Dear Violet

Happy birthday!!

5 years being our trail blazer.

Our first born.

Our only daughter.

Our curly haired wonder. (Seriously, where are the curls from??)

Our sassy, stubborn, kind, inquisitive hot head!

Thankyou for making me a mum. It was always my ambition and because of you, my wishes came true.

The last year has been huge for you. Starting school, getting another little brother, joining clubs at school and starting swimming lessons. I know these have been challenging for you. Change isn’t easy. But you have faced them all with determination and a positive attitude. We are incredibly proud of you for overcoming worries and facing things head on. Especially with school, I really couldn’t ask for more.

I hope the next year is a little more settled for you. But whatever it brings, carry on being awesome!

So happy birthday my darling.

Stay happy.

We love you x x x x

My gorgeous Ezra is 2 years old! Those 2 years have flown by and yet it feels like Ezra has always been in our lives.

One of his middle names is Onni. It means ‘happy’ in Finnish. Our choice of middle name was completely inspired as it sums him up perfectly. He has happiness and joy coursing through him and he always seems to be looking at things from the sunny side of the street.

When you meet him, he may seem shy but it only lasts a minute or two. If you give him the time of day he will reward you with smiles, chatter and the squeekiest laugh you’ve ever heard!

He has his funny little ways, like when he dances on the spot with stamp stamp feet, or he finds a feather he has to blow it, or the way he screws his face up to smile for a photo. He has learnt to run and jump and I love seeing his massive blonde head bobbing up and down while he’s having fun!
Ezra was a little slow to find his words this year, but now he’s got the hang of it he loves talking! The pronunciation may be a little off and you’ll hear the word “bump” about 300 times a day. But he makes himself heard and understood very well!

His relationship with Violet is intense. They adore each other so much it’s almost stifling sometimes and fights and bickering are frequent in our house. But I do not doubt that they will remain as close as they grow older. Violet talks about missing Ezra while she is at school, and if one of us takes Ezra to the supermarket he will sit in the trolley and ask about Sissy the whole way round the shop.

I feel like I’ve always had a special bond with Ezra. There seems to be an understanding between us both which I can’t really describe. I just get him. It’s been tested with the arrival of Felix. I can see that Ezra has gravitated to Joe for comfort whereas previously he would always come to me first. But this is healthy and I am pleased he will go to his Father. We still have our special bond and I love him more than I can even explain.

So, this world has been blessed with our little (actually he’s massive!) Ezra for 2 whole years. He is one of the sweetest people I have ever known. Happy Birthday to our wonderful boy!

It was my birthday this week. I was really very spoilt by Joe! I got my lovely Storksak Elizabeth bag back in August but he also arranged to have one of Violet’s drawings made into a brooch. It’s not just any old drawing, this is me with the baby in my tummy!

I’m not huge into jewellery. I wear my rings, a bracelet I was given by a dear friend for my 18th birthday and a simple necklace chain. I tend to wear child-friendly jewellery I don’t need to take off. So although I appreciate beautiful jewellery I don’t always have much chance to wear it. And I suppose this makes presents quite tricky for Joe. But he really got this spot on. A beautiful reminder of my third pregnancy and my daughter’s precious drawing turned into something I will treasure! This is now proudly pinned to my blazer and won’t be coming off! It fits my jewellery wearing criteria perfectly!

If that wasn’t enough, Joe also arranged a babysitter for Saturday night and booked us a table at a Michelin star restaurant in Tunbridge Wells called Thackeray’s. This was the first time a friend had babysat the children and for me felt like a really big deal. There are very few people I could leave the children with. But Katie at Curious Little Teapot is one of my favourite people and I knew would cope just fine with whatever these 2 little terrors would throw at her!

Getting dressed up was fun. After all it’s not something I get to do too often! Violet was my makeup sidekick. She just loves watching me put it on, asks a ridiculous number of questions and also tries to help me! I had powder applied to my neck, back and she even used the brushes to do some dusting!! Oh well…!

After some last minute wobbles from Violet about us going out we left. The restaurant was only half an hour away in the car but the trusty sat-nav didn’t quite take us to the door! Eventually after about 4 U-turns we found Thackeray’s.

The atmosphere was so relaxed and friendly. We have been to a few Michelin star restaurants previously which have been more trendy but I really think this one suited us the best for how down-to-earth everything seemed yet the quality was still first class.

There were 3 menus; a tasting menu, a menu exceptional and a market menu. We chose from the market menu.

As you can see, the selection is not huge so as I don’t eat cheese and foie gras doesn’t really appeal I was a little forced towards the rabbit as a starter. I had never tried rabbit before. But what better way to try it for the first time than when it is cooked at its best!

Oh my goodness, it was divine! Very light and delicate in flavour. So tender. And the scallop was delicious. I had chosen very well, and now I will look out for rabbit again on a menu! Joe had the trout which he couldn’t praise highly enough. Goat’s cheese and beetroot are 2 of his favourite things.

For my main I chose the pork.

This dish was just so yummy. I am no food critic so my descriptions are probably super basic, but ‘yummy’ and ‘scrumptious’ really sum this dish up. I have really started to enjoy mushrooms in this pregnancy so to find a giant mushroom on my plate was an added bonus!

Joe had the turbot.

He said it was an amazing dish and the subtle curry flavours were sublime. We were both so happy with our meals so far!

Here’s the desert menu:

I had a hard time choosing, I could have eaten it all! But eventually I went for the raspberry delice and Joe chose the cheesecake. Both of us were so happy with our selections. We tasted eachothere but were both glad we chose what we had.

Isn’t it pretty! Really refreshing, delicious and the perfect way to round off my birthday treat. Except it wasn’t the end!

Joe and I had such a great evening out. We try to have child-free time as much as is practical and acceptable. It’s important for us to be a couple. Husband and wife. Not just mum and dad. Last night was perfect and another fantastic experience trying new food cooked by the best.

Thank you Joe for being an amazing husband. And thank you Katie for being an awesome friend!

If you get the chance to visit this restaurant then DO!!!

On Saturday it was Ezra’s first birthday. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling really emotional at the thought of him turning one! The baby of the family isn’t really my little baby any more! I can’t believe it’s been a year since we met him for the first time.

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The day started with a lay in for everyone! The kids didn’t wake until 7:45am! We came downstairs and there was a lovely pile of cards and presents for Ezra to open. However Ezra was far more interested in the balloons we had blown up much to Violet’s frustration! She was desperate to ‘help’ him yet he was rolling around on the balloons threatening to pop one! Eventually she coaxed him over and they made their way through the presents one by one.

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We had bought him some moccasin slippers, a toy tv remote, a Hatley fleece all-in-one, a shape sorter and 9 plastic bugs which can be joined up together. From friends and family he also received some stacking blocks, a jumper, abacus, mega bloks, a book and a remote controlled recycling truck! What an incredibly lucky boy to have so many people in his life thinking of him on his first birthday!

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After his nap we set out to Hayes High Street for lunch at our favourite café. The Java and Chai Tea Room is a wonderful vintage inspired café which now has a children’s room in the back. I just love this place. The owners are SO friendly and welcoming, in fact we go so often that they know us! In the back room there is a large play pen with foam letter flooring and loads of brilliant toys for under 3s. The room also has a beautiful large dolls house and brio train track. There’s also a small tv playing cartoons. I’m not a huge fan of kids watching TV or tablets during meals out however the room has so much to entertain them that the tv was largely ignored. We had such a lovely lunch and the kids played very sweetly.

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Next on our birthday agenda was a trip to the swimming pool. We have never taken Ezra swimming before so this could have gone either way! We went to Bromley Pavillion which we like because there is the main pool and then a shallow small pool alongside. Violet stormed into the little pool and immediately was full of beans and had the biggest grin on her face! She loved running and jumping through the water, going down the little slide and laying on a float while trying to kick her legs. It was so wonderful to see her feeling free and confident in the water. No fear. For Violet who naturally is a little nervy this was absolutely huge! Ezra was quite uncertain when we first got into the pool. He turned round and clung on to me with his (long, I’ve cut them now!) nails. He wanted to be held close, to get that reassurance and comfort. I could feel him physically relax, as I laid the back of my head on the ledge of the pool I allowed him to perch himself on my front and just look around at all the kids having fun. I had bought him an inflatable ring with a seat. We popped him into it and from that point onwards he was in his element. His feet could reach the floor and he was able to walk himself around the little pool and go where he liked. He smiled with confidence. Violet enjoyed pulling him around the pool away from Joe and myself. We kept a watchful eye on them but it was just so special to see them both go off together. I think Violet is really waiting for the day Ezra can walk steadily and follow her in the playground. In a few months I think he will.

I thought we would be in the pool for about half an hour. Well 90 minutes later we decided we better get out otherwise we would be late for dinner! Getting changed after swimming with kids feels like such a mission! Violet kept trying to look in the next door cubicle, the baby harness was broken on the chair so I had to just hold him once we were dressed and you never feel like you are dry enough! But we made it out and home in time. A quick dinner was followed by birthday cake.

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Today was perfect. A family day making normal things special and memorable. We celebrated a whole year of having Ezra in our family. Violet was so thoughtful about this being her little brother’s special day. She kept saying happy birthday to him, giving him kisses, showing him his new toys and overall she was just a top girl.

Ezra is my sweetest boy. Loving, affectionate, happy and cheeky. But we are seeing his changes as he leaves babyhood behind. He is learning how to show his frustrations and will roll onto the floor when he feels upset. He is trying to play more with his toys rather than just throw them around. He is watching his big sister and desperately trying to get involved. Violet is learning to include him a little.

These 2 kids drive me mad sometimes. I look at them and wonder how we are going to get through. But days like this are what we live for. When the every day is good, it is the best.

Happy first birthday Ezra x
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