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Last week we sat down for one of our first Christmas traditions of the year, writing our letters to Father Christmas. I wanted Mabel to have a go at writing some of it herself this year so I made her a special word mat with photos of some toys that I knew she liked with their names underneath so she could copy them if she wanted to. Greta cut pictures out of the Toys R Us book and stuck them on a piece on paper so that she could do something herself, and I wrote down what they wanted me too as well. We used this printable from ichild.co.uk because I liked that there was a space at the top to write all the good things you have been doing this year. Mabel’s number one toy that she’s after this year is a code-a-pillar, along with any and every accessory that you can think of to go with her baby dolls. Greta is wishing for some Ben and Holly play sets, in particular the Elf Rocket, after developing a bit of an obsession with the Little Kingdom and watching it incessantly on Netflix for about a month now. If Ernie could talk,…

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Ahh the yearly visit to see Father Christmas, one of the most anticipated moments of parenthood. I know I get excited about taking the children every year. I can’t wait to see their faces light up, hear what they chose to say to the big man in red, see their hands clenched tightly around the first little gift of the festive season, it is such an exciting time and to be honest I’m not sure who loves it more, me or them! Marwell Zoo is well known around these parts as being one of the best places to go and see Father Christmas and get the full magical experience, so I was delighted when they kindly invited us down to kick off the festive season with them and experience Christmas at Marwell. In the spirit of squeezing as much magic and excitement out of the situation as possible (and because I only had to keep my mouth shut for a couple of days), we decided to keep the whole trip as a complete surprise for the girls. As well pulled into the car park at Marwell, all Mabel and Greta knew was that we were going somewhere special for the day, so when…

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The one thing I really love about home education is that we can make our own schedule. If we want to spend 6 weeks learning about bugs, we can. If we want to spend a whole day outside running around and exploring, we can. If we want to go to Costa Coffee in the afternoon for a babyccino, we can. If we want to devote two whole days to practising empathy, learning about charity, and dancing around the front room like loons, we can! Of course, home educating our children means that the responsibility to teach them about these things is all ours and ours alone, and that usually means a bit of hard work and some thinking creatively. But it also means that we have the opportunity and the time to really explore the things that interest us and that are important to us. Charity, empathy, kindness and helping others, are all things that are really important to me for our children to be exposed to and involved with. When I was thinking about Children in Need this year (ok it was the day before, advance planning is not my forte), I realised that not being part of a…

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Last weekend on a gorgeously sunny, early November day we headed to Hatchlands Park in Surrey for an afternoon out, or as we like to call it, ‘an adventure’. Now you may think that there’s nothing particularly adventurous about driving to Guildford, parking our car in one of the neat rows, National Trust membership cards in hand, and joining all the other families and couples out on an afternoon stroll around the grounds. And you’d probably be right. I mean we’re not exactly in Bear Grylls territory here are we? I think it’s fair to say that the word adventure is more than slightly over used in our house. ‘It’s adventure time, let’s go to the park!’ ‘Come on guys, it’s a Costa Coffee adventure today!’ ‘Are you ready for the Aldi adventure?’ (Well you’ve gotta stock those cupboards!) Yes, I am one of those annoying people that’s really over enthusiastic about everything that we do. But it’s all about the childhood we want for our children and the way we want them to see the world. Every day is the chance to have an adventure and I try to squeeze every last drop of fun and magic out of…

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I’ve not been a very good blogger recently. This post was supposed to be a look back on October, with some of my favourite pictures from the month but it seems I blinked and we’re now two thirds of the way through November. The truth is I’ve been spending a lot more of my time over on Instagram recently. At the end of a long day with the kids, I just find it easier to sit down, choose a pretty picture, spill my thoughts out into a comment box and press send. It’s nice not to worry about SEO or Pinterest or promoting it on Facebook and Twitter like I might do for a blog post… on Instagram I just type and post. Obviously add a few hashtags but that’s basically it. I like the simplicity. Blogging is a lot more complicated than I anticipated when I first set up my WordPress account nine months ago. When I started Blogging back in February, I loved it straight away. It was a creative outlet, something to primp and preen and make look pretty when my house looked like it had been ransacked by a gang of angry badgers and my face hadn’t seen a drop…

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I love Halloween, well let’s be honest I love any seasonal event that gives me a chance to be festive, but Halloween is in the gorgeous season of Autumn which makes it one of my favourites. So it goes without saying that I’m really happy it’s becoming more of a ‘thing’ in the UK these days. Every year there seems to be more themed goodies in the shops, more decorated houses and more parties and events being held to mark the spookiest day of the year. Add to that the extra children we seem to have acquired, which always makes a celebration all the more fun and Halloween just keeps getting better year after year. This year we celebrated with a surprise spooky movie night, that I managed to convince the girls had been set up by Halloween magic, a spot of festive baking, the customary pumpkin carving and trick or treating, and a ride on the ghost train at Exbury Gardens. I really wanted to find somewhere to go for a nice day out the day before Halloween, somewhere that was making a big effort for the occasion but wasn’t too scary for my little people who aren’t as big and brave as they might seem. It turned out that Exbury was the perfect place for a…

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Last week was one of those weeks when nothing goes to plan. A nothing sort of week. It was a week that started off slow and lazy, we were recovering after a busy week the week before and so we wore our snuggliest clothes and we had soup for lunch and we downloaded the new chipmunks movie (I know… Mabel loves it!) and cuddled on the sofa. But as the week went on, everyone started to come down with colds, Ernie was cutting another tooth, nobody was sleeping well… And to be honest with you, there was no big disaster, nothing was going on that we couldn’t ordinarily deal with, but I was feeling really really hormonal and just lost all my get up and go. And I find that once you have a couple of bad days in a row, it can very easily snowball. It quickly turned into one of those survival mission weeks, the ones where you give up on doing anything productive and you switch focus to just getting through it. Just keep everyone in one piece until Saturday, until the reinforcements arrive (in the form of Daddy). With a baby, a toddler, a 4 year old and a hormonal…

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Autumn is and always has been my favourite season and so far we have been treated to a gorgeously mild, dry and sunny October and I am really enjoying getting outside as much as possible. If there’s something else that I love as much as Autumn it’s a family tradition. I think we all have those simple little things that we always do at certain times of the year. This year we’ve added quite a few more to our list, for example I’m pretty sure we’ll always visit the lavender fields in August from now onwards, and the egg roll on Easter Monday at Butser hill is now a must for every year. I think it’s lovely to keep going back to the same places to do the things again that we’ve enjoyed before and I want our children to look forward to these fun traditions every year. The newest addition to our yearly ‘must do’ list is pumpkin picking! Last weekend we visited Pickwell farm in netley, Hampshire and had a brilliant time choosing the perfect pumpkins to take home with us. Greta was determined to carry her own pumpkin back to the wheelbarrow at the edge of the…

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