Friday, 31 August 2012

Happy Anniversary!!

So today is my 5 year wedding anniversary.  I can't quite believe it's been that long to be honest and so much has happened!  I thought about doing a little tribute to my Other Half but then realised it would most definitely be over the top and soppy so instead I thought I'd do a photo roundup of some of the highlights of the last 5 years...please feel free to come along for the journey :)

31 August 2007 - First Year of Marriage
One fairy and one hulk tied the knot in a beautiful church in Shrewsbury.

 Followed by an amazing honeymoon in the Maldives.

The rest of this year was spent adjusting to married life as my Other Half was a full time student and I was working in a new city far away from family and friends.

This was also the year I came to fully appreciate how disorganised my Other Half is.  A fine example being the 'romantic' trip to London he planned, complete with my dream visit to see Tutankhamun at the O2 arena.  Or not, as we turned up at the hotel only to realise that we'd arrived on the wrong date and had in fact, missed the exhibit.

In this first year of marriage we also:

Visited Berlin

Celebrated my 21st birthday

Celebrated my Other Half's graduation from university

On our first anniversary

31 August 2008 - Second Year of Marriage
We saw in our second year of marriage with a surprise revelation - we were expecting our first baby!  It didn't go down quite as well as I'd hoped, the first thing my Other Half said was "no, no you're not!"

In our second year of marriage:

We visited Egypt

I passed my driving test at 35 weeks pregnant!

We became parents!!

On our second anniversary

31 August 2009 - Third Year of Marriage
Still adjusting to life as parents this year was a bit of a whirlwind.  

Some of the highlights included:

Our first family holiday to Spain

A day trip to Bruges with friends (minus Meg of course!)

First Christmas as a family

On our third anniversary

31 August 2010 - Fourth Year of Marriage
This year saw us:

Take our second family holiday to a villa in Menorca (note: flying with a 3 month old is TEN TIMES easier than flying with a 15 month old!)

Return from our holiday to another surprise - we were expecting our second baby and *blushes* the due date was exactly the same date as it was for Meg!

Get snowed in to a hotel in Derbyshire on a romantic weekend away

Become a family of four

Experience my first EVER visit to the Lake District

Me on our fourth anniversary -
not sure what happened to my Other Half!

31 August 2011 - Fifth Year of Marriage
We saw in the start of the fifth year of our marriage with the wedding of my brother in law.  Meg was a bridesmaid and little tiny Eli an honorary page boy.

This year has been full of new experiences for us a family of four.  We've dealt with a serious health scare for Eli, lived and coped with a baby with silent reflux

We took our first trip to Devon and fell in love with the place

We've adjusted to and loved being a family of four, realising what a good baby Meg was as Eli is, quite frankly, a little scamp!

31 August 2012 - Sixth Year of Marriage
I truly can't quite believe we're entering our sixth year of marriage, I honestly don't know what this year holds for us.  Hopefully no more pregnancy surprises, I don't think we'd ever live it down if we had a third child born in the month of May!

But (disclaimer: here comes the soppy part) I know that I can't wait to share it with my Other Half.  He is such a loving and caring husband, never phased by anything, even me at my craziest!  And he is a fantastic Daddy who has the absolute adoration of both his children.  

Happy Anniversary to us!!!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Review: Maxi Cosi Axiss

Car seats - don’t they just make you go arrgggghhhh!!

I had no idea it was such a minefield of information.  The first car seat we bought was a Mamas and Papas Primo Viaggio and to be honest we only bought it as it matched our travel system.  I don’t think I did any more research on it than that!

So when it came to choosing Meg’s second car seat and we actually had to think about what we wanted, it was a lot more complicated than we thought.

The first question we faced was whether we wanted forward facing or rear facing.  We decided on forward facing as, for the previous month, Meg had been spending most of her time craning her head forwards and round her chair so she could see what we were doing.  We figured it was easier to just let her see!

So, that decision made we then had to decide whether we wanted a birth to 4 years car seat, a 9 months to 4 years car seat or a 9 months to 11 years car seat.  What colour did we want, what features were we after, did we want it to recline (how many positions?), was it easy to install, did we want isofix, did we want an alarm that went off if Meg unfastened her seatbelt...the list goes on and on and on.

In the end, after I’d spent what felt like my entire life staring at my computer screen reading reviews and desperately trying to decide what kind of car seat we wanted I came across the Maxi-Cosi Axiss. 

It ticked my first box of offering a version in pink (obviously) but the thing that really caught my eye was that it turned 90 degrees left and right.  This unique feature, for me, was a total winner.  I have a bad back which had been made worse by having to lean into the car fiddling with the seatbelt strap and the car seat straps for prolonged periods.  The fact that I could turn the seat towards me and therefore not have to bend over at all pretty much sold the chair to us!

It came with all the other important car seat features:

- adjusting harness and headrest;
- eight reclining positions (we love this feature and actually kept it slightly reclined until Meg was about 2yrs old);
- easy to install with a 3-point safety belt;
- built-in automatic locking and tensioning system to ensure the seat is firmly fitted; and
- hooks to keep all the straps out of the way as you put your child into the car seat. 

There is also a colour indicator so you know when the chair has locked back into the correct position when you turn it back.

On opening the box we were overwhelmed with the size of the seat and worried that it was going to be complicated to install but, after watching a quick video online, and giving it a go we actually found it to be incredibly straightforward.  And although it seems quite bulky, I haven’t had any problems lifting it if we need to move it between cars.
Meg's first trip out in her car seat

The swivel system hasn’t disappointed either, Meg can now climb in and out of her seat and I can fasten her in without ever having to bend.  We can adjust the belt and harness and the reclining position from the front of the car.  The seat covers are removable (which any parent of a toddler knows is invaluable!)

I can’t recommend it enough!  Obviously, it won’t suit everyone.  And there is the downside of it only lasting until your child is 18kg (around 3 1/2 years) The benefit for us is that Meg is quite a small child so it will last longer than perhaps it would for the average child.  We have one for Eli and I don’t think it will last him much past the recommended weight/age.

Eli's first trip out

I don't claim to be an expert on childrens car seats.  I know there has been a lot of press recently about having a rear facing car seat for longer.  But this seat has worked for us a family and certainly, if you struggle with a bad back as I do then this is a car seat I would recommend.  I can’t rave enough about what a difference it made for me.

See more on the Maxi-Cosi Axiss Forward Facing Group 1 Car Seat here 

This is an independent review.  I purchased the Maxi-Cosi Axiss seats myself.  All views and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Gallery: Sky

I've wanted to join in with 'The Gallery' for a couple of weeks now but haven't managed to find a moment to take a photo which fits with the theme for the week.

My Other Half came in on Monday evening and announced that there was a 'fantastic' sunset for people who were interested in that kind of thing and promptly went back outside to take a photo of it.

So I was pleasantly surprised when this week's theme was 'Sky' as I already had the perfect photo for it!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Long Walk Home (Mischevious Mondays)

Last week we arranged a playdate with some friends who live just around the corner from us, a 5-10 minute walk.  Unfortunately it coincided with Eli discovering his independent streak and refusing to sit in the pushchair (luckily this is over now *phew*) so rather than fight with him I thought "it's only a short walk, he'll be fine."

I'm not sure whether I could have been any more wrong!  It took us an absolute age to walk there with Eli having to inspect every single tyre on every single car we walked past.  Poor Meg kept running on ahead and then coming back and saying "Oh not again Eli!"

The walk home was even worse.  My Other Half came to meet us and went on ahead with Meg and I trailed behind with Eli.  Every wheel, every leaf, every gate we had to stop and inspect.  At one point he chased a cat under a van and then lay down trying to reach under to get to it shouting "eeoow eeoow" as the poor thing cowered in fright!


Mixed into this was the fact that he was clearly tired so would take a sitting down break every few steps and refuse to budge.  If I tried to pick him up he'd shriek and wriggle to be put down again.

Suffice to say it took us about 45mins to get home!

I'm linking this up with A Strong's Coffee's Middle Man's Mischevious Monday's.

Thank you to Louise for choosing my story of Magpie Meg as the Mischevious Monday story of the week.  I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know the tinkering has continued with Meg somehow managing to steal four giant pebbles from the beach on Saturday and bring them home with her!! 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Hidden (See it Snap it Love it)

We visited some friends at the weekend and took the kids to play in a lovely new park that has just opened.  It's perfect for little people and Meg and Eli were able to run around and climb and play on everything safely.

Meg's favourite game was standing aboard her 'ship' watching out for the dragon (Daddy) who was hidden somewhere in the playground and waiting to surprise her!


I am chuffed my photo collage was chosen as 'photo of the week' for last week's See it Snap it Love it.  I had great fun putting it together and showing Meg and Eli sharing some sibling love with each other.  And it reminded me that even when they're having a bad day and seem to be constantly fighting all the time they really are the best of friends.

So I will show my badge with pride, thank you!

For more of See it Snap it Love it, pop over to Dear Beautiful Boy.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Magpie Meg (Mischevious Mondays)

Last week I wrote about Eli's climbing antics for Middle Man's Mischevious Monday and whilst pondering over which of his little misdemeanours to include this week Meg came into the room, put her hand in her pocket and pulled out a toy which didn't belong to us.  I asked her where she got it from and she just shrugged and said "I put it in my pocket"....yes, Mummy could see that!

Meg has always had hoarding tendencies.  We've called her our little magpie since she was a baby as anything sparkly and shiny grabs her attention and the second she gets her hands on it, it becomes hers!

It's an acknowledged fact that my Other Half's t-shirt drawer is her favourite hiding place.  Currently residing in there are her tinkerbell keys, my ring and a glittery sticker from her Easter bonnet.  There's no point taking the things out as she'll replace them soon enough with new trinkets.

Possibly the biggest steal she's ever made were my wedding and engagement rings.  She took off with them one day and it was over eight(!!) months before we found them again, and then only by happenchance as we were replacing our media unit and as we took it apart my rings appeared!

So I thought I'd share with you Meg's pocket collection from last week.  These were all things that I discovered prior to putting her trousers into the washing machine, some of them are ours and some of them aren't!

It remains a mystery to me how she managed to fit some of them in her pocket in the first place!

I'm linking this post up with Louise at A Strong Coffee's Mischevious Mondays.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Best Friends (See it, Snap it, Love it)

A siblings love
is like no other bond,
it is for life
and goes far and beyond.
Any other love
that you will ever find,
a siblings love
is one of a kind.
When sibling love grows
they will always gain,
a love thats forever
and will always remain.

Robert Arthur Miller, USA

I love that Meg and Eli get to share this bond and grow up together.  It really makes me count my blessings!

Let's be honest, it was love at first sight:

Friday, 10 August 2012

Pretty Little Things: Beautiful Bags

I was so pleased to be a joint winner of last week's Pretty Little Things.  I will display my badge with pride:


This week's theme is Beautiful Bags.  I'm actually not one for expensive bags, I prefer practicality over price but I knew instantly which bag I'd want to show off.

This was the most expensive bag I've ever owned (before we had to upgrade) and yes, it's a changing bag!  I'm quite pleased actually that we've been able to go back to using it now we don't have to carry around quite so many things for Eli.

I suppose this photo has been taken somewhat 'ironically' - as much as I love the bag I'm not sure my Other Half has ever gotten the hang of being labelled a Yummy Mummy!

You can see more of this week's entries over at Hollybobb's blog.