A Chilly Day Out in the Forest

Today was a rare day at the weekend with no visitors, no trips away or any other commitments. Whilst all of those things in recent months have been awesome, the chance to just be a trio for the day is something worth cherishing!

We decided to head down to Thetford Forest, which is about 40 minutes away from us. With our usual ‘precision-planning’, we set off during her usual nap time, and Bea dutifully obliged, nodding off peacefully in the back. This would give plenty of energy for the next couple of hours!

The weather didn’t initially scream ‘let’s go out and play’, and we were both constantly aware of her getting too cold. Bea, on the other hand, just wanted to be and roaming about as per usual!

Our first port of call was meeting the Gruffalo, which is yet to be read in our house but she knows it from the childminder. From there, we nearly got a bit lost in the woods and came out at a fantastic sound trail. Bea (and us) had a great time smacking and jumping on things, creating all kinds of echoes around the trees. These little moments were occasionally interrupted by dogs popping out of nowhere (and Bea loves nothing more than trying to chase them!), but our musical explorations left us ready for lunch, which was suitably hearty and warming.

The afternoon was spent arond the obligatory play area, but in reality most of it was spent with Bea applauding the children on the Go Ape highwire overhead! She then spent ages just running up to random people and smiling away and leaving us following behind meekly apologising for her interrupting their afternoon (I imagine this a fairly common trait among parents of toddlers…).

 

Back for a nap and snuggles in front of the telly before some teething kicked in around tea time (we’ll blame it on that and  not the new recipe we tried for tea!). Thankfully, a bit of playtime before bed distracted her enough and now it’s time for me to blog during Strictly! Don’t know why I didn’t think of using that time more wisely before…

 

 

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The Blogiversary – A Year Of Blogging

I got a lovely reminder from WordPress that the blog started a year ago (last Thursday technically!). We were away for the weekend so this is the first chance I’ve had to reflect on it (in writing).

So which way to look at it? There’s the numbers approach (which I will summarise later), the photo approach (again, keep scrolling…) and a selection of my favourite posts so far.I reckon that’ll do…

What of the blogging experience so far then? I’ve really enjoyed putting our time with Bea into words so far. I’m not always as up to date as I’d like, I’m also not often confident to voice my opinion too much on here like a lot of other bloggers are (credit to them by the way!) and I still have no idea what shape this blog will take in the longer run. It’s hard finding the time outside of work, and in the last few months in particular, there has just been too much to comment on so I’ve been sat back and just enjoying the experiences in real life, sorry!

The blogging world has been an interesting world to enter too – there’s a wealth of information, opinion and bloggers out there, and there’s a lot to learn should I wish. I can say fairly confidently that I won’t be quitting the day job any time soon though!

So, the blog by numbers (sorry, can’t help it, I know Lucy will be tutting as she reads this…):

62 posts

3544 views (which is bonkers!)

1,779 visitors (not sure how this one works!)

29 WordPress followers

5 Email followers

There’s also a smattering of Instagram and Facebook likes/follows too, which I’m very gratfeul for! I’m glad people like to come and read, it’s a real sense of achievement when people actually do!

That’s the numbers out of the way.

Favourite posts? Not entirely sure, but I’ve picked some of these out to reminisce.

Here’s where it all began

This one brings back some strong memories of starting out as parents: LINK

This one was the first post that resonated with a friend: LINK

We’re still hooked on this particular series: LINK

The start of a manic December: LINK

We all make mistakes: LINK

And finally, time for some of my favourite photos. We’ve taken soooo many, and I made the decision early on not to share any photos of Bea’s full face – this has been a challenge, but one I’m glad I did. She might want to be involved in the future, but I want that to be her decision! Anyway, I’ve selected (and added) my favourites from the blog so far!

Just looking through all these makes me excited for the year ahead!

Real Mum Reviews

Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne

Since Lucy’s gone back to work, I’ve been responsible for getting our meals on the table when Bea and I get home. We’ve started planning our meals of a weekend so that we’re sorted for the week ahead. It’s really tricky planning any regular kind of variety, but we’re getting there. You can see our current week’s food here… Continue reading “Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne”

#ParentingIsAwesome

Ok, in my last post I mentioned that I would explain the meaning behind the hashtag that sits under the title of my blog page. Originally, the strapline was ‘a (relatively) positive look at parenting’ as I felt a lot of what I’d heard about parenting was pretty negative – focused heavily on logistics, lack of sleep and how your life isn’t your own any more. Continue reading “#ParentingIsAwesome”

Babyproofing the house: Round 1

So you may have caught our last Milestone Moment. Bea has been threatening to move under her own steam for some time now; it’s finally happened.

Time to delve into the world of babyproofing. Here are the results of my initial foray into Google:

Mother And Baby Reviews : I’m still none the wiser after reading these.

Parent Guide : The Holy Grail of all babyproofing knowledge. Seriously, well played Google. A friendly, well-written and more importantly, really clear set of comparisons.

Childproofing on Pinterest : As with anything on Pinterest, far too easy to get lost in something completely irrelevant but some nice infographics to get the point across.

Baby Centre UK : A very, very thorough list of some fairly obvious things. Perfect for the overly anxious.

Mothercare : Not a very well laid-out page, but lots of everyday things mentioned if you can pick them out.

Parents.com : One of those annoying slideshows with adverts everywhere. Didn’t get past the snazzy whale-shaped bath seat on page 1.

After flicking through those, we’ve decided to go with these.

I’ll let you know how they go…

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Happy Mother’s Day!

March has been a slow blogging month. Sorry if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new post! I think I can look back on it in terms of content, if not quantity. I finally got around to writing a feature that is about something I am passionate about – children’s reading, and then wrote a very personal but heartfelt message to Beatrice. This post is probably going to be the last one of the month, so it makes me proud that the content for this one is just as important to me as the other two!

If I’m honest, this month has also been a blur of amazing awesomeness and it’s been hard keeping up with all of Bea’s new skills – this has definitely been one of my favourite months of being a parent yet. More on that in the future… Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Bedtime Reading 1: Once Upon an Alphabet

Since starting this blog, I’ve always wanted to include a regular book review feature. One of the most exciting parts of planning Bea’s nursery was where to put the books! At this point, some of you will be completely on board; others will be already be looking at other blogs by now… Continue reading “Bedtime Reading 1: Once Upon an Alphabet”

Milestone Moment: First Swimming Trip

Determined to get my blog goals for the week done! Time for number three. You can check out one and two on the respective links if you haven’t done so already!

Last Saturday, the three of us went on our first public swimming outing, and also our first time swimming as a trio. Bea has been going to lessons for what seems like forever now – I think from around 8 weeks old? – and loves going in the water. Occasionally, I get to go along to the sessions and see how she’s getting on, and frankly I’m amazed at how fearless our little girl is! She also gets picked out for the demos as she is a really calm baby…(slightly proud teacher daddy moment there, sorry!) One memorable week involved her being picked out, only to be dunked about half a metre under the water and taken about a metre along. She came out looking vaguely flustered and slightly confused, but that was about it! I’m a poor swimmer, and hate going underwater, so I’m certainly going to have to face my fears a bit. Lucy, a particularly strong swimmer, has tolerated it till now, but I can’t really show Bea that it’s scary to go under at an age where she’s really responsive to our emotions and reactions!

Our trip out

Anyway, we decided to finally take her out ourselves. Swimming nappy and little swimming nappy cover thing in hand, we set out to a local pool at Wymondham. I’ve nicked all their pictures off of Google because I wasn’t going to go around a swimming pool taking photos!

For anyone who’s Norwich-based or thereabouts, this is a really fantastic place to take your little one. They were friendly and knowledgeable on the phone, so we could be prepared before we left, the place is bright and airy, and the family changing facilities are spacious and clean. We were really, really surprised as I think our expectations were a fair bit lower!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre changing rooms

There are two pools once you’re in: a main one for adults, and a shallower learning pool. This learning pool is still a fair size (see below), and is something like 0.7m deep. It was also warmer than I thought it would be, though make sure you pay attention to your baby’s needs as they feel the cold a bit more than you!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre pools

Daddy V. Mummy

I think it’s fair to say I fell into the habit of pushing things a bit further than I probably should have. I think this can be a fairly common phenomenon, but must stem out of whichever parent spends more time with their child. Without meaning to, Beatrice certainly got mouthfuls of water in my care, whereas she was generally much better off in Lucy’s well-trained hands! Obviously this can happen to either parent, but I was certainly less sure in what Beatrice’s water skills were. In this case, I underestimated her ability to keep her head up when on her front (whoops!). I must point out, no babies were harmed in the writing of this post though!

It was brilliant to see Beatrice grinning away (gulps of water aside) and the fact that she is naturally starting to kick around. She also started splashing for the first time properly – I don’t get to see many ‘firsts’ now I’m back at work so this was awesome! She has a pretty strong arm too. Just make sure to hold on when they’re splashing, as you’ll inevitably be blinded at some point. I’m proud to say that she didn’t slip or fall out of my grasp

Will we go again?

Definitely! It was very easy, lots of space to float around in, floats and toys were provided, and Beatrice had a great time. Over time, I’ll definitely get over my fear over swimming under water and also get to know my daughter’s abilities in the pool a lot better.

Big thanks to @splashandgiggle for turning our daughter into a little waterbaby, she loves it!

Blog goal 3 down! I’m not sure if I can do goal number 4 by Sunday, but I’m going to find a way round that…when did you take your baby swimming?

Cheffy Daddy: Lamb Curry

So, time for Blog Goal number 2 for this week. The snazzy font in the featured image above is made using the Typorama app, which is free and is brilliant by the way!

Not sure why, I’m certainly no future Jamie Oliver (think the ship has sailed on that one), but I felt like posting some of my cooking efforts. Lucy and I do really enjoy cooking when we get the chance. Lucy’s a keen baker, and I like to make a mess when I do savoury stuff!

This Sunday, I made us a lamb curry. This was a lot easier than you’d think, especially if you skip out the whole blender phase. We like chunky bits anyway!

I’m not going to take any credit for the recipe itself, it’s a Mary Berry one taken from the BBC Food website (which is an amazing website by the way!).

Ingredients

If you look closely enough, you’ll see I left out some of the ingredients that we didn’t have. I don’t know how different it would taste with those added, but this slimmed-down version was still delicious and something we’d definitely be able to do again with our stock ingredients!

A quick summary of the actual process (again, I’m basically nicking this from Mary Berry with a few lazier moderations!):

  1. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger till the onions are softened. It’s probably best to keep the heat low-medium, making sure you don’t burn the garlic.
  2. Add the spices and stir them in until all the bits are coated.
  3. Then add the lamb chunks and fry for about 3-4 minutes, turning up the heat a bit to brown the lamb. Again, get it all coated in the spice mix so it all tastes glorious.
  4. Add the tomatoes, some salt and pepper, and let it simmer down for about half an hour. You can get the rice on or any extras whilst this is happening (we use a mix of Basmati and Jasmine rice).
  5. That’s it! The sauce should thicken and you should be left with a delicious, quick and easy lamb curry! It definitely felt like a treat at the end of a good weekend.

img_1872

This would almost certainly work with any meat. We had some leftovers from my Daddy/daughter day out in the freezer, but I’m sure anything else would work fine.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you more Cheffy Daddy delights in future blogs! Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this one as part of a weaning baby’s diet (it was a bit spicier than expected, not sure it’s worth the risk!), Lucy has had a go at making some things that are suitable for Bea at breakfast time that are considerably less squishy than her other options! If you want a sneak peak, you can check out my Instagram page.

Two down, two to go…

‘Sharenting’ and the topic of digital citizenship (aka photos of our baby)

On Sunday I set myself four blogging goals. Here is the first one (I didn’t say I’d do them in order!) for the week. Hopefully I can get around to blogging more regularly.

The timing of this is actually somewhat coincidental. Since signing up to WordPress, I’ve been following the odd parent blogger that has been kind enough to like finding out about our little parenting adventure. There are around 20 of you out there following at the moment, so thanks for stopping by and having a look!

One of the people I’ve been reading is This Tiny Blue House, and their recent post on digital citizenship struck a chord here.Maybe it’s the fact we’re both teachers that makes us slightly more aware/cautious about our digital footprints. I tried leaving a wordy comment on her blog, but the internet decided to disagree with me, so I guess a blog post is the next best thing!

With this blog, I decided from the off that I didn’t want to show any full pictures of Beatrice until she was able to decide that she wanted her photos to be on here. I can’t say completely why, but it just felt like the right thing to do. In a few years she’ll know that this blog is part of her life and may want to go back through where it all started (I know I’d be curious!). Already just putting the odd (granted, fairly unique) tag into Google images reveals quite the digital trail!

I’m equally aware that this isn’t a foolproof goal. We share pictures of her on Facebook with family and friends, and like many have closed groups for sharing day-to-day ones. This is obviously a bit hypocritical, but there is a relative control over what is shared there. We’ve never been big sharers online and this is just an extension of that I suppose.

#SaferInternetDay

Today is also ‘Safer Internet Day’ which is generally aimed at preparing children for their life as a digital citizen. As I said, the timing of this post is actually coincidental, but it has thrown up some interesting things, such as the word ‘sharenting’ and some valid concerns from children themselves. Firstly, ‘sharenting’ is a great word by the way! Even if it seems to be attached to negative connotations, it’s a brilliant portmanteau.
It’s thrown up some interesting statistics too (albeit not terribly scientific), which made me think about the children I work with. It’s something I will definitely discuss with them.

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Taken from the Newsround website

You can read more here if you like. By the way, I’m not criticising anyone who does any ‘sharenting’. Most of the photos I see online are positive, and way better than anything I seem to manage with our camera (maybe that’s it, my photos just aren’t up to scratch…). Children are growing up with this being commonplace, and generally know what could happen to a photo of themselves online. I guess it comes down to your own attitude towards it with your children as to whether it has potential to be positive or negative. Either way, I will continue to take countless photos of our girl growing up and equally look for photos of those little moments that I can share with you! Please go and have a look at the discussion Jenny has generated on her post above, or feel free to comment on here too. Blog goal 1 of 4 achieved. Phew!

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