Dear Lily... Happy Birthday!

Wow, Lily! You're 4 years old!

When I looked at you, minutes after your birth, I didn't think I could ever love you anymore than I did in that moment. But now, I find that I love you more and more all the time.

You are strong-minded, funny, confident and imaginative. You love to watch Paw Patrol and Heidi on Netflix and your favourite toys right now are your Disney dolls. You like to re-enact stories we have read or watched on the TV and often refer to your 'boys and girls' who seem to be imaginary children who you take to school and put in time out.

Lily's Birth Story

I've never shared the story of Lily's birth before and am very nervous about doing so but a couple of days before she turns four, my mind is filled with memories of this time in 2012 and it feels good to write...

*Possible Trigger Warning*

Whenever I thought about giving birth I had just one image in my mind. It was of me, Matt and baby, sat on the bed, Matt holding me and me holding baby.

And that's it. That was all my usually over-imaginative mind would show me. No matter how much I read about birth, no matter how many times I watched One Born Every Minute, I couldn't actually imagine myself giving birth.

I knew it wouldn't be like the movies. Every mother and baby magazine on the planet is explicitly clear that television and film get birth all wrong and I read more than my fair share of pastel coloured articles about the wonder, and reality of birth.

Autumn with Aldi Mamia

I feel at the moment like I can actually feel the time passing by. Maybe because it's Lily's fourth birthday on Wednesday, Ollie is 18 months old and next month marks the end of our first year in our new home. Or maybe it's just that time of year, when everything seems to be winding down and the leaves are beginning to turn yellow, then brown. I can feel the days ticking away to winter.

Autumn is by far my favourite time of year and I'm already looking forward to woodland walks, seasonal activities and the build up to Christmas. Although I don't have anything against wet and windy weather, I still prefer the crisp Autumn sun and love spending as much time as possible out and about or in the garden.

Last weekend we were sent a fantastic hamper full of goodies from the Aldi Mamia Range to take out with us and showcase how easy it is to provide yummy, healthy food for your kids whilst on the go (and without spending a fortune, obviously). With the weekend displaying both welly and picnic weather we had a few days out in the garden and made the most with some impromptu picnics.

It's nice to be appreciated

On returning to work after the summer break, I was given a *kind of* promotion! In reality, the job won't change too much but I have been given more responsibility, more interesting tasks and a slight pay rise.

All of which is great news!

But one of the best bits was being told that my colleagues like my work, that I'm considered to be a team player and someone who works hard.

Our #Bepanthen Bedtime Challenge

Just before Lily was born I went shopping for all the 'necessities' a newborn could need. I bought sleepsuits, hats, vests, socks (pointless) and scratch mittens (even more pointless). I got bottles and formula (just in case) and I bought nappies, wipes and four, yes four, different brands of nappy cream.

Bombarded with advertising and well meaning advice articles, I couldn't work out what brand would be best, would really deliver what they said they would and keep my perfect little baby's delicate skin in tip top, unblemished condition.

Four years on, and I still have two of the original giant tubs I bought. I may fall on them for emergencies and my Nan swears on using one of them to get rid of zits, but I've never been a big fan of using them on my children's bottoms at changing time. In fact, I'm pretty sure that they should be chucked out for being out of date, I only put it off because I don't like waste.

Anniversary Date Night, Parent Style

Yesterday, Matt and I celebrated five years of marriage.

Except, maybe 'celebrate' isn't the right word... This is how I do our anniversary, parent style:

A week before, try and decide what to do.

A life in the day... wedding edition

Five years.

In some ways, that feels like a lifetime but I can still remember exactly how I felt at 5am on Friday 16th September 2011.

The day I got married.

Nature's Jewels at Hills Cafe

When I first moved to our current home I'll admit to having some reservations. The house itself was lovely and knowing our landlords a little gave us a sense of security after a few awful past experiences. We have a nice, big garden and I no longer have to traverse a mountain huge hill anytime I want to go into town and back.

My main concern was the area we were moving to and it's reputation. I'd heard horror stories about crime, an ice cream van that also sells drugs (Eek! I wouldn't know the truth of this, but the ice cream is good) and undesirable neighbours.

All of which has been completely unfounded. If anything, I have found the Micklefield area to be friendly and community focused. I love the library where the workers and volunteers are chatty and great with the kids. The chippy, Chinese takeaway and convenience store are very close and local events are run regularly, including 'Micklefest', fun days and an outdoor cinema.

Basic Weaving for Toddlers

After being shown how to do a very simple weaving activity at Wycombe Museum last Sunday, today I set up an activity for Lily so that she could do some more.

On the right you can see the piece we made with help at the museum and the card and wool on the left is a fresh frame for us to do another one. Any card will do and you can vary the width and length depending on what you feel like making.

So, you will need:
A piece of card
Some wool, or thread, or ribbons
A needle or safety pin to help with the threading part

Wycombe Museum - Medieval Fun Day

It's no secret, I am a bit of a geek. I love history, reading fantasy books, listening to film soundtracks and dressing up in beautiful dresses to watch some sword fighting.

However, between having no money and having two kids, there isn't much time left for my medieval re-enactment hobby. There are some bits that I don't miss - I don't like camping, I don't like wet weekends in the mud and I really don't like not showering every day but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss it because I do. A lot.

When friendships go bad...

OK, so I've spoken before about how I can be a pretty rubbish friend. I freely admit that when it comes to keeping in touch, attending parties and talking about anything other than washing and nappies I fail miserably.

So what should I do when a friendship goes sour? A mummy-friendship that I valued but I feel has gone due to little fault of my own? Is it still OK for me to complain when I wake one morning and discover that I have (GASP) been unfriended on Facebook?

It is confusing with this situation, I'm not quite sure where I went wrong. I had a great friend with a great sense of humour. All was wonderful in a hazy world of mummy-talk and commiserations over lack of sleep.

Until I began to feel uncomfortable. Not with my friend, but with her son.

Happy Blog Birthday!


September marks a year of blogging at Our Cherry Tree.

A whole year of blogging. Properly blogging. Eek!