Is it different with 2?

I make no disguises for the fact that I enjoyed waiting for and hearing about the arrival of the 4th in line to the throne. Kate and William are a brilliant representation of our modern day Royal Family.

As they stood on the steps, outside the hospital, humbly  showing off their new little Princess to the swarms of media and well wishers, I couldn’t help but think about how their lives will change now that they have 2 young children.

… How all of our lives as parents, change when we have another child.

Do we do things differently with our second child? Are the milestones just as special with a second child?

I have a 4 year old and a 15 month old, who, without question, are my entire world. But there is no doubt that things are completely different with 2. There’s no doubt, that you do things ever so slightly different, with your second!

A Poem for my Number 2

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A second child to carry and name

Would I love you just the same?

For 40 weeks, my biggest fear

Was how I’d cope when you’re finally here?

Would things be just as special with 2?

Would I bond as much with you?

Now you’re here, my fears are gone

I couldn’t have been so completely wrong.

My love has grown, doubled in size,

My heart overflows when I look in your eyes.

However….

I hate to admit that your Baby Book

Doesn’t get that much of a look.

Your toys are not all shiny new,

Second hand clothes, occasionally blue!

I’m far more lenient with your food

The age guidelines, I tend to allude.

Just as CBeebies has faded away

It’s back to haunt me everyday.

Baby-proof the locks and stair gate,

The High Chair is back and the plastic plate.

We mastered the potty, each number and letter

I wonder if you will master it better?

You don’t get my undivided attention

In and out of the car, too busy to mention.

When you wake in the night and we put back your cover,

We do it quickly so you don’t wake your brother.

But I can’t remember life before,

Your cuddles and smiles and toys on the floor,

Your curly hair and tiny feet,

Having you here, makes our lives complete.

So having 2, proves definitely

That Love can grow. Infinitely.

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The Isles of Glencoe Hotel: a spell of wizardry.

We probably live as far away as you could get from Scotland.

A hefty drive from one end of the British Isles to the other, Scotland is somewhere I had never been to, until I was bridesmaid at my lovely friend’s wedding in Scotland.

We absolutely loved it there. What a truly beautiful country.

If we were to visit again and I really hope that we do, we would want to stay in a hotel that was family friendly enough, to cater for all of us.

The Isles of Glencoe Hotel ticks all of our boxes.

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For Mummy:

I love gorgeous scenery.

The hotel is situated in a stunning location. Nestled on the side of a peninsula reaching into Loch Leven in the Scottish Highlands. Simply stunning.

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The hotel rooms are all really modern and cosy with en-suite and complimentary Wi-Fi. Either standard or feature rooms, all of the bedrooms have commanding views of the Loch and the Pap of Glencoe or the mountains of Morvern. Some rooms have patio doors so you can really enjoy that gorgeous view of the mountains behind the sparkling, blue waters.

Image courtesy of Hotel

Image courtesy of Hotel

For Daddy:

He loves his food.

The hotel’s lochside Restaurant, again makes the most of those magnificent views, looking out onto the mountains of Glencoe. The restaurant offers a whole host of mouthwatering dishes with many traditionally Scottish ingredients. The hearty Scottish breakfast would certainly be a feast we would look forward to.

Image courtesy of Hotel

Image courtesy of Hotel

For Ethan:

He loves outdoor sports.

With the hotel so close to Glencoe and Loch Leven, there are some wonderful activities on the hotel’s doorstep. Kayaking and Paddle Boarding would be first on our list of things to do.

Image courtesy of Hotel

Image courtesy of Hotel

Daily excursions and cruises offer some wonderful opportunities to view local sea life and the Seafari looks like an adventure too good to miss. Ethan is also a bit of an indoor rock climber, so he would be in his element, trying something new, at the Ice Factor: an indoor ice climbing arena!

For Connor:

A huge Harry Potter fan.

As if the location of the hotel wasn’t spectacular enough, it’s more than a treat for any Harry Potter fan. You can actually take a ride on the Hogwarts Express and relive many scenes from the film as much of it was filmed on location here. In fact, Harry, Hermione and Ron stayed at this actual Hotel during filming!

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The Jacobite Steam Train takes you on an 84 mile round trip from Fort William to Mallaig and back again, including the Glenfinnan viaduct, which featured in the Harry Potter films.

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For Harley:

He loves riding his bike.

You’ll probably know by now that my little boy is a bit of a whizz when it comes to biking. He would be in seventh heaven to know that there are some forest tracks, perfect for mountain biking, close by at the Nevis Range. Harley would be begging me to take him along to one of their bike skills workshops!

For Lola:

She loves swimming.

When booking a hotel, a swimming pool is a must-have for us. Whether it be spending a lazy morning or a relaxing evening after a busy day, the Isles of Glencoe has a lovely pool and sauna for all their guests, big or small, to enjoy.

Image courtesy of Hotel

Image courtesy of Hotel

So if I was going to master up some wizardry and use my magic wand to conjure up a family friendly stay for all of us, this would be my magic spell…

A room with a view and a pool thrown in too,

Biking and kayaking, so much to do.

Throw in a train ride, it’s famous no less,

Don’t call us picky, we just want the best.

Mix in a bunch of friendly staff,

A family stay where we all have a laugh.

A sprinkling of meals and food to devour,

Added to so much fun, every hour.

So magic spell, tell me, where shall we go?

Let’s take a trip to The Isles of Glencoe.

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Disclosure: This is my #parentpanel entry for Parent Friendly Stays.

Ozeri WeightMaster II

You probably know how much I rate Ozeri products.

It’s a brand that has never failed to impress me.

Applying the word ‘best’ to the title of a product, is something which I wouldn’t do lightly, however, their WeightMaster II scales, are without question, the best weighing scales, I have ever used.

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The scales come in a sleek design of either black or white. I have been using them for a while now and it’s definitely the fact that the LCD screen lights up green or red depending on whether you have lost or gained weight, that sets these apart from any others that I have used.

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*Your weight flashes twice on the screen. It then locks in and remains on screen.

* The WeightMaster II allows you to programme your height and weight to give reliable BMI measurements.

*Your Body Mass Index is displayed under your weight.

* I love the clear, blue LCD full display screen; excuse my boney feet and flip flop tanlines!

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* The Colour Alert technology highlights your net weight change in green to show weight loss and red if you have gained weight. This was my favourite feature. It was instant, visual, clear and shocking if red!

There’s no way I’m putting a photo of my weight on here, so here is an example from the manual to show you how it would look:

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*The scales have a Memory Access Mode. This features allows you to recall the previous recorded weights. The L1 indicates the net weight change from your last recorded weight. The L3, L7, L30 indicates the net weight change from the average of your last 3,7 and 30 recorded weights.

* The scales have auto-recognition technology for up to 8 people.

* The scales can instantly recognise and recall the correct person’s memory profile when they stand on the scales (unless there has been a change in weight of over 6.6 lbs)

*You simply step on to the scales to turn them on; no fiddly button to look for. The scales automatically calibrates with StepOn technology and powers off to preserve the battery life.

* The scales have a slip resistant exterior and look very sleek in my bathroom.

* The scales come with a handy booklet with clear instructions as to how to programme the scales. The booklet also comes with some useful information with regards to Body Mass Index with it’s weight classification and BMI value.

* It’s easy to change the unit of measurement from Kg to Lbs by using a little switch underneath. My only niggle is that the measurement is completely in lbs and not in stone. You therefore have to convert the total amount of lbs into stones and lbs, yourself.

*Profiles can be reset, if needed.

*It is treated with an antimicrobial product to protect against bacteria, keeping it clean and hygienic.

Now, that’s clearly a lot of things to like about a set of bathroom scales!

Never have I listed or reviewed a product with so many features to like.

 It’s state of the art design, leads the way for bathroom scales technology. The Ozeri WeightMaster II, is currently available here for £29.99.

Disclaimer: I was kindly sent an Ozeri WeightMaster II for the purpose of review however all words and opinions are very much my own.

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Mindful Monday ~ Wk 24

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When my children are older, more than anything, I want them to look back on their childhood with the happiest of memories.

I want them to remember the time we spent together as a family.

I want them to remember the days out; the trips to the park; the bike rides; the walks in the forest; days at the beach.

The free things.

The simple things.

I want them to remember, simply the time they spent with Mummy and Daddy.

I love this quote by Abigail Van Buren and I think it works brilliantly on a photo of Lola and daddy, going off for a walk.

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‘If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money’

Time is worth more to a child than any gift.

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My Sunday Photo ~ Bluebell Wood

Earlier in the week, I wrote about our gorgeous walk through a local Bluebell Wood and I shared some of the stunning captures.

A Bluebell Wood really is a beautiful sight. I get slightly giddy when I see the bluey haze. It’s such a shame that it’s not a sight we can appreciate all year round but then it wouldn’t be so special, would it?

My Sunday Photo has to be my favorite photo of Lola and her cousin, Rosalie playing amongst the bluebells.

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Childhood.

Innocence.

Nature.

Beautiful.

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OneDad3Girls

12 Things I hope my children never find out

Always tell the truth.

Be honest.

A very important life lesson that I want my children to grow up, standing by.

So why is that when we become parents, that motto that we teach our children, seems a teeny bit hypocritical, well, for me anyway?!

But purely only for my child’s own good or indeed, perhaps, for my own sanity!

MY TEENY TINY MUMMY SECRETS

1. I secretly eat chocolate behind the cupboard door and then give you a banana.

2. When I count to 5, I don’t really know what I’m going to do if you make me get there.

3. We lie to your face to make you eat things. You won’t instantly run faster, if you eat your chicken; yes I’ve hidden veg in the Bolognaise and no, water hasn’t got magic superman powers the minute you drink it.

4. Sometimes I skip through your bedtime story to get to the end quicker, if we have had it for the 1000th time.

5. It’s not blackcurrant in my glass.

6. If it’s been a long day, yes it really is 7pm already and most definitely not only 6.15pm.

7. When the ice cream van plays music, it’s not because it’s sold out of ice cream.

8. If you’re eating Beans on Toast it’s because I can’t be bothered to cook.

9. The local soft play isn’t really shut.

10. The nurse is not really putting brave soldiers in your arm to keep you strong, when you have your jabs.

11. I haven’t really got eyes in the back of my head and I can’t really see everything.

12. When I say ‘be good at preschool through the week and you’ll get 2 days off’, you will get those 2 days, anyway. It’s called the weekend.

I know that when you are old enough to read and tell the time, my little white lies will be void but until then, please excuse Mummy’s little fibs. They are all for your own good, or mine!!

Do you have any little fibs that you tell your children??

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I would love to be considered for nomination in the Best Writer category for the Tots100 Mum and Dad Blog Awards

Tots100 MAD Blog Awards

what katy said
You Baby Me Mummy

Bank Holiday Bluebell Walk

Springtime tells us of it’s arrival through flowers.

If there’s one thing that represents this beautiful time of year, more than the candy floss delicacy of a pink Cherry Blossom tree, it’s the sight of Bluebells.

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A walk through a Bluebell Wood is one thing that I look forward to every year. The only problem with a visit to a Bluebell Wood, is that you have to time it just right as regretfully, this bluey haze is only here to great us for a few short weeks a year.

We made the most of the Bank Holiday dry spells and went to Pamphill, Wimborne.

The sea of blue, did not disappoint.

There is no other way to enjoy a walk through a Bluebell Wood than to take lots of pictures. So for anyone who doesn’t have a wood nearby, here are some of my snaps for you to enjoy.

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and this one is my favourite of Lola and her cousin, Rosalie passing over a bluebell.

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Isn’t nature beautiful.

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Monthly Melfie ~ As a Step Mum

This month, my Melfie photo is with my youngest stepson, Connor.

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When I got married, I didn’t just marry Luke, I married his entire situation and you know what, being a stepmum, is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

I remember when Luke first introduced me to his boys, I found myself trying to impress them more than their dad!

Never wanting to be their mummy, or their best friend but trying to find a happy medium whilst achieving acceptance, is more nerve wracking than any job interview.

Bringing up children is hard.

Bringing up children that aren’t your own, is even harder.

Being a stepparent, doesn’t come from a relationship of established love or nurturing. You have to almost play catch up to know what they like or don’t like. To know all about them. To know what makes them tick, or not, as the case may be.

When I was first chosen to read the bedtime story over daddy, I did an inner fist pump to the sky.

When I get asked to play with them; be the one to do their homework with; the one whose hand they choose to hold, it means more than their sweet little faces will ever know.

When Luke and I wanted to have children of our own, it was paramount to me that we created a blended family. Not a family of ‘them and us’.

The boys were so excited to have a new little brother. They adored him.

And you can imagine, when Lola was born, well, she was one over-protected little sister, that’s for sure.

 I know that we have achieved that blended family that I so desperately wanted when I hear Ethan and Connor call Harley and Lola their brother and sister. The words ‘step’ or ‘half’ don’t appear anywhere in their repertoire. And that makes me so happy.

I almost want to give ourselves a pat on the back.

I was lucky. Their approval of what I represented and their acceptance of me was evident from the beginning.

But it’s a tough role.

Still, years later.

When schools give 2 tickets to an assembly or a presentation. The ticket is not for you.

Sometimes, just sometimes, you need to keep quiet.

Take a step back.

Don’t compare, yourself.

Never show favouritism. I am always mindful of this.

As I said, we are very lucky. We are, very much, a unit. A family with 4 children.

Here are a few of my favourite pics of me and the boys:

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I’m immensely proud of my little family. All very different, yet so similar.

I’m a Mummy and a Step mummy, blimey, pass me that glass of wine!

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Californian Mum in London
The Dad Network

My Sunday Photo ~My King of the World

Often, the best pictures are the on-the-spot captures; the ones where you suddenly see something and you know that as soon as you look back at the photo, it’s going to be a beauty.

I take most of my photos on my iPhone and this one, simply had to be My Sunday Photo for this week.

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My King of the Word.

My King of Everything.

Taken at Badbury Rings. It’s one of Harley’s favourite places. And I love his love affair with the outdoors.

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OneDad3Girls

A big ‘Thank You’ to our Childminder

Oh the irony.

Reflecting back 4 years, to when my little bundle was about 6 months old, I began the process of looking for childcare for when I returned to work.

Choosing a childminder was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. How do you even begin to find the right person to look after your child? The right person, who you have never met? The right person to cuddle them if they cry; take them to fun places; make them feel safe and to help them develop?

The right person to capture those milestone moments, before I do?

The saying goes, that when you are looking for a new house, you know instantly or within a few short seconds, if it’s the right house for you.

Well, this is exactly how I felt when I entered the home of our would be childminder.

So child centred, it was set up beautifully. As I sat down at the tiny table and crouched onto the tiny child sized seat, my heart simply knew that this was were I was going to leave my little boy.

The way she first picked him up to say, Hello. I just knew.

Harley loved going to Debi’s. As he got older he would talk so very fondly of Debi, her family and her dog. And he still does now.

Debi made me feel safe. As a new mum, I would often look to her for advice at pick up time.

We were so pleased with how well Harley had settled in and progressed in Debi’s care, that we were over the moon when we managed to get Lola in as well.

Now the irony is this….

Saying goodbye to my beautiful children, as I dropped them off to go to work was the hardest thing.

However, many of you will know that I have started a new career that allows me to work from home. We didn’t need childcare anymore. We didn’t need Debi anymore. And saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

I honestly worried that my children would be missing out not being with her. Even though they were now with their Mummy everyday! I was often told how ridiculous that was but it’s taken me a while to believe that I could offer them just as much opportunity.

It’s amazing being with them all the time. I get to enjoy every little part of them.

I know they miss her.

Only last week when we were dropping off Harley at Pre-School, Lola saw Debi and ran up to her, arms outstretched for a cuddle. It made my heart melt.

A good childminder is absolutely paramount to the early stages of a child’s life. And I will be eternally grateful for the love that Debi has shown both of my children. Her home was their second home.

Inevitably, saying goodbye was a tough day.

I thought long and hard about a gift that would encapsulate my indebted thanks.

 So we made The Childminder’s Survival Kit:

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A box full of items, each cunningly labelled to show our appreciation:

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A Candle – for when the kids get on your wick

Home Door Stop – for all of the love and happiness you have given us

Tissues – to wipe away the tears

Wicker Heart – Just because you’re lovely

Hand Wash – because hands down, you’re the best childminder

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Cup – for when yours is overflowing

Batteries – because without you, things don’t work

Spatula – because you’re flipping great

Coffee – to keep you awake during the long days

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Paracetamol – when all else fails, take 2 and find a quiet corner

Googly Eyes – because you need eyes in the back of your head

Flower Bulbs – because you helped us to grow

Plasters – because you make everything alright

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Scissors – because you’re a cut above the rest

Marbles – for when you lose yours

Giant Chalks – to add a bit of colour to your day

Playdough – because you helped to shape me

So Debi, if you’re reading this… thank you, doesn’t seem enough. You looked after my children amazingly. When I found it so hard to leave them, I knew they were in the best of hands. You have set up your home to be a welcoming, stimulating environment. When my little 1 year old clapped his hands as we pulled up to your drive every morning, I knew we would be eternally thankful.

4 years later, we say goodbye. I know we will stay in touch. I hope so.

If any new parents are coming up to the time when they have to leave their child in nursery or with a childminder, you will ‘just know’ if it’s the right one. And as much as your heart is aching that you have had to hand them over, there’s no doubt that they will be having a whale of a time. It makes Hometime, all the more special.

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