighted to see that each nespresso compatible capsule was wrapped up like a little Christmas present. I love that the packaging has been thought about so carefully, with its tiny stamp label. I think they look fab in our coffee jar it just needs a red ribbon now to complete the festive look!

DSC_0389 DSC_0407_2

Reindeer Rocket is recommended to be served as a lungo, so with fresh water in the machine I set about making two coffees, one with a splash of milk for me as I like my coffee white and a black one for hubby.

DSC_0394_2

DSC_0400

Reindeer Rocket tasting notes:

Reindeer Rocket is a limited edition rich coffee with an intense flavour. Arabica beans from Southern Brazil and Central America and Southern Indian Robusta beans create a powerful and bold coffee with flavours of dark chocolate and chestnut that lingers with a sweet, smoky finish on the palate.

It’s a 9 on the strength scale.

My opinion: I really liked the coffee, I’m not normally one to have the higher end coffees on the strength scale but with a splash of milk I really enjoyed the flavours of the coffee.It has a lovely bold flavour which isn’t particularly bitter as I find some of the stronger coffees to be. I can imagine it will be my go to coffee over the festive season, especially if Flixster keeps me up every two hours, every night as he has been doing!

Hubby’s opinion: The coffee has a bold taste that’s offset by a subtle sweetness that is the signature of a great Christmas blend coffee.

Big cup little cup have offered readers of my blog a chance to get 15% off their first order using the code LYRICAL15 there are plenty of coffees to choose from and the Reindeer Rocket will be launched soon – keep your eyes open for that one!

www.bigcuplittlecup.com

 

DSC_0404

I was sent a sample of Reindeer Rocket for the purpose of this review but we have purchased from them before and have always been impressed with the coffees and the speed of delivery. All the opinions expressed are my own and truthful.

Dear Boys,

Let me start by telling you how much I love you. I really really love you both so much.
I’ve read a blog this week written by someone that I used to work with who has had a terminal illness and very sadly passed away last week. She gave me a new enthusiasm for life and a huge reminder to appreciate every single day as some people don’t get a tomorrow and we are lucky when we wake up each new day.
I will try even harder now to see the beauty of the world each day and the good in everything.

If there ever comes a time boys where I’m no longer physically here to walk by your side then please know I’ll always be with you wherever you go because I’ll be in your heart. I just want to make sure you know how much both I and Daddy love you.

Once again the days are flying by, another weekend has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I’m trying to remember to write down all the funny things you say boy. As your language is improving day by day you are getting things wrong less often so I’m trying to preserve those beautiful everyday mishaps.
You made everyone laugh this week when we went for breakfast with Grandma & Grandad, you sat down and as the waitress gave out the menus you took yours opened it up and exclaimed loudly “Lets look at the menus guy’s”. It was so sweet and funny, I wish I could bottle up moments like that.
DSC_0318_2

DSC_0329

You also came out with a great line this week whilst looking in the cereal cupboard “Oh no mummy, there’s no gruffanola” I can only presume that you meant granola and not a special type of cereal made from Gruffalo!
Yesterday on the way home from nursery I was asking you about the poppy you had made that was taped onto your t-shirt you told me that you’d had a “Silenceds at nursery to think about the soldiers” I was so proud you’d listened and taken on board what you were doing.
We’ve been to see another school this week which I really liked, I’m hoping we can put it down on the application form as first choice for you as I think you’d really like it there. There was a lot of outside space which I know you really enjoy. I will have my fingers tightly crossed that you get in, such a worrying time.
Flixster you’ve developed a proper little giggle, I love how much your eyes light up when your brother enters the room. You absolutely adore him.
blog

I went out to a matinee performance of a Barnum on Saturday and left you both with Daddy for the first time. I’m lucky that your Uncle (my brother) works in theatre so I get to see lots of shows. I enjoyed the time to myself and especially a solo coffee and mince pie, but did miss you boys.

IMG_4732
blog 1

I really enjoyed the show and I was out for quite a few hours and when I came back you were laughing your head off at Daddy and the boy throwing pillows at each other. I was so pleased that you’d all been ok together because I know how hard it can be looking after you both together single handedly!

I’m really looking forward to the build up to Christmas, I have lots of plans in the pipeline, but I’m remembering to live and love in the moment so that if we don’t get a tomorrow we’ve lived for today!

Please always remember I love you both unconditionally….forever.
Love Mummy xx

IMG_4782 IMG_4775

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I love Christmas. It’s my all time favourite holiday season. I’ve always loved Christmas time even before having the children, but since having the boys it’s become even more magical. As the boy is growing up and beginning to understand things a little more he is beginning to believe in the magic of Christmas. This year will be his 4th Christmas, he’ll be 3 years 4 months on Christmas day this year, and I couldn’t be more excited! So when I was recently given the chance to review a letter sent from the big man himself I jumped at the chance. I have already published a post about ordering our letters from the Lapland Mailroom which can be found here. As I had ordered our letters early when they arrived I kept them to one side until today so that I knew the boy would be here when it landed on the door mat. He loves collecting the post for me and we play a game where he identifies the names on each letter to tell us if it’s for mummy or daddy. So I couldn’t think of a more appropriate day than today, a rainy Saturday morning with no particular plans but to stay in our pyjamas snuggled up warm inside! He’d put on his little monkey onesie and was ready for a morning playing with Flixster and his toys. When I heard the postman I beat him to the door and switched our normal post for his special letter before letting him discover it for himself.

DSC_0236_2

He was so excited to find a letter addressed to him! He was able to recognise his name and couldn’t quite believe it was post for him!

DSC_0244

DSC_0251

DSC_0247

 

The letter was quite thick which made it exciting to open, we sat down together to discover what was inside. We found a personalised letter along with a Christmas card to colour, a tree decoration, a door hanger, a stop here sign, an activity sheet and a nice child certificate.

DSC_0260

He knew from the picture on the letter that it was from Father Christmas!

DSC_0259

He wanted me to read it to him and his eyes lit up when I read the parts containing Flixster’s name. It really was lovely to watch him listen so intently to the letter being read to him. We looked at the rest of the package together and he instantly decided that he wanted to start colouring straight away so I got out his crayons and pens as he had requested.

DSC_0266 DSC_0272 DSC_0293_2

He wanted to cut out the tree decoration himself but as we don’t have any children’s scissors yet Daddy had to do it whilst he watched on. That’s another thing for the Christmas list though! He spent quite a while colouring in and kept looking back at the letter to point out his name.

DSC_0301

What a lovely way to spend a morning together, we had a good talk about Christmas still being quite a long time away but the letter has started to build the excitement. I suppose I’ll only have a limited number of years that the boys will still believe in Father Christmas so I’m going to enjoy it while I can. The magic of Christmas will always be alive in our house because as the Muppets sing in my all time favourite Christmas film “Wherever you find love it feels like Christmas!”

The lovely people at Lapland Mailroom have offered one blog reader the chance to win their very own personalised letter from Santa as well as an activity pack, just enter below, and if you’re not lucky enough to win then you can use the code ‘xmas2014promo’ for 10% off your order. Letters start from just £6.95 and are posted within 3 days.

I was sent a letter for the boy for the purpose of this review but all the opinions expressed about it are my own and truthful.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The school applications have just opened in our local authority area…..help! How is my baby going to survive school? How am I going to make the right choices for him? What if we don’t get our first choice school? Or even second or third choice?
The boy is an August born baby so is going to be one of the youngest in his school year. He’ll have just turned 4 when he starts. How will I know if he’s ready. What if he gets upset and needs a mummy hug while he’s there?

All mummies and daddies must go through these emotions….right?
In September this year as I was taking Flixster for a walk I saw all the neatly dressed boys and girls heading to school and thought that this time next year it’ll be me. It barely seems 5 minutes since he was born and in the blink of an eye another year will have passed and I’ll be standing at the school gates for the first time waving him off.
One of the hardest things for me to get my head around at the moment is putting my heart into finding the right school for him and then the seemingly long wait to find out if he can have a place. Our nearest school is a lovely church school and I would have been happy to send him there but they don’t have any after school care facilities which we would need as both I and hubby work. I could look at alternatives such a a childminder which I would prefer but it’s not a reliable option as I’d be looking for one now with spaces in Sept 2015. What if those spaces were no longer available when I needed one? I really need him to go to a school with guaranteed before and after school care, then if I can find a childminder all the better but at least I have options if not.

I’ve been to look around another local school today, I wasn’t able to make it to their open day so I had to make a separate appointment. The school has a good ofsted report but I was given a whistle stop tour by someone who didn’t even tell me their name. I thought I was going to really like the school but I’m not in love with it. Should I be looking for schools as I’d look for a house? If I’m looking at houses I want to walk in and fall in love with the place, should I have the same emotion if I’m looking for a school for my son to attend?

I have to make three choices, put the application in, then wait, and wait, and wait.

The final decision will be emailed to me in April, which at the moment seems like a lifetime away. I can imagine I will be obsessively checking my emails on the day they go out. I think I’ll be more nervous than I was receiving my own exam results or doing pregnancy tests! This is about my babies future, its about which gates I’ll be peeping through next September with my heart in my mouth hoping my little boy will be ok.

Expect lots more posts about schools in the next few months as it seems to be always on my mind at the moment.

If anyone has tips for choosing schools please let me know. I’ve never done this before and although I know its just another chapter in the big book of parenting, its one that I’m starting with butterflies in my tummy!

I recently found out about a new campaign organised by Dettol from a fellow bloggers post, and it touched a string in my heart. I love reading other posts and find so much useful information from link ups and blog hops. Dettol are working with Sparks Charity to collect and redistribute baby blankets to less fortunate families. I was surprised by the fact on Dettol website that says –

Laboratory tests commissioned by Dettol – on washed blankets donated by volunteer mums – show that baby ‘blankies’ carry a variety of bacteria even after a 40°C wash. In-fact, a third of the washed blankets harboured coliforms – a group of bacteria linked to faeces.

It’s horrible to think that something I use to snuggle Flixster in all the time may not be as clean as I first thought it was!

From the moment I brought Flixster into the world at home and out of the pool he was wrapped in a blanket. I didn’t dress him all day on the day he was born as I was enjoying skin to skin contact so much under a blanket.
IMG_3024 2

We spent all day bonding with him being exactly where he had been the previous day except he was now on the outside world!
IMG_3035

IMG_3046

Dettol are now collecting blankets that are no longer used to wash hygienically and pass on to less fortunate families who may need them. You get to keep the memories but why not donate a blanket no longer used to them. It couldn’t be easier since they have provided a freepost address. Dettol Anti-bacterial Laundry Cleanser has also pledged to donate £1 to Sparks for every blanket collected to raise much-needed funds for UK families who are affected by serious illness or disability.

 

Donate-Blankets2_500x269

 

I couldn’t think of anything nicer as we move on past the baby stage to pass on the blankets I’ve grown fond of to other who will benefit from them too.

IMG_3164

 

 

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding – Our Journey

I thought long and hard the title to give this post. I considered just calling it infant feeding but since I’m mainly going to be writing about breastfeeding I decided to call it that.

breastfeeding
Breastfeeding seems to be such a controversial subject that divides mum’s today. Why is that though? Surely us mum’s should be sticking together, it’s hard enough being a new mum especially first time round without having to get into debates about feeding choices. Everything in parenting is a personal choice, a choice you make for your own child and no one else should concern themselves with your choice. Unfortunately sometimes those choices are taken away from us and that can cause emotions to run high at a time when hormones are already raging.
By talking about my journey I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad, far from it. I just want to write down my experience so that other mums thinking about breastfeeding may take inspiration from my journey.
When I was pregnant with the boy I was given leaflets about all sorts of things, being pregnant is paper overload, leaflets about every subject as well as advertising for products that you may or may not need. I dutifully looked through all the leaflets and didn’t think too much about breastfeeding at the time. I thought that once the time came I’d give it a go and if things didn’t work out then I wouldn’t be bothered there are other options. I didn’t think about the incredible bond I’d have with my baby, the rush of love I felt every time he latched on. The amazing feeling I got from knowing he got everything he needed from me to grow big and strong. It wasn’t an easy journey. I didn’t in a million years think I’d be sat feeding for the first few days solid. I didn’t expect to be up all night then hallucinating from the sheer wall of tiredness that hit me. I didn’t expect the pain upon latching on from the initial let down. Looking back I have no idea why I carried on in those early days. I think I was just determined to see it through to at least a week. A week came and went and I was still going. He was feeding every hour and I was so worried about going out anywhere in case he needed feeding. What would I do? It wasn’t that I was worried what others would say, I just didn’t want my breasts out on show for all to see. I hadn’t learnt in those early days how to feed discreetly so that I barely had anything on show. He was also feeding for long periods of time. Slowly but slowly, day by day we carried on and with help from the local feeding team and encouragement we had turned a few days feeding into a week, then a week into a few weeks. Gradually things got easier, the latch on pain had gone, I hadn’t noticed but it wasn’t there anymore.

There were bumps in out road, a fair few nights after being up for long periods I’d say with tears in my eyes “Thats it tomorrow I’m going shopping for milk and we’re stopping” but I never did. Someone once said to me that things always look better in the morning, and they always did. We’d get up, have breakfast, I’d feed you and I’d say just one more day. It certainly wasn’t easy, I found nights the hardest. I’d feel like I was the only one up in the world, so lonely. Thank goodness for technology these days, I was able to catch up on soaps and reading whilst feeding which really helped pass the time. I don’t know where the first 6 months went but before I knew it, it was time to start complimentary feeding. I carried on breastfeeding as by now it was easy and convenient in the daytime. No thinking about bottles or sterilising or how long I’d be out of the house for. I started to love it. I loved that every time I latched you on you’d reach up and stroke my face. I loved the rush of love I felt whilst feeding you. It became addictive.
I went back to work when the boy was 12 months old and he was only feeding morning and night then, as I did such long hours at work I’d often miss a feed here and there and gradually he became lass interested. One morning when the boy was 18 months old I was feeding him on our bed and he just didn’t want to feed, he was far more interested in watching television. That was it then I knew our journey was over. I was sad but happy all at the same time. Sad we’d almost certainly never feed again but happy he’d made his own choice in stopping. I couldn’t wait to feed again while I was pregnant with Flixster and thankfully his journey has been a little easier. I was so lucky to be able to catch his first ever feed on camera. I don’t have any feeding pictures of the myself and the boy which looking back I do regret but I’m making up for it this time.

In between the boys I went on the breastfeeding helper course run by the BfN, I loved it. I wanted to help other mums like myself to have an amazing journey, to know what to expect and what to be prepared for, but also how amazing feeding can be. I volunteer weekly at my local breastfeeding group. I’m not a helper to make mums feel bad about their feeding choice, I’m not bothered in the slightest by mums who chose not to breastfeed, I certainly would never put pressure on anyone to breastfeed. Like I said at the beginning it’s all about choice. But the message I want to bring by telling my story is that us mums should stick together what ever choice we make. Nothing about having a baby is easy lets all support each other.

breastfeedingFlixster’s first ever feed

If you want to read about the end of our journey then follow this link

Dear Boys,
Once again life is flying by, I don’t know where the time is going. Days are turning into weeks and months far to quickly! We’ve had some great times over the last few weeks though.
Boy you are once again learning things at an amazing rate, your speech astounds me everyday although I have to be so careful what I say around you now, you seem to have hearing like a bat. Especially when it comes to mention of food or drink. I love that you enjoy babychinnos anytime we are out having coffee. You can easily spot a coffee shop a mile away, which is good for us! You are currently sat playing the CBeebies games on daddies computer as I type this.

IMG_4685 IMG_4686

You are particularly enjoying the game where you have to join three or more like objects in a row. It was only a few weeks ago that you couldn’t do it by yourself and now you are powering through the levels all by yourself. I love watching how pleased you are with yourself each time you complete a level.

We went to Alton Towers again last weekend and you loved spending the day in Cbeebies land. You are the perfect age to enjoy all the rides and attractions. Thankfully for us it was a lot quieter than other times we have visited so you were able to go on all the rides with minimal queue times. I love watching you confidently deciding what you’d like to ride.

IMG_4250

 

IMG_4335

I think your favourite ride this time was Postman Pat, you dragged daddy and I on it a fair few times!

IMG_4291

I stupidly forgot to bring you a jumper or coat so ended up buying a Cbeebies hoodie for you to wear. I hope that it’s big enough for you to get some decent use out of it as there weren’t many sizes left in the designs you liked.

IMG_4338

 

We didn’t take our own food on that occasion as we normally do and it was nice to see that the lunch options in Cbeebies were sandwiches and picnic style food rather than fast food. With the annual pass holder discount it didn’t work out to expensive either.

We also enjoyed a day out at Blackpool zoo recently which went down well with you. The last time we visited there you were only 30 months old so you don’t remember it. We’ve bought annual passes for the zoo so I look forward to going back a few times over the next year. The zoo was a great day out as it’s not too large which makes it little leg friendly!

IMG_4183 IMG_4155 IMG_4091 IMG_4071

I’m grateful for the particularly mild autumn this year as its meant lots of time to play outside still which you love. Your face lights up if we are able to go to one of the local play grounds to let of some steam and have a good run around. You’ve even ticked off another first…getting your face painted. I love that as there were no pictures for ideas you asked to be a rainbow.

IMG_4395

Halloween has been great, I’ve never really taken part in it before as it’s not really been my thing but I entered into the spirit of it (excuse the pun!) for the first time this year by getting some decorations. Daddy took you out to do some trick or treating at the local decorated houses as well which you loved. I’m quite sad it’s over now but have packed away the decorations for next year! My face printing skills aren’t quite as professional as the man who painted your rainbow!

DSC_0232 IMG_4595

Flixster you too have been changing and growing so much. We hit the 6 month mark recently but as you’re still not able to sit unaided I’ve not thrown myself into any complimentary feeding yet. You’re still breastfeeding as much as ever so as long as that continues I won’t be pushing the food. You’ve had a few bits of finger food here and there which you seem to enjoy but I’m not going to make it a regular everyday thing until your able to sit fully unaided. We want to do baby-led weaning rather than mushing anything so there’s no rush. You get all you need from my milk in the mean time.

You finally rolled over completely all by yourself this past weekend so I know sitting will come soon. Unfortunately I think you are beginning to go through the “only mummy will do” phase, as you are even unhappy in grandmas arms. I know it will pass and as you spend most of your life attached to me in a sling then there’s no problem.

After the zoo visit we made our annual trip to see the Blackpool lights. Ever since your brother was born each year we go and have a walk along the static displays at the Bispham end of the lights. We always park up and have fish and chips first then we have a wander down the lights and back, it’s just our family thing now which I love doing. This year as we’d been to the zoo with grandma and grandad we invited them to come along too. It was your first time at the lights Flixster and you slept all the way through it only waking for a few minutes at the end, oh well maybe next year!

IMG_4215

 

I’m so proud of how you are now interacting together. Flixster you are laughing at anything your big brother does, especially if it’s a little bit naughty which is encouraging him even more. I can’t help but laugh sometimes! I hope growing up you stay close as brothers and are always good friends to each other!

IMG_4572

Please always remember I love you both unconditionally….forever.
Love Mummy xx

Before I became mummy I used to hate Halloween! I hated that children would knock on the door and trick or treat. I didn’t like the scary factor to it. It was not my favourite day by any means and I always used to avoid it by going out in the evenings. It used to be my first Christmas shopping night of the year. I would go to my local big shopping centre and spend the night shopping avoiding any knocks on the door. However since having children I’ve ended up staying in and waiting for the knocks on the door. For the past two years the boy has been a bit to young to understand what was going on, however I have dressed him up to try to get in the spirit.

This year however has been different. I have really enjoyed the time leading up to Halloween as well as the night itself. This year I threw myself into decorating the house. I bought a few decorations and put them up with the help of the boy.

DSC_0224

DSC_0227

 

DSC_0225

DSC_0228

 

The boy was delighted when we put a couple of things up on his bedroom door.

DSC_0226

On Friday itself we had planned to have an inside day so I took the opportunity to do some Halloween activities together. We first spent quite a while messing about with the face paints. Since last week was the first time he had had his face painted whilst we were out I thought we could try again at home whilst he still remembered what face paints were. His costume was a skeleton so I tried to make a skeleton face for him to go with it. As you can imagine keeping a 3 year old still is hard so it didn’t come out too well, but it was good enough for him!

IMG_4642

I had bought a pumpkin carving kit this year to avoid using a kitchen knife on our pumpkin as I knew the boy would want to get involved. I wasn’t sure if it would be any good as it only cost £1 but I highly recommend them. You get a scoop, a carving tool and a poking tool.

IMG_4631

I wasn’t sure at first if it would be suitable for a 3 year old to use but the carving tool wasn’t particularly sharp so with some supervision the boy soon got the hang of poking the face shapes out and then using the carving tool to cut them. It did take quite a while with the scoop to get out all the seeds but that’s part of the fun and the boy really enjoyed himself.

IMG_4623

IMG_4626

Once evening came I changed him into his costume and we waited for any trick or treaters. He was so excited, he thought that his friends from nursery would come to our house (despite them living no where near where we live!) I guessed they must have been talking about it at nursery during the week. He was so excited that he put the bucket of sweets on the stairs by the door in readiness. This was the first year ever that I was hoping some people would come. I didn’t want to have to tell him that nobody was coming. Our house is the tucked away on the end of a small row of houses and quite well hidden by a large hedge so often people have trouble finding it. On dark evenings its even harder to find so I made sure the outside light was on and I turned on some lights in the house to try and encourage them to call!

DSC_0216 DSC_0212 DSC_0207

It wasn’t too long before there was a little knock on the door, the boy rushed to answer it with me and was eager to try and put treats in the two children’s buckets, it was very sweet. Daddy came home soon after and the boy asked to go out trick or treating. I’ve never really agreed with it but he asked so nicely and his eyes were full of hope so Daddy agreed to take him out to just a few houses. I’m not sure he knew what you really did as he wanted to take out our full bucket of sweets to each house! We live on an estate of newish built houses so they went out and knocked on a few doors that were decorated and where they knew that people were participating. I think that is a fair compromise. If a house is decorated for Halloween then its fair to say they probably don’t mind small children knocking on to trick or treat. It wasn’t long before they were back and the boy was very happy and excited to tell me about it. After he got home we had a few more knocks and the boy got to give out more sweets. It was lovely to see him trying to give everyone treats. Thankfully all the children we had were lovely and polite and all said thank you before leaving.

After both boys were in bed I sat down to reflect on how much I’ve actually enjoyed Halloween this year. I’m excited to make it even more fun next year. I’ll certainly be looking out for decorations in the sale to keep for 2015!