The countdown is on

2017 is a big year.

Perhaps not as momentous as 2011, the year I got married.

Or as eventful as 2012 when I became a Mum.

Or even as huge as 2015 when I had another child.

But 2017 is a big year because, just two weeks in, I will walk out of my job on a Friday afternoon and become a full time stay at home Mum.

And, I'm scared.

In fact, scared doesn't even begin to describe to confused mess of feelings I have inside right now.

Terrified might be closer to it but that doesn't include the strange excitement I sometimes feel.

Anxious. That definitely comes into it.

Festive Relaxation with Inspired Colouring Christmas

The run up to Christmas is a crazy time no matter how organised you are. There is just so much to do, people to see and places to visit. Between all the rushing around it was lovely to settle down with a glass of Baileys and an exciting new delivery - Inspired Colouring Christmas!

I'm a big fan of colouring books. I won't attempt to justify it - if you like colouring too then you'll understand the allure of the clean lines and empty spaces begging for colour. I love the simplicity of just filling the spaces without effort, the satisfaction of it coming together in such a short period of time.

In all honesty, my colouring skills are pretty rubbish (!) but I genuinely enjoy the process. I'm usually a wannabe-perfectionist and my home is littered with half-finished projects which I have discarded due to an imperfection or a lack of patience. When it comes to colouring, my yearnings for perfection make less of an impact - if I make a mistake I can colour over it, ignore it or just turn the page and start a new picture. There are amazing, brightly coloured and artistic examples of different colouring online and on instagram but I don't aspire to be like these. I just like to do my own little thing.

A Kirsch Family Christmas

I love how every family does Christmas in a slightly different way. It's fascinating how the basic elements are there but there are so many ways for each home to put their own stamp on Christmas 'traditions' and then when you grow up, get married and have a family of your own, two different Christmas styles merge and a whole new one appears!

So, if you're like me and like to know how other people celebrate over the festive period, here is a run down of a typical Kirsch family Christmas.

Our Christmas decorations go up at the weekend closest to the 1st December but the decorating process actually lasts up to Christmas Day itself as we add to our collection, make new things or don't bother to re-hang garlands after they've fallen down for the tenth time!

Eden's Elf School

With finances tight this year, I had been worrying about what to do when it comes to visiting Santa. It's a big part of Christmas right? It's just that, in our area, the average cost of visiting Santa or perhaps having breakfast or tea with the big guy is about £10 a head.


To be fair, you get a lot for your money. With the breakfast and tea deals you obviously get food, activities and a present and if you go somewhere like World's End Garden Centre you have to walk through a magical land before you get to Santa before choosing a gift from a whole room of toys.

Navigating Nativity Etiquette *Updated Post*

I first wrote this post a year ago but with Christmas rolling around again and another nursery nativity approaching, I find myself concerned about making myself look like a right prat in front of the other nursery parents...

I work in a school, I know the sniggers held in when an overly-enthusiastic parent requests 11 extra tickets so that extended family can watch a little darling in a blue dress holding a doll. I roll my eyes at 'pushy' parents and sigh over those who demand to know why their oh-so-talented child wasn't picked for a starring role.

But inside? I'm afraid I am that parent. Perhaps last year I can be excused from feeling all over-emotional at my daughter's first ever nativity but with a long line of them stretched out in front of me over the years to come, I'm the same, if not worse...

Books you need this Christmas!

OK, so the title may be slightly misleading because I know that in reality no one really *needs* these books in order to have a wonderful Christmas.

However, they're new additions to our Christmas Book Box and are definitely worth picking up at your local library, second hand book shop or large online retailer. They may not be a necessary part of the festivities but will certainly add something to your Christmas book selection.

First up is 'When I Dream of Christmas' by Oakley Graham. It's a cheeky list of fun Christmas things with lovely illustrations and a good sense of humour. I picked it up via Gift People who pop into work regularly with a basket full of goodies and it only cost £2.50.

Kid's Crafty Christmas

I'm one of those apparently awful people who doesn't really 'do' Christmas cards. In the loft are over 40 from a few years ago that I wrote out but never got round to handing out or sending. In my defence, I think it was the year Lily was born and so my brain was frazzled from having a three-month old but really, I've not done a good job of sending cards for ages now.

The only cards I do send are ones made by the children for very close friends and family. I always plan something easy enough for Lily to do on her own so that they're really her creations and not something I've lovingly crafted and attempted to pass off as hers.

Last year we made snowman cards using fab stickers from Hobbycraft and so this year I returned there for more supplies. I picked up two packs of cute Christmas tree shaped cards, some gold washi tape and Christmas stickers before turning Lily and Ollie loose.

What we read... in November

We've had a few slight changed to our bedtime routine this month. Now that Ollie doesn't need to be fed or cuddled to sleep we have a bit more time for stories and so we've been reading loads! Ollie's preference is still for books about trains, cars and trucks but a few old favourites have cropped up once again.

I'm a huge fan of all things Julia Donaldson so we always have a few of those on the go but it's been nice to read 'My Dad' again after it was lost amongst some toys in the living room. I also suspect that I'm a bigger fan of Belle and Boo than Lily is, the stories are just so sweet!

Christmas Style Favourites

I'm not particularly stylish at any point in the year but I do tend to have more luck in winter where my tendency to wear black and need to cover up any wobbly bits are a little more forgivable. This is pretty good up until Christmas when you're expected to make a bit more of an effort!

So, if I'm not stylish and find clothes shopping so stressful, why I am I writing a post about my Christmas favourites?

Because, if you're anything like me (there must be someone out there), then you'll probably welcome some stylish ideas for festive fashion that's a little more realistic than what you find in most magazines and adverts.

Red Velvet Bardot Top - Evans
Remember all the gorgeous bardot tops available earlier this year? I'm glad they're still hanging around and particularly like this one from Evans.

My kids deserve better

Mum guilt is pretty crap. As someone who always over-thinks things, I often feel like the guilt is there no matter which way I turn and I know I'm not the only one. I never realised before having a baby that you could feel guilty for cuddling your baby too much (WTF?).

And yet, Mum guilt and over-exaggeration aside, I honestly believe that my kids deserve better than having me as their Mummy.

Hear me out. My children, all children, are amazing.

Our Mind Crafternoon

All last week I did my very best to bore you silly with updates about the Mind Crafternoon I was planning and hosting on Saturday.

It was much easier to organise than I thought at the outset. I'd originally thought to host the event at home but early interest from attendees made it clear that it my dining room would just not be big enough so a friend kindly booked a room at The Hub, a church-run community/conference centre in town. It meant that our 'Crafternoon' became more of a 'Crafter-evening' but also meant that we could invite more people to come along.

From that point, it was a matter of advertising the event to friends, researching the craft activities and purchasing supplies and refreshments. I did send a crazy amount of emails to local businesses, large superstores and town centre cafes asking for sponsorship or donations for a raffle and wasn't successful. I think that this might be down to timing as a lot of businesses are already rushed off their feet at this time of year. I prefer to think that than assume they were all just really tight...

Upcycled Bead Ornaments

All this week I have been working towards hosting a Christmas Crafternoon in aid of the charity Mind, I've shared some papercraft ideas for making both baubles and hearts and have been busy picking up final supplies, mince pies, chocolates and mulled wine. It hasn't been a great week, with lots of things going on in the background but planning this event has really given me something to look forward to.

This last craft eluded me at the beginning of the week as I didn't have the right tools - it really does help if you have some pliers when working with the memory wire! However, now I've had time to experiment I've found that I've really enjoyed this one.

PND and Me

Let's be honest, I have postnatal depression.

For me (because everyone's experience is different), postnatal depression:
doesn't mean that I do not love my kids
doesn't mean that I did not bond with them
doesn't mean that I want to harm them

It doesn't usually mean that I want to harm myself.

It doesn't mean that I am a bad mum, no matter how many times I tell myself that I am.

It doesn't mean that I'm not happy sometimes. My kids bring me so much joy I can't explain that love and happiness that washes over me.

For me (because everyone's experience is different), postnatal depression:

More Paper Christmas Decorations!

A tummy bug over the weekend confined me to the house and left me moaning and moping around for most of Saturday and Sunday. It couldn't have had worse timing because it was Matt's birthday on Saturday and we had a lovely day planned which then had to be cancelled.

However, one good thing to come out of the weekend is that it gave me the chance to sit down and work my way through some of the crafty activities I have planned for my Crafternoon fundraiser on Saturday.

First up was the super simple paper baubles that I shared on Sunday and then I tried my hand at these paper hearts, inspired by this post which has great instructions but I had to adjust mine slightly because I was using double sided sticky tape which was actually quite tricky. I'll be using a stapler next weekend!

Handmade Paper Christmas Decorations

By this time next week, the Christmas Crafternoon event that I'm planning to raise money for Mind will be over. Mince pies would have been eaten, mulled wine finished and good friends sent home with little pieces of crafted joy (hopefully).

Planning so far has had the usual ups and downs. The most important bits like venues, timings and invitations were sorted out pretty quickly and I was able to set up my own fundraising page with Virgin Giving which was simple and easy to use. The hardest bit has been finding companies and businesses to support the event - either by donating craft supplies, refreshments or raffle prizes. Realistically, I know that they must get hundreds of requests and can't support them all but I can't help feeling just a tad disappointed that we can't hold a raffle.

Review - Mister Maker Club

Last week I discovered the Mister Maker Club and their personalised boxes of craft activities for little fans of the CBeebies show.

The club is run by Toucan Box who deliver a carefully tailored and themed box of craft through your letterbox with exactly everything you need for some arty activities. The Mister Maker Club boxes are specifically themed to match the TV programme, with Mister Maker himself, Scrappz and the Shapes all making an appearance.

When things go wonky...

Most of the time I feel incredibly blessed to have my children. I love them more than I can ever describe.

And then, things like this happen...

I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner when Lily starts screeching from where she sits at the table colouring. Her go to noise of protest is a wail like an air raid siren...

"It's rubbish!!! RUBBISH!!!"

I sigh and go over,

"Calm down Lily, what's wrong?"

"It's all wrong! It's all wanky!"

"It's what?"

"Wanky! Wanky, wanky, WANKY!"

What on earth?! I know I'm no angel, but we don't *usually* use bad language in our home. We have so far avoided unfortunate toddler mimicry so this is out of the blue completely.

"Lily, take a deep breath and explain what is upsetting you"

"The pencil is out of the lines, it's gone all wobbly, like wanky"

Ah. That's it.

"You mean wonky? Like wobbly, wonky lines?"

"YES!!! That's what I said! Wonky!"

At which point I was overcome by a fit of giggles and she thinks I'm laughing at her, which I kind of am, but not for the reason she thinks...

And then my darling son does this:

And I hit that stage of hysteria where not even I'm sure if I'm laughing or crying but it's all just too much and I need to remind myself to breathe...

Someone bring wine!

Little Hearts, Big Love

Party Planning - Christmas Crafternoon

The charity Mind is a cause close to my heart and I have supported it for many years now for many, many reasons - not least because my Dad succumbed to mental health issues when I was 19 years old. I’ve been thinking for a while of doing some serious fundraising but you’ll probably realise that I’m not usually big on sponsored runs, silences or fasting... then I discovered their Crafternoon campaign!

You don’t have to be an expert crafter to hold or attend a Crafternoon, it’s all about having a go, having fun, and not worrying too much about the mess or finished product. Which is pretty good really because I'm not the best crafter but I have an awful lot of enthusiasm.

Firework Night

An invite from a friend a few years ago to attend their local fireworks display has turned into an annual tradition for us as a family.

As a child I always remember my Mum claiming that setting off fireworks at home was just "burning money" and as such, I've never really thought about hosting my own firework party - odd really, when you consider my love of all things party planning! But I still really enjoy a good display on a cold Autumn evening.

What we read... in October

Last night, Lily and I finished reading our second chapter book - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I've really enjoyed it, perhaps because it signals the end of the day and some adult time but it's nice to snuggle up and read a chapter a night. I'm now a bit stuck about what to read next, do I try another Narnia book or go back to Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood series? Maybe there is another good chapter book for pre-schoolers out there? If you know of one, please let me know!

A horrifying tale...

My story begins on a chill and foggy Halloween morning when a Mum bravely decides to take her two children out to a... wait for it... Baby and Toddler disco.

What was she thinking?

More firework art!

Wow, last year this firework art post was one of the first I wrote from our new home. Lily had so much fun creating these pictures that I knew we'd be doing the same again this year. I have mixed it up a little though - we used a salt-painting technique that I found via Pinterest, we added more shiny things, more sparkle in the form of stickers and more mess!

I knew that this activity was going to be crazy and so it didn't bother me that much when glitter started flying around my dining room. With hindsight, I should have moved some of the washing that I was drying on the radiators, but oh well!

Simple Pleasures - Part Two

On Sunday we were lucky enough to get another day of simple pleasures. An afternoon with good friends, a trip to the park, conker hunting and a roast dinner. With a little bit of prosecco and wine thrown in for good measure!

I can't decide whether Ollie is brave or just crazy. He isn't happy playing on the toddler sized frames and instead is always attempting to scale the biggest one available. He might be wary the first time but after that he is fearless and I find myself watching with an odd combination of pride and fear as he scrambles up and over logs and traverses bridges without help.

Simple Pleasures

I'm not in a great place right now. It's not something I'm ready to go into detail about just yet, but the medication I was taking for PND has changed recently and the change over isn't going too well.

Added to stress at work, exhaustion at home and worrying about our finances (again) I was glad to walk out of the workplace on Friday with a weekend and half term ahead of me. Friday was actually my birthday but I wasn't really up for a lot of fuss and as I was working anyway we ended up spreading the 'celebrations' (for want of a better word) over a couple of days.

Said celebrations included Matt taking the day off on Thursday. It was great to have him home in the morning instead of rushing off out and he came with us to our usual mum and baby group followed by tea and cake. In the evening I was treated to a lovely takeaway and an early night!

Friday could have been better. It's not great working on your birthday at the best of times but I'm really not enjoying work right now and sat at my desk for most of the day just wishing it would end.

Super Stocking Fillers with Snapfish

When it comes to giving gifts on a budget it really does pay to get creative and go for a personal touch so I'm quite excited to share with you my experience of using Snapfish to create wonderful gifts for friends and family this Christmas.

The Snapfish website has quite a range available for personalised stocking stuffers, from cute acrylic keyrings and fridge magnets to photo canvas prints. I decided to go for these fun photo mugs which I could tailor-make to my own requirements using some designs of my own and some of Snapfish's handy embellishments.

As much as I love my friends, and as patient as they are when it comes to them listening about my children's achievements, I didn't really think that photos of me on the side of their work coffee mug was going to go down well. Instead, I picked some a couple of quotes and created the main design myself .

Ollie at 18 Months

Time goes so quickly when I'm running around after you, attempting to stop you pulling out all the plates and bowls from the cupboard, chasing you every time you start scampering up the stairs and picking you up when you've run head first into a door or face planted the floor for fun.

Today Lily asked me, "How many years is Ollie?" and I realised that you've actually jumped right past the 18 month mark and are now more than 19 months old. Your first birthday is almost a distant memory as so much as happened in the seven months since.

My Christmas Wish List

This year, Christmas shopping in the Kirsch household started in June. Yep, I've turned into one of those penny-pinching Mums so desperate for a bargain that I start stocking up with over 6 months to go. I am not ashamed of this, I have saved a fortune by buying in the sales and picking up preloved items for a fraction of the original cost.

There are only a few small items and stocking fillers left on the children's lists, a few more to get for Matt and just a couple for friends and family.

So now, my thoughts have turned to what I would like for Christmas.

It feels weird. I'm of the mind that if I don't really need something then it seems a bit silly to make a list just for the sake of it. However, experience gained from living with Matt for more than 7 years now tells me that it is best to give him some idea of what to look out for.

I start looking around this time because it's also my birthday next week, and so I can easily kill two birds with one stone and give him a list to cover both.

But where do I start? Beautiful, fun, delicious, stylish, crafty, novelty... surely even someone as fussy as me can find something worth splashing some cash on?

And so, without further ado, in no particular order, I present my wish list for 2016:

Share the Fun at Legoland

Possibly the best decision we made this year was to use part of a gift from family to buy our Merlin Annual Passes. We were fortunate that the gift coincided with their summer sale and so we chose to buy premium passes for the same cost as standard passes. Along with other benefits they also came with 'Share the Fun' vouchers which mean you can bring a friend for just £10.

We used these earlier in the summer to take some family along to Chessington World of Adventures which was brilliant and last weekend we went with friends to Legoland Windsor.

Faith, trust and choosing primary schools

Today I'm wading into the murky waters and discussions that surround choosing your child's Primary school.

A month before applications open and I have already come to realise that the school Lily will go to is less of a choice and more of a lottery. I can rank the schools in my local area in order of preference but I do not, in anyway get to 'choose' where Lily will receive her early years education.

It's a hard fact to swallow.

Life Captured

Is my pursuit for great blog photos stopping me from taking pictures in the first place?

It's a question I found myself pondering the other day as I browsed through some pics from last year. I used to take an awful lot of photos of my kids and I would never have dreamed of editing them before sharing with friends and family but now I find myself holding back from taking a photo if the light isn't great, or the background is too messy. I often find that I want to edit out a dark smudge here, or add a filter there and although I don't edit any features on my children I find myself wanting to tweak the contrast, colour and clarity of nearly all the photos I take.

And I find myself hitting delete if a particular photo isn't up to my exacting standards.

What we read... in September

I'm a little behind on both blogging and reading at the moment as last week was taken up with Lily's birthday and rainbow party. I haven't had much time to read and there hasn't been anything that has jumped out at me as something worth missing sleep for. It's an unusual situation!

I did however devour 'A Torch Against the Night' by Sabaa Tahir when it was released at the end of last month. Simply put, it is brilliant and already leaves me pining for more. I liked the twists and turns, especially as a couple of them were completely unexpected. I also enjoyed getting to know a few more of the characters that bit better.

Party Planning - Rainbow Party

Another party day gone.

Another morning after pick-me-up of leftover cake before tackling the aftermath.

I always find that after months of planning, weeks of preparation and days of baking, sticking and stringing, the party passes all too quickly. I end up with a deflated feeling after every event, usually lamenting the lack of photos taken and wondering if I should have spent more money in pursuit of 'wow' factor. I guess I'm too much of a perfectionist to completely enjoy the results of my planning.

As always, we worked to a tight budget. All in, the party cost less than £15 a head, and for that I hired the space, bought decorations, made and decorated the cake, provided food and drink and hired the services of Fairydust Entertainment.

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!

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?