Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Sophie's 3rd Birthday Party

How quickly the years seem to steam by. Three years seem to have gone by like a flash,but at the sam time I struggle to remember what life was pre-Sophie now.

On Sunday we had a little party for little dot turning three after having quiet family cerebrations on her actual birthday last Friday.

Its been a full on few weeks, moving out of our home and staying with my lovely parents, the builders starting (and all sorts of associated admin!) and Sophie starting school, so we opted for a relaxed garden party to celebrate Sophie’s birthday, which is actually what we did for her first and second birthday too!

This year Sophie was REALLY excited about her birthday and we wanted to make a fuss over her after all the change that she’s gone through recently. She really wanted to wear a party dress and have a cake and balloons. Totally understandable expectations!

Angel and Rocket have the most gorgeous swishable girls dresses and I picked the Beatrice Peplum Waist Dress for Sophie. She loved it and every day pre-party asked whether it was her party day and if she could wear it yet.

As for the cake, my amazing sister (who has three kiddies, is a high flying solicitor in the city and runs marathons - told you she was impressive!) offered to make it. Which arrived still warm from the oven and oozing home made jam. Heaven! To make it look the part I added a personalised cake topper from Other Letters and candle from Talking Tables.

Bless little Sophie didn’t want to blow out her candles, asking me to do it for her, but she seemed to manage to eat her piece of cake without any help from mummy!

We went for a 3-5pm party time so that we didn’t need to give people a ‘meal’ to reduce stress but went all out on the snacks. Crisps, dips, cheese straws, biscuits, fruit, ice-cream cones, proper party food and a decent bar for the grown ups too. (A party isn’t a party if there isn’t prosecco right?!)

My parents garden has hosted the best parties over my lifetime and it looked so beautiful on Sunday. The weather held and we added balloons and decorations from Other Letters and Talking Tables to make it even more special and a summer wreath on the door from Wharfedale Cottage Crafts.

We put all the garden toys out and my sister who lives round the corner brought some of her kids toys too and the children had the most wonderful afternoon playing with old friends and making new ones too whist the grown ups chatted happily. I love all of these shots of the kiddies and hope there are some that there parents print and frame too.

I wanted to make little party bags for the little guests of honour and I had little Meri Meri Shell bags from Other Letters for the girls and more traditional style bags from Talking Tables for the boys filled with wands, toy snakes, bubble blowers and a piece of cake.

The last two birthdays I’ve run around with my camera trying to capture the day, but this year the lovely Pippa from Philly Photography came along and took all these gorgeous pictures. She sent all the images to us that evening for us to remember the gorgeous day we’d had. Until next year...!


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Our family ski holiday to Serre Chevalier

Time flies. Not that I really mind at the beginning of the year as I am no fan of January, or early Feb for that matter, but I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about our gorgeous family ski holiday that we went on BEFORE Christmas, but in the days, weeks and even months have slipped away. But we had SUCH an amazing time, that I knew that I must share our fabulous week away with you all before its all about looking forward to summer holidays.

This is the third ski holiday we’ve taken Sophie on, we’ve been lucky to go away every year since she arrived. The first year we went to a chalet in Val Thorens and last year to a Mark Warner chalet hotel in Tignes - I've written about both, so have a look at the links if your interested!
We tend to go on Ski holidays with my husbands side of the family and then in the summer go away with mine as my parents don’t ski. I love holidaying as a big group, skiing is the perfect holiday to go on with friends and family as then there is always a range of abilities and someone who wants to miss out the black run and stop for a Cafe au lait!

This year one of my lovely brother-in-laws booked our trip to the slopes for us to stay at Chez Bear in Serre Chevalier. We’ve generally always visited the Three Valleys ski resorts and was a little apprehensive that the skiing wouldn’t be as good or varied. However, we were in for a real treat! Not only were the conditions perfect, there were beautiful tree runs and we pretty much had them all to our selves. 
I feel like I am spilling a big french secret here - no long queues for ski lifts and if you had to share a slope with anyone other than your party, it was unusual. Mind blown. That said, the apres isn’t that of Val Thorens with quiet piste side cafes and restaurants with french-only-speaking staff rather than champagne being sprayed and dancing on tables found at La Folie Douche. Serre Chavalier might have been a bit 'quiet' for us when we were in our twenties... but it was the perfect resort for us, and as a family group of eight, we provided our own entertainment.

The weather was pretty chilly when we were in Serre Chevalier, so we were so grateful to the lovely team at Helly Hansen for kitting us out to keep us super snug and stylish on the slopes! I've linked all our ski wear at the bottom of this post if you are on the hunt for some new ski-wear! This year we also upgraded our goggles to SunGod - which as well as looking great have really easy interchangeable lenses for different light conditions.

After we had our fill of the slopes (normally we are 1st to last lift people - but with no queuing and a few injuries and illness in our arty, we tended to retire around 3pm!) we headed home to our luxury chalet, Chez Bear.

This independent Chalet was the dream. The hosts were so thoughtful, nothing was too much effort and the food was to die for! Chef Josie even made little Sophie a pie with an S on the top for her and every evening asked what she could make for her, as well as being in contact in advance of our stay to prepare for our fussy eater!

We chilled out and played with Sophie in the chalet’s garden, hot tub, games room and gorgeous lounge with an open fire for the remainder of the afternoon and early evening before we put Sophie to bed and then enjoyed the evening five course hospitality. Although I don’ think I ever had room to enjoy the cheese course... maybe this was due to eating too much afternoon tea when we returned to the chalet…!

As Sophie is still too little to ski, she stayed with the Chalet’s Nanny who I had also been in contact with before our stay and she organised loads of fun activities to keep Sophie happily occupied whilst we hit the white stuff.

Mine and Sophie's Girl Gang Jumpers are from Bows and Bowties

Last year I did say I’d rather not go away the week before Christmas, as it does add to the pre-christmas stress having to make sure venting was ready before we went away and I did miss the ‘Christmas Build up’ so NEXT year I really am going to not go that week... but I could totally be tempted with a little trip back to Chez Bear...

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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Potty Training - The Verdict

This post was written in collaboration with Huggies® Pull-Ups®

Back in November we were about to embark on potty training. This was to be our third attempt.
Everyone had told me that potty training in the summer would be much easier, that Sophie could run about in the garden with a dress and no nappy and it would mean accidents would be easy to clean up. This teamed with the prospect of moving house in the autumn spurred me on to give it a try back in August. The first day went reasonably well, but the following day Sophie got a tummy bug and the nappies went back on sharpish.
We then waited until after we moved house as we didn’t want her to be unsettled, but Sophie just got really upset and begged to have her nappy back on, so we didn’t push it.

Soon after, HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® approached us to ask if we would be their ambassadors for Potty Training to share our experiences, using the 6 Steps to Potty Success guide and HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® potty training pants. With no pressure for it to be a success I was keen to get involved.

In my previous post I outlined the steps we went through (which you can read here) leading us to Step 3 which was to practice. 
Although we followed the steps, saying goodbye to the nappies, again the next morning Sophie wanted to have one back on so we delayed another week or so, until one morning she told me didn’t want her nappy on. I let her guide the process.

I told her that she could have some chocolate buttons if she managed to do a wee in the toilet or potty, which she was really excited about, for many reasons, a) we don’t give her that much chocolate and b) it was 8am! But I thought that this was a big thing to celebrate so normal treat rules could be relaxed.

She was ecstatic when she did her first wee and really enjoyed her celebratory buttons. I kept making such a big deal about how clever and grown up she was and she kept wanting to do more wees in the toilet to get the rewards no doubt!
As I hadn’t planned to start potty training that morning as we had a lunch date with a friend and I didn’t feel confident taking her out in just pants, but didn’t want to revert back to nappies. This is where the HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® were perfect. I told her that they were her ‘big girl pants’ and that she needed to try not to wee in them, using the toilet or potty instead.
HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® have a special learning layer which briefly gives the sensation of wetness (the ‘I feel’) without the mess and there is a wetness indicator, which visually signals wet so both Sophie and I can check to see if she has stayed dry (the ‘I see’). So we could go out to lunch both feeling confident that there wouldn’t be any messes but I knew she’d still be learning and developing her independence.
Sophie felt happy and independent using normal pants at home – where it didn’t matter if she made a puddle – and HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® when out and about. After a few days she was doing so well and having hardly any accidents that we moved on to using big girl pants all the time. We carry a travel potty with us, so if she needs to go, she can at a moment’s notice. Also I was given the tip of dressing her in leggings as they ‘catch’ any wetness and are much quicker to dry after washing then thicker materials. We tend to carry a couple of spare pairs along with pants in my bag - but touch wood, Sophie has had so few accidents. 
We’ve also been using the HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® night-time pants for consistency which are super absorbent and don’t give the wet sensation, so she can be comfortable when she is sleeping. Sophie isn’t dry at night yet, and isn’t as confident doing number twos in the potty or toilet, but we are getting there. 

So zero days spent at home doing ‘potty training’ which was stressing me out before we started, the whole process was actually very chilled. I was so worried that it was going to be a massive ordeal and it has been totally fine.

If you are about to embark on potty training, I would say - don’t stress and if it doesn’t seem to be working, leave it a few weeks, don’t keep trying if it is getting your little one upset or stressed. Wait until you’re ready - Step 1 of the 6 Steps to Potty Training Success journey! 

If you want to find out more, visit HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® website: 
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