Saturday, 23 August 2014

New Shoes!

Without making myself sound like an ultimate consumer I really do LOVE shopping- especially for shoes! However I loathe shopping for children's shoes. I find the experience of awaiting a turn to be measured with unamused children in tow extremely stressful. This stress is usually exacerbated further after finding that there is almost nothing left in the required size. I then end up purchasing something completely impractical (although loved by my child) just to get out of the shop and wipe the task from my to-do list. 

I usually use my judgement when deciding how frequently I get the children's feet measured. I like them to have a fitting pair from Clarks each(as that's where you go to buy children's shoes as a responsible Mama right!?) alongside the various pairs of pumps/wellies/sandles I buy them on a whim unsure if they actually fit! 

I can't remember how long Zac had his current pair of Clarks shoes for, but it can't have been too long as they were in pretty good condition! Last week I was alerted to the fact that they might have become too small as he tripped up a few times and was complaining that he couldn't run fast enough. I asked him the usual inquisitive prompts to find out if they were indeed too small such as "Is your toe right at the end?" "Do they hurt?" and "Am I pressing your toes?" Due to inconsistencies in Zac's answers and the fact that I had no clue how to tell if the shoes were small or not I decided to get an expert opinion. 

Is it my turn yet? 
We braved a shoe shopping expedition early on a Saturday morning and luckily didn't have to wait long to be assisted. Zac enjoyed choosing his character on the electronic measuring thing ( I'm afraid I have no idea what it's called!) and was very pleased to hear he had gone up a whole size and is now a size 10! I did ask them to double check this as Oliver is only an 11 and he's got 3 plus years on Zac! 
Unfortunately they had nothing we liked in his size and although it was promised we could order online I couldn't bear the thought of him continuing on in shoes too small for him, so we decided to try another shop. 

We looked at numerous pairs in Next, Gap and Zara to name a few, but I just couldn't be sure that they actually fitted. I've always found that I need to buy a size down from their Clarks shoes when shopping elsewhere. I usually buy these "other" pairs without trying on, but this time I felt guilty that he was now sans a pair of Clarks and feared this could damage his feet and my reputation as a responsible parent! 

We were both becoming slightly weary by this point when I decided to have a last quick look in Schuh. I never really shop in Schuh and it didn't occur to me that they measured children's feet but Zac was enticed by seeing his "old shoes" in the window so we ventured in. Zac measured a size 9 in here and spent a good 10 minutes trying on various colours of Converse All Stars until finally settling on the same as his previous 2 pairs- navy blue. 

New Blue Shoes! 
I was really impressed by the sales assistant who checked the fit, tried the size up just in case and was happy to spend time with us despite the shop being full of browsers. 
Zac wore his new shoes out of the shop ( I remember how exciting this felt as a child!) and was rewarded for all his patience with his usual favourite treat- an ice cream! I'm pleased to report he CAN run faster than ever in these :-) 

Yummy Ice Cream! 
Although I'm confident these shoes fit fine, I still feel pangs of guilt that he is now lacking his usual staple pair of Clarks for the remainder of the summer! This experience has made me re think my shoe purchasing strategy- Do I really need to ensure they have a pair of Clarks shoes at all times!? 

I was bracing myself for more shoe shopping in a couple of weeks with the new school term looming but have just found something that will end the trauma of waiting around....

Available from the Clarks Website 

This is truly going to be the best £14 I've ever spent! 

I'd love to hear your shoe shopping experiences? Where do you buy your little ones shoes from? 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Haircuts and Ice creams!

I had an afternoon off work last week and enjoyed the lovely novelty of collecting Oliver from school.  Being there to pick him up at home time is something I miss dearly from my maternity leave days, and as I usually take leave from work during the school holidays I rarely manage to do this at the moment. 

It was a glorious afternoon and the sunshine was tempting us towards the park, however we had a chore to attend to which we I had been putting off for weeks, possibly even months- haircuts! Not for me I should add (I wish I had the time right now) but for the boys! 
Oliver pre visit 
Zac pre hair cut! 
I'm terrible with hair full stop. My own, the boys,and now Freya's. I guess what I mean by terrible is that I simply have no idea when it comes to styles, cuts, colour, or maintenance. My own hair is very much a wild mess which I have learned to tame with the over use of my trusty hair straighteners or if I'm feeling lazy some curling "stuff"(the kind that turns frizzy straw into waves). I graduated from using a box of the lightest possible dye at the age of 15 (involving lots of tears/ impromptu trips to salon for colour correcting) to visiting the salon every 6-8 weeks. Now I have a full time job and three children to juggle I rarely have the time for a 3 hour appointment so I never go as much as I should. Even when I do manage to sort the colour out I don't have a clue about styles, in fact I usually just ask for the smallest possible trim! Unfortunately this lack of passion for my own hair has extended to include the children's! 

That said the boys have both had a real mix of hairstyles- short, long, spiky, side partings and fringes. However because I'm so indecisive about a style I just leave it be and the weeks pass on and the hair grows over their eyes... My Husband usually steps in at this point and takes them to the barbers without telling me and I arrive home to a shock! 

Oliver has always had long hair from being a baby until now. I think his first hair cut was simply a tiny trim to stop it growing over his eyes.Of course there have been times when he's wanted it short and we have obliged, after all it's his hair and I never want to dictate to him how he should wear it! But he usually ends up wishing it to grow again (much to my approval). His hair is thick,wavy and falls into a natural style which requires no maintenance aside from a quick comb after washing! So easy for those busy mornings. 

Oliver's first Hair Cut! 
Then it grew and grew...
Zac on the other hand has very fine straight hair which is growing incredibly slowly. He desperately wants it to grow as long as Oliver's, but because its straight it doesn't quite look the same. Zac had his hair cut very short last summer (too short in my opinion!), and once it had grown slightly he liked to have it "spiky" using hair wax. But he soon got fed up of his hair being styled each morning and I got fed up of chasing him around the bathroom with a comb so we just decided to let it grow...
Zac with a shorter style 
 This time Oliver initially wanted his hair "extra short" but then changed his mind and wanted just a trim, then changed his mind back again, and so forth. Zac was a bit more decisive and was adamant that he didn't want a hair cut at all! With this in mind and my lack of enthusiasm for hair it did take a while for us to finally set foot through the doors of a barber shop! 

So with an afternoon sans work and the boys both is good spirits we found a barbers (on the advice of Oliver who insisted this is where he went with daddy). Luckily they both got attended to straight away meaning I didn't really have time to think about a style and simply asked for a trim each. Zac's was done first in less than 10 minutes but Oliver's took a lot longer as there was a fair bit more to cut!

With the boys extremely pleased and proud of their new hair and mama proud of their braveness (I had visions of them screaming the place down as per the memories of my brother at that age), they indulged in a much needed birthday cake flavoured ice cream -yummy! 
I was impressed with my first attempt of taking the boys for hair cuts, despite daddy insisting that I should have let him take them! In hindsight I probably should have asked for a little more to be cut off both. The cuts cost just under £20, although I've got no idea if this is a good price or not!? I've decided to try taking them to the salon I go to next time.
As for Freya's hair- I am hoping this won't require cutting for a little while yet! 

What do you think of their new hair cuts? Do your children like visiting the hairdressers? 

Anneka x

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Monday, 26 May 2014

A Rainy Day Picnic

With half term on the horizon and an extra day off work for the bank holiday, we were all very much looking forward to Saturday arriving. I had planed a trip to a local park for a picnic and play, blissfully unaware of the impending poor weather! We awoke on Saturday to dark rain clouds and it was at this point I began to realise that maybe listening to the weather forecast should be on my to do list! The picnic in the park was a non starter, the boys were evidently disappointed and as Ocado had delivered our yummy picnic food we decided to have a Teddy Bears Picnic anyway!  

Yummy Food Yummy blanket! 
We love an indoor picnic in our house -Mama loves it as there's little cooking involved and the mess can be contained on one little blanket (Freya's my adorable Cath Kidston rose one in this case), and the boys relish in not having to eat at a table! 

I tasked the boys to find a teddy each to bring along. Just one though as history has proved that any more than a couple of bears turns a tranquil lunch into the ideal surroundings for the boys to indulge in a favourite game they call Teddy Bombs- consisting of launching various teddy bears towards each other at high speed! They both chose their current favourites- matching replicas of Mr Bean's Teddy Bear. Freya found a favourite doll and the teddies and children then chose their places around our picnic blanket. 

Due to popular demand I made Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches, with star crackers, grapes, carrots, raisins, Little Yeo Yoghurt tubes and cakes also included on the menu. I cut a couple of the sandwiches into star shapes as these tend to be more attractive to the boys who are usually too quick in moving onto the "sweeter" offerings. 


I was worried that Freya wouldn't sit and eat her food on the blanket, but all those pretend tea parties trained her well, and she sat very contently eating all her lunch- even finishing her sandwich before moving onto a cup cake! 

Sharing the cakes! 
The boys were very generous sharing with their teddies (note the grapes not the cake!). Their generosity however did not extend to Mama, and I was left with a couple of half eaten carrots and some crusts! Oh well at least the food was enjoyed! 

Teddy loves grapes- luckily as that's all he was offered! 

The best part of the day was the sun making a brief appearance, facilitating a play in the garden before some much needed quiet time!  

What do you do indoors on a rainy day? 

Anneka x

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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Toddler Outfit Of The Day- Sunny Sunday

Thanks to the beautiful weather this afternoon Freya was able to wear this adorable outfit! 
The play-suit is from Mini Boden, and I actually bought this last year. It's 6-12 months and Freya was wearing it through the winter with long tops underneath. Although it's now a little short in the leg for her, I cannot bear to put it away just yet!  She doesn't usually wear such a bright pink but I love the floral pattern and it was perfect for a sunny afternoon in the garden.

Looking at her "Peppa" shoes! 
It was almost impossible to get a photo of Freya looking in the right direction. She is like a little whirlwind in the garden and I have to run to catch her! The little shoes have a cute animal face on the toe (although I'm not entirely sure which animal, we thought pig but who knows!) and are from Marks and Spencer. These are soft indoor shoes really, but her usual walking shoes are a cream colour (daddy's fault!) and since we were cutting the grass, I anticipated this would not have been an ideal combination! 
I've just noticed that her sunglasses were missing form this outfit! Although that may have been overloading on the pink slightly anyway!

I hope you enjoyed your Sunday? 

Anneka x  


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Our Visitor for the Week

This morning it was time to say goodbye to a little visitor who has been staying with us for the past week- Mr Bear! 
Mr Bear is the resident teddy bear at Zac's nursery and enjoys a stay at a different child's home each week. This week it was our turn to play hosts! 
Last morning cuddle! 
Zac seemed beyond excited when I arrived home from work last week and proudly announced that Mr Bear had come to stay. Now this was not the first time we had hosted Mr Bear at our house, about 3 years earlier the very same bear was brought home by Oliver! Once again Mr Bear arrived with his own little book documenting his previous stays, which made for great bedtime reading! 
Mr Bear's last visit in 2010
Zac (with help from Oliver) has been taking the bear out and about with him for the past week! They have enjoyed outings to the park, shops, and daily school runs! Mr Bear even came prepared with his very own suitcase full of clothes, from which Zac has enjoyed picking out various outfits for him to wear each morning, and changing him into his pjs and slippers at night! 
Wakey wakey!
 Zac has even let Mr Bear have pride of place alongside his other favourite teddies on his bed! In fact the Gruffalo (much to Freya's delight!) has been relegated to the communal toy box! 

I think this is such a lovely concept, as Zac really took pride in looking after Mr Bear for a week and felt a great responsibility to show him a great time at our house! 
This morning however it was time for one last cuddle before noting all the adventures in Mr Bear's very own diary. Then it was off to nursery to pass him onto another family for his next stay! Come back and visit again soon! 

Have you had any little visitors recently? 

Anneka x

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Monday, 12 May 2014

A Sunday Outing

After writing off the first part of our weekend due to illness, I was determined to enjoy the remainder even if I wasn't feeling on top form! We had decided to go the Festival of Transport in North Hampshire,and although the weather forecast did not make for great reading we decided to set off, with the boys hoping to come across their dream car- Mr Bean's Mini! 
The Festival of Transport was a huge display of classic, vintage cars and commercial vehicles. I have to admit this would not usually interest me in the slightest but having two boys who are crazy about all forms of transport means I'd be "crazy" to have missed it! 
Not quite a Mini? 
Oliver and Zac quickly made a beeline for their favourite Mini cars! They have their own vast collection of Minis in various colours, and models but were keen to find the real life versions! Especially a green one as driven by Mr Bean which unfortunately couldn't be found.
The boys and their "best car ever!" 
Freya didn't seem highly interested in the cars (like mama!) but was perfectly happy once set free from the constraints of the pushchair! She walked around for quite a while and could only be persuaded back into the pushchair upon the promise of lunch! After which Oliver kindly treated Freya to a lick of his ice cream! I'm pleased to report that surprisingly (and luckily!) this didn't end up all over her coat! 
Freya loving the freedom to run! 


The best part for the boys was the open access to the top deck of a vintage London Bus! They also loved getting up close to the large lorries and seeing the equipment on the fire engines. The boys were a bit disappointed that they couldn't "ride" in any of the cars! I can remember feeing exactly the same as a child, as there's only so much fun observing can bring! 
Look how high we are! 
We had a lovely couple of hours and managed to get home before the rain! The event is run each year by the Thornycroft Society and admission was free. I would recommend it-especially if your children are car crazy like my boys!  
As you can see from the photos below Freya was worn out! 
Fast asleep as soon as we got home! 
I hope you had a lovely Sunday! Do let me know what you did? 


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mama Under the Weather

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last few days, I've been tucked up in bed as much a possible due to a horrible cold :-( So in place of our usual Book of the Week Post, its just me rambling and generally feeling sorry for myself! 

I almost feel like I've been cheated out of a weekend, in which the first part was spent indoors coughing, sleeping and not much else! 

On Friday, much to the amusement of the boys ( and probably the relief of my husband!) I completely lost my voice! I felt so poorly that after getting ready and beginning my journey to work I had to turn back and head back to my duvet, stirring only when my lovely husband came home and made me some soup! 
Soup- makes everything better! 
I felt slightly better Saturday, but still didn't venture out until an impromptu visit to the supermarket that evening, after which I felt shattered! It's one of those colds where your whole body aches, and you just don't want to move.
With all the sneezing going on Freya decided to join in! 
On a serious note, it's so difficult to look after yourself and also your children when your ill! In my child free days I would dive under the covers and not rise until feeling suitably better. Although I was able to do this on Friday, on Saturday I just had to drag myself up, max up on Lemsip and get on with things. This meant a quiet day in doors snuggled up on the sofa, playing games and puzzles and making use of those great emergency frozen meals! You just have to do the best you can, although if like me you work full time its such an annoyance to "lose" your weekend this way. We usually have so much planned to do together. 
Sleepy Saturday 
By Saturday evening my voice was starting to return (albeit slightly) Woohoo! But I'm still feeling pretty rotten. 

How do you cope with your children whilst your ill?