And another month has flown by and we're now into May, one of my favourite months: the month we got married, my Dad's birthday, beautiful flowers start to bloom in the garden and hopefully the April showers will cease!
So here's what we've loved this month.
On Netflix we've been binge watching season 1 and 2 of Line of Duty, a British Police drama series focused on dodgy coppers! It's really addictive with a brilliant and unpredictable plot.
Arthur is still completely obsessed with Paw Patrol, but thankfully, he's now found a new love... LEGO and hurrah, Netflix has a whole bunch of Lego fims for kids. I think his personal favourite has to be Lego City - which is good with me as it has no annoying talking. BONUS.
I am absolutely in love with the Little Bird by Jools Kids clothing range at Mothercare. I've already bought a load of bits which I'll share with you all soon, but had to share these adorable shorts with you! I'm obsessed...
My absolute favourite book this month was The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. I've done a summary of it in my latest video on YouTube, so check that out if you're interested.
Arthur has loved his 'Paw Patrol, My Busy Book' which he got for his birthday. He plays with it every day and it's so cute to hear him re-enact rescue missions. I think the only place you can get this now is Ebay which is a bit of a pain.
So that's about it.
I'd love to hear about the things you've enjoyed this month.
Over the last year, we've been doing up our dining room area. We've still got a few bits to do, but I thought I'd show you it now that our gorgeous dining chairs have arrived from Lakeland Furniture. Apart from the skirting boards which still need to be finished, and I also want to make some lined curtains in a heavy tweed fabric, we're almost there. We'll get there.
I really think that these chairs complete our look, which is a mixture of contemporary and a few retro/antique items - lets call it eclectic with a few eccentric bits thrown in.
I love the retro style of these chairs and they particularly appealed to me because they come in a colour other than white and with walnut effect wood stained legs, which match our walnut dining table. There are other options available such as lighter stained legs and various different colour seats, but these one matched our scheme the best.
These chairs came with all of the assembly bits and bobs we needed (including an allen key with each chair) and they were incredibly easy to put together.
I think these chairs are pretty good value too - currently selling for £49.99 a chair. They're also rather comfy and are much more robust that our previous plywood retro style chairs which retailed for a similar price and broke after a few years.
I really think they complete our look.
Here's a close up of some of my favourite items in this area.
I love this colourful stained glass candle holder which my parents brought back from a holiday in Ireland.
Dave bought me this antique typewriter for our 1st Wedding Anniversary - the same model that Ernst Hemingway used. Next to this is our collection of decanters, including one passed down from Dave's Great Aunty and another one bought back from the Waterford crystal shop in Ireland.
As you can probably tell, I'm a huge bibliophile and my books are really precious to me. I love this framed Austen quote typography which a dear friend gave to me.
And if you're looking for some inspiration or want to get our look, here are some ideas for you.
You are not a
failure... do you hear that? No? Then listen again.
You are not a
You are most likely
a great parent who is doing the best for your individual child, with your
individual ways, which are most true to who you are and your own experiences.
The best parents are
true to themselves and follow their instincts.
Recently, I've read
a few posts written by mummies who for some reason
or another feel like a failure. They are not, they really aren't. And
unsurprisingly these thoughts have come after they've been criticised for
something someone else thinks about their parenting.
I know I've felt
like a failure a few times; even earlier this year I was worried that my
friends thought I should have potty trained my oldest already. Perhaps they did
think that, but even so... who cares? As an adult has anyone ever suggested
that you are a better, healthier or a more successful person because of when you
were potty trained, or because your parents sleep trained you or didn’t sleep
train you. NO of course not. The world of parenting is bat shit crazy!!
We've all been on
the receiving end of unexpected and perhaps indirect criticism.
"Oh wow do you
let your children eat/drink those?"
are you not breastfeeding? Are you still breastfeeding?"
"Awww did Daddy
dress you today?"
"I see he has
the ipad again."
really still have a dummy, a comforter, a bottle?"
"HE SLEEPS IN
could never do controlled crying and let a baby be that upset."
"You do realise
don't praise them enough."
Honestly I could go
on and on. We've all had comments said to us; perhaps we've even thought some of
these comments ourselves. I confess that I've thought the first
But, I often think
people just say these things (rather than just think them in their heads) because
they don't have anything else helpful or interesting to say. People are
programmed to have an opinion on everything, but unfortunately for many, that
programming doesn't come with a satisfactory filtering process. People just
don't think about whether they are saying something offensive to someone who is
sensitive or exhausted, or to someone who no matter what, wants to do the best
thing for their children.
I think the time has
come for us to take control of this situation. We need an easy way to
deal with these comments which doesn't require too much thought. So here's my guide on how you can deal with comments that you perceive as parenting put downs.
- SAY TO YOURSELF-
I AM NOT A FAILURE.
THIS PERSON LACKS EMPATHY & TACT. I AM A GREAT PARENT!!!
- RESPOND TO THEM-
There are a number
of options for you to choose here depending on their comment. You just need to put them in your "tip
of the tongue brain bank".
1. Don't say anything. Give them your best, "are you actually serious, you crazy, crazy person" look, whilst slightly shaking your head. And then carry on with what you were doing in a seemingly perfectly happy and calm state.
2. Take a deep breath and say with emotion, "I'm just doing my best". No one wants someone to start crying on them.
3. Say serenely, "every baby is different, it would be a boring world if we all did everything the same".
4. A genuine laugh followed by, "hah you're funny you are" in a non-sarcastic tone.
5. Say with real empathy and concern, "is everything ok with you? You don't seem your usual kind self today".
For me, I find
number 1 works well; it gives off the "don't mess with me today"
response without saying anything. It makes the person realise that what they’ve
said isn't kind or acceptable. And if they then comment negatively on your
reaction, you can say, "I haven't said anything" - putting emphasis
on the "I".
How do you deal with
criticism regarding your parenting. Do you ignore, rise above it or respond?
Back in February, we took our youngest one, Teddy, for a fleeting visit to Brussels to catch up with our friends, Lara and Hugo, and their adorable little one, Sarah.
There's no reason why you can't take a baby into Central Brussels, so that's where we went on our first day.
First stop - Jardin du Petit Sablon - this is is a delightful little garden which is buggy/stroller friendly and surrounded by beautiful architecture. It's worth stopping here to take in the historical significance of these two counts who resisted the Spaniards.
Obviously, as I have two boys, we had to go and see the Manneken Pis which although surprisingly small, for such a petite fellow, he has a huge wardrobe which is apparently changed all the time. Hah I've just read that back - did you think I was going to say 'wardrobe'?
It was nice to see some murals dotted around the city - this Tin Tin one being my favourite of the ones we spotted, given its Belgian origins.
On a practical note... if you want to take a buggy/stroller around central Brussels, I'd recommend one with chunky wheels, rather than a small collapsible. There are lots of cobbles to navigate!
Alternatively, wearing your little one in a carrier would be ideal whilst walking around appreciating some of the impressive historical architecture, such as the Grand Place.
After such a lovely stroll (and naps en route for the babies), we were all getting peckish and so headed toChicago Café- a kiddy/baby friendly eatery in Brussels centre.
And wow... forget worrying about whether your child will be bored, adequately catered for or comfy - this is the perfect family friendly restaurant/ Café. There are ample toys, books and high chairs. A great children's menu and it's buzzing with so many other families that you won't worry if your little one is loud at all.
The next day, we ventured a little further from the centre and went on a perfectly buggy/stroller friendly stroll around the lake at Park De Tervuren, before having a delicious lunch at another family friendly restaurant, Bootkeshuis, which is within the park.
The babies loved their lunch here - and yay the oh so familiar IKEA highchairs were on hand for their little derrières.
On our last day, we head out for a another walk around the grounds of Château De La Hulpe - another stunning location - just watch out as to where you take a stroller/buggy - you may have to double back on yourself to stay on flat ground.
The grounds here are so beautiful though and it is free to enter, so who cares if you can't do a perfect circuit with a stroller hey?
We had a lovely fleeting visit to Brussels and would love to see more in the future.
This post was due to go live last week, but I've delayed posting because of the recent attacks. However, I wouldn't be put off from visiting Brussels because of what has happened - life goes on and all we can do is be vigilant whilst travelling.
As some of you may know, last year we started to make a huge effort to eat cleaner, cut out preservatives, colourings etc; eat less refined sugar and cut down on wheat and gluten.
I believe that this way of eating doesn't have to cost through the roof - you don't have to buy all of those Chia seeds or rainbow Googygooyaya type berries. You can eat normal fruit, veggies and meat. You can make sauces with full fat dairy, garlic, chilli etc.
I thought I'd share with you a weekly Aldi shop which is mostly clean food so you can have a nose at the types of groceries we buy. This shop will probably last 10 days (other than milk and a few basics) as we have some items in the freezer already and have a good cupboard full of rice etc.
This shop cost £61.43 which I think is really good for the amount that I got - there are at least 7 nights of evening meals in here.