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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Our National Trust Membership.

We'd been talking about getting a National Trust membership for sometime. My birthday came along and Mr A kindly surprised me with our joint membership. I don't think I've ever even so excited about such an "adult" present! 

I really feel like it's given us more freedom to explore and a good excuse to get outside no matter the weather. And we couldn't have joined at a better time. Not only is it a little warmer outside but the hubby is now off for the school holidays, we're getting every opportunity to visit new places. 

So far we've explored a few places in Cheshire Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey. Quarry Bank Mill was a great day out, we walked around the mill and Violet watched the machinery demonstrations. Then we explored the gardens, which are beautiful and of course V adored the water running through. We will definitely be heading back again over the summer. 

Dunham Massey is somewhere we've always loved since moving to the North West. Dunham has gorgeous grounds where deer roam free but we've never actually been through to the paid entry areas. Of course with our membership, we got free parking and enters to the property and the gardens. We had a home-made picnic on the grass and Violet was free to practice her walking and to give her new SmarTrike* a good run around.  She loved the fact we were dining alfresco and that she could watch their children playing. As always the ducks and geese were her highlight of the day! 

When adding up the cost to entry the buildings, gardens and parking at both NT properties, we've easily got our few months of money worth. I could 100% recommend a National Trust membership and we will absolutely be continuing this as Violet gets older. I already have a list as long as my arm to visit over the new few weeks!

Do you have any NT recommendations?

Katie xx


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

6 Things I've Learnt in the First Year of Motherhood.

And so it's here. Violet's birthday is a mere two days away and I'm feeling strangely nostalgic. I keep thinking "this time last year..." and all the memories of pregnancy come flooding back as if it were yesterday. Today marks a year since I was 35+5 weeks pregnant and my waters went, marking the beginning of a long 32 hours of labour. I've never quite experienced anything as adrenaline-filled as knowing your baby is on its way. And nothing quite as frustrating as things not progressing as quickly as you'd hoped. But that was a whole 365 days ago, and here I am with an almost-one-year-old. Here's a few things I've learnt in my first year of being a Mother:

1) The love you have for your child, is 100%, without a doubt, unconditional. And just when you think you're full to bursting, you somehow love them just a little bit more each day. 

2) The human body, in particular us females, is absolutely incredible. Breastfeeding failures aside, I grew a baby. I don't think that truly sets in until you start watching them grow up. 

3) The speed a baby learns at is beyond amazing. Seven months ago Violet had just managed to sit up without throwing herself back or falling. Now V is walking! She's gone from lying on her back to actual walking in the space of seven months - that's actual craziness! Imagine if adults learnt at that speed, we'd all be super humans. 

4) Having another human rely solely on you for everything is an unbelievable responsibility, but the best thing in the world. Violet is incredibly independent and has been from a very young age but at the end of the day she still comes back to me to provide her with lots of love, cuddles and kisses. 

5) Not exactly, something I've learnt but our little family has been brought closer together. The hubby and I have worked as a team to make all the big parental decisions that need to be made in the first year of life. I couldn't have asked for a better partner in crime!

So happy almost birthday, to the most beautiful, clever and inquisitive little lady. We love you to the moon and back pretty girl. 

Mama xx

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Getting Ready for One.

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I know I keep saying it but I really can't believe Violet will be one next week! It's crazy how quickly time goes when you have children. And crazy how quickly they grow out of things and are ready for the next stage or milestone. So after browsing the web, I've managed to pick out some bargains ready for the next few months as Violet is getting older. 

Unbelievably we're almost ready for the next stage car seat. No more newborn seat, but an actual big girls chair. We've been eyeing up some of the chairs from Joie for a while but buying a new car seat is a big decision. Ideally we want another with an ISOfix base, but I think that still leaves our options pretty open. 

It's official, the bottle has gone during the day. Violet is still having milk at bedtime and one bottle overnight but dropping them will come over time. During the day she's having lots of water and loves the novelty of using a straw or sippy cup. These ones from Tommee Tippee are fab, they are insulated so keep water nice and cool too. 

As V has a summer birthday, I love the idea of a garden party to celebrate. If the weather is on our side, we will certainly be outside playing in the paddling pool. However, I'd love to get a few more bits for the garden. This picnic bench is just the sweetest thing and could easily be used for some arts and crafts as well as meal times. 

The crab paddling pool is definitely an upgrade on our basic pool. Violet is pretty much obsessed with the hose pipe so I really wanted to get her a sprinkler type inflatable too. Let's cross everything for the sun to be shining on her birthday weekend!

It's just crazy that we're preparing for moving into the second year of Violet's life. But I'm so excited to celebrate with her and continue to watch her grow into a very independent little lady. 

Katie xx
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