Sunday, 21 December 2014

Carried Away...

So, I big fat failed Blogmas, didn't I?

I started off with such great intentions... I was prepared with a notebook full of wonderfully festive ideas and had a brand new zest of life for my little Blog this December, and then....

I got carried away, living in the moment!!!

Each day that you haven't heard from me (aside from the past couple of days where I have been suffering the effects of the common cold!) I have been enjoying some fabulous moments with my family.

Our time has been spent making salt dough tree decorations (some of which we gave away as little gifts!), singing Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies (like the night that Matt went out with his friend, Ellenah went to bed early and Noah and I stayed up watching Home Alone and eating popcorn-perfect!),

attending Christmas parties (like Ellenah's first Ballet disco where she had a ball!),

stalking the neighbours delightful Christmas light displays on the front of their homes and drawing Christmas pictures (Noah's reindeer with a glorious coat on and the little dude holding a magic potion which turns people in to reindeer, well, it's pretty awesome!).

We have also had Ellenah's third birthday thrown in the mix. That is a post for a different time though, when I can face the fact that my Baby Girl is three years old and when I have figured out how time has whizzed by that fast- it's really not fair!(Boy, I'm dramatic, maybe I'll do it tomorrow...)

I guess I just wanted to check in really. My fingers were starting to twitch and I was missing my space, my 'me time', my blog!

Anyway, I had better go and cook dinner... I've got one child hanging off of my leg because apparently she is 'soooooooo hungry' as she rubs her tummy, one child who keeps desperately eying up the Quality Streets and one Husband who is watching Arsenal on the television (which renders him unable to address any of the madness going on around him... I also think he just got shot with a Nerf Gun bullet so now is not the right time to pick a fight with him about it either haha)....

Hopefully we'll speak tomorrow, if I'm not completely useless!
Lots of Love
x Maria x


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dear Ellenah... (3rd Birthday Eve Edition)

To My Dearest Little Ellenah,

It is the night before the birthday at which you will turn three years old. Very much like the past year, today has been colourful. Today you have shown me every mood, thought and feeling that you possibly could. From having to leave your ballet class halfway through because you were feeling a touch moody, the regret you felt hallway down the road because you wanted to 'go back ooh dancing ooh join in', the speed in which you offered to pick up a bag that I had dropped, offering me your last sweetie, the slight sobs because you were feeling tired and your 'legs go a-bed', the sweet smile on your face when you were catching some 3-o-clock, forty minute zzzzz's, the rage that you demonstrated when you didn't want to leave Nanny's house and the whole-hearted face squeeze and snogaroo that you gave me at bedtime, surrounded by the words 'I love you Mama'.

This year, you may have studied the term and become the definition of the 'terrible two's'... and ran with it... no doubt away from me... with me running behind you begging you to hold my hand and be calm and happy. But this year I have learned that behind the tantrums and scowls, there is just so much more to you Ellenah. 

Little One, sometimes you don't show the people around you, even the ones who love you, just how amazing you are. You really are quite sensitive, weary and when you are being a bit bossy and kind of mouthy, you are actually quite shy. You are very much a one on one kind of girl, big crowds and strangers aren't really your thing, in fact I think they make you quite nervous and your outlet of expression is to be a bit of a pickle. The confidence to simply be yourself will come in time, I am confident in that.

Do you know what? I don't care! I know that you will not always feel this way. You are strong-minded and committed to what you think and feel. If you take anything with you from your childhood in to your life, I hope that it will be these qualities. You are from a family, full of confident, strong-minded and independent women, I hope that you will be one and you won't let anybody push you around, deter you from what you think or feel or make you question the person that you are. If the journey that you are on leads you to being that kind of person (which I don't doubt that it will) I for one will be incredibly pleased. 

You have started speaking a lot within the last couple of months. It was a bit of a slow start, what with your made-up/ french/ chinese/ american slang language that you had going on! It must have been quite frustrating for you at points. I did try my best to understand you, I promise! Now, we have some absolutely wonderful conversations. It is so nice (and I feel a little emotional thinking about it) to be able to talk to you. One day, if and when you are a mother, you will often ask yourself questions like- 'I wonder what they will be good at, sound like, look like, be when they grow up?'... And, now I know what your voice sounds like. Some days you don't stop talking... and I could listen to you all day long. You really are very funny! Everybody who knows you thinks so.

Sweetheart, you have grown a little bit more hair this year- it's finally happening- Yay!

Regardless of all of the talk of tantrums and cheekiness, you are a beautiful human being. I am absolutely proud that you are mine and I have completely one hundred percent got your back. To me, you are perfect in every way. As much as I am looking forward to the day that we can laugh about all of the two year old anguish this past year has hosted, I am looking forward to being a part of each and every second of your journey, nothing makes me happier than being your Mummy. This year may have had its hard points but the good completely outshines all of it. This may sound slightly odd but it has really hit me in the past few months that I have a daughter... and how wonderful that feels. I have a little girl who I will love completely, every moment of every day. I have a princess who I have a duty to, to ensure she loves herself, inside and out and I have an obligation to protect her as well as prepare her for the times in her life that she will fall and things may hurt her or make her feel sad. I have to be her outlet to encourage her to get back up when she gets knocked down and I have to be there with my arms open wide when she has P.M.T and needs chocolate and wine when she is older. I demand myself to be that Mum to her... 

Happy 3rd Birthday Els Bels
I hope your birthday is as great as you are and now that you know what a birthday is, I hope you will remember this day for the rest of your life. 
I love you so very much and just so much more than you will ever know.
x Mummy x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Rival Christmas Shindig.... #Blogmas

If you read my last post (find it HERE), then you will know that some of my family and I went out for our Work Christmas shindig. We stayed in Faversham and visited The Albion Taverna for a meal. Traditionally it serves Mexican and English food but obviously we went for the Christmas Menu. This provided us with Christmas crackers, party hats and party poppers... wahoo!

P.S. I think I may have missed my calling... I styled my sisters hair before we left and I think it looked amazing (even if I do say so myself! haha)

What is a Shindig without the obligatory group selfie?

We started off with a colourful and super stylish jug of Pimms and somewhere between arriving and eating we jumped in to the party paraphernalia and had a good giggle. I think I may be the only person who finds Christmas cracker jokes funny (and when I say funny, I mean hilarious!)

For starters, I was torn between choosing the calamari or salmon and avocado salad. I ordered the crispy baby calamari with a roasted garlic, chive and lime mayonnaise and it was seriously tasty. I made the right decision.

Obviously it tasted better alongside a bottle of Prosecco...

While we waited patiently for our main courses, we enjoyed our crackers a little more and embraced a few more selfies...


For my main course I chose The Devilled CrabIt was pretty damn delicious. It was fresh crabmeat sautéed with tiger prawns, lemon and chilli dijon mustard butter. Served in its shell and finished off with breacrumbs and cheddar cheese. Accompanied by chunky chips, a side salad and roasted garlic mayonnaise. Yum! I almost buckled under the pressure of everybody else choosing the festive turkey but I am so very glad I decided on this option.

I love a black and white photograph of some of my favourite people.

Between the main meal and dessert, Mum created a cute little face out of the scraps of Christmas cracker debris scattered around our table. She gifted the little guy to my Sister, who continued to help him grow big and strong... and I believe he ended up having the best night of his life.... 

We named him Ernest...

We finished the night with dessert and I opted for The Warm Gooey Sticky Toffee Pudding served with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream. It was amazing and considering I was positively ready to pop, I ate every bit. It was the perfect way to end a lovely evening of good food, good drinks and beautiful company...

Lots of Love
x Maria x

P.S. Thankfully the drinks from last night didn't effect me too much because this morning because my gorgeous but naughty little kittens were climbing our beautiful christmas tree and sent the thing flying... boohoo... such a mess xxx

White Christmas, Shopping and School Plays... #Blogmas

Oh Hi All,

Things have been a bit manic over the past couple of days so I haven't spent too much time at the old blogging station... However, in the name of Blogmas, I am going to catch you up!

Blogmas Day Nine...
Tuesday was a rather manic day for me. First of all Ellenah had her ballet lesson which she seemed to enjoy a lot more than usual this week. She is really improving and it is lovely to watch. She still gets a little sleepy and dare I say, bored towards the end but she is moving up in to the next class in January (because my baby girl turns three years old next week- boohoo) so I think that she will enjoy the change. 

Then, we went home so that she could play for a couple of hours with her cousin (and when I say play, I really mean fight and be a bit mean to the poor girl!), we all had pizza and right before they had to go, the girls started playing beautifully together, girls eh?!

It wasn't long before the school run was upon me and I had to march my little ones over the other side of Faversham to Noah's Gym Squad training... and then I could breathe... not! I attempted to have a hot drink while we waited and spilt the whole cup over my arm and floor (sob,sob).

Anyways, it wasn't all so rushed and mad, once Matt came home I whizzed myself to my Mums house and we kicked off the Christmas season with our traditional viewing of 'White Christmas'. I don't know when I watched that movie for the first time but we haven't missed a year since. We sang along, marvelled at the dancing, so beautiful and smooth and giggled at how we pretty much know the whole film word for word. We teamed that up with hot mince pies with cream and a cup of tea. Perfect!

Blogmas Day Ten...
Wednesday was a great day! Matt and I had a mid-week day off together, which NEVER happens! We literally did the school run and then drove in to Canterbury for a spot of Christmas shopping... yay... we have officially made a start at buying gifts for our gigantic family. I know, I'm unorganised huh?!

Ellenah was such a good girl too. She did notice that the bookshop that we were browsing in had a Costa attached and marched us in there to buy her a gingerbread reindeer... Deal!

We didn't have very long to shop because we had to get back to Faversham for the most important part of the day... Noah's school play. 

Noah did sooooooooo well and he looked so very sweet. It was amazing that Matt could come with me because it isn't always the case and these moments just pass us by so quickly. I didn't get any footage or photographs during the performance because I am quite conscious of other peoples children and I wouldn't want to put them on the internet but, we did get the opportunity to take photographs of our own children afterwards which I was very grateful for. Doesn't he look edible?!

After that, we were all full of smiles and very happy. all of Noah's rehearsals and practicing for his three lines completely paid off.

After we went home, I got ready for our Rival Christmas Outing with my Mum, two of my sisters and my niece... To see the photographs of that madness, check out the blog post to follow haha. 

Lots of Love and Hugs
x Maria x

Monday, 8 December 2014

Imperfectly Perfect...

Before I became a parent, I used to think about what it would be like to have a family of my own. I could imagine and picture a few things that really made me look forward to having a family life. A few which stood out to me was the vision of me planting flowers (sunflowers to be exact) in the garden in springtime with them both helping pat down the soil, The feeling I would get when they take their first steps and say 'Mama' for the first time or our first walk out together after they were born. I would think of such lovely, dreamy moments that I supposed every Mum should enjoy. 

When I thought of Christmas times, I would often think of how lovely it would be when my children would be able to write out their own christmas cards to their friends. And today, Noah made a start. He wrote out Christmas cards last year but this year, he is doing it a lot more independently. His need to ask me the spellings of things or what to write has become less and less and it is wonderful to watch. 

I enjoy these little moments. The moments that make you stop and take everything in. The moments where nothing else really matters and the moments that you will hold on to in your old age when you think back on your life. 

I know that not all moments work out so magical. As a parent there are certain occasions and times that I dream of happening or just simply going smoothly but as this is real life, that photo that I may have captured may be tainted by the naughty mid-morning snack encrusted on my delicious ones faces, or the walk in the park that seems so perfect is actually hosting the dried yoghurt that was flung in my hair without me knowing or maybe, the rare family photograph that we manage to get somehow, all of us smiling until the moment someone sneezes or blinks... every time the shutter closes. 

But... these are my perfect moments in my life, they are imperfectly perfect and they matter to me. I guess I just wanted to share this one with you... Even if the kittens have been a little mischievous with the Christmas tree today and pulled some of the beading down... Look at Noah's smile though, isn't he beautiful?!!!!!

Huge Love
x Maria x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

Today has been such a wonderful day and one that I have been looking forward to for ages now. Christmas tree hunting day...

Off to buy our #Christmastree... Wahoo!

Quite strangely we didn't set off until just after lunch and once it had started to rain (thankfully it was just a quick shower). Thankfully we weren't hunting for our tree in the dark this year (like most other years!). We were sort of savvy with where we thought that we would find one so it was effortless.

Our first stop, which was my absolute favourite place, was a local farm type place through the woods where I used to play as a child, where they grow their own trees. All of which looked completely unique to the next- each tree was so different to the one standing next to it (which I loved!). I loved the fact that the trees were still growing and had to be dug up and the setting was just idyllic. You really needed your wellies for this place. It was a muddy patch surrounded by fields and beauty. The gentleman who was running the show was just so wonderful, helpful and super nice. I was desperate to buy my tree from this place and I say buy lightly. When I asked how much the trees cost, the reply was, "I actually give them away!". To this I obviously said "Huh?". Basically, we could walk away with a beautiful tree for nothing if we wanted to. The man then went on to tell me that if we wanted to make a donation, the money would go to a charity of our choice. At this point, he whipped out a folder full of charities that we could choose from. I was in awe of his kindness. This man was no spring chicken and he was out in the freezing cold to supply people with Christmas Trees (of which bring great joy to people) of no benefit to him and for no other reason than to give help to many charities which could potentially change lives. Sadly and I mean very sadly, we were too late. People obviously knew the secret of this place a lot sooner than we did and the trees that we liked had already been put by. Next year, I am going back in November to reserve our tree.

Our next stop, was another local place. We actually purchased our tree from there last year. The guys there are so helpful, the trees lovely and the prices weren't bad (for a real tree nowadays). We are soooo happy with our tree and whizzed it straight home.

Every year we make the same mistake of buying a tree too bulky to fit in to our tree stand. So Matt had to perform a severe bodge job again so it doesn't topple too easily when the kittens attempt to climb it... which I'm sure they will. Matt is honestly the most resourceful person I know.

Noah and I had a smashing time decorating the tree with ornaments. Yes, our tree may be slightly bauble heavy in some areas but I think my little Bug did a fab job.

Ellenah took a more supervisory roll with decorating the tree. She wasn't too interested in actually touching it but her delegation skills were on point. She had a great time playing with the star and  a bell... that kept her completely happy. Towards the end she found a box of spare baubles which she referred to as her 'kids' and got herself stuck on repeat by putting them in a box and taking them back out again, over and over.

Puddle and Polly are very interested in the tree. They want to attack the lights and tinsel at every opportunity, so I can't actually say if our tree will make it to Christmas day or not. 

Matt and I, we've enjoyed watching the children become excited for Christmas, even more so now that we have a tree. Ellenah really understands Christmas a lot more this year so it is a brand new excitement for us. I can see her get so excited when we talk about Father Christmas coming, that  she has to hold her breath and she lets out a little squeal...I remember feeling that way and I am so excited for her. We are tired now though, after putting so much energy in to our grotto. So once I hit publish, we are going to cozy down in our festive space and watch a Christmas movie to end the day.

I hope you have all had a fantastic Sunday. How many of you have put up your trees today?

Lots of Love
x Maria x

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Christmas TAG...

Last month I was tagged by Paige at Miss Sugar Spice All Things Nice to do The Christmas TAG... So, now it is Blogmas and December, I'm all over it.

Here it goes...

1.What is your favourite christmas movie(s)?
My favourite Christmas movies are National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (this is absolutely number one, it's the best!), The Holiday (Jude Law- Yummy! and just awwwwwww, it's lovely) and Home alone (obviously... this is pretty legendary!).

2.Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Mega early on Christmas morning (After the big guy has been , of course), still in our pyjamas, in front of the fire. Cozy, snuggly and super excited. We usually crack open the Bucks Fizz to start off the festive celebrations (the kids have apple juice... they are too young for the good stuff haha).

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
My favourite christmas memories are each and every one that I have been blessed to have my little Darling children with me. They quite simply make Christmas for me.

My memories of Christmas when I was younger all kind of blur in to one. In all honesty, I just have great memories of Christmas as a whole. I have a big family and I can still picture us all around the dinner table, laughing and singing. Our house was always busy with people coming and going and sharing christmas joy and cheer. I smile when I remember how me and my brother used to play pirate ships under the buffet table and every now and again, would reach our arms up to grab the treats... we thought that nobody knew we were there.

4. Favourite festive food?
My Dad's prawn cocktail. Honestly, I can't get mine the same, I don't know how he does it, it's beautiful. AND... cringe, cringe...I am aware that I am going to sound like a complete child without any sense of taste but I have to be honest. One of my festive food weaknesses is Ritz crackers and Primula cheese. It's something that I have taken from my childhood I suppose. I only have it at Christmas really but I really enjoy it haha.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
Last year, my sisters and I decided that we would only buy gifts for each other from our local businesses and I really enjoyed opening my gifts on Christmas morning to a surprise. You could tell just how much thought went into the gifts and I really enjoyed knowing that we supported our local businesses. 

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
In mid-November, Matt and I were in Asda and came across the yankee candle section and their christmas range. I found one called Christmas Treats which smelt amazing. Sadly, I didn't buy it and I haven't seen it anywhere since. Maybe it was a previous years supply or something but I'm gutted. It was the nicest one I have ever smelt and it sums up Christmas for me really.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
I covered this in yesterday's post. We always watch The Polar Express, drink hot chocolate (with marshmallows, which I forgot to mention yesterday!) and read The Night Before Christmas together. 

8. What tops your tree?
Growing up, we always had an angel on top of the tree. She was pretty old and severely battered. she had a messy blonde bob and her wings were stuck on with sellotape but we all loved her. One year, Mum and Dad brought a new, shiny and 'pretty' angel which we hated. She was quickly demoted to the fireplace and our old girl took her place back to oversee Christmas. 

Our tree has a star on it now- I don't like it! It always looks mega wonky. I may have to find an angel when we go shopping for our tree tomorrow... Eeeeeeek!

9. As a kid what was the one (Crazy, Wild, Extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
I have just had to call my Mum to answer this because I just don't remember asking for anything that big and I was right. I never thought to ask for anything big like a pony or a unicorn of anything... why didn't I think of that? Haha.

10. What's best part about Christmas for you?
I love the build up to Christmas. The school plays, carols at church, Christmas markets and pretty much just spending time with my family when everybody is so happy and full of smiles. I love everything about it.

I would love to hear about some of the answers to these questions from you and if you want to do the whole TAG, let me know that you have because I would love to read your answers.

x Maria x