Second child, not second place

Parenting two (or more!) children can feel like you're fighting a battle on multiple fronts. If you're facing a baby needing a feed one way you find your rear literally exposed when your toddler pulls down your leggings. There's vomit on your western front and a mountain of washing on your right flank.

There's no doubt that things are different second time round. You always want to do the very best for your children and when you have just one it's easier to spend time prepping a variety of homemade purées, attending baby massage classes and poring over baby books to check on the next developmental milestones.

We... enjoyed more water (at Chessington)

Having used our Merlin passes for the first time last weekend, this Saturday we decided to make the most of the (mostly) dry weather and head to Chessington World of Adventures for the day.

It was brilliant. Even when faced with disappointment after discovering that the Safari Skyway no longer exists (sob) I loved every minute.

What we read... in June

I've never really understood people who say they don't enjoy reading, I just feel sad because they probably haven't found the right book or genre for them. Reading is a huge part of my life and is something I'm really passionate about. It's my only real hobby. My guaranteed escape.

Reading to the children is a cornerstone of my parenting ideals. We read at least a couple of books every day, usually at night just before bed. I also have a very expensive addiction to buying beautiful picture books in local charity shops, I just can't walk away when they're only a few pounds each (at most).

#PampersBabyDry Challenge

When it comes to good, old-fashioned TV advertising, I always remember the ones where they really show you the product working - like the washing powder adverts with two clear buckets of detergent or Pampers adverts where they pour blue coloured water onto a nappy to show you how dry it stays. I've always wanted to try it out and see if these products really work like the manufacturers say they do.

So I jumped at the chance to work with BritMums on the Pampers Baby Dry Challenge. Sad? Maybe, but I squealed when the box arrived with my testing kit!

Babies love Boxes!

I've heard it so many times: "he opened all his presents but then preferred playing with the box". It's happened to me on numerous occasions. Because. Sometimes. You just can't beat the endless possibilities of an empty cardboard box.

Even Matt cannot resist it's lure. Which is why, on Monday when he'd taken a day off, I came downstairs to find him and the kids pretending that some empty boxes were a spaceship.

Father's Day Fun at Legoland

I do tend to keep my head down over Father's Day. It's hard to block it out, ignore it. Even harder now that I have kids and want to celebrate my husband and the brilliant Father he is, whilst attempting to block out the pain that comes with missing my own Dad.

What Dad's REALLY want for Father's Day

... Well, maybe.

I hope it's not just me, but I really struggle buying gifts for my husband for *little* occasions like Father's Day, Valentines Day and even our Anniversary. If he needs something, he tends to buy it at the time. If he really likes something it is usually very expensive. He's not at all soppy and so isn't into sentimental gifts and there's only so many watches and pairs of cufflinks one can give before they begin to lose their appeal.

So for Father's Day this year, I asked him straight.

What would you really want for Father's Day?

Review - Win a Baker Days' Cake!

If you've read a lot of my blog, you may have come to the conclusion that all I really eat is cake. Now, that might not actually be true but I do love cake and lots of it.

So, imagine my excitement when I found out that there is a company out there who posts cakes through your letterbox! Real cakes, personalised and properly iced, posted through your letterbox! It sounded like an icing-sugar induced dream but it is true.

My Real Home

I know envy isn't very attractive but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy flicking through the pages of an interiors magazine or scrolling through dream home boards on Pinterest. My latest vice has been to browse through other blogger's homes on Instagram. Yep, I can be that creepy.

I do enjoy it and I do often feel twinges of envy. I'm not jealous of the homeowners - although one day I'd love to buy a home and fill it with beautiful things. I'm realistic and buying is out of reach just now.

We made... scones!

When I was younger (much younger) I got my first weekend job working at a cafe in town where the star of the show was the 'Devon Cream Tea'. And that, my friends, was where I fell in love with clotted cream.Sneaking in the odd, random scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream (jam first, obviously) is a naughty diet habit that I am in no hurry to break.

Until recently however, I hadn't had much luck with making my own scones.

That has now changed.

In true homage to typical Devonian determination, I kept trying, kept experimenting with different recipes, and this week, managed to get it right!

Cue fist pumping and finding reasons to make lots and lots of scones.

My parenting non-negotiables

I don't think that I'm a strict parent. In fact, in our parenting partnership, Matt is far more stricter than I am and is much better at holding in any laughter when the kids do something naughty, but hilarious.

But I'm not a permissive parent either. I like rules. I like rules to be followed. I like boundaries. I like routine.

I've taken a few of those 'what type of parent are you?' quizzes and almost always end up in middle ground.

I like being in the middle.

There are some things, however, that I won't budge on. For the moment anyway. They're the expectations, rules and boundaries that I use to teach, nurture and, if necessary, discipline, my kids. There isn't many, because a long list would be awkward but they are easier to keep to than the grand yet arbitary statements I made in early motherhood about how my child would never watch Peppa Pig or eat in Macdonalds.

My Sunday Photo

We've been out gardening every weekend at the moment and it turns out that we have tons of slimy, creepy, crawly things. The kids are fascinated. So am I, but in an almost-horrified-trying-not-to-show-it kind of way. Like this slow worms. Like spiders. And like this snail, which we watched do a poop. Nice.


Bloom where you are planted - how to love your rental property!

Owning your own home is a modern-day equivalent of questing for the holy grail. Everybody (well, nearly) aspires to it. Some are lucky enough to manage it (crippling mortgage aside). Those of us who are still dreaming of this possibility face increasing rental prices, dodgy landlords and poorly disguised con-artists more commonly known as estate agents.

Ironically, owning our home would be cheaper per month than renting (in theory) but without a deposit and desire to move outside of the area we are now, buying a property is certainly off the radar.