Books, books, and more books…

One of my original plans when starting this blog was to get involved in children’s books a lot more. Reading has been a huge part of my life, and I am usually found with more than one book on the go. We were reading to Bea before she was born, and it is one of her favourite activities to do before bedtime. Her tastes are forever changing and evolving, but it makes me incredibly proud to see her walking around with various books and getting really excited about them! Yes, inevitably this involves a lot of repetition, but I think this was to be expected! I have definitely expanded my knowledge of children’s books in the last twelve months, and we need a fair few more shelves as a result!

To date, I’ve only managed one book review in eighteen months. That’s pretty poor, and way under what I’d hoped to do! In the next month I will be doing two reviews of books from Sweet Cherry Publishing, who got in touch a while back. This also means I’m involved in a blog tour for the first (and second) time this month! The aim is to review children’s books of all ages over time. Check out the Instagram and Twitter pages for more reminders of specific dates as I’ll be retweeting the offcial banners and stuff. Check out the snazzy hashtag #Febbookary as well for more conversation about reading.

In a brief attempt to get my book reviewing back up to speed, I’m going to do some speed reviews of some of our favs…

1. Where’s Mr Lion?

This is a big favourite with me, purely because Nosy Crow have solved that problem of the crumpled flaps we’ve got on all of our Julia Donaldson books. I’d never seen felt flaps before, but they are far more satisfying! There are some bold, colourful illustrations and some nice simple repetition that is easy for your chatty little one to get involved with! There’s also an engaging mirror at the end, which in our experience leads to a tongue poking out or turning the book to see mummy/daddy in the reflection!

2. The Bear and The Piano

This was one of the first picture books we bought for Bea. Lucy and I loved the story of a bear discovering an unusual gift for piano playing and his heartwarming return to his friends and family. Bea has gone through phases of liking this, and is now at the stage where she has the patience to sit for a bit longer and simply listen. There is even a version of this with sounds- we don’t normally buy repeats of things but may make an exception!

3. The Hat Trilogy

My sister introduced me to these when my nephew was tiny, and I had to get them when zbea was born. Jon Klassen is up there with my favourite illustrators(I would love a print for her room some day…), and I can’t wait till Bea is old enough to get the moral- if you steal someone’s hat, things aren’t going to end well…ok, maybe there’s something more meaningful at work there, but it’s the perfect opportunity to try out a few voices. The crab in the book pictured (That’s Not My Hat) gets me every time, it looks so guilty!

4. Each Peach Pear Plum

An oldie, but a goodie picked up in a charity shop. Bea has fallen in love with it over the last month and always joins in with the rhyming words on the page. As I mentioned in the ‘Beactionary’ post, I am loving every new word she discovers and uses! Getting her to point out all the items and things too is awesome to see as well.

5. Blown Away

I think we got this at the same time as The Bear and The Piano. Rob Biddulph has a clean, modern style of illustration and gets a surprising amount of expression into a range of animals in a short space of time. Lots of extra details to spot over repeat readings and a lovely rhythm to the book make this a joint favourite! His ‘Odd Dog Out’ was a recent library pick and had to be smuggled back! His daily post it notes for his daughter are both inspirational(ie, I’d love to do something similar) and so varied!

So there you have it. A glimpse into some of our bedtime reading! Keep your eyes peeled for more bookish things in #Febbookary and comment with your favourite reads!

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Beacember Advent Calendar Day #6

Slightly more sociable posting time today, so you can get a dose of Christmas cuteness before bed! Today’s offering is a snazzy pair of pudding tights, which as you can see are perfect to go with all her other red Christmas things…

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Speaking of which, here she is in her outfit featured yesterday – she wasn’t too happy about the photos but she does look very festive in it!

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Before this was taken, I also managed to get an update of the cover shot for the blog. Look how big her feet are now, crazy!

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Tomorrow’s is a gift from a friend of ours, I don’t think Bea will be allowed to forget this is her first Christmas! I somehow doubt there’s a market for ‘Second’ and ‘Third’ Christmas outfits, but you never know!

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Beacember Advent Calendar Day #5

Day 5- determined to get it in on time, even if it is last minute! I’m sure you can appreciate having a particularly long day at work followed by a particularly long list of things to do at home!

Day 5 is this really cute ‘present’ babygro, complete with a tag which reads ‘To Mummy, Best Present EVER, Love from me’. I’m not going to go into the whole ‘it should say to Mummy and Daddy’ debate tonight, and given that Beatrice arrived on my birthday, it’s only fair that Lucy gets the chance this time around I suppose…

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You may have noticed I took a lot of these pictures at the same time in a very quick burst, and it’s pretty safe to say I have used no filters on any of them. Needless to say I’m getting a little blog envy from other people’s photos, so will be having a play with some apps to see if I can raise the bar just a little bit! Like Christmas though, it’s the thought that counts.

 

Day 6 awaits…

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Daddy Daughter Days

Seems like the last blog post title was rather apt. Another month has flown by, and I’m sorry I haven’t kept you up to date with things!

Our biggest challenge has been trying to give Bea a syringe full of antibiotics (orally). Or rather, mopping it up as she rejected as much of it as she could! Before she was born, we naturally discussed which of our various best bits we hoped she got. Whilst she looks to have my flowing auburn locks on the go, she has unfortunately picked up my rather poor skin, meaning that she’s picking up little rashes all over. Given that Beatrice currently seems to want to shove anything within her grasp into her mouth, we thought it would be a simple of matter of popping in the syringe and she’d gulp it down. Nope. It goes everywhere. A few times she would appear to take the lot, and when I had turned to celebrate this with Lucy, the blurbling sound of trickling lurid purple syrup would come from my gorgeous little bundle of joy, and her chin and lower jaw would be coated. Sometimes this was followed by a cracking smile – she has a great sense of comedy timing already.

Anyway, that’s all over for now (thankfully!).

This weekend, Lucy had a day out, so we had the day together. This is the fourth Daddy Daughter Day we’ve had, and so far I’ve really enjoyed myself. If you’ve been reading all of these posts, that would probably come as no surprise.

Lucy left me with the usual routine, which I was very grateful for. It gave me a solid base for the rest of the day. As ever, my plans were probably way too ambitious. Thankfully, Lucy had already warned me about this so I went with her idea instead.

Beatrice tends to wake up around 8am. Lucy left around 9 o clock, and Beatrice had her morning nap at about half nine. During her nap, I got to listen to the Test Match whilst sorting out the garden. Beatrice TV told me when it was time to go and get her, and so a bit of a play (and getting her into outfit number 1) and it was time for her second feed. The plan initially was to head out after this, which we more or less stuck to! The only sticking point was that I got a bit carried away with the play side of things and she was sick down both of us. Cue vest number two for her, and pair of trousers number two for me! 5 minutes later, sick again, only this time I took the brunt of it. Pair of trousers number three, t-shirt number two. At this point, I gathered up everything, made sure the change bag was fully equipped, pram all set up,etc. Just as we were about to leave, the all too familiar sound of a pooey nappy echoed around the kitchen. Miraculously, there was no collateral damage!

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So, at 12:15, just a mere half hour later than planned, we set off for a craft fair thing that was about a mile away. I was mostly drawn to this by the promise of baked goods being available…which they most certainly were! By this point Bea was fast asleep in her pram, getting approving looks and coos from passers-by. Perfect time to have my cake and eat it. Or so I thought! Space was at a bit of premium, the only table being in a rather quiet and unoccupied storage corridor out the back. Still, it was a place for me to stop and have a quick cup of tea and a slice of Oreo/Cookie dough cake. Turns out noisy is better than quiet, and Bea woke up a few minutes later. Her disapproving look was quite scathing. I think, no I hope she wasn’t judging me for my unhealthy food choice (it’s a blessing she couldn’t see the second cake stashed under her pram for later)!

It’s at this point I found out she can now throw her stuff out of her pram. I’m quite certain this is a new skill that Lucy hasn’t told me about yet. Granted it was one time, but I’ll be keeping an eye out in future!

We left the craft fair, having purchased a new Xmas dec and set off to get some bits for a surprise tea for Lucy. Beatrice was as good as gold the whole time, and I found that she quite likes sitting up in her pram now, lording it over the world around her, elbows out and taking it all in. I probably shouldn’t have done that, but she was grinning away so I wasn’t going to stop that any time soon!

Then we went to a nice cafe for her 2pm feed. They had some fantastic fairy lights that kept Bea entertained whilst we waited for a table. I was offered seats at tables that already had people, but I didn’t want to completely distract them with a bundle of cuteness (she’d already done that to two people in the queue). We ended up on a breakfast bar stool, which I don’t think Lucy would have done! I was very patient in not wolfing down my lunch whilst she fed, and in return she was too (thank god!).

A quick nappy change in a very confined toilet – note to self, probably leave the pram outside next time- and we were off home via the library. Once we got home, I put Bea in her new Bumbo seat and got some of the tea ready. Lucy got back around 6pm for lots of cuddles and smiles, and the surprise tea went down well.

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Thoughts? It was a fun day for sure. I rarely get that much time with Beatrice on my own, so it’s always good to do. Being out is good, gets you out of the house and usually cake isn’t far away, but it brings a few problems (stairs being just one of them), such as finding a place to settle down when she’s hungry in November. In the summer, it was easy! It can also be quite tricky to keep up the conversation too- especially in public!

We’re approaching Christmas, which we’re really looking forward to. Beatrice loves lights so she’s going to love the tree and all the decorations. More importantly, we’re going to love putting her in Christmassy things. I’m going to aim to do a Beatrice advent calendar in December, revealing something Christmassy from her wardrobe/collection, so stay tuned!

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Where has the time gone?

So…we’re back! Here’s a brief summary of what you’ve missed in the last 24 days…

  • Beatrice has almost doubled in weight (from her original birthweight, not in the last 24 days!)
  • She’s dribbling…a lot
  • We’ve moved up another size of nappy
  • She is a very chatty young lady!
  • I’ve successfully looked after her twice on my own with no major errors…
  • She completed her first term of swimming lessons
  • We’ve made a successful personal best in terms of long-distance journeys
  • Leo has moved back in!
  • We’ve heard the cutest giggle in the world! (Ok, so we’re possibly a bit biased on that one!)
  • Two more bookshelves have gone up (I can’t help it!)

Quite the eventful few weeks!

We’re up to day 107 as far as I can work out. She turned 15 weeks old yesterday, and it’s almost impossible to think back that far any more!

Things are still going well, which doesn’t always make for great blog material. However, this is what the blog is all about after all- focusing on the positives whilst taking a humourous look at the occasional moment that every parent has to face. What I can say is that I’m forever being impressed by the super-duo that is Lucy and Beatrice. I don’t want to fall into the stereotypical ‘work dad’ mode here, but the fact that she is such a happy and chilled baby has everything to do with how Lucy has adapted to a new routine. I’m not exactly surprised, as anyone who knows Lucy probably wouldn’t be either, but it makes me proud to see that bond between them get ever stronger. Here are a few photos to make up for the lack of silly anecdotes…(they’ll follow in the next couple of posts, I promise!)

Thankfully, I’ve been able to keep up that closeness from the summer too. Beatrice’s face lights up whenever either of us make eye contact, and honestly, it’s the best thing in the world. Why no-one ever tells you that above all else when you’re an expecting parent I’ll never know.

Bingewatching, but not as you know it

These past two weeks, we’ve become rather addicted to the BBC. No, not that one. Whilst all things Great and British (Menu and Bake Off) are staples in our house, we have started bingewatching a new series. The Beatrice Broadcasting Corporation has a steady output with all the tension and cinematography you’d expect of a gripping classic.

Every night, at around 8pm, the screen is switched on and we sit back on the sofa with our fingers crossed hoping that our squirming and squeaky little girl is able to send herself off to sleep. So far, the programming has been thankfully predictable. It starts off with wriggling, the odd teary tense moment, a nail-biting (or thumb-sucking in Beatrice’s case) sequence and eventually all calms down in the end.

I am of course talking about our baby monitor. They make for seriously addictive viewing if you don’t have one. We got ours (a Motorola MBP25 if you’re interested) on sale back in February or March, and tried setting it up before she arrived. It has a two way microphone, which meant it was used to place orders for cups of tea, and has ‘infrared night vision’ so we set up our own in-house Springwatch as we waited for our rabbit to show up in his cage. Far too exciting when he actually did, and he ran off when we tried talking to him!

Now that Beatrice is here, it’s a great way of keeping an eye on her as we all settle down to relax in the evenings. She’s doing brilliantly at sending herself off to sleep so far, and despite the patterns it doesn’t stop us watching over and over again. The only downside is that it looks absolutely terrifying when she looks to the camera, as her eyes are solid black (think Blair Witch grainy camera style). It’s also kind of sad as she looks right at the light on the camera, but we’ve stayed strong and it’s paying off. For now…

Stay tuned for more broadcasts from the BBC!