Christmas Tag

Baby elf
I was tagged by Lucinda at Teacher2Mummy in this festive blog question thingy and I haven’t written anything about Christmas yet so I thought this might be a nice way to start.
What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

It sounds really corny but I have to say giving presents. I love to see people’s faces when they open something I’ve chosen for them. Although I have to admit, with a small baby to look after, this year’s Christmas shopping hasn’t had so much time and attention put into it!

When you were a kid, what did you leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?
A mince pie and a whiskey (and a carrot for Rudolph!). My brother and I were still doing it when we were in our late teens and my dad would still gamely eat the mince pie and drink the whiskey – the carrot always ended up back in the with the others though.
Do you and/or your family have any Christmas traditions?

This Christmas will only be the third of my thirty-five Christmases that I haven’t been at my mum and dad’s house. (The first was when I did a ski season in 1999-2000 and the second in I think 2006 when I worked for in a bank call centre and had to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day but that year my parents came up to stay with me). We decided that seeing as it will be Toby’s first Christmas we would spend it at home just the three of us and then head down to see our parents on Boxing Day. It’s hard at Christmas living so far away from our family. We have to choose where to be – it’s not like we could have Christmas morning at home and then go to visit relatives later in the day. So I suppose we haven’t really got any  Christmas traditions yet but this year could be the year to start some of our own.

When decorating, do you go all out or just do a small amount of decorating?

We don’t have tons of decorations – we do have two trees though. One big tree with all the decorations and then a smaller fibre optic one which used to be my only tree when I lived in a flat on my own. We have to have artificial trees because I’m really allergic to real ones. We’ve got some fairy lights in the window too and we usually have some outside along the front of the house but with the crazy weather this year we haven’t bothered putting them up.

What is your favourite Christmas dinner food?

I don’t like Christmas Pudding so my mum always gets me some sort of chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce which is delicious. I actually like the sprouts now too – when I was little I hated sprouts but I was always made to eat just one with my Christmas dinner. I suppose that was one of our Christmas traditions!

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Die Hard! It is a Christmas movie!! I’m also partial to a bit of White Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

I was going to say All I Want For Christmas but I noticed loads of people have said that so I’m going to go with Let It Snow.

What was your favourite gift you’ve ever received?
That’s really hard but probably as an adult my iPhone 4 (which my dad got for free but I didn’t care!) and as a child I think the My Little Pony Grooming Parlour! I was so excited to get it because it wasn’t the sort of toy I was usually allowed.
What is your favourite memory?
I can’t really pick one – all my childhood Christmases are sort of rolled into one – but I used to love my brother sleeping in my room on Christmas Eve (because our Grandma would come to stay and sleep in his room) and when we woke up we were allowed to open the presents in our stockings which would be in our room but we weren’t allowed to go down stairs or wake anyone else up until a ‘reasonable time’. So about seven o’clock we would go the toilet really noisily which would usually wake our Grandma and mum up then we’d go downstairs in our pyjamas but then we would have to wait ages before we could open our presents because my dad always insisted on getting dressed and having his breakfast first and we would have to wait for him!
Does it snow where you live?
Yep. Although I don’t think it has snowed at Christmas since I’ve lived here. It never snowed in Blackpool when I was growing up though.
Do you own an “ugly holiday sweater”?
No. I’d quite like a tasteful Christmas jumper though.
Hot chocolate or eggnog?
Hot chocolate every time.
Have you ever been kissed under a mistletoe?

You know what, I don’t think I have!

I know I should now tag some other bloggers to do this post but it’s getting close to Christmas and I know everyone is very busy… so I’m not going to. However, if you read this and fancy answering the questions yourself then please feel free and do let me know when you’ve done it.

Baby Sensory (The Ordinary Moments #6)

I’m linking up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me again this week, albeit a bit late, for some more ‘Ordinary Moments’. I do quite a few different activities with Toby during the week; Baby Sensory, Baby Massage, swimming, soft play to mention a few. Although I try to tell the hubby all about it I know it’s not the same as him being there himself. So, this Saturday it was great that he got to come along to the Baby Sensory Christmas party so he could see for himself what me and Toby get up to. It was a lot of fun and Toby looked so cute in his elf costume (with added ‘made by mum’ hat!) Baby Sensory Christmas Elf

mummy daddy me

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger AwardSo the very lovely Donna at Redhead Babyled has been kind enough to nominate me for a Versatile Blogger Award. I’m fairly new to this parent blogging lark but I do try and write about a variety of different things and hopefully there’s something to interest everyone.

The rules to the Versatile Blogger award are as follows…

1)  in your post, be sure to thank the blogger that nominated you
2)  write seven facts about yourself and nominate seven other bloggers
3)  you must use the versatile blogger award image on your post

Right then – seven facts about me…

1) I was born and brought up in the Vegas of the north – Blackpool! My parents still live there so I visit regularly but I hated it growing up and I can’t imagine I would ever go back to live there. I did once spend the night at the top of Blackpool Tower though which is pretty cool!

2) I started dancing when I was four years old and until recently still went to dance classes. I have appeared on stage in over 20 pantomimes and musicals; the most recent being The Sound of Music in 2012. When I was a teenager I danced in two summer shows in the Tower Ballroom (the very same one where Strictly Come Dancing is filmed when they go to Blackpool!)

3) I have a degree in French and Social Sciences (Economics and Social Anthropology) from Manchester University.

4) I lived and worked in France for six years on and off – from 1998 to 2003. I mostly worked on campsites but also did a ski season and spent one memorable winter working in an industrial laundry!

5) At the age of 31 I decided to retrain as a teacher and I have been a French teacher for the last three years. I am currently studying for a Graduate Diploma in Spanish so that when I return to work from my maternity leave I will be able to teach both languages.

6) I love the USA. I’ve been on two American road trips; one from San Francisco to LA to The Grand Canyon and then Las Vegas on my own in 2010. I had just met the man who was to become my husband before I went and we kept in touch on Twitter and email while I was away. By the time I came back and we met up again we had already fallen in love! The second road trip was for our honeymoon in 2012. We went from Boston to Vermont (just so we could go to the Ben & Jerry’s factory!), through upstate New York to Philadelphia and then down the New Jersey and Maryland coast to Washington DC before flying home. Amazing! I would love our next road trip to be to Memphis, Nashville and the Deep South… but we might have to wait a while before that one!

7) I play the ukulele.

And now I have to choose seven other bloggers to nominate (and try and find those who haven’t been nominated already!). Here goes…

The Laughing Owls

My Petit Canard

My Life As A Mummy


You Baby Me Mummy

Northumberland Mam

Tea Is The Answer

And many thanks again to Redhead Babyled for nominating me!


Knitting Friday #3

Knitted elf hat

It’s finished! (Almost). When I had completed the hat it was slightly too small (from the top down the sides) so I picked up all the stitches along the neck edge and free-styled a band in red wool to match the band around the face. I just knitted a couple of rows and then five rows of knit one, purl one rib to match the other bit. I then decreased on two rows before casting off.

Knitted elf hat

I am still planning on lining the hat with fleece but I haven’t hand chance to do it yet. There is still a pompom to be added to the plait coming from the top too. I’m going to do that tonight so that Toby can wear it for his party tomorrow. And I promise I’ll post a photo of Toby in his whole elf outfit after we’ve been!

Becky over at The Laughing Owls has a Knitting Friday post too – last week she had just started on the sleeves for Little Owl’s jumper so why don’t you pop over and see how much progress she has made this week.

Toby is five months old!

Toby at five months old

Another month gone. Time really does fly! Toby is now five months old and he is an absolute superstar! If you read my post about a possible four month sleep regression (and are possibly going through the same thing!) then you’ll be pleased to hear that things are almost back to normal in the sleep department. Toby is back to sleeping from 6:30 pm to 8 am probably five days out of seven and if he does wake up it’s just for one feed then straight back to sleep. That three weeks of waking up two, three or even four times a night must have been some sort of growth spurt I think because Toby went from 14lb 2oz to 15lb 13oz in three weeks, when he’d only put on 14oz in the four weeks before that! He is getting longer and longer (or taller, depending which way you look at it) too. I measured him the other day and he is 69cm which puts him almost in the 98th centile for his height, while he is only in the 25th centile for weight! He has grown out of all his 3-6 month sleepsuits and vests now, although separates are still OK. I can’t believe how quickly Toby is going through clothes – it’s good news for my friend’s two month old twins though!

We still haven’t got much movement – Toby has managed to roll from his front to his back a couple of times but it isn’t something he does often. He can also sit up unaided for a minute or so but still loses his balance quite easily. The newest development is that Toby has just found his feet! Whenever he is lying on his back he lifts his legs up and grabs his toes. It’s funny to see the slightly confused look on his face when he’s got stripey socks on! He loves to stand up when we hold his hands too. I can see he’s just itching to get moving. He gets really frustrated after a few minutes on his tummy because he’s trying so hard but just can’t quite work out how to move anywhere.

We haven’t started weaning – and on that note, no teeth yet either, although I don’t think they’re far away. We’re planning on waiting until Toby is six months and then going down the baby-led weaning route. He is starting to get more interested in food though. I’ve been sitting him on my knee while I eat lunch and he’s started grabbing (and squishing!) my sandwiches, although he hasn’t tried to put any food in his mouth as yet. We’ve also started keeping him up a bit later a few nights a week so he can sit with us (in his Bumbo seat on the table) while we have our dinner to get him used to the routine. The hope is it will be more normal for him when he comes to start eating with us. I’m really looking forward to starting our weaning adventures – I can’t wait to see Toby’s face when he tries different tastes for the first time!

Toby’s personality is showing more and more every day. He’s so noisy these days, always making funny squeaks and babbles. It’s the cutest thing and he really does sound like he’s joining in a conversation sometimes. He’s growing up so quickly. I know people say you shouldn’t wish away the baby years because you’ll miss them when they’re gone…But I have to admit that I’m enjoying Toby much more now than when he was a tiny baby. I found it really hard work looking after him when I didn’t get any reaction from him but now he smiles and laughs (and hardly ever cries!) and it’s just so rewarding.

So over the coming month we’ve got Toby’s first Christmas and the start of weaning to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what else it has in store!

Review – Hobbycraft Christmas Crafts

I was recently asked to review some Christmas craft bits and pieces by the UK’s largest arts and crafts retailer Hobbycraft. I do love a bit of crafting but it’s not something I seem to have a lot of time for lately!

I was sent a red felt stocking filled with various Christmas craft items – none of which retail for more than £2. I was pleased to see this as I sometimes think that making things yourself can end up being more expensive than buying things ready made if you aren’t careful. Most of the items are available on the Hobbycraft website although I do think that if you have a store near you (and there are loads) then shopping for these kind of things tends to be much more fun if you can browse in the shop.

Hobbycraft Christmas Craft Pack

So some of the items in the stocking were:

Foam Clay Santa Kit / Foam Stickers / Gingerbread man stickers / Gold cards / Merry Christmas stickers (which don’t seem to be on the website)

The stocking itself isn’t on the website either but there are some pre-decorated stockings and a great video with some ideas of how you can decorate your own stocking. There’s a great variety of products on the Hobbycraft website for any Christmas crafting you might like to do – whether it’s making a wreath, your own decorations or your own Christmas cards.

I have to confess I haven’t had chance to use all the things I was sent yet. I have decorated the stocking using some bits and pieces I had left over from previous projects. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out – the felt stocking seems very well made so hopefully it will last Toby for many Christmases to come. I was going to buy him a stocking but I think it’s lovely that he’s now got one that I have personalised for him – it makes it extra special!

Decorated stocking

I’ve also used the Merry Christmas and foam stickers to make some gift tags – something I never seem to have enough of when it comes to present wrapping time. I had some small luggage tags left over from our wedding so I used those and just stuck the stickers on. Toby is a bit little for crafting at the moment but I know kids love stickers and if he was a bit older sticking on the foam stickers is definitely something he could help with. The Merry Christmas stickers are a bit fiddly though – even for a grown up!

Gift tags

The glittery gingerbread men stickers are lovely – I think I’m actually going to pop some string on them and just hang them on the tree. And as for the Foam Clay Santa kit (which makes a small model Santa), I think the hubby has got his eye on that one!

I had great fun with my Christmas crafts – I’m looking forward to doing much more arts and crafts as Toby gets a bit older and Hobbycraft certainly have everything we might need. I sense a trip to our nearest store coming up in the not to distant future – or we can always order online. Standard delivery is £2.95 which seems quite reasonable, or free for orders over £30. And having a quick browse around website I’m sure I could spend £30 quite easily – I’ve got craft-lust! I’ve not really had time to do anything crafty since Toby was born so I’m pleased I got this opportunity to be re-inspired. Thanks Hobbycraft!

**Disclaimer: We were sent these items to review. However, all opinions are my own.

Squeaking baby (The Ordinary Moments #5)

I’m linking up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me again this week for some more ‘Ordinary Moments’.

Toby is showing his personality more and more each day. He’s become really vocal in the last couple of weeks – his favourite sound seems to be a really high pitched squeak that he really builds up to before it eventually comes out!

Hopefully, if this has worked, you should be able to see a video of him squeaking below!

mummy daddy me

Knitting Friday #2

Here’s progress so far on Toby’s Elf hat.

Knitted elf hat

I’ve only got another few rows to knit – I need to check because for a big baby Toby has a surprisingly small head! When that’s done it’s just sewing up, a few ties and pompoms and it’s done. Although actually I think I’m also going to line it with fleece to make it warmer and stop it stretching out of shape.

The Baby Sensory Christmas Party for which this hat is needed is next Saturday so it’ll have to be finished by then. Come back next week and you’ll be able to see the finished article (fingers crossed!).

Becky over at The Laughing Owls always has a Knitting Friday post too – why don’t you pop over and see what she’s been up to this week.