Life is Peachy – Beachy Walks & House Drama

Welcome to a little round-up of everything we’ve been up to recently! It dawned on me over my blogging break at Christmas that the reason I started my blog was to keep a diary of our lives. I wanted it to be a space to capture my thoughts, memories and something to look back on over time. However, I seem to have drifted from this, writing about everything from parenting, food and travel – but forgetting the nitty gritty of our lives, which will be the bits I’d want to look back on the most! So, this post is introducing a new ‘Life is Peachy’ series, which you’ll be seeing lots more of on the blog as I’m aiming to write them fortnightly, so I hope you’ll enjoy!

ROBBIE’S NEW FRIEND

January started off slowly, we ate our way through the leftover Christmas food and hibernated from the bad weather. One thing I love about where we live is that we are so close to the sea, so even on the chilly days we wrapped up warm for a blustery walk along the seafront, which really helped to clear those cobwebs! Our friend joined us for a walk with his ‘adopted’ dog and Robbie’s new best friend, Toby. A gorgeous chocolate lab who is bouncy and full of energy as he’s much younger than Robbie who couldn’t keep up with him at all. Bless him. They had such a lovely time playing together so hopefully they’ll be having lots more walkies together soon!

THE SICK BUG

I think just about everyone I know is ill at the moment. There is so much going around. We were bound to catch something sooner rather than later. Violet lovingly brought back a sickness bug from a baby group. She was ill on the Wednesday and by the Thursday I was poorly – just as I thought V was home from work ready to ‘look after me’ – she was poorly too! Plus, she was worst affected that evening and all of Friday. It was a horrible, horrible week I don’t wish to relive any time soon! I really learned that when you are sick and you have a baby, you just have to get on with things, you can’t feel sorry for yourself for a moment. It was tough.

HOUSE DRAMA

Buying a house is such a rollercoaster isn’t it? I won’t bore you with all the details (as honestly, I could talk the hind legs off a donkey about this, but I won’t). We have really been through the mill this month as we put an offer in on a house quite close to where are living now which was a ‘project’ to say the least. Desperate for more space, we went for it knowing a lot of work would be required but with so much potential, we stuck with it. Anyway, cut a long story short – the survey came back and it was a disaster, the place needs just knocking down. When you see words like ‘wood boring beetle infestation’, ‘asbestos’, ‘damp’ and ‘a hole in the roof’ you know it’s time to pull out of the sale. We got a quote from a builder to fix all the issues which came out at £100,000! Obviously we just aren’t in a position to do all of that so we pulled out. I was so sad, I felt emotionally invested in the house, I let my mind run away with me, thinking of where I’d put furniture, which room would be ours, which would be Violets etc. Plus, we lost a fair amount of money in the process too, but it was not meant to be.

Roll on two weeks later when a Rightmove alert pops up for a BEAUTIFUL house in our village, it has everything we wanted and ticks every box. When we went for the viewing I think I fell a bit in love, I think it’s the one. I thanked my lucky stars we didn’t buy the building site house! Everything happens for a reason. Anyway, it’s early days in our journey to get our ‘dream’ house – but hopefully we will be able to secure it. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

NEW WHEELS

We’ve been busy out and about this month with our brand new travel system, which is the Ickle Bubba Stomp v4 which is my first review for the Netmums Star Reviewers Panel. It feels so stylish and chic, I’ve loved putting it through it’s paces and we’ve decided to swap full time to this one as Violet loves it so much too. I filmed a full video review of it so watch out for that in the next couple of weeks on the Netmums Youtube channel!  I really enjoyed filming again and wondered if I should do more Youtube videos. Possibly.

So, thats all our news for now. Hopefully we’ll have some more house news for the next instalment, we shall see! 

 

 

 

Review: Water Babies Chapter 2

Water Babies is the HIGHLIGHT of our week, honestly – Violet just loves it. Well, she is a pisces so I knew she’d have an affinity for water, but I didn’t realise she would show it at such a young age! Chapter 2 is over now, so it’s time to look back on our Water babies journey so far.

So, firstly- if you are thinking of signing your little one up for baby swimming classes, read my review of Water Babies Chapter 1, as thats where you’ll start and that post has all the information you’ll need as an introduction to baby swimming.  We have also done the Water babies Underwater photo shoot, so here is our video on how the shoot is done and a peek at our photos!

So, onto Chapter 2! Excuse the slightly graining photo photos in this post, we took my Olympus Pen to take photos for the Chapter 1 review and the humidity in the pool actually stopped it working for a few days, luckily, it recovered but as you can imagine I didn’t want to risk it this time! 😊

I think the first thing I realised about Chapter 2 is just how quickly your little ones will start to progress with their learning. Chapter 1 was all about easing them into the water and getting them used to a few safety skills and little dips underwater. Chapter 2 feels like you’ve cranked the gears up a notch (or five!) so you need to prepare yourself for much more fast paced, in depth learning. I also found Violet was a bit older so was so much more aware of her surroundings and what we were doing than in Chapter 1 which made it so much more fun too!

Over the break between Chapters 1 and 2, she changed so much. She learned to splash her hands in the water, meaning every lesson I’d be trying to listen to the instructions with water being splashed in my face from beginning to end, plus she’d kick her arms and legs in excitement at the toys and activities –  after the first lesson the mascara had to go as I soon resembled a panda. Gone were the days of gentle movements round the pool, I learned this was going to be much more full on!

As the entire Water Babies journey is a continuous progressive way of learning, we  continued with the same format to the lessons as in Chapter 1 so it was really familiar for the little ones, with songs they’d recognise like Splish Splash, Humpty Dumpty and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but in between the ‘old classics’ we’d add in brand new safety skills and build upon them every week.

The new skills in Chapter 2 come thick and fast, but our teacher like always was excellent at watching to see if the little ones were keeping up and getting on well with each skill, I think that is what puts my mind at rest with Water Babies is that even though it’s a shared class, it still feels so personal and you get quite a bit of 1-on-1 time especially during brand new skills and underwaters to check all is going well for everyone.

Some of the new skills included in Chapter 2 were introduction the ‘Bubba’ float, which doubled up as an awesome surf board, which Violet loved gliding on through the waves on. We did a ‘Ring of Roses’ swim which involves going straight down under the water and also finished the term swimming through a hoop! We also built upon lots of safety skills like getting them to hold onto the side more independently and even an ’emergency’ underwater which in theory would be is they were to fall into the pool, they’d know to kick to the surface and turn to hold onto the rail. This is just some of the activities, there were lots of things like ‘chase the fishy’, blowing bubbles and more which Violet loved too.

All in all, we have loved Chapter 2 even more than Chapter one, Violet was just so more knowing and aware, her excitement when we reach the pool is a picture, there are smiles for the entire session, she is just in her element, plus I feel so much better about taking Violet near water after our lessons. It’s amazing really that at such a young age they can learn such important skills, but I’m so glad we are, should the worst (shudder) happen.

Roll on Chapter 3! 

We go to Water Babies lessons in Brighton & Hove which if you are local I’d highly recommend, to see their latest lesson schedule or to sign up, see their Facebook here! If you aren’t in Brighton, they do have lessons all round the country too!

The Teddy Bears Tea Party

Watching Violet grow and learn has got to be one of the best things about being a parent. Every time she reaches a new milestone or learns a new skill, I just burst with pride. This morning, I went into her room to collect her from her cot, I could see she was awake on the monitor but she was playing and singing to herself, patiently waiting for her day to start. When I came into the room she greeted me with a huge smile and clapped her hands! She’s been trying so hard to clap for ages but seems to have suddenly mastered it overnight! It must have been the first thing she wanted to show me when she woke up. You never know what each day will bring with their development, it feels like she’s changing every day at the moment!

One of her very favourite things to do is imaginary play with her teddies. As Violet is my first baby, I didn’t really know when babies would start imaginary play, I assumed it would be slightly older but Violet seems to be starting now so I want to encourage her every step of the way.

Her favourite game at the moment is the ‘Teddy Bears Tea Party’. She recently got this beautiful personalised wooden toy pram, which she’s filled with a selection of her favourite cuddly toys. During the day, she will just disappear off into her bedroom on her own (obviously I’m close behind her, but I let her explore). I will usually find her sitting on the floor with her pram, surrounded by teddies. She will hold each one up to eye level and has a full ‘conversation’ with each one. She can’t talk yet but she babbles away. She even waves at them and strokes them. Honestly, it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen!

When the teddies have had enough tea and a catch up with Violet, she’ll pop them all back into her pram and take them for a walk around the house. The pram has been such a perfect toy for her age as it’s sturdy enough for her to pull up on and steady herself, she also uses it as a walker, pushing it about with all her teddies on board. It’s the sort of classic toy that will grow with her over time, when she’s a bit bigger I’m sure we’ll get her a doll to look after and push around too.

They say that encouraging your little ones to take part in imaginary play helps them to create new connections in their brain, it helps them to think and learn, improve communication skills and build on their physical development too, so it’s best to start as early as possible!

Our wooden pram was ordered online from Babyuniquecorn  – they specialise in beautiful and unique baby clothes and toys. The wooden prams are handmade with so much care and attention to detail. Plus, it’s classic and chic appearance looks gorgeous in Violet’s nursery too! Check them out on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration from their fabulous range!

Violet’s First Christmas

They say that when you have children, Christmas becomes all about them, and I can safely confirm after our first Christmas together as a family that this is true, but it is also totally magical experience too. It’s like that childhood magic returns and you see it in their faces, I’m sure Violet is too small to understand fully, but she was so taken by the lights, the presents (of course) and even tried some Christmas foods too. I sat watching Christmas movies with Violet by the tree and had to pinch myself, I couldn’t believe I have my own little girl to celebrate with this year and as she grows older it will only get even more exciting too!

We have never really been much of a festive family, we’ve been away on holiday over Christmas a couple of years and for the last 3 years we haven’t had a tree, but with now Violet here we wanted to go all out with the Christmas traditions and I think we did pretty well!

So, our celebrations started on Christmas eve, which luckily fell over the weekend meaning V had a little bit more time off then she usually would. It was also Violet’s 10 month birthday, so we had to get this cute snap in her elf outfit with the Christmas Tree, of course! At 10 months old she’s SO close to walking, I think she’ll have mastered her first steps within a couple of weeks for sure. She stands unaided all the time, she just needs to take the plunge and put one foot forward, it’ll happen!

We had a lovely family day together and a bit of last minute Christmas shopping (as part of the One4All Giftcard challenge, where I was challenged to kit our house for Christmas – read about this here!). We picked up some fresh vegetables for our roast dinner and fresh ingredients like delicious puddings in Marks and Spencer. I managed to bag some last minute Christmas decorations for the tree which were 50% off already, great time to get everything. I used our One4All Giftcard for all of my Christmas shopping this year which has been SO handy they are totally flexible to use in different shops, meaning you can do all your shopping with one card. An ideal gift as well for someone if you don’t know which shop they would normally buy from.

In the evening, we attended the Family Crib Service at our local church. It was a refreshingly light-hearted service, where there were children and adults all dressed as parts from the nativity scene, it was like something from the Vicar of Dibley. I also enjoyed singing some carols and getting into the spirit of Christmas! Next year, we will be totally dressing up for the service, watch this space!

We got home just in time for Violet to open her Christmas Eve Box and lay down a carrot and mince pie for Father Christmas.

A few last minute decorations added to the tree in M&S thanks to my One4All Giftcard!

Christmas morning came after a rather disturbed nights sleep from Violet- maybe she was just too excited to see what Santa had brought her, or maybe she just didn’t want to give me the only thing on my Christmas list (a good nights sleep!) So, we felt rather jaded in the morning and after a very slow start, we eventually opened presents at midday (the perks of having a little one who doesn’t want to open everything first thing!). We started off with Robbie as let’s face it, he’s the only one of us that can sniff out which presents are for him – from a mile off! He had a stocking full of treats which included doggy friendly wrapping paper, which meant he could take his presents and rip them to his hearts content! That kept him busy whilst Violet got to work on the rest of the pile!

Of course, Violet was thoroughly spoiled – we just bought her a few little wooden toys and books as we didn’t want to go mad, but having a whole hoard of lovely aunties and uncles surrounding her, she was one lucky little girl with all the exciting things she got!  I’m not actually sure she knew what to do with all the presents as it was all a bit overwhelming so we did it in stages so she could actually enjoy and appreciate each gift and spend some time playing with it. She loved ripping open the wrapping paper and seeing what was inside, her face was a picture! By the end of the unwrapping session, you couldn’t see the floor for paper, ribbons, building blocks, toys and games.

It was clearly all a bit too much Violet then got extremely tired so we put her down for a nap, whilst the Christmas lunch cooked away in the oven. As we are vegetarian, we had a Quorn Roast and all the normal roast veg and trimmings, mince pies and Christmas pudding! The only thing we missed out this year was Brandy Butter, a favourite of mine. Doh! Also, following our tradition – Robbie had a full roast dinner for his lunch too. 

It was then time for the Queen’s Speech, so we all sat together on the sofa by the open fire (including Robbie) to tune in. We waded through snacks galore (isn’t that what Christmas Day is about!?)  – a good old fashioned tin of Quality Streets (Strawberry and Orange Creams for the win!), M&S honey cashew nuts and Fairfield Farm Heat & Eat Crisps (warm crisps with dips!) were some of the definite favourite snacks this year! We also had a gorgeous M&S Salted Caramel Pudding, which although it didn’t look exactly like it did on the box, it was so delicious, with a centre of swirls of sparkling salted caramel sauce inside a molten chocolate cake. SO GOOD! 

Our first family Christmas was relatively low-key, relaxed and a quiet day but it was just perfect for us. Violet was so excited by all the new toys, the lights, the movies on the TV and most importantly, spending time together as a family. I enjoyed just having a day to relax on the sofa, eating WAY to much and I even managed to squeeze in an hour of gaming time as I got the new Pokemon Ultra Sun game for the Nintendo DS – I haven’t played a computer game since way before Violet arrived so this was a lovely break and I realised how much I missed escaping into the world of games, just for a short while! I hope to make a little bit more time for it in 2018 as a way to relax, but we shall see if that pans out! 

Boxing Day was a restful day, time to play with Violet’s new toys! We had lunch with some friends in the village which was lovely. They just got a new black kitten, which was so cute.

And just like that Christmas was over. Life went back to normal on 27th, although I clung onto as much festive spirit as possible, keeping the tree up and eating our way through the endless Christmas food (we still have some now!) until a couple of days later when Christmas ended with a large crash and a bang…..

At 6:30am when I was at home on my own, Violet decided to ‘drive’ her car into the side of the tree, causing the entire thing to fall over. That certainly woke me up! She then stood back and casually waved the bauble she snagged on the way at me as I tried to heave it off the floor, the decorations falling off, the lights tangled in the dangling tinsel – basically a giant mess. I tried to put it all back into place but it just didn’t look the same and feeling paranoid Violet would pull it down again, the tree had to go. We packed it up and took the rest of the decorations down. Until next year, tree!

Our NYE was a very relaxed affair, we only just made it to midnight and watched the fireworks on the iPad in bed, before promptly falling asleep as soon as they were over – rock and roll!

So, that’s Violet’s first Christmas in a nutshell, it was a quiet, sweet and magical first Christmas as a family together, just right. I’m looking forward to next year as I’m sure she’ll have more of an idea of what is going on and it’ll be just chaos I’m sure! 🙂 Hope you had a good one too!

 

 

Blogging Goals for 2018

I don’t normally write posts like this but as it’s new years day of course, like we all are, I’m feeling reflective. I feel excited to say my blog has stepped up a gear this year in 2017, I had so much more time to work on it being on maternity leave, plus having a baby that loves being photographed is a bonus too! So, as I’m hoping to continue on this roll, it would be good to set some goals to look back on next year and see how I did. One day I wonder if I could make this my career, that would be my ultimate goal and it’s looking more and more possible. This year I took my blog from a hobby to a small business, which makes me feel amazingly proud. I worked on some big campaigns with brands like American Express, Marks & Spencer and Aviva, just to name a few, as well as documenting life becoming a mother and Violet’s progress so far. I know that a lot of bloggers and ‘insta-mums’ have been slammed in 2017 for their participation in sponsored posts, ads and such like this year. I also realise I’m not anywhere near their league but I have included more content like that too this year too in between my personal posts. So, I just wanted to highlight other side of the coin to these posts – as by doing this I have also managed to fund my way through my maternity leave and support my family over the past year. Every post has still been as honest and genuine as before, trust me, I’ve also said NO to a lot of paid posts too, if they don’t fit my blog or I don’t like the product! So i hope when readers see ‘#ad’ on mine or other bloggers posts, they know they are still as down to earth and honest as before but like all people in the world, we have to put food on the table for our little ones (and me, mama gotta eat!), so it’s something to be proud of, rather than a negative.

Anyway, I slightly digress! My blogging goals this year are all with taking my blog to the next level over 2018. I will be returning to work in March but only part time and funding childcare too and oh-my-goodness if you’ve seen the rates of nurseries, you’ll understand why a girl needs to hustle hard this year. It’s going to be a tough year,  returning to work, looking after Violet and blogging, but I’m determined to make it work!

Here are my goals for 2018:

 

    •  Write more personal posts – I started my blog as a journal of my life and its easy to loose track of why I started it in the first place! I want to document all those little moments to create something I’ll look back on over the years and treasure. Look out for my new fortnightly ‘Life is Peachy’ post which will be a big round up of all our news, plus lots more opinions and personal moments.
    • Share more experiences  – I’m always chatting to people on Instagram about parenting topics like weaning, sleep regressions and such like. I’m not an expert but I want to share more of my experiences as hopefully it’ll help new mums, or even if I can’t help, maybe it’ll be something you can relate to. It’s good to talk.
    • Sort my finances – bit of a boring one but I’ve just finished my second tax return and I always leave it until the last minute, then have to cobble everything together right before the deadline. This year I’m going to get on top of everything as we go along, keeping track of my invoices, payments and expenses before the mad January rush. I’m not doing it in a panic again!
    • Grow my Instagram – isn’t this every bloggers goal? I’ll keep plodding on and hoping for the best! I really want to make my insta Stories more creative and vlog-style this year too, so watch out for that.
    • Pinterest – as my largest social media following and the biggest driver of traffic to my blog I really don’t spend enough time on Pinterest. I really need to get back into the habit of using Tailwind and Tailwind tribes. I need to remember to make a pinnable image for all my posts too.
    • Accept I don’t have much time and write on the hop! I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to blogging, I always try to sit down with my laptop in perfect silence, I don’t think in 2018 with a one year old (!!) running about that is going to happen. I’ve got myself a diary, notepad to scribble notes on the run and downloaded an app to turn speech to text. Just gotta get those ideas down there and then if I want to continue at the pace I’m currently at.
    • Make more videos! This goes hand in hand with the one above. I think I get put off making videos as I’m always feeling self conscious, like my hair or make up isn’t perfect or it’s not light enough, etc. This year I’ve just got to grab the camera and get on with it, let’s see what I can come up with!
    • Continue to work on my photography and finally learn to use Lightroom. I edit my photos (poorly) by muddling through the settings, I have no idea what I’m doing I just try and make them look nice. So to be sure I’m not missing a trick I’m going to sit and teach myself (via YouTube I’m sure!) and see how my photography evolves in 2018.

Wow, it looks like it’s going to be a busy year, but I hope my goals are something I can aim for and hopefully make a difference! So, as a final thought for 2017, I just wanted to say I really appreciate everyone who reads my blog, follows me on social media and supports the little world of Fizzy Peaches. It sounds cheesy but none of these goals would be possible without you, so a massive thank you for all your support in 2017, it does mean the world to me and I hope you continue to enjoy our adventures into 2018!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!