What we read... in August

This month has seen an exciting development in our bedtime reading as Lily and I have started reading chapter books after putting Ollie down for bed. We read a few Paddington Bear stories but are now enjoying Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood which is a much easier read. We read a chapter a night and maybe some more if we have a quiet moment during the day and I'm really enjoying the time with Lily.

We have had a few extra library visits this month and have picked up a couple of books which I now want to add to our huge book collection at home! I have fallen in love with Knight Time by Jane Clarke and am excited to see they also have a book about starting school which would be good as a Christmas present for Lily.

Do I really need to 'enjoy every moment'?

If I could ban one thing from my social media feeds it would be posts like this:

There you are, happily scrolling through whilst the precious darlings watch yet another episode of Bing when it hits you. And you realise, crap, I'm not enjoying this moment. Why am I not enjoying it? What kind of mother am I?

Party Planning - A perfect dessert table

A party planning disaster was narrowly averted this week when Lily's best friend from nursery issued party invitations for the exact time and date I'd booked for Lily's rainbow birthday party. Thankfully, I was able to re-arrange with the venue for the next day and I could breathe a sigh of relief.

So, I can now continue with my planning.

What I wish I knew... when planning my hen party

For someone who loves party planning, you'd think I'd have had the best time organising and attending my own hen when it rolled around five years ago today! It didn't quite work out that way and I actually ended up feeling really stressed and disappointed at times.

Looking back, I wish I could go back in time and tell my pre-married self a few things:

Crafty Princess Necklaces

When it comes to craft, children's activities are about my best bet at achieving reasonable results. Which is OK, because at the moment, my children seem pleased with my efforts and that's enough for me! I am much better at visualisation than execution and so often find myself disappointed. My mind sees an amazing project but my hands just can't manage it.

Which I why I rarely share our creative activities here on the blog, despite us doing something most days.

I particularly enjoy the playdates when one of my best friends brings her two children over. It's settled into a nice routine, we'll do lunch, the boys will nap (they're the youngest) the girls will play and then there'll be a request for 'something creative'. It's meant to be something for the children but a lot of the time my friend and I get caught up in a creative frenzy of paints, glitter and double-sided sticky tape.

Sorry Bob, I don't like Monday's either

A few years back, Matt had a colleague. He shall go un-named but at the time, we called him Bob.

Because he didn't like Mondays.

Every Monday for months he would 'work from home' or call in sick due to sickness, or because his wife was unwell. A different reason was given every time and I remembering scorning these 'excuses' and passing them off as the stories of skiving colleague.

And now, years on and two children later, I'd like to say I'm sorry.

Dear kids, please stop eating my food!

In our house there is an unwritten rule at mealtimes.

Daddy doesn't share food.

I knew this before I married Matt. He hates sharing food with anyone. He is, with no exaggeration, like Joey from Friends and will scowl if anyone, adult or child, attempts to take even a single chip from his plate. A tapas style meal is his idea of hell.

I am, usually, the opposite. I don't mind sharing - everyone knows that food tastes better from someone else's plate, right?

Cousins - Childhood Playmates, Forever Friends

When I was at university, my best friend (or one of them) was Emily. We shared so many memories, she lived on my sofa for a month whilst waiting for her new home became available, she held me whilst I sobbed about my Dad dying at the end of my first year. I watched her relationship blossom and was a bridesmaid when she married her hubby Jon. We once spent over an hour trying to dig through a wine bottle cork because we didn't have a corkscrew.

But for one reason or another, we're not as close now. Certainly not close enough to be 'best friends'.

We are, however, linked in a different, but very significant way.

Time for toddler jokes!

"Mummy! Can I tell you a joke?"

We have hit a stage with Lily that I remember experiencing as a Big Sister. Toddler jokes. When my little brother used to tell them I thought it was cute and never minded pretending to laugh hysterically. But now, a couple of weeks in of being told either nonsense jokes, or the same joke over and over again, I'm beginning to lose my marbles a bit.

Could someone PLEASE tell me what on earth a bloody 'Gol Gol' is?! Lily thinks it is hilarious and "cause it's gol gol" or "you're a gol gol" is one of her favourite sayings right now.

Party Planning - Rainbow Party Wish List

I am juggling many plates right now but am also taking the opportunity of being off work to get cracking with plans for Lily's fourth birthday party. For the last two years we have avoided parties and instead spent our money on fab days out. However, this will be her last year at nursery and so I'd like her to be able to have a special party with all her friends.

The theme? Rainbows!

And wow. There are so many amazing rainbow-themed goodies available! It's already hard trying to keep to my budget. Thankfully, starting early gives me time to stock up and I've booked our venue (all afternoon, on a Saturday, two rooms) for a bargain £20.

I like to play around and design my own invitations, it's one of the few areas of creativity where I am pleased with the outcome! All I need to do now is print them and get them sent out.

Purchases have been made already - I spotted that Sainsburys have some rainbow striped items in their new party range and am excited to be getting some bits delivered later today.

Now I have to choose which of these gorgeous items to prioritise and then purchase! 

Why I don't 'sleep train' my child


How's that for a blog title?

Like all choices and decisions open to Mums like us, the topic of sleep can be quite inflammatory.

Perhaps you're reading this post to affirm your beliefs that sleep training is harmful to babies. Or maybe you're already marshaling your arguments as to why it can be beneficial.

In both cases, you may be disappointed.

Our Non-Olympics Sports Day

I feel all funny when I stop and watch the Olympic games on the TV, it doesn't seem like four years since I watched the opening ceremony for London 2012, pregnant with Lily and excited about seeing my Nan and the Pearlies walk out in front of millions.

I sometimes feel like the world is a very different place now. Sometimes it's even quite scary. Despite previous terrorist attacks, I don't remember feeling scared before. It's like it all changed when I had children. Like I have more reason to be afraid.

But I love the Olympics. I love the ideals of teams from all over the world competing for the glory of their country. It's one of those things which makes you go all gooey inside. (No? Just me?)

Party Planning - How I plan events

I just love event and party planning. I love the themes, ideas, invitations, decoration and entertainment. Over the years I've lost count of the parties, corporate events and conferences I've organised (or helped organise). In many ways, I often enjoy the process more than the party itself!

All events - from small dinners to weddings, come with their stresses and pressure points. Accept that and plan everything as early as you can. Organisation comes with the territory, but here is a summary of how I plan events and hope to avoid any unnecessary upset along the way.

I am a rubbish friend

My name is Stephanie. And I am a rubbish friend.

There. I've said it out loud. A thought which has been on my mind a lot at the moment.

Today I replied to a friend's text message. She'd originally texted me two days ago. I often forget to reply at all.

On Saturday, a babysitting mix up meant that I missed a friend's 30th birthday party. I couldn't make her party last year either.