Living Arrows 48/52 (2016)

Hi. Did you miss me? The eagle eyed among you may have noticed I’ve not posted since last week. Do you know what though? I’m bored of writing this myself so you must definitely be bored of reading it – we’ve all been ill again; stomach bug and colds this time. Far too many bodily fluids to deal with…

So anyway, here’s some pictures of the boys.

Toby making gingerbread

Before the illness struck last week Toby and I made some gingerbread. They were yummy, if a little puffy because I halved the recipe but forgot to halve the baking powder!

And this is Gabe’s big fluffy bum, just because…

Gabe's big cloth nappy bum

Living Arrows

Remembering Childhood // Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine


It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week it’s Samantha from Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine.

Which decade were you born in?

The 1980’s (1985 to be precise)! I am now in my 32nd year – scary stuff!

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

This is a tricky one – a lot of the memories I have I think I have because I have seen photos or home video that have triggered something. I would probably say that my earliest memory is of my auntie and uncle’s wedding. I was 2 (nearly 3), and a (very serious) bridesmaid/flower girl. I have watched the wedding video thousands of times so it may be that that has triggered the memories, but I do feel I remember the day in significant detail (more detail than shown on the video). I forgot to throw my confetti, I didn’t smile, my baby sister had to be taken out of the church, the line-up took FOREVER and I got so fed up of being kissed! It is still my favourite video to this day!

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

I don’t think I can actually remember. At 7 years old I got a doll (the boy version of “Tiny Tears” that I named Timmy) and that doll was my favourite thing in the world for many years (so much so that I have little recollection of any others). At 5 years old it was probably Cindy (no Barbie’s allowed in our house) or a My Little Pony?

At 10 years old it was still Timmy, but Winnie the Pooh had also joined the gang (see below).

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

I still have Timmy somewhere and all of his paraphernalia as I want to give him to my daughter in a year or two. She will probably hate him but never mind. I also have a Winnie the Pooh teddy that I have had since I was 9, and my children are starting to love him (I am not sure I approve of this).

Who was your favourite pop group/artist as a teenager?

A1 (ahem, moving on…)

What was your favourite TV show(s)?

As a teenager it was Funhouse. All I ever wanted to do was be a contestant. I also liked Get Your Own Back and Finder Keepers, and Round the Twist, and Byker Grove. I think I watched too much TV. When I was slightly younger I liked Bodger and Badger and Art Attack. I can’t remember much TV from before that as my mum was quite strict with screen time. Maybe that’s why I watched so much as a teenager!

What was the first film you remember seeing at the cinema?

The Rescuers Down Under. My sister cried the whole way through. I don’t remember much of it and have never seen it since. I remember it being quite sad!

Do you have any dodgy haircut/ outfit memories that you’d rather forget?

Yes, many! Shell suits and knickerbockers (not together of course). Hair-wise, I had a pretty standard full on fringe and short bob until secondary school – it was terrifying. I am the one on the right in the picture.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

A mum. Literally, nothing else. This is still what I wanted at age 16 so I found choosing my A-levels and onward career rather difficult. I am very lucky that my dream came true (sorry, that’s a bit soppy).

If you could go back to being a child again what age would you choose and why?

Age 7. We lived in Germany (my dad was in the RAF) and it was the most amazing experience, and one that I still think about a lot. I loved my schools, the area we lived, the places we got to visit. And I had Timmy. And my parents still liked each other at that point (I think). I have a lot of happy memories from that age!

Thanks Samantha for sharing your childhood memories – I loved Round the Twist too, I bet I could still sing the whole theme tune! If you enjoyed this post then do come back next week when another blogger will be remembering their childhood.

Living Arrows 47/52 (2016)

I’m not going to write too much this week because, if I’m honest, I’d rather forget last week happened!

Barry was in Germany with work all week. Gabe got a temperature on Tuesday night, managed to survive a day at nursery on Wednesday (he had to, I was working), and then pretty much wouldn’t be put down, even to sleep for the next 48 hours. Thankfully my mum came to help all day on Thursday, and my dad came to the rescue at 7pm after I’d managed to break our bed (I knew there was a reason we moved to live near them!)

Anyway, Barry came home on Friday and then we both had colds and Toby got a temperature too. We all seem to be mostly recovered now but all in all it’s been a pretty rubbish week!

Gabe’s picture this week was taken at about midnight on Wednesday – it’s dark and grainy but sometimes I think it’s important we show the reality of parenthood. He had just stopped wailing and fallen asleep, while I watched Planet Earth on the iPlayer…

Poorly Gabe asleep on mummy on the sofa at midnight

And I took Toby’s photo when he was sitting up on the window sill in our kitchen/diner playing with the new star I got this week. It’s supposed to be a Christmas decoration but I like it so I think we might have it there all year round.

Toby sitting in the window looking at a light up star decoration

Here’s hoping this week is a better one…

Living Arrows

Review: Peppa Pig wooden toys from Milly & Flynn

I have a confession to make  – I have never seen an episode of Peppa Pig, and neither have my kids. Not in my presence anyway, but at about 20 months Toby did start calling all pigs Peppa so I’m guessing she might have made an appearance at nursery somewhere along the line. Anyway, when I was asked if we would like to review some Peppa Pig wooden toys from Milly & Flynn my initial reaction was to say no. But then I had a look at the range and realised they were just some really nice wooden toys that happened to have Peppa Pig on them and there was really no reason for the boys not to play with them.


Milly & Flynn have a variety of different Peppa Pig toys; we were sent the Magnetic Play Set (RRP £12), the Peppa Pig Push-Along (RRP £15) and the Skittles Set (RRP £20). My theory was that Toby and Gabe would both be able to play with the skittles, the magnetic play set would be great for Toby and newly-walking Gabe would enjoy the push-along. Of course things don’t always work out the way you plan!


We set up the skittles but I think Toby managed one shot before Gabe decided it was much more fun to knock them over himself.


He then carried them off to the other side of the room and that was the end of that game! Gabe has had a lot of fun with the skittles though. He likes banging them together, or practising standing them up – which is trickier than it sounds when you’re only 15 months old.


The Magnetic Play Set is fab for Toby. He’s only just started to make up stories when he’s playing, and this double sided board with lots of pieces really helps him use his imagination. Here he was telling me a story about the purple dinosaur who was playing football in the park.


There are plenty of magnetic pieces to put on the board – enough that Toby and Gabe even managed to play together for a little bit without arguing!


The last item we were sent was the Peppa Pig Push-Along. Gabe has only just started walking, so walking and pushing is a skill he is still working on but he definitely enjoys it and the push-along is just the right size for him.gabe-figuring-out-the-peppa-pig-push-along

All the wooden toys that we have been trying out are lovely – they are really well made, and sturdy enough to cope with my not so gentle boys playing with them. There are more wooden toys available from Milly & Flynn – in the Peppa Pig range and they also have a Dear Zoo range.

I’m sure we’ll get plenty of use out of our new Peppa Pig toys for months, and even years to come. And you never know, one of these days Gabe might even let us have a proper game of skittles!!


**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Living Arrows 46/52 (2016)

This last week has been fairly uneventful, we’re still trying to get the painting finished in the kitchen so we haven’t been getting out at the weekends really. We did manage a walk into town on Sunday with Gabe in the buggy and Toby on his SmartTrike – he loves it but kept wanting me to go ‘really speedy fast’ and it nearly killed me!

Barry is away in Germany with work for the whole of this week so it’s just me and the boys and I’m in survival mode. I’ve made the most of them being at nursery today by having my hair cut and… having a nap! I haven’t actually done that since we moved here and they’ve been going to nursery but we didn’t have a brilliant night last night and I figured I could use all the sleep I could get.

This weeks photos were taken in the house this week, although autumn afternoon light indoors is awful for taking pictures! The boys are getting much better at, not exactly playing together, but at least co-existing in the same space without killing each other! Gabe has discovered the rocking horse this week – we got it for Toby’s second Christmas and it’s had plenty of use over the last two years. Gabe has been loving it – he really got the hang of rocking and was going for it so hard he was actually moving across the room!

Gabe riding on the rocking horse

Toby is almost impossible to take a posed photo of these days – the best photos I get of him are when he doesn’t know I’m taking them. This one came out alright though I think…

Toby not pulling a silly face for once

Hopefully we’ll actually get out this weekend and I’ll have some more interesting pictures for next week’s post.

Living Arrows

Remembering Childhood // Bell and Bear

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week it’s the turn of Bell and Bear.


Which decade were you born in?

I was born in the 80’s (1983)

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

My earliest memory is lying on a hospital bed with a broken leg I must have been about 4 years old.

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

Sylvanian families when I was five and Barbies at ten.

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

I have a doll which was my mum’s and is now mine but I will be passing it down to Bell when she is older.

Who was your favourite pop group/artist as a teenager?

Spice Girls and Take That.

What was your favourite TV show(s)?

Rosie and Jim, Raggy dolls and Blossom.

What was the first film you remember seeing at the cinema?

I can’t remember the name, but I know it was a Disney film as everyone was excited we were seeing a film by Disney.

Do you have any dodgy haircut/ outfit memories that you’d rather forget?

Myself, my cousin and a family friend all had the same bomber jackets which were all the rage!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to work with children.

If you could go back to being a child again what age would you choose and why?

I would actually pay more attention in school if I could go back in time.


Thank you for sharing your memories – I think it’s lovely that you have a doll to pass down through the generations.

If you enjoyed this post please do come back next week when another blogger will be remembering their childhood.

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (October 2016)

I am super-late with this October Me & Mine post – heading into to the ‘so late I might as well wait until next month’ territory but after nearly three years of doing this I wasn’t about to miss a month now!

It doesn’t feel like we’ve really done much since my last Me & Mine post but we spent two and a half weeks without a kitchen (I can’t wait for it to be properly finished so I can share it with you all); Toby is now completely potty trained in the day (and almost night too) and has only had two accidents in the whole month; Gabe has got eight new teeth, and has started walking; Barry has been working at home two days most weeks and so has done a lot less driving; and I put the finishing touches to the boys room (with a bit of help from my brother who came to visit over half term) and managed to keep everyone fed and reasonably happy even without a kitchen!

What we didn’t do was have a chance to take a family photo so we’ll have to make do with this selfie that I took after the boys came home from nursery tonight. We’ve also got the nursery bear for the week so she made it into the photo too.


And this one is a bit blurry, Toby is pulling a face and Gabe is cut off the bottom but I love everyone’s faces…


So that will have to do for October – I promise I’ll try harder for our November post!

The Me and Mine Project

Living Arrows 45/52 (2016)

I’m late again with my Living Arrows post this week. It’s been busy round these parts again – the kitchen is heading towards finished with a bit more painting to do, a new floor to go down and a new table and chairs to get. I’m really pleased with it and but I didn’t really enjoy spending a whole day unpacking all the boxes again and finding a place for everything!

Barry spent the weekend painting so on Saturday I took the boys for a walk into town to get them out of the way. It was really cold but we wrapped up warm and Toby had a lovely time collecting leaves and then running through all the dried leaves along the path.

Toby enjoying collecting autumn leaves

Gabe’s personality has really been coming out even more these last few weeks. His reflux mostly seems to be under control, we saw the paediatrician last week and she’s happy for him to continue on his meds and review things again in six months. The teeth that have been coming over the last few weeks have all finally cut now too – so that’s four molars and four canines in about three weeks! We’ve had quite a few grumpy days and nights but at least he should be over the worst of it now, and there are only four more molars to come before he has all his teeth! He’s coped remarkably well really, it must have been so painful for him – you can see the rash round his mouth on this week’s photo too, teething drool isn’t pleasant!

Gabe has been suffering with teething and has a rash round his mouth

His sleep has been slowly getting better too – a couple of nights recently he has made it until 3 am before his first wake up, which is a massive improvement on the 10 pm of a few weeks ago. There’s not much of a leap to make now before he’ll be sleeping all night….I hope! He has to sleep all night one of these days.

Gabe’s big news this week though is that he has started walking!! It was only two weekends ago that he started letting go when he was standing up, and managing to stand up without holding on to anything. He started trying to take a couple of steps last week but he’s really started to get the hang of it this week. So I’ll leave you with this….

Living Arrows

Hell in a handcart // My thoughts on the US election result

I’m no political commentator and I can’t claim to know the ins and outs of every campaign promise of Clinton and Trump but when I was awake with Gabe at two thirty this morning and saw that Trump was leading in the American presidential election I had a sinking feeling that we were going to see a result that was unthinkable a few months ago.

At two thirty though, as I kissed my baby and gently put him in his cot, there was still hope. Still a chance that the people of America would do the right thing. But I woke this morning to the news that Donald Trump is to become the next president of the United States. I would laugh at the absurdity of it if it wasn’t such an horrific prospect.

And just like in the last two general elections, and the Brexit referendum here in the UK it is predominantly the white, over 45s who are making choices which, when it comes down to it, probably won’t even affect them that much. But they will affect me, and they will affect my children.

This morning I am sad. I am sad for the world my children have to grow up in. But then I grew up when Thatcher was in power, my parents worked hard to keep us happy and fed, with a roof over our heads through two recessions. It is possible to survive these things.

So tonight I will hold my boys a little closer and I will continue to teach them to be kind, to be thoughtful, to try their best and to believe that there are good people in the world, even if they don’t always win elections.

And I will hold out the hope that sooner rather than later it turns out that not only is Donald Trump a liar, a racist, a bigot, a sexist and who knows what else, but that he’s also done something illegal somewhere along the line (because seriously, he must have right?) and maybe, just maybe, he won’t become the next president of the USA after all.


Win a Clangers toy bundle with #ClangersForKindness


I vaguely remember watching the Clangers when I was young so when the series was revived on CBeebies last year we waited eagerly for the first episode. It quickly became a favourite with Toby and after the first series had aired we regularly watched it again and again on iPlayer – at one point Toby insisted on watching the Eggbots episode every day!



When I was at Britmums last year I was lucky enough to meet Tiny Clanger in person, and bring home a few Clangers goodies for Toby too. He still loves watching the programme and for us it signals the start of the wind down to bedtime every night. I think even Gabe is starting to enjoy it too.

The great thing about the Clangers is that every episode is about how the little pink creatures are kind to one another and the other characters they meet on the Blue Planet. The lovely people behind the Clangers want to spread the message and are encouraging everyone to join in with #ClangersForKindness – you can see what some young Clangers fans think kindness means in this video.

Toby is only three and still learning about kindness – he’s getting there though and occasionally will do something lovely that really surprises me, whether that’s a surprise cuddle or sharing his chocolate raisins (that one doesn’t happen very often to be fair!). He has started to be much kinder to Gabe recently too – the other day I had to tell him off a little bit for trying to take away a stacking toy that Gabe was playing with. Toby likes things to be done the ‘right’ way so gets annoyed if Gabe isn’t putting the pieces on in the right order. I popped out of the room after I’d spoken to Toby and when I looked back through the door he was finding the right pieces but then giving them to Gabe to let him stack them on the stick – it’s so lovely to see him being kind to his brother and them playing nicely together.


We were recently sent a Tickle ‘n’ Whistle Tiny Clanger and Clangers Astronomy Set which includes a build your own planet mobile. We were also sent a copy of the Clangers magazine and a whistle to recreate the Clangers sound all on our own!

Toby absolutely loves Tiny Clanger – he has carried her around everywhere since he got her and even had to take her to nursery this week. The toy whistles just like the real Tiny, and even plays the Clangers theme tune. Gabe has enjoyed listening to Tiny and moving her arms and ears around too – when Toby has let him get a look in that is!


We haven’t made the mobile from the astronomy set yet – I think Toby would need a lot of help to do it and we’ve not had the chance to sit with him to do it what with all the new kitchen chaos we’ve got going on at the moment. I think it would be great for an older to child to make on their own though, it comes with everything you need, and I love the cute little tin too.

We have a Tickle ‘n’ Whistle Tiny Clanger, and a Clangers Astronomy Set to giveaway – all you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter below – and make sure you share an act of kindness from your child in the comments for extra entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends midnight 4th December 2016
UK entrants aged 18 and over only
Winner will be contacted by email within 24 hours of giveaway end


**Disclosure: We were sent the featured products in return for this post. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links