29-09-2014

Will I ever get rid of the buggy board?

buggy board

One thing is becoming increasingly apparent in the last few years (especially since having a second child with whom I can compare all my former parenting experiences) – I have a lazy preschooler.

Arlo has never really been one to run wild, or throw tantrums because he wanted to get out of his buggy. Arlo is a champion dawdler. And really not very fond of walking at all.

He’s been this way since his very first steps – always preferring to be carried, or to be pushed in a buggy. Never straying far from my side when he did walk.

Whereas Rory is constantly begging to be free of the confines of the pushchair, Arlo doesn’t miss a beat in clambering in as soon as Rory has vacated the seat.

On our recent trip to London (which I blogged about, and quite a few people thought we did it buggy-free, which would have been CRAZY), Rory walked for about a mile in total, whilst Arlo happily languished in the reclined position of the pushchair as I wheeled him around in a manner reminiscent of a sedan chair / servant set up.

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Living in London, we do a fair bit of walking and journeys on public transport. It IS a big ask for an almost-four year old to be on foot for the full duration of a busy London outing. But, then again, London is really not the place to take a double buggy.

Our buggy board has been the ideal ‘best of both worlds’ solution, but after 16 months of this set up, I worry that we are still very far from waving goodbye to the buggy board and progressing to full time walking.

I was asked to write this post about our transportation situation, and my ideal pushchair scenario for navigating London solo with two young children would be for Arlo to be on foot, and to have a foldable, lightweight stroller that can be collapsed and slung over my shoulder whilst I carry Rory when going on tube escalators/stairs, etc. I’ve seen the Babyzen YoyYo in action on the tube, and I’ve found it a really intriguing concept that certainly looks like it makes London life with a baby that bit easier.

But because of my reluctant walker, I am finding it hard to imagine an end to the buggy board days.

I start each journey with the buggy board up, encouraging Arlo to walk as far as he can, all the while re-enforcing the message that big boys and girls don’t use buggies or buggy boards, and reminding him of his friends that have just been to London all day without using a buggy at all. But he never lasts long without pulling the board down himself and climbing on.

I guess there is no real rush to graduate from the buggy board. He’ll do it when he’s ready, etc. But I have written before that there are certain aspects of a buggy board set-up that I don’t like, and I have to say that frequent use of a buggy board with an older child has taken it’s toll on the frame of our pushchair – which is now slightly wonky after over a year of extra strain on the handle when turning left or right.

I’m not brave enough to dismantle the board, even though I know it would be simpler in some ways to remove the option completely. I know I’d end up carrying him and pushing Rory in the buggy. Which is far too much work to think about.

I know he won’t walk. On the occasions that I have left him with no option, he lies down on the floor and refuses to move. Which is very helpful.

My own patience levels also play a part in our reliance on the buggy board. “OH, I’VE GOT PINS AND NEEDLES. I CAN’T WALK. I FEEL DIZZY. I’VE GOT TIRED LEGS. I’M GOING TO FALL DOWN”. I don’t care if it sounds bad to say this, but Arlo moaning is such a constant part of every day that it really does bring me down. If I can cut down the moaning in this one area, it makes the rest that little bit more bearable.

I do wonder if we will EVER mange to get rid of our buggy board, but for now, life is easier with it.

Have you had experience with a reluctant walker? Do you have any tips for encouraging less buggy board use and more walking? When did you first brave the move from buggy to no buggy or buggy board with your preschooler?

22-09-2014

Work clothes, play clothes, and comfort clothes – with Joules Clothing

joules clothing

Chloe wears: Striped Top by Joules, denim boyfriend shorts, Converse. 

I like my clothes to be comfortable AND look good. I wouldn’t wear something that was comfortable but lacked any style, nor would I wear something that looked great at the expense of being comfortable to wear.

When I’m around the small ones, I need decent pockets (to hold lens caps and loose change so I don’t misplace them, and to hold my phone so I don’t drop it whilst child-wrangling), and I also need clothes that don’t show up stains easily, and tops that are resistant to stretching or sagging after repeated misuse by little grabby hands.

This striped breton top from Joules is fun, soft, and made from quality fabric so there’s no worry about it clinging in the wrong places.

joules clothing

Sam wears: Teal mini check slim fit shirt by Joules.

Being limited to slim fit shirt styles only, Sam has pretty much exhausted the high street of their selection, so was pleased to find a new option in this slim fit men’s shirt from Joules. It is perfect for Sam’s frame, as well as being a smart option for the office.

west wittering

joules clothing

Arlo wears: Joules Rafe Boys Chinos, Donna Wilson fox top.

These block colour trousers are the perfect accompaniment to a bold patterned top. I love that the chinos are smart yet durable – built to withstand the antics of a busy preschooler, and will work well paired with literally everything.

joules clothing

joules clothing

Rory wears: Jersey top from Joules (part of a two pack), Handmade is Haute leggings, Monkey and Mole moccasins. 

I love a good pattern clash, and this striped Joules baby top is ideal for the purpose. Rory is currently rocking an oversized look, as we sized up to last all winter. Joules range of baby clothes also work very well as pyjama separates.

Smart, withstanding, and comfortable – We are loving our picks from the Joules Autumn/Winter collection!

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Our chosen Joules clothing selection was provided for the purpose of this feature. 

21-09-2014

Arlo turns four – party prep

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It seems very weird to start planning an Autumn celebration in the middle of a heatwave, but Arlo’s October birthday has a habit of creeping up very quickly after the summer ends.

This year, he is having a ‘big’ party. We haven’t done the hire-a-hall thing before, so we thought we’d give that a whirl (even if it’s just so that we can be resolute in our opinion to NEVER do it again).

It’s his final year at preschool, he’s very settled there and he knows everyone, so it’s the perfect time to invite all of his class along. Next year, when he is in the first few weeks of big school and probably still learning names and faces and everything is new, we know it will be more enjoyable for Arlo (and for us!) to do a more low-key celebration, perhaps a family day out instead.

The invites

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Designed by me, printed at Printed.com

The theme

This was an easy one. It had to be dinosaurs – Arlo’s favourite thing. I don’t yet know how much or how little the party will actually be themed (don’t hold me to it!) – I’m not sure how much little ones really notice themed food at that age, and it is extremely hard to theme a party properly without dedicating a lot of time and/or money (at least, by Pinterest or parent blogger standards, anyway). This one will depend on how much spare time I find myself with in the weeks leading up to the party.

The venue

A huge church hall. Space was the key here, as the top three things Arlo has asked for are plenty of ride on toys and happy hopperz so that they can have races, and a bouncy castle with a slide.

happy hopperz

The entertainment

See above. We are keeping it pretty simple, and concentrating on the things that Arlo loves most. I’m currently worrying that it won’t be quite enough for 30 or so children, but then again, I’m pretty sure most three and four year olds just enjoy having a big space to run around in. Children tend to flock to Sam where ever we are. He’s like a fun magnet, kids attach themselves to him after deciding they want to do what he’s doing. And so I am pretty confident in his ability to be able to lead a large group of preschoolers on a dinosaur hunt and maybe a few other games.

Food and Drink

When checking the alcohol policy, I was sold on the venue when they didn’t miss a beat in responding, “Absolutely. We encourage it!!” Children’s party food is all very standard and they are easily pleased. But for the adults, it’s a big plus point to be able to have the option (should they choose to) of something sparkling to help soften the cacophony of a echoey hall of hyper children. So, on behalf of the parents, thank you, Waitrose, for treating us to a supply of your Prosecco range in celebration of Arlo’s big day.

waitrose prosecco

Now all that’s left to do is to resist the temptation to get sucked into the Pinterest vortex over the next few weeks before this whole thing spirals into a party-planning beast that I have neither the time or the patience to pull off…. Wish me luck!

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The drinks for the grown-up guests at Arlo’s party have been kindly supplied by Waitrose, who wanted us to tell them how we best like to celebrate with a glass or two of Prosecco. 

21-09-2014

A London Adventure – Open House London

wapping with children

We fancied a London adventure this weekend, so we hopped on a train to London Bridge (12 minutes!), and went for a wander.

It was Open House weekend, where hundreds of buildings and places open their doors to the public. When looking online at list of participating places, we found ourselves spoilt for choice and got a bit flummoxed by the options.

So, we set off with no plans save for the hope that our wander might see us stumbling upon a few extra things as part of the Open House London festivities, and we weren’t disappointed.

poppies tower of london

Our first stop was the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation at the Tower of London.

More and more ceramic poppies are being added to the installation each day, until the number totals 888,246 – the number of British military fatalities during the war. It’s a very poignant tribute to mark the centenary, and something that I’ve been wanting to visit since it began in August.

(If you are into World War One history, another centenary commemoration well worth visiting is Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace, which is a street gallery exhibition in St James’s Park, depicting the battlefields as they are today – and it was put together by my Aunt and Uncle!).

We followed the river along to St Katherine’s Docks, which is great for a potter, with its cafes and picturesque setting.

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Continuing on towards Wapping,  there are pedestrianised stretches of the river with high walls and no cars – perfect to let toddlers loose for a run around.

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We came upon the Hermitage Community Moorings , which were open for us to go down and have a look, yay!

hermitage moorings

 

Wondering through Wapping in search of a pub, we came across the Captain Kidd and had a drink overlooking the Thames.

 

wapping

 

At Wapping Station we hopped on a bus that would drop us directly under the Gherkin. And from there we conducted our own little walking tour of the city’s high rises – the cheese grater, the walkie talkie…and Dada’s office. All buildings that Arlo is obsessed with, but had yet to see up close.

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Then it was back over the bridge to look up at the Shard (for the millionth time) and get our train home from London Bridge station.

I really love exploring London with the children. It’s like a giant playground, there is always something interesting to see or do, and a lot of it is completely free of charge. Bar our travel and our drinks at the pub, we spent nothing on our day out, and this walking route was about as child and buggy-friendly as London goes.

 

 

10-09-2014

Siblings (September)

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Arlo asked for a photo with Rory – the posing was all down to him. 

There’s something about this photo. It shouts “BROTHERS” to me, and has me imagining the future – it’s definitely a keeper.

Arlo and Rory’s friendship has blossomed and swelled this summer. I will never tire of watching their games and their joy at being together.

I think Rory is going to miss having his favourite playmate around now that Arlo is back at preschool.

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This month I’m sending you to see Kelle and family over at Dinky and Dandy, which is just a feast for the eyes - check it out! . She’ll be sharing a photo of her children from this month, and sending you along to visit someone else. You can follow the circle around to see what all the hosts have been up to.

Have you taken a sibling photo this month? Link it up below!