Bents Christmas Wonderland

Ever since I moved to Lancashire, Bents Garden and Home has been a must-visit at Christmas time. They are known in the area for their amazing displays, in fact my mum now insists that I take her every year and Mr H has decided we MUST own one of those light-up village scenes for each year - so far we are up to four and I'm not quite sure where they're going to go this time!

Bonfire Night 2013

A little late to the table, but I wanted to share our bonfire night photos from this year. We attended a local firework display with some friends and their little girl. It was quite a cool night, but the rain held off so we were lucky. There were two displays - a quieter one earlier on for the small children, and a full one later. We stayed for both and enjoyed the mini fairground in between.

Both children were a bit unsure at first, but their uncle had let off some fireworks at a christening we attended at the weekend so they were at least familiar with them. There were no tears or freak-outs, which I was wary off, however J was very quiet throughout the noisy ones and just wanted daddy cuddles.

I covered H's ears at first but eventually she covered her own, and then wasn't even bothered.

Afterwards we went to my friends' house and the older ones had a go at sparklers, with complete supervision I may add.

I've always loved Bonfire Night and when we were young my mum, dad, sister and I would either have a bonfire at home or would go to the local pub who always had one. It was just one of those lovely family events where we all got together to eat toffee apples and bonfire toffee and ooh and aah at the displays. It's a tradition I really want to continue with my own family and this year we had a lovely bonfire night all together.

F&F Children's Partywear Competition

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to take part in Tesco's F&F Children's partywear competition. As I have recently started writing more about the children's outfits I thought it would be great to join in.

Waterstone's Story Cubes Project

Did you know that November is NanoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month? I was asked if I wanted to be a part of Waterstone's Story Cubes project and I agreed, always wanting to 'expand' my writing! The idea is that a group of eight bloggers will contribute one chapter each using Rory’s Story Cubes to guide the narrative.

You can read chapters one, two and three here. Here is my addition:

Childhood Chic #2

Welcome to the second week of Childhood Chic - my little slot where I share my favourite clothes and styles in my children's wardrobes. I am absolutely loving the excuse to source new brands and styles for my two littlies (although Mr H and my bank balance aren't quite so enamoured!). Here's our looks this week:

As you can see we loved the new Polarn O Pyret Circus range so much! J wears purple striped leggings (now reduced to £16.40) with his Baba & Boo top and H wears purple stripe skirt (now reduced to £16.40) with a red top from George at Asda.

H is becoming a right little poser! Cable knit dress from F&F at Tesco, belt from Easybelts.

All ready for our Mama Designs 5th birthday party, J is wearing top from Matalan, joggers from Kite Baby and gorgeous grey star snoodie from Mama Designs.

The Indikidual leggings are back, as they are just so soft and comfy! This week teamed with a top from Next.

A Kid In A Sweet Shop

Last weekend we were invited to a bloggers morning at The Sweet Shop at the Trafford Centre. I wasn't completely familiar with the store before the invitation, but I do have a big sweet tooth so was looking forward to it.

Giveaway: The Essential One

Those of you who are regular readers will know how close I am with online baby boutique, The Essential One. I was thrilled when they recently asked me to be an honorary ambassador for them, as Baby J no longer fits in their beautiful clothes...sob.

Mama Designs is 5!

I've only recently got to know the lovely brand that is Mama Designs and I was fortunate to meet the lady behind the company - Keira - at Britmums in June. She is a huge supported of Jennie and the Matilda Mae fundraising that I hold so close to my heart, so we had some great chats whilst we were down there.

The Pony Cycle

I recently came across a new toy that definitely sparked my intrigue. The Pony Cycle is a plush toy that is quite unique. There is no motor, no power and no battery required so you actually mount the Pony like you would a real horse - your feet rest on the stirrup step and as you bounce the spring action propels the horse forward; the faster you bounce the quicker your Pony will race. The product actually promotes exercise to children, getting them to keep fit whilst still having fun.

Childhood Chic

Lately I have really enjoyed finding and sourcing new brands and boutiques full of wonderful and different children's clothes. Pretty much since I found out I was pregnant, I have spent much more time and money on the childrens' wardrobes than my own and this doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. So I have decided to embrace this and am starting a new feature on Hollybobbs I am calling Childhood Chic.

Whilst I don't pretend to be any kind of fashion guru, I do enjoy dressing the children in what I deem to be stylish clothing and want to share my finds with you. Ever since I discovered The Essential One and Kyna Boutique I have been inspired to find more and learn about the brands that are out there. Whilst Mr H isn't keen on the cost of all this, it is of course the price one must pay in the name of fashion!

So here is this week's installment, of the most recent outfits my children have donned. I hope over the weeks and months this will develop into a feature where I can share up and coming brands and help others out there find out about clothes that are different, yet still affordable.

28th October 2013:
Ahoy tights from Slugs & Snails, top from Next

29th October 2013:
Jumper and trousers from H&M

Top from Baba & Boo, shoes from Clarks

30th October 2013:
Jumper from George at Asda, skirt from Next, belt from Easybelts

Top from Next, leggings by Indikidual from Kyna Boutique

31st October 2013:
J: Top by Indikidual at Kyna Boutique, tights from Slugs & Snails. H: Top by H&M, dress from TU at Tesco, tights from Matalan

4th November 2013:
Top from Matalan, trousers from H&M

Vest from H&M, trousers from Matalan

Please follow my Instagram feed to also follow these photos each day.

Poetry For Toddlers

I have always loved poetry and as a teenager full of angst I wrote tons of poems, and now have teams of them up in the loft.

When I saw the new Tots 100 Center Parcs poetry challenge I thought I would use it as a prompt to include H in some poetry fun. As she is nearly three, she is still too young to really understand poetry. but by creating a found poem and putting together a list of words it made it an activity she could join in.

Last week we went on a lovely autumn walk and collected lots of leaves, which we are part-way through making a garland out of. We gathered together some of the leaves, some pens and some coloured paper and had a little chat about our walk.

I asked H about the leaves - they were crunchy, circles, had spots on, and were various colours. 

We talked about the walk - she wore her news shoes, we skipped, walked, collected and were silly. We saw a birdie. It was a long walk.

I then added some joining words such as and, the and in.

Once I had written them on strips of paper (with H choosing which colour paper and pen I used), we gathered all the words together, went in the front room and H threw them in the air (a bit like leaves falling from the tree).

Once they were all mixed up she passed them to me one by one. I lined them up and then moved a couple down onto the next line and our autumn poem was complete:

"Spots walked a lot
Green, purple collecting
Crunchy. Yellow.
In long walk silly skip.
Birdie circles!
The new shoes and leaves"

*This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 November challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Sherwood Forest


Those of you who follow my blog will be aware of a cause very close to my heart - Matilda Mae and The Lullaby Trust. Nine months ago a beautiful little girl, aged nine months, passed away from SID's. Since then her mummy has been tirelessly fundraising and has put together some amazing events and celebrations of her daughter short life, raising thousands in the process. For those of you who don't know you can read her story here.

A Wonderful Day

I was dreading Wednesday this week, to the point I totally freaked out on Tuesday night thinking about it - we're talking tears, I'm not good enough's, I'm a bad mother's - the works. All because I was being forced to endure the thing I feared the most - a day on my own with the children.

This time last year
I used to be fine on these days. We would play, go for walks, learn and have a lovely time together. Then PND hit and it went south. Nowadays I avoid them like the plague. However all friends were busy, my mum was away and my in-laws had already had the children Monday and Tuesday for me and I don't like to push them too much.

So Wednesday arrived and I dragged myself out of bed, as is the norm these days. We had breakfast, the children played and I felt OK. Really OK. I considered a walk and thought, yes I can manage that. So we got dressed and we went out for a walk.

It was lovely. A great autumn day. We went to our local park, which is pretty limited but still there's a swing and a slide and it's better than being stuck indoors. Then we went on a leaf collecting walk. H jumped in puddles, pointed out trees, leaves and berries to me and chattered away happily.

Our leaf collection
To some these days are normal, as they were at one stage for me. But lately they are a rare delight. A day when I have the energy to get the children dressed, get them outside and enjoy them.

A day I felt like me again. It was wonderful.


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