Sunday, 31 May 2015

My Sunday Photo: The Harbour


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Pots, coiled ropes, orange, blue 
Laid, at the harbor side, waiting 
Waiting, for the tide, 
An old fishing net, laid on the concrete, 
A weathered sunburnt fisherman, 
Sitting quietly repairing holes within holes
Birds perching patiently on the harbor wall, 
Waiting 
In the distance the sun dips towards the horizon
Casting a light over a returning trawler
The birds lift lethargically from 
Harbour perch, beat their wings , wheel 
Towards an incoming meal ticket


Poem by Nick Strong

OneDad3Girls
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Monday, 25 May 2015

Living Arrows 21/52: Best Friends


This week for Living Arrows I wanted to share this photo from our walk through the woods. Over the weekend the boys left for their dads in Lincolnshire where they will be away from me for the entire half term. It is a sad time for me saying goodbye to my two little buddies. The house is far too quiet but I know they are having a fantastic time. Unfortunately, with all the running around we did in preparation for their holiday, I forgot to take photos for the weekly portrait project. So, as I have so many pictures from last weekend, I thought I would share this photo which shows how close the boys are becoming. They are best friends and really dislike being apart. As we were walking through the woods, Alfie had a little fall and hurt his foot on a rock. Thomas immediately helped him up and held his hand to help him get along the path, out of the woods. 
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Living Arrows
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Sunday, 24 May 2015

My sunday photo

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Cawsand, Cornwall
OneDad3Girls
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Saturday, 23 May 2015

How to get uncooperative children to pose for photos

Yesterday I posted 'How to get children into photography' and so far I have been overwhelmed with the amazing comments I have received, but there was one from San who blogs over at 2 little faces who caught my attention. She wanted to know how to get children to pose as her little one tends to avoid the camera. As a fellow blogger, I feel the pressure to post quality photos of my children when I am writing about them. I am sure we are not the only ones who have days when the children run away whenever the camera comes out. We take time to plan our blog posts and the photos to accompany them, and we get excited about being able to show our ideas to our readers. However, on the day you want to take your photos when the weather is perfect, the location picturesque, and the children are looking smart, the unimaginable happens, your children just don't want to play. They are more interested in rolling down hills, getting their smart clothes and groomed hair completely filthy. Or perhaps they would rather hide underneath the dining table if you are taking indoor shots. Whatever the case may be, I have eventually learned to just relax and go with the flow. Here are a few of my methods I use to get my children to pose nicely for photos: 


☆ Put down the camera

Sounds strange when we are talking about taking photos but seriously put it to one side. If you are inside or outside, try having fun for a few minutes. Run around and play with the children, then once everyone is relaxed and into the activity, pick up the camera and snap away. 

☆ Engage with them

If you feel like they are bored and uninterested in posing for your photo, sit and engage with them while snapping away. Tell a joke to get that perfect smile, talk to them to improve their expression, and ask them any random questions to get more genuine photos rather than posey shots. Below I told Alfie a secret and told him to whisper it into his brothers ear. I just love Thomas' cheeky expression after hearing the joke Alfie told him.


☆Stay calm 

The more frustrated you get, the less likely your children are going to want to pose nicely for you. Children are going to be silly, they are energetic little things and of course they are not going to want to stay in one place for too long. You have to expect this so just breathe, be patient and smile. 

☆Posing is Overrated

When it comes to photographing children, I feel the best photos are those when you catch them unaware. Forcing your child to pose a certain way can sometimes create flattering images but trying to direct them can prove impossible. 


Above is a photo I took where I asked the children to stand nicely next to the red telephone boxes. This was one of the best shots I could get, they just wanted to mess about. I gave up and realised that when you try to get kids to pose, they just look stiff, uncomfortable and awkward. They just hate having their fun delayed to stand for a photo. 

☆Bribe

I know that many people will disagree with this method and I try not to bribe my children into cooperating with me, but from time to time it has been a useful tool when I am really desperate. It's kind of like a payment for their hard work. I will promise to buy them an ice-cream if we are on days out or will allow them to stay up for an extra fifteen minutes before bedtime. 

☆Ask them to play copycat

This is perfect for those children who are able to understand what you're asking. Strike a simple pose, then ask your child if they can do the same thing. Try a few funny poses first to make them think they are playing a really fun game. Then move on to other poses, asking them again if they can copy you. As long as you keep telling them what an amazing copycat they are, they should continue to copy you until you get your perfect shot. 


The above photo took fifteen minutes to get right. I had to eventually play the copycat game by laying on the grass to show them how I wanted them to pose. 

☆Be prepared to change your plans

If you had a plan of how you wanted your photos to look but it turns out you just not going to be able to achieve the right image, try something different. Do not get stressed over it. For example, I had planned a mothers day blog post so wanted the children to pose with a bunch of flowers against a white wall. However, when I passed them the huge bunch, they complained that they disliked flowers and refused to hold them. It was frustrating because I knew they were just being awkward, they pick wild flowers all the time. So instead of getting angry, I decided to take a break for an hour to think about something fun we could do instead. 


We decided to take photos with the cards the children made for me instead which they were very proud to show off. 

☆Let them do their thing

The last tip I want to share is to simply photograph them doing everyday things such as painting, watching Tv, playing with their toys or sleeping. Try shooting a photo without them staring into the camera while shouting 'cheese'. I love the natural shots the best where you can tell the children are unaware of the camera. They show the beauty of childhood and capture the most perfect expressions on their faces. 



I hope these tips were helpful if you have been struggling lately to get your children to cooperate for photos. What are your favourite tricks to get the perfect shot?


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Friday, 22 May 2015

How to get children into photography

To tie in with my link up Through My Child's Eyes, I wanted to share some tips on how to get children interested in photography and how to make it fun and interesting for them. 

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Photography can be a fun activity to do together as a family. For me, teaching the boys how to use a camera can be so much fun but can also at times be extremely stressful. I think the boys first started wanting their own camera when I first started blogging which meant I had to start taking pictures of literally every moment of our lives. Children love to mimic their parents and will pick up your interests and hobbies so it was obvious that they were going to want to try photography too. If you too have children that are starting to show an interest in photography then I have written a few tips below on how you can really get them excited about taking pictures. 

☆Allow them to have their own camera

The best way, that I have found, to get children excited about photography is to buy them a cheap, basic camera that they can call their own. I wouldn't recommend handing over your posh, beloved camera as it may have a short life expectancy in the hands of a young child especially, if like my children, they are prone to trip over their own feet while out walking on pavements. There are a number of amazing children's cameras on the market that have bumpers round the outside. As they get older and more responsible, you may feel they are ready for an upgrade. My eight year old has use of my old fujifilm  finepix pictured above which he tends to use for snapping away at his lego and his family. He is very responsible with the camera and he is definitely showing an understanding of the valve of certain things, which makes me more comfortable to allow him to take the camera on our days out.  Having their very own camera to hand will make such a huge difference in increasing their interest in photography. 

☆Start with the basics

A fun thing to do before they start using their camera, is to teach them about the joys of picture taking. Cut a rectangular "view finder" out of a cereal box and let the children run around framing the landscape until you feel they are ready to start taking some real photographs.
Once your child has their own camera to use, you will need to teach them the basics. Start off simple, if you rush and go crazy trying to teach them all the photography technical speak, like describing shutter speeds for example, they will be in danger of losing interest. 

☆Have Fun

When your child becomes more comfortable with their camera, start planning some fun outings or projects. It can be something as simple as taking photos of fascinating objects they have found or a walk around the local park. Or it can be as structured as a scavenger hunt with a list of objects to shoot. Don't make it feel like homework, make photography an enjoyable activity that everyone can get involved in. You can even make photography a game by asking your child if they want to go and see how many animals they can capture. The person (I let my children win) with the most beautiful animal gets to display their favourite photo on the fridge or placed into a frame. 

☆Show and Tell

My children really love it when I upload their photos to my laptop so they can show me what they have captured. I  have started to show them some simple edits to improve their photos and what filters to use to make your photos really stand out. To make it fun, I will use filters that will over exaggerate the effect, such as using space themes, night vision or the darkest black and white. They will shout at me to change it, kick me off the computer, and sit for ages picking the filters that they love. This is my method to teach them that photography isn't just point and shoot, there is so much more you can do to make the perfect picture. They have learnt so much from me letting them having free rain on the photo editing apps, they definitely enjoy it more if I'm not shouting over their shoulders, telling them what to do. 


If photography is your passion, it will probably become your children's too. You will know when it is time to teach your child how to use a camera and what level of prodding they can take before they lose interest in the camera you so kindly brought for them. I hope the above ideas help you to spark their interest and that you can have lots of fun, sharing your passion with your children. 

Remember if your child does love photography, I am hosting a link up called Through My Child's Eyes where you can show off your child's recent captures. 

Gem 
Mums' Days
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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Through My Child's Eyes #10

Hello and welcome back to Through my child's eyes, the link up for mini photographers and artists. I am very sorry that I took such a long break from hosting this link up but I have decided to bring it back and give it another shot. 
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This week, I wanted to show you two photos Thomas took while out walking along the waterfront in Plymouth. It was a miserable day with wind, fog, and heavy rain. However, we made the most of it and quite enjoyed our walk after eating a massive lunch in the cafe. Thomas wanted to steal my camera when we got to these benches and asked Alfie to say 'cheese'. Alfie decided it would be funny to pull his creepy face to annoy Tom which worked, he stormed over to the pigeons and took their photo instead. Quite funny to watch really. 


The Linky 

  • Please add my badge to your posts 
  • Link up your children's artwork or photos, with or without words is fine
  • It will run from Thursday 12am till Saturday
  • Can be old or new and as many as you like
  • When you add your link, please make sure they lead to your posts and not your blog's homepage. It may be difficult for me to find. 
  • Share your link up on twitter using #throughmychildeyes and tag me @gemma_stevens so I know to retweet and comment on your post. 
  • Try and comment on other posts in the link up. 
  • Feel free to link your Instagram photos too
  • Enjoy working together

I look forward to seeing the photos and artwork your children have created recently. Please help me make #throughmychildseyes a success by sharing the link up across your social media and by adding my badge to your posts.

Through my child's eyes




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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Five Simple Things To Do When You Wake Up Feeling Down

I often feel like crap. Being a single mother, a working mother, and someone who tries to also call herself a blogger is tough. I am exhausted all the time and no amount of caffeine can fix that but below are a few things I like to do when I am having a bad day. They are simple things that can make a huge difference to my mood and I thought I would share them with you.

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Image: Tumblr


1. Freshen up

Have a really hot, long shower or bath. Use your best soaps, bath bombs and shampoos while surrounding your self with candle light. Try to make your bathroom as relaxing as possible and just sit there in peace for a while. Or sometimes I like to listen to my favourite albums and have a sing song, just to lift my spirits slightly. When you are done, hopefully you will feel refreshed and ready to move on from the sadness that you were feeling. 


2. Take a walk or run outside

Sometimes, getting a bit of fresh air can be the best thing to bring you out of your bad mood and to clear your mind. Try a solo walk or run to the local park, it really helps to make you feel amazing with all those endorphins whizzing around your body. 


3. Make Time for things that make you feel good

Firstly I would put on your favourite outfit, that one that makes you feel amazing, slim, and always gets you compliments. Style your hair and put on your best makeup even if you are not going anywhere, it really perks you up and may encourage you to get out and about to have some fun. During the day, make time for your favourite activity such as listening to your favourite album, crafting, reading, jogging or put on your favourite Tv programme/movie. The act of doing something you love can help to distract you away from all the things that have made you feel rubbish that day.

4. Clean

I hate cleaning but I love that feeling I get when I have finished and the house looks amazing. I  also strangely love the smell of polish and bleach so it definitely cheers me up when the house is clean. My mind is less clouded and I can finally concentrate on doing something I enjoy like a sipping a glass of wine while watching Netflix.

5. Be Alone

If you're not already, you should consider becoming your own best friend. Life is easier if you learn to enjoy your own company in my opinion. I have always loved having some alone time just to relax, be able to think and enjoy an activity that maybe my friends and family do not enjoy. I often take myself out on a date to the theatre, a coffee shop or just a quick shopping trip. Its nice not to have to worry about the other person not enjoying themselves and being able to do what I want to do. 


If these simple tips do not work for you, it's ok to have an off day, we all have them. Just remember there is always tomorrow and do not be afraid to ask your loved ones for a hug.

Gem



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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Our Day Out At The Plymouth Pirate Weekend

On Saturday we decided to head to Plymouth's annual pirate weekend which was located along Sutton harbour. The boys saw this as the perfect opportunity to dress up which is their most favourite thing to do as you may know if you have been following our previous posts. 
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When we arrived, we were overwhelmed with the amount of people who showed up to the event. There was so many families dressed up in their pirate gear and everyone was in good spirits, probably because we were blessed with gorgeous weather, a rarity when there is an event on. Looking at the photos I took, I feel quite disappointed in myself that I didn't snap at all the amazing things that were set up along the harbour and the amazing costumes people were wearing. I only took photos of the children so I am sorry about that. 

captain, jack, sparrow, cosplay, jonty, depp, dress up, fancy dress, pirate, weekend, plymouth, sutton harbour, blogger,

The first amazing photo I was so happy to get was a photo with the local cosplay star, Jonty Depp. As you can see above, he is a spitting image of Jack Sparrow. It was quite the achievement for me to get this photo because he was so popular amongst the crowd. Everywhere he went he had quite the following of people begging for a photo with him. He was amazing though as he was so good with the children, especially mine who needed a little nudge to go and stand with him. 

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After hanging out with Jonty, we had to rush off to my surprise for the children. I had booked them on to the Pirate adventure cruise with Plymouth Boat Trips. These photos show how excited they were.

plymouth, pirate, weekend,

On the boat, they had decorated the deck with pirate flags, skeletons and the crew were all dressed up in their pirate costumes. We were handed treasure maps and a quiz sheet for the journey out to sea. Our task was to search the boat for clues to find where the treasure is hidden. The clues were all in the bar area and the children had to take the first letter of each answer which would eventually spell out the location of the treasure on the map. 

plymouth boat cruises, pirate, weekend, day, fun, brothers,

We didn't get all the letters correct but we could figure out that the answer was The sea fort which is pictured below. The boat stopped just outside and a member of the crew came out to hand everyone a gold coin from their find which we could exchange for a free drink at the bar. The children decided they would rather keep the coin as we had a drink in our bag even though I think they lost it eventually as we left the boat. 

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After the fun and games we set sail for a cruise around the Plymouth sound which follows the Cornish and Devon coast line. We spotted many other sail boats out in the water and searched for our families houses as we past the village of Cawsand. 

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Although the Pirate adventure cruise was so much fun, we were very glad to step off the boat. It was freezing and the waves were quite choppy as we headed back to Plymouth. I definitely recommend taking a trip out with Plymouth boat cruises though. The views are amazing. 

Our next stop was to start getting some of the various competitions entered around the harbour. One was to take a selfie with Philip the prawn which was quite difficult to find. After asking the tourist centre, we eventually found him near one of the antique shops. We tried our best but unfortunately we didn't win this one which we are pretty gutted about. The prize was to win three tickets to be zoo keepers for the day at Dartmoor Zoo. Thomas and I have always said we will be zoo keepers one day so we would have loved to win. Next year we will try harder. 

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The other competition which we failed at was the fancy dress competition. We were slightly overwhelmed with the amount of people crowded in one spot trying to get their outfits judged, but with me having anxiety, I just couldn't cope with the pushing and shoving. There were some amazing costumes there and I definitely think the best family won, especially as they had brought their pet cat along too and dressed him up as a pirate.  

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Overall, the Pirates day was amazing and we had so much fun. The children wanted to return for the second day on Sunday but in the morning we were just too tired from all the walking about we did. We are so excited for next year and I think I may even dress up with the children. 


Gem 

Linking up to Point and Shoot with Snowing Indoors and You Baby Me Mummy


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Monday, 18 May 2015

Living Arrows 20/52

This week I wanted to post just one photo of my boys for Living Arrows. This weekend has been extremely busy and I have taken so many photos from our adventures which I will add to a separate post but I really wanted save this one below for the weekly portrait project with Shutterflies. Thomas rarely allows his brother to push him on the swing so I really wanted to capture the moment and I love how the photo turned out (I am sorry if you have a thing about feet). 

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Living Arrows
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Sunday, 17 May 2015

My Sunday Photo: Pirates


On Saturday it was the start of the annual pirates weekend in Plymouth. The boys dressed up as pirates and were so excited to meet their most favourite Pirate of all time, Captain Jack Sparrow aka Plymouth's Jonty Depp. 

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Friday, 15 May 2015

Five things that have made me happy this week


Its Friday evening and I am sat at my laptop after a rather eventful day. Lots of things went wrong today from messing up an order at work, tripping down the stairs, leaving my card in the machine in Wilkinson's and finally braking my finger in Sainsbury's after stopping my youngest son from falling into the wine bottles. I gave my last five pound note to a charity collector for the Nepal earth quake to try and earn back some good karma/luck but no I got home to a find a leaky washing machine. I decided to remain positive and to cheer myself up I want to write down five things that make me happy.   I am even thinking of making this a weekly feature to keep my mind positive. What do you think? 

source

My children

They can be really hard work sometimes but they are my best friends. They make me laugh, they make me so proud each day and they are extremely caring/loving. I feel so blessed right now to have such amazing children in my life. This week I have been extra proud as Alfie is excelling at school with two certificates for good work and reading. Thomas sang at a public concert in Plymouth which is a massive achievement for him as he has never been one to stand on a stage. Also they have been making me smile this week by finally doing as they are told by making their beds each morning and placing their breakfast dishes in the sink. 

My house

I have finally managed to get round to doing a massive spring clean and a spot of DIY around my house. The clutter was giving me anxiety and so I really needed to clear out all the junk we no longer needed. I have started to take more pride in our tiny but cosy home and even treated myself to a couple of new home ware accessories to brighten the place up a little bit. Our house is now looking clean, spacious and relaxing. I am so proud of myself for everything I have achieved this week. 

Cooking with the children

Thomas recently started cooking club at school and as he loves it so much, I decided this week to get the boys involved with cooking our evening meal. Our favourite and the most simple recipe has been homemade pizzas. The boys get to choose their own toppings and they have that sense of achievement that they made something so yummy. Cooking together has brought us closer together and we have been laughing, sharing, and I definitely hope it is creating some nice memories for the children. 

Exercise

I have finally given myself a kick up the back side and restarted my Insanity workouts. I was really down about the amount of weight I had started to put on and no longer being able to fit into my favourite tea dress. It was time I stopped saying 'I'll do it tomorrow' and start getting fit for the summer. Losing weight was not the only reason I started, I wanted to workout to try and kick this low motivation I have been feeling towards life and this blog. Even though the Insanity workouts are extremely tough and have made walking up stairs impossible, I have definitely noticed a change in my mood. I have finally started feeling more positive, confident and ready to start achieving my next  set of goals. 

Photography

I know my pictures are not high quality or professional but that doesn't matter to me. I absolutely love collecting our memories and sharing them with you guys. My dad very kindly brought me a new, better quality camera and a very informative book about photography so I have been having lots of fun this week testing it out, learning about exposure, macros and shutter speeds. Focusing on this new hobby has really made me focus my mind away from the negatives in my life. 


Those are my five things that make me happy this week. I really love this new me. I no longer want to live in that cloud of negativity anymore. What things have made you happy this week?


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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

How to get the children to bed without stress


Being a single parent, the time between picking the children up from school and bedtime is extremely busy for me. I have after school clubs, dinner to cook and clean up after, books to read, tooth brushing, baths and two hyperactive boys to calm down. I often get over tired and wish for just a little bit of space and silence so if I can get the boys to go to bed when they are supposed to, it is a massive bonus for me. 

The boys still share a room so all they want to do is play and chat when they are supposed to be sleeping. Most nights they behave without any issues, but it took a lot of effort to get them to go to bed without stress. And of course, there are still those nights that don't go so perfectly. 

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Here are some of my methods which help to create a stress free bedtime:

Create a schedule that works for you

I have always kept a routine since the children were babies but since they have started school, karate, and myself returning to work, I have had to make some changes. So to make things work for us, the children will complete their homework as soon as they get home from school, I tend to cook dinner at the same time each night, followed by sending the children to bed half an hour before bedtime for teeth brushing, washing and story time. Our bedtime routine could change occasionally but I try and keep it the same every night. I expect them to stay in bed quietly and allow them to read alone with a book for an extra ten minutes. If they misbehave, then this reading privilege will be taken away the next night. I really believe in creating consequences for kids and following through with them each time, it definitely works. Our routine won't work for everyone, but the trick is to find a routine that works for you and your circumstances. Everyone has their own lifestyles so experiment and tweak your routine to create a calm evening for all of you.

One on one time

I know some family lifestyles can be too hectic to fit in a bit of one on one time at bedtime, but over the years, especially now my boys are older, it is worth the effort. The children appreciate when I sit at the end of their beds for a ten minute chat about random things or to make up epic stories together. They also love when I just simply stroke their heads while they think of things they are going to dream about that night. These little moments pay off by creating calmer, more content children who will find it easier to wind down and go to sleep. Lately, before bed, we really enjoy discussing what we would like to dream about that night which really makes the children excited to fall asleep.

Teach them the importance of sleep

Lately I have been working on teaching my children that sleep and bedtime are good things and not something to fear. Bedtime should be an enjoyable time, a chance to get lost in a book, a chance to dream, and to enjoy your own company. Going to sleep is not a punishment but a great way to recharge your body. The average child has a very busy day. There's school, running around with friends/siblings, going to clubs, and doing your homework. By the end of the day, your body needs a break. Sleep allows your body to rest for the next day. I regularly tell the children that sleep gives you strength and so staying awake all night will make you too weak to be able to have play time at school the next day. I also explain that even super heroes need sleep.


Leave the door open

As my boys share a room, I found that when I left the door closed, they tended to see this as an opportunity to get out of bed to play. If I left the door open, they knew that I could see and hear them so would remain in bed. There is also the benefit of them not sleeping in the dark, causing them to be less anxious. Leaving the door open lets in a little bit of light and also they can hear that I am in the next room, providing reassurance that they are not completely alone. 

Play Music or stories 

A fellow mum once told me that if the children are constantly coming down the stairs, complaining that they can't sleep, try putting on an audio book or some calming music for them to fall asleep to. Creating a cosy ambiance in their room along with some relaxing entertainment for them to concentrate on really works and sometimes I end up falling asleep with them. 


What are your tips for getting children to stay in bed? 


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Monday, 11 May 2015

19/52 Happy Birthday Alfie


This past week has been so hectic with last weekend being my 30th birthday and Alfie celebrating his 8th birthday the weekend after. It has felt like we haven't had a moment to relax but it has been so much fun and both of us were very spoilt by our amazing family.

Yesterday, we gave Alfie the choice of where he would like to go for his special birthday dinner. He picked his favourite restaurant, Pizza Hut. 




I feel like he only chose Pizza hut for the Ice cream factory


Thomas still cannot leave the house without wearing a superhero costume


An after dinner treat in the arcades 


Living Arrows
You Baby Me Mummy
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Sunday, 10 May 2015

A letter to my son on his 8th Birthday



To my darling Alfie, 

Please can I ask you a huge favour? Please stop growing up so fast! Please remain as innocent, sweet and full of laughter as you are right now. 

I can't believe I have known you for eight whole years now, time is going so quickly. I love you more and more each morning and each evening as I put you to bed. You and your brother are my world. I don't have a perfect memory, but I remember vividly the moment you entered the world. It was traumatic for the both of us but we were strong and survived our ordeal. I was sad that I wasn't the first person to hold you and it took two hours before I could finally get to hold you in my arms. You stared at me with those beautiful, memorising blue eyes of yours which immediately made my heart melt. It was instant love. 


I have noticed you growing up a little more lately...you have stopped giving me cuddles and kisses at the school gates when we say our goodbyes especially when your friends are around. You are no longer the little boy attached to his mummy's hand at all times. It makes me sad but I knew it would happen eventually. And although you still love to cuddle up to me in the evening while we read a book together, I can see my baby slipping away by the day, being replaced by a boy with his own mind and desire to be independent. It is my job to ensure you grow up to be a respectable gentleman, but I will always miss the little you. 



As you enter your 9th year, these are my reminders for you:

  • You and your little brother will always be my number one priority. I will always be here for you, will always support you no matter what you become and will always be here to pick you up when you need me. 
  • As you get older, the temptation to play more than completing your school work will be strong. I know you find school boring but learning, and achieving your grades are extremely important. If you don't go to school then you will not be able to achieve your dreams of becoming a master builder for Lego. 
  • Please don't let losing effect you. I wish I could tell you that you will never suffer from failure, bad luck and hard times. Always take failure as a learning exercise and simply pick yourself up and try again. You will not always win at football, beat your brother at running up the giant hill we live by or impress your teachers at school. 
  • If you want respect then you have to earn it. Respect all adults you come across in life. You may hate being bossed around but we are here to teach you, guide you and to help you grow into a strong adult. Also respect other children especially your friends. Friends are valuable so please do not take them for granted. Lastly respect yourself. Always believe you are smart, handsome, valuable, and can be anything you want to be. 
  • Always take responsibly for your actions. If you do something wrong, admit your mistake and try to solve any problems caused. If you need to apologise, do it immediately as it will gain you so much respect. Learn from your mistakes and move forward a better little man. 
  • Be a gentleman. I know you already are but keep trying to do at least one good deed each day. Hold open a door for someone, offer help to those who seem to be struggling, say hello to someone who looks lonely, offer support to someone who may be having a bad day, or just simply help your brother with his reading. A small act of kindness may make someones day turn from bad to worse, you can really effect someones life by one small act. 

Alfie, you are growing into an extraordinary, intelligent young man. I couldn't be more proud of who you are and what you are becoming. My heart melts when you surprise me with the amount of love you have inside you even if you don't want to show it in front of your friends any more. That's ok, I need to allow you your space to grow. You and your brother Thomas are my greatest achievements in life and I am so proud to call you my boys. 




Happy Birthday Alfie

I Love you so much
Mummy x



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Monday, 4 May 2015

18/52 Green man festival

On Sunday we headed to the local country estate, Mount Edgcumbe. I realise that I am blogging a lot about this park lately but we love it here and just can't keep away. We had a very good reason to visit again on Sunday though. It was the day of Mount Edgcumbe's annual Green man festival which celebrates the birth of the new year. There was displays which take a look back at how land management has progressed over the last 500 years as well as the history of the estate. The festival was set around a huge central figure of a green man who is the spirit of fertility and renewal. His face can be found all around the garden, especially in the walls. 

green man, festival, mount edgcumbe, plymouth, cornwall, flowers, spring, face, park, estate,
cornwall, spring, festival, rebirth, green man, mount edgcumbe, fun, plymouth, garden, trees, structure, statue,

Despite the heavy rain, the boys and their cousins had fun running around the gardens. We watched a battle of knights, cheered on the archers, stroked a shire horse and chased each other through the colourful flags (seen above). There was so much more to do there but unfortunately, as we had a baby with us, we couldn't stay for long due the weather. 

Linking up to Shutterflies, Living Arrows 18/52



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