Hello my fellow #LittleLoves crew. I’m sorry to have bailed out on you all last week but our entire family was struck down with a horrid sickness bug and i just didn’t have the time or energy to participate in any form of blogging. Even Mr B (who usually works away and has never taken a ‘sick’ day in the 4 years that i’ve known him) succumbed to the bug and spent 2 days in bed. It has not been a pleasant couple of weeks at all but touch wood we all seem to be on the mend.

Anyway, here’s what we’ve been loving this week:

Read

This post on self-compassion in chronic illness by The Chronic Chronicles. As someone who has suffered with CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome, for 14 years now, i can totally relate to everything this post says and stands for. We are our own harshest critics. I loved Emily And Indiana’s gender reveal post and so thrilled to hear that they have a little ??? joining the family. Jess at Along Came Cherry is one of those talented, crafty and creative mamas that i hugely admire but will NEVER ever be. However, she shared some DIY wood projects for the home and garden this week and i really want to give some of them a go.

Heard

Citizens by Alice Russell. It’s from her 2013 album and the theme tune to The Blacklist, which as you know i am addicted to so this song has really grown on me over the last couple of weeks.

Watched

The 2015 Brit Awards. Please please tell me you all saw it too……in particular the part where pop star Madonna fell off the stage during her performance? Oh my goodness, as much as i felt for her, i laughed so hard i almost peed myself. (TMI – sorry!) If you didn’t see it, one of the dancers tried to remove the cape she was wearing and she literally went flying backwards down a set of stairs before landing awkwardly on the floor. What an absolute trooper though for getting straight back up and continuing on with the song!

I’ve also been watching the boys playing together with their farm set. For once they’ve not been fighting.

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Made

Artwork with Riley. He’s obsessed with anything that involves cutting and sticking lately so we took advantage of Harry’s naptime yesterday and created some mini masterpieces with tissue paper and glue. I think i have a Picasso in the making.

artwork

Wore

This gorgeous pair have been donning some seriously cool outfits this week. Harry’s wearing all Beau Loves which is my absolute favourite designer kids brand and i am super excited that their SS15 ‘All Creatures Great And Small’ collection launches this weekend. It features some fun new prints including lovebugs and ants and i have no doubt that i will be bankrupt by this time next week. Haha! Riley’s trousers are also Beau Loves but his jumper is from US brand Kid + Kind who have THE coolest range of kids clothes as well.

siblingsfebruary4 And Lastly…

Spring is so close i can smell it. We’ve had blue skies…sunshine…flowers blooming. I am SO ready for it.

Whatever you beautiful people are up to this weekend, have a good one xxx

  • Louisa - I absolutely adore their outfits. They look so stylish. Sadly for me I have to bride my boys not to wear football tops and black joggers ALL the time ;-) #littlelovesReplyCancel

  • A Cosy Cup of Life - Oh no, sounds like you’ve all been through the mill, glad to hear you’re on the mend. Its so tough being a mum when you’re ill too isn’t it? The pic of the boys playing is so cute. I think that has to be one of the best bits of having two children. Their clothes are adorable too. Hope you all have a great weekend xxReplyCancel

  • Another Bun - Very glad to hear you have come out the other side of that horrible bug. It’s awful when you are all ill at the same time!!

    They boys look fab in their outfits, very cute!ReplyCancel

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry - Ah thank you so much for the mention and lovely words! I’m a huge fan of Alive Russell. Your kids are always dressed in the coolest clothes too! xReplyCancel

  • Mel @mydaysni - A real a wee artist you have there I agree! Because I have two boys of a similar age I always wonder how you keep your house so white! I painted my kitchen white in November and I am already regretting it! Sticky fingers and cars driving on walls, are not good! Beautiful pictures as always of your boys and home!ReplyCancel

  • Anna-Marie - I didn’t catch the Madonna fall till the next morning and both me and the hubs laughed so hard! So funny! although poor Madge! Great round up of #littlelovesReplyCancel

  • Not A Frumpy Mum - Poor Madonna, I did feel sorry for her (once I’d stopped giggling)
    It seems like there’s been lots of sickness bugs around at the minute, I hope everyone is feeling better! xxReplyCancel

  • Jenna Parrington - Fab post!! I love the artwork and that farm set is amazing! (Where is it from?) I also loved Emily’s gender reveal, so exciting!!

    Jen @chicgeekdiary
    #littlelovesReplyCancel

I don’t know about all of you, but i am absolutely ready for Spring.

It feels like Winter has been going on for ages now and i don’t cope well with the colder months at all. The short days, the long nights….it all makes life feel rather miserable after a while doesn’t it? I crave sunshine, warm evenings spent in the garden, cold drinks, bbq’s and the sound of laughter as my boys build sandcastles or splash about in the paddling pool.

I know that February is still technically classified as Winter but the first signs of Spring are definitely appearing. There are fresh green shoots in the garden, baby animals cropping up in fields and i could have sworn i saw the sun shining amongst blue skies this morning.

We’ve been invited to a wedding reception this Spring, the boys included, so i’ve been scouring the internet for outfit inspiration in the hope that it’ll arrive quicker if i will it here. Wishful thinking. We all know how notorious the British weather can be so know doubt my plans will be scuppered, but i’ve picked out some lovely pieces to put a look together for us. I think pastels are always bang on trend for Spring, but i’ve steered away from the traditional pinks, greens, purples and yellows in favour of blue.

Spring Blues
               

The boys always look super cute when they’re dressed the same as daddy so i’ve gone all matchy matchy with these shirt and jeans combos. I love the style and powder blue colour of this Mens Armani Logo Printed Shirt and managed to find a similar mini version for the boys in the form of this Smart Blue Shirt from Next. Mr B doesn’t like to dress too formal and we’ve only been invited to the evening part of the wedding anyway, so i’ve picked out some jeans and pumps to finish off the look. Smart casual is the way forward as far as the 3 of them are concerned.

I found this stunning Blue Foil Print Scuba Column Dress from River Island for me, which is cut to a flattening midi length with cute sleeves and features an intricate foil print to the front. Paired with some Platform Sandals and this statement Gemstone Encrusted Necklace , i think it would make the perfect outfit.

So, what do you think of my Spring looks for a wedding? Are there any fashion trends you love at the moment?

  • Donna - Oh I love the little dude outfit! Love the matching colours too, gorgeous! xReplyCancel

A recent survey conducted by Blinds 2 Go as part of their research into the home life of families across the UK has revealed that 29% of parents find bedtime to be the most stressful part of the day, closely followed by shopping at 26% and travelling at 23%.

I’m quite shocked by this as bedtime has always been a quiet and calm affair in our house. We established a strict bedtime routine with the boys from a young age and although i know there are parents who dislike the idea of routine, personally i think as far as bedtime is concerned a routine is pretty much essential to get most toddlers to wind down after an exciting day.  Obviously i’m no expert but after 3 years of this parenting lark i’ve found that when you follow a set pattern every night, children quickly come to appreciate the consistency and predictability so feel more relaxed. The more relaxed they are, the more likely they’ll go to bed easily and fall asleep quickly.

Here are my top tips for a better bedtime:

top tips for a better bedtime

Set a bed’time’

Set regular times for children to go to bed and stick with them, even on weekends. If you let them go to sleep at whatever time they want, or you let them stay up late regularly, they won’t be able to get used to the schedule because there won’t be one. You can tell that children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed and wake up easily in the morning.

Wind down

Toddlers and young children are busy all of the time, there’s so much for them to learn and see and do that they always want to be in on the action. Long before their head hits the pillow, they will need to start the process of winding down their body and mind. That means no caffeine, sugar, sweets, video games, iPad, running around etc. for at least an hour before bedtime. Instead think gentle play, reading, puzzles or talking to your children about their day. During this time i usually let the boys have a glass of water/milk each and a small snack to help keep their bodies fuelled through the night. Nothing fancy, just healthy options like breadsticks, crackers or a piece of fruit.

Establish a routine

Children love routine, they thrive on it and it works so it’s important to establish a good bedtime routine for babies and toddlers as soon as possible. What you choose to include in the routine is entirely up to you but in general it should include everything your child needs to do before going to sleep. I will usually bath the boys around 6pm, put their pjs on, brush their teeth and then bring them downstairs to watch In The Night Garden on tv. Once that’s finished we cuddle up together in my bed to read a story and sing Twinkle Twinkle, then Harry gets put in his cot and Riley in his bed. Both get goodnight kisses and ‘i love yous’ and that’s it. By 7-7.30pm they’re both usually sound asleep.

Work as a team

Don’t do it alone. Both parents need to discuss and agree on a sleep strategy for their child and work together as a team to implement it consistently and successfully. Work out a game plan together and stick to it otherwise you can’t expect your child to learn or change their behaviour.

Provide the right sleeping environment

Keep the room dark where possible or at least aim for low lighting – my boys don’t have issues with the dark but i do have small nightlights in both of their rooms. If your child needs music to sleep go with soothing lullabies. Although he sleeps fine now, when Riley first came home from his 6 week stay in hospital, he was so used to the hustle, bustle and noise of NICU that the only way i could get him to settle at bedtime was to play him classical music.

Remember that children sleep better in a room that is cool, but not cold. For optimal comfort, i believe a good rule of thumb is to dress your child as you would dress yourself, keeping in mind that younger children often kick off covers during the night. Harry is 18 months and a right wriggler in his sleep so we tend to have him in a sleeping bag most nights at the moment, obviously this wouldn’t be so much of an issue during the warmer Summer months.

Do you have any top tips for bedtime? What do you think is the most stressful part of parenting?

  • Rachael - We’ve been trying to get George into a night time routine (he’s almost 6 months) but a nasty cold has set in and he just wants to be with mummy.

    I completely agree, children need routine, especially at bed time and it’s important for mum and dad to have some time alone together in the evening.

    Rachael xo
    Girl Behind The Blue DoorReplyCancel

‘Siblings’ is a family photography project hosted by the rather lovely Lucy at Dear Beautiful , who, with the help of 6 other talented mamas is challenging us to get a photograph of our children together once a month for the whole of 2015. That would seem like a really easy task but i am actually finding it increasingly difficult to get photos of the boys together. Where Riley will sit still and happily pose for photos, Harry is a live-wire….a firecracker and little ball of energy that is constantly busy and on the go.

However, there was a moment of calm last week where they were both sat playing with their farm set and i managed to snap away without them even realising. True to form there are none of them both looking at the camera but it’s all about the memories right?

siblingsfebruary

I love watching their relationship grow. How they interact with each other and their toys. How they are content and relaxed in eachother’s company.

siblingsfebruary1How Harry always looks to Riley for guidance and leadership. And Riley always looks to Harry for a partner and playmate. How they will always have someone to lean on, someone to count on and someone to tell on.

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How Harry teaches Riley to be patient and understanding. And Riley teaches Harry to be brave and bold. How they teach eachother the ways of life.

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Most of all, i love how the two of them together make my whole world complete. How they make me a better mama, a better girlfriend and a better person. And how they open my eyes to new things and help me to see how wonderful life is every single day.

I know as they get older their paths will lead them in different directions, but i hope that their tight bond will always remain.

dear beautiful
  • Donna - They’re at such a great age, like ours, where at times they can play together and it’s so lovely to watch. Gorgeous photos xReplyCancel

  • Alex Bump to Baby - Aww I love these photos. It’s so sweet seeing them play together like that, it makes me so excited to have two boys myself. xReplyCancel

  • Nicola... Life Through My Eyes - Lovely pictures sweetie. I always love both their outfits!!! xReplyCancel