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A Summer of Fun- Our Wishlist Of Fun In The UK This Summer...

on Thursday, 18 June 2015.

It's only June but already the time is whizzing by until we are on the countdown to Mads starting school in September. The application form has been sent in, we have been browsing the school uniform leaflet, and we already have sent dates for the Autumn and Easter terms. I still can't quite fathom that my baby will be going to school. We want to make sure we make the biggest Summer full of memories. We will never get this time back, will not be able to be quite so spontaneous when it comes to trips away, and also we will have to stick to doing things during the school holidays. For that reason we are planning lots of adventures over the course of June and July, and then in August too, before life changes for all of us in September.

I love Summer. While I love Christmas and the month of December in general as we have Mads birthday and our wedding anniversary, I do love Summer the best, especially when the weather is nice.nWe are really lucky that both myself and my husband work from home, which means we can go on a few day trips and weekends away throughout the Summer. Here are some of the places on our wish list...

1. We would love to do a weekend in Cornwall as it is one of my favourite parts of the UK. I have such fond memories of going down there on family holidays as a child and would love to take the girls down there too. There are some gorgeous UK holiday homes around- look at this one in Mawgan Porth- it has a roll top bath outside!

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2. We would like to visit Legoland again this Summer. We only went a couple of weeks ago but both of my girl's absoutely loved it and as we have year long passes it makes sense to go a few times if we can. You can't beat a theme park on a Summer's Day, as long as the queues aren't too bad.

3. We want to go and visit my Grandparents who live on the border of Wales. We love going to visit them and creating special memories, but perhaps instead of rushing back we might make a weekend of it. It is such a beautiful area and there's so much to see and do there- I used to love going to visit with my parents when I was little. 

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4. We already have a little trip down to Hampshire booked which I can't wait for. We are taking a certain Peppa obsessed two year old to visit Peppa Pig world. We took Mads a couple of years ago but she wasn't quite so keen as LL, I am so excited to see her face! She can spot Peppa merchandise from a mile away, even a toothbrush in the supermarket that's about ten metres away!

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5. We want to do a couple of day trips or perhaps over night stays in London. It's less than an hour for us on the train and we go in quite often, but we would like to show the girls some of the things they haven't seen before. We want to go on the London Eye, plus Mads wants to go to this cafe in East London that only sells cereal as basically ridiculously sugary cereal is her favourite thing in the world ever!

We may not getting round to doing all these, but whatever happens we want to make sure we have a summer of memories. Let's hope that the weather stays nice so we can have lots of picnics, fun and adventures.

Just some of our memories from last Summer, I loved looking back at these and remembering the fun we had...

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NB: Thanks to Olivers Travels for collaborating with me on this post and for helping get me excited about Summer! All words and opinions are my own. 

My Sisters in June 2015.....

on Monday, 15 June 2015.

As I sit writing this post it's Sunday afternoon and I am sat in a hotel room in Wembley. I have been away the last two nights for the Blogtacular conference and now I have moved hotels and have an extra night away as I have a work related conference all day tomorrow as well. I haven't been with my babies since Friday morning and as I am putting this post together and looking at my photos it is making me miss them desperately.

I am not the type of person who can't be away from the girls. I miss them when I go away, of course I do, but I think some time apart is healthy for all of us. The most I have been away with them is four nights when I went on a press trip to Greece and by the end of it I cried because I missed them so much, but usually it's because I am with friends or doing work things so I am busy and the time goes quickly. Today however I have pretty much a whole day and night to myself before the conference starts tomorrow and therefore I am literally finding myself pining for them- I seriously can't wait to get home to them and looking at these photos doesn't really help.

Over the last month or so LL's speech has just exploded. This has opened up a whole new relationship for them both, one of discovery and new interactions. Sharing a room has bought them even closer as well and we love to stand on the stairs and listen to them chattering away together. The other night we heard them telling each other the same knock knock joke for half an hour to each other. Mads would say 'Knock Knock', LL would say 'Whose There?' to which her big sister replied 'The interrupting cow'. LL would say 'The interrupting cow who?' while Mads cut her off and shouted 'Moo'. (It's from the film Home in case you haven't seen it!) They would then repeat the process again and again with LL then being the person delivering the punch line and vice versa, before both of them giggling each and every time. It really is just so sweet to hear their funny little conversations.

They really are the closest of girls and have a bond so strong, it blows us away a lot of the time. They have to be near each other constantly, when they are sat on our big sofa with more than enough room to sit and spread out, they get so close to each other that they are practically on each other's laps. Mads will play with her little sister's ear and snuggle into her. Although she is the older one, she is still very much the driving force behind their affection, she is the more cuddly of the two. But you can also tell how much LL adores her big sister and looks up to her too. However as with any sibling relationship we have arguments, nearly all of them are to do with sharing, mainly with sharing the iPad in actual fact. Mads again is pretty laid back and will often give LL the iPad for an easy life but LL is a lot less tolerant, and often has little strops to try and get her own way. We have had a few occasions recently where LL has lashed out at her, trying to push her or grab it from her. This is all new to us as Mads never once did the whole hitting, pushing, or biting thing like a lot of children did. I do wonder whether it's because LL has been at nursery since a year old and has to defend herself or assert herself to get toys, whereas Mads didn't go to nursery until she was three. Having said that I've never seen her do it to another child or had nursery tell me any stories, so maybe it's just typical sibling squabbles!

These photos were taken at the very last minute. On Thursday evening having realised that I was going to London the next day, I had to rush and take some before I went. The weather was nice and warm so we decided to go for a yet another evening picnic after the girls had finished nursery. It was lovely and I just took a few photos while they were eating. Nothing particularly exciting, but they will be lovely to look back on when they are older...

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*****

This month I am sending you on to have a look at my lovely lovely friend Lucy's ever so cute twosome to see what they have been up to this month. And keep heading through the posts and you will end up here in a circle! :) 

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #24 'An Out of the Blue Phone Call'...

on Sunday, 14 June 2015.

On Monday afternoon I was sat doing some work while the girls were napping when I got a phone call from an unknown number. I never answer these, which drives my Dad mad as his number comes up as withheld and I always ignore him, but most of the time it's someone trying to sell me something or help me claim compensation. I let it go to voicemail and then I listened to the message. It was from our county school admissions team saying they had some news for me. I rang them back, not sure what to expect, and after a few minute phone call I found out that Mads had been offered a place at our first choice school.

When I say first choice, technically it was actually our fourth choice. To cut a long story short (which you can read about here if you are even vaguely interested) in our first round of applications Mads got into a school that we really didn't want her to go to- a school we looked round and didn't think much of at all, a school with a bad ofsted and a school that just wasn't right for our daughter for a number of reasons. For a while I accepted our fate, thinking we would make the best of it, before deciding actually I would fight for what I believed was best for her. We looked up some different schools, visited our new first choice school and reapplied to three different schools, all further away, with our first choice being just three miles away and then the others being a little bit further still.

When it was due to be the day of finding out about our second application, I was straight on the phone to the admissions team, (annoying Mum anyone?!) but was told that I had to wait another seven days for our letter to be sent out. Me being me, and being really impatient, couldn't wait that long so I rang our new first choice school, only to be told that she hadn't got in. I actually cried down the phone to the kind lady in the school office, but to be honest that's nothing new, I am an emotional wreck at the best of times. I then rang up our second choice school, and after a bit of confusion, found out she had a place there. We were pleased, but so nervous as we hadn't even been to see the school, we put it down as a last minute desperate thing as the deadline was looming near. 

We arranged a trip to see the school she got a place in, and we were pleasantly surprised, we really liked the school and felt that Mads would be happy there. A reasonable sized school, about 250 children, and only six miles from where she lived. We accepted that it was fate and slowly began to get excited that she would be starting there in September. Forms were filled out, birth certificates handed in, and we started to tell Mads all about the school she would be going to. 

So when we got the call on Monday, we were honestly shocked and so confused about what to do. We really liked our second place school and had accepted she was going there. After a lot of chatting with friends and family, we decided to visit our original first choice school again just to have one more look, but we were leaning towards staying with our second choice. But upon visiting the school again on Tuesday, I just fell in love with it again. After much discussion back and forth, and changing our mind a few times, we decided to accept her waiting list place at our original first place school. We just went with our gut instinct, and the fact that our first place school had such friendly staff who were so patient and kind with us.

We subsequently found out that the parents induction evening was the next day, on Thursday. So Grandma came over to babysit for the evening and Mr E and I nervously headed over to the school where potentially we will be investing ten years of our family's lives. I felt like I was the one starting school sat there, waiting for the head teacher to begin her talk, glancing shyly over at the other parents. But as soon as she started to talk, I just knew we had made the right decision. I sat there with a smile on my face the whole time, in the little dining hall where my baby will eat lunch five times a week for almost every week of the year. We walked round her new classroom, where she will be in a tiny reception class with just 15 other children. We joked with the head, who told us she would be on hand with tissues on her first day. We met her teacher, her teaching assistant, the PTA committee, and we chatted nervously to the parents who we will be sharing just so many milestones with over the years. We left with a huge wallet of information, and with a comforting hand on the shoulder from that lady in the office who said she was thrilled that these things happen for a reason and after all my worries our baby would be joining them in September. 

And I just knew. And I could tell Mr E knew too. We had made the right decision. When we started this schools process way back in November of last year, never did I expect Mads to be going to such a tiny, small village school. But she is. And I couldn't be happier. It just all felt so right. As we walked back to our car at the end of the evening, Mr E took hold of my hand and said 'It was just great.' And I couldn't agree more. They say things happen for a reason. And I although I am nervous, although it's all been a bit of a drama, I know deep down that it was meant to be. 

So now we enjoy our Summer. That last lovely Summer, of having our girl all to ourself just for a while longer. Where her world revolves aorund us and where we know almost every aspect of her life. A Summer of making memories, of enjoying having no routine and structure. Because September will come around really rather quickly. Growing up is inevitable, and I know that it will hurt when that day comes that I have to leave my girl in that sweet little classroom ready to start the next chapter of her life. But at least we can relax knowing that these things are meant to be. And that she is in a place where hopefully she will thrive.

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I love this iPhone snap of them from this week.

 

 

A Picnic in the Buttercups...

on Thursday, 11 June 2015.

I am a big stickler for nap times and bed times. I don't know what it is, whether it's just who they are, or whether it's our set routine, but our girls do love to sleep and for the most part they will be in bed by at least 7.30pm every night. Of course if we are on holiday, or have plans to go out for the day then they don't always go to bed on time, but if we are at home then it just makes sense for them to go sleep. 

However in the Summer months we definitely get more relaxed. The long, light evenings sometimes just cry out for us to stay out longer, and the last thing any of us want to do is to go in and do the whole bedtime routine. They are at an age where if they go to bed at 9pm one night, or miss a nap one day, that they aren't ridiculous grumpy monsters the next day- they can go a few days without a nap or later evenings. 

We had one of those such evenings at the weekend. On Sunday the weather was just gorgeous, we had spent the morning at Mads first ever running race and then had a picnic with friends while Mr E got on with some work. We came home and the girls had a nap, and when we got up we decided it was just too nice not to be outside. We decided to forget about our planned 'hot dinner' and head out for yet another picnic. 

When we drive in the direction of our supermarket I often notice a beautiful field of buttercups on one side of the road so I suggested going there for a picnic. Luckily Mr E is long suffering and generally humours my requests, so we packed some picnic food and drove the few minute journey to this beautiful wild buttercup field. 

It was such a lovely couple of hours and the girls loved it, not only because they got peanut butter sandwiches twice in one day, which quite frankly is always a winner in their eyes, but because the sun was shining, there were giggles a plenty and Mummy even remembered to pack some Smarties. I sat back in the sunshine, feeling the sun beating down on my shoulders, watching our two little girls giggling and laughing, and I genuinely at that moment couldn't have been happier. It was another one of those moments that I want to store in that little memory box in the back of my head to pull out if I am ever feeling down or having a tough day...

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*****

If you like my photos or tales of life with my little ladies then my blog has been chosen as a finalist in the Mad Blog Awards (eeek!) in Best Preschool Blog and Best Blog Photography. If you wanted to swing a vote my way, I would be so grateful. You can vote here. xxx

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