I really love kids clothes. Well, I love what I like and as I’ve said so many times before I’m quite particular about what they wear. Comfy, practical, durable, simple and fun are my key criteria.

Having an older brother means that Felix already has a full wardrobe. However there have been a few additions which I just have to blog about. This post will be a bit photo-heavy but hey, he’s gorgeous!

The Hats!

These bonnet hats are all from Maxomorra. Another fabulous Scandi brand where the cotton is soft and the print is bold. They work so well with baby wearing and actually stay on his head thanks to the ties under his chin. I’m definitely on the look out for more bonnets. Practical and I think he looks beyond adorable!
The Knitted Cardigans

Thanks to my aunt, the children have all received numerous hand knitted cardigans. I think they work so well for babies because, firstly they are warm, but secondly they are so soft the baby can still move their arms and body freely. It’s a bugbear of mine that often children’s coats are so padded they can hardly move their arms! Well with my pretty substantial collection of knitted cardigans this isn’t an issue. The children are really comfy in them and they also work fantastically for baby wearing in a way that padded coats would not.

Leggings

We just love leggings. So soft and let Felix be able to move freely. We have quite a collection, but featured here are Polarn O. Pyret,  Joules and Bear & Babe. No buttons or poppers to worry about and once again they work so well with baby wearing.

Did I say already, I love baby clothes!!

Last week Violet got to see her third theatre production this year when my mum treated us to tickets for The Tiger Who Came to Tea. I grew up seeing theatre productions fairly regularly.  From pantos at local theatres to small productions at oldie-worldy theatres in London to full scale musicals in the West End.  I didn’t always thank my mum for signing me up to watch all these productions however now that I look back I am really pleased I got such a wonderful opportunity.  In the summer I took Violet to see Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales at the Leicester Square Theatre.  Naturally it was really geared up for kids and the staff even handed out booster cushions for the younger ones to sit on.  The show ran through Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s stories of A Squash And A Squeeze, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant In Town and ofcourse Tiddler.  Violet really enjoyed the songs and imaginative story telling.  It was great that she knew these stories so well so she could follow the plot and know what to expect next.  Had she not have known these stories I suspect it could have been a little overwhelming for a just-turned 3 year old.  After the success of her first theatre outing we promptly booked tickets to the London production of The Gruffalo.  Joe took her and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  I gather that the costumes were more involved and the characters even came into the audience.

 

So when my mum suggested seeing The Tiger Who Came to Tea as an early Christmas treat I jumped at the chance. Violet and I made our way into central London on the train.
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We have a train game of playing eye-spy however we tend to use colours or other descriptions rather than letters.  Me and my little mate then made our way to Piccadilly Circus on the Underground which was a bit noisy much to Violet’s dismay!

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She then decided that her legs were tired so I got the sling out and she jumped up on my back.
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I keep wondering when I will have my last carry with Violet.  It’s funny that at 3 and a half years she still feels really comfortable on my back and we do have a real giggle nattering to each other.  I also love how she gives me a giant cuddle and tells me how much she loves being in the sling.
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We met my mum and went in to find our seats.  This theatre didn’t offer boosters to little ones so we loaded Violet’s seat with the sling and our coats so that she had a good view.  The Lyric Theatre is such a traditional and old venue.  The carvings and ceiling are really beautiful and brings about a sense of occasion and anticipation for the show.  There was a lovely atmosphere from all the kids, some of the girls were wearing beautiful dresses for the show.

 

The production lasted about an hour. I wondered how they were going to make a book which takes about 5 minutes to read into such a long and worthwhile production.  But they managed it.  The costumes were fantastic and really matched the distinctive drawings in the book.  The tiger was actually quite amazing, the way he moved and slinked around the stage was exactly how I hoped.  There was even some magic!  When the tiger ate anything then it seemed to disappear before our very eyes!  I feel like I should really have figured out how they did it but so far I’m still clueless!

 

The show was excellent and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any children aged 3-6 years.

 

We then decided to take a trip to Hamleys. I haven’t been since I was a child and wanted Violet to see what a magical toy store really looks like.
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We started off looking at the Christmas window displays.  They featured snowy scenes with cuddly toys that had the biggest eyes.  I’m not quite sure what they were called, but they were very cute!  Violet enjoyed pointing out Father Christmas and watching the toys moving.
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Once inside it was a bit manic!  There were hundreds and hundreds of people plus staff demoing toys.  We explored the ground floor and Violet loved cuddling all the animals.
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She found a display of dinosaurs and we talked about which one Ezra would like.  Violet has told Father Christmas that Ezra would like a dinosaur and a flower so I think it’s important that we listen!  Once Violet had moved on to look at the Pepper Pig section I told mum to sneak a Diplodocus into her shopping basket.  I hope Ezra loves his dinosaur teddy and I also hope Violet loves that Father Christmas really did listen to her suggestion!

 

We carried on exploring the different floors. Up near the dollies we came across a lady talking about glitter body stamps.  She did a demo of a glitter penguin on Violet’s hand.  Unsurprisingly Violet chose to have a pink penguin and the results were fantastic.
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Violet was SO happy with her special stamp and it lasted 4 days before wearing off.  She proudly showed the staff and her friends at pre-school and told me she wanted to go back to Hamleys to get another.
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We looked at the Sylvanian Families scene on display, played with a remote controlled car, popped loads of bubbles, tried on tiaras and had a go on a dance mat.  Violet loved it.  If our empty tummies hadn’t forced us to leave I’m sure we could have carried on exploring (and spending money!!!).

 

I had such a brilliant morning with Violet. She is leaving the trying tantrum phase behind her and maturing into a little girl who I love spending 1 to 1 time with.  We have fantastic conversations, play games and I love introducing her to new experiences.  It’s like I get to be a kid all over again.  But it’s better because I’m doing it with my lovely little girl.

 

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Christmas started early for me this week with the wonderful annual Scandinavian Christmas street market on Albion Street in London.  This market has been going for about 10 years now and this year was the biggest yet.  Stalls selling Norwegian knitwear, Swedish seeded rye bread with scrumptious smoked salmon pate, Estonian warming fast food and of course cool Finnish design and our lovely Joulupukki (Father Christmas himself!)
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Rotherhithe in South London is a bit of a Nordic hub.  There’s the Swedish church on Lower Road, and the Norwegian and Finnish churches on Albion Street.  All churches are Seamen’s churches and where seafarers and immigrants during the late 19th Century from Scandinavia could congregate and maintain their unique Nordic identity.  I have been going to the Finnish Seamen’s Church since I was a baby – I was Christened there!  My mum then took me fortnightly to the Finnish Saturday School which was held at the church.  The lessons were very informal and although we did read and have homework it was more about chatting in Finnish, drawing, playing and have a few hours of being little Finns.  I did love it.
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I have been going to the Christmas Market at the church since I can remember.  As a teen I helped out in the kitchen peeling potatoes and prepping other veg.  One year I worked on the confectionary stall selling my favourite Fazer chocolate and delicious liquorice.  Nowadays I’m there to support the church and stock up on Finnish goodies.
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The church stocks all of the staples a Finn would need:

That really is a very limited list, there was so much more!
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We started off by going outside to the grill.  They were serving grilled sausages, mashed potato, reindeer, pea soup and a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks.  All were accompanied by delicious dark rye bread and lingonberry jam.  I had reindeer and mash (sorry Rudolph) and the children shared a sausage and mash.  We discovered that Ezra loves rye bread.  It’s nothing like bread as Brits know it. Finnish rye bread is dark, strong and fairly chewy.  I think it tastes best when lightly toasted with some melting margarine spread over the top.  Ezra took the whole piece and over the space of about 20 minutes devoured the lot!
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Next we went inside to the café upstairs.  We shared a Scandi smoked salmon open sandwich which is rye bread with lettuce, cucumber, smoked salmon and dill, a filter coffee and 2 cinnamon buns (‘korvapuusti’ which is a cinnamon and cardamom swirl bun).  Once we had eaten our fill we went back downstairs to shop.  The prices aren’t cheap.  Already expensive food is marked up due to the transportation and import costs and to raise money for the church.  We treated ourselves to:

  • Ruisleipä (rye bread)
  • Karjalanpiirakka (savoury rice pudding parcel)
  • Muumi toothpaste (Moomins!)
  • Felix Sinappikurkkusalaatti (pickle mustard salad)
  • Auran Sinappi – tulinen (strong mustard)

I could have filled my basket over and over again but this was enough for us.  We still have some supplies left over from our trip to Finland this summer.
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Whilst we were shopping we bumped into Muumipeikko (Moonintroll) and Pikku Myy (Litte My).  The Moomins were created by Swedish-speaking Finn Tove Jonsson.  She created the Moomin characters and wrote books which were published in the mid-late 1940s.  The stories are so typically Finnish with an absolute focus on family and the natural world.  Moomins are more popular than ever, both in Finland and the world over.  I tried to encourage Violet to agree to have a photo taken.  As interested as she was in the giant Moomin Troll wandering around the fair she did NOT want to pose for a photo.  So here’s me grinning with Muumipeikko with Violet’s face buried in my neck and you can just about see Ezra’s foot peeking out from my back!
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We left the church with our tummies full, our senses topped up with Finnishness and bags full of treats.  I am so proud of my Finnish heritage and hope that my children will one day also feel that stamp of unique Finnish identity in their hearts.

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I absolutely love babywearing.  Being able to respond immediately to the baby, smell and feel their soft skin, feel their breath and enjoy the closeness.  I have carried both Violet and Ezra from the beginning, favouring wraps over the pushchair.  Both children were not keen on the pushchair until they were in a sitting position so wrapping them was my only solution for getting out and about without a drama.  I’ve also found with babywearing that I cart around a lot less stuff in my bag so I don’t feel like such a pack-horse!

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I started out carrying Violet in a stretchy Moby wrap.  The first time I took her out at 7 days old I felt like I was walking on stilts.  I was so proud of my daughter!  As we walked around town so many people smiled and stopped me to say how sweet my baby looked cuddled up close.  She slept the whole time, so peacefully.  Whereas my instant bonding with Ezra came from skin-to-skin at birth, I would say that my bonding with Violet came from carrying her in the sling.  Her arrival into the world wasn’t easy.  I felt so traumatised over it.  I was in so much discomfort and had flashbacks to her being yanked out of me.  I didn’t feel the instant love rush I had expected.  When I started to carry Violet the memories faded.  She was so happy to be close to me and the maternal feelings within me grew and grew.  Every time I wrapped her in the sling I felt at one with her.  Protective.  Powerful.

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As Violet grew I started to venture into the world of woven wraps.  It was a slippery slope but I got to try so many wonderful brands and blends.  Every wrap brought about a new experience for me; be it the look, the support, the love or the texture.  I traded wraps, always on the look out for the wrap which would do everything I wanted.

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My favourite brands have to be Oscha Slings and Artipoppe.  My bank balance only allows me to have 1 Artipoppe in my collection but I count myself very lucky that it’s there!

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So I have a lot to thank babywearing for.  For helping me achieve my close bond with my daughter, for giving me those moments with her where we would chatter and laugh about what was going on around us, for keeping my hands free when the baby just needs to be held, for giving my children much needed comfort and love from their mother, for building my strength and fitness post-partum and for bringing out the mama-bear within.

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n.b. always practice safe babywearing and follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines.

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