I’m not very good at baking cakes but I am very good at eating them! Over the last few months we’ve had a lot of birthdays to celebrate in our family and all have involved lots of lovely cake. Violet has even taken it upon herself to be the chief cake chooser when we buy a cake from the shops. So when we were contacted by Baker Days to review one of their Letterbox cakes I jumped at the chance! Letterbox cakes are perfect size to fit through a standard sized letterbox. They are a brilliant way of sending someone a little surprise to let them know you are thinking of them.  A birthday, good luck, well done, congratulations, or perhaps they have been poorly or something has been happening in their lives…what better way to send them a little pick-me-up than in the form of a personalised cake!!

The package arrived much to my excitement!  I got Violet to help me open the box and inside was a beautiful tin, a card, some balloons and a noisy whistle.

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I opened the tin and inside was the cutest cake.  I had chosen a regular sponge cake.  The icing depicted a winter scene of Father Christmas and a snowman.  I had chosen the words; ‘Dear Violet and Ezra, Merry Christmas, Love from Father Christmas’.  Violet had met Father Christmas at her pre-school party the previous day so she absolutely loved the idea that he had sent her a cake!!

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Despite the cake having come through out letterbox and fallen a reasonable height, it was completely intact having been protected by the tin and packaging.

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Violet and I cut a slice each and really enjoyed eating the little treat.  We talked about how Father Christmas must have enjoyed talking to her at the party so he decided to send her a cake.  She totally bought into the idea and ran off to tell Joe.

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My inlaws were staying with us and also had a slice of cake.  Everybody agreed that the sponge was light, moist and fluffy.  The icing was lovely and soft.  I’m not a huge fan of icing but this was soft and really tasty.

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Violet had great fun playing with the balloons and blowing the whistle.

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So if you want to send someone a little treat, why not send a Baker Days Letterbox cake!  We thoroughly recommend it!

 

Giveaway time!

Baker Days have been kind enough to allow me to run a giveaway of one of their personalised letterbox cakes.  All you have to do is enter via the widget below.  The giveaway closes at midnight on Wednesday 16th December and is only available to residents in UK and Ireland.  Please share with friends and family.  Thank you x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Baker Days for sending us this lovely cake in return for an honest review.

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Now that Ezra is sleeping through the night (praise the Lord!) we are starting to think about putting him in the same room as Violet.  Since we moved here we have replastered the bedrooms, painted and laid new carpets but the rooms are still quite generic and impersonal.  I would really like to decorate their room as a place of peace and rest at night but also for play during the day.  Currently their toys are downstairs steadily taking over our dining room.  We want to move lots of them upstairs so that Violet and Ezra can play in their bedroom.

When it comes to themes I want something which wont date or be too baby-ish.  Generally my taste is for bright and bold.  Not frilly or fussy.  I’ve been toying with getting Violet a cabin bed as the storage would be fantastic.  But looks-wise I really like the idea of a hospital bedframe.  I just think they look so classy and effortlessly cool.  All I know for sure is that she is starting to outgrow her toddler bed!

When it comes to bedding we have a bit of everything in our house.  On our bed we have 2 Marimekko print duvet covers:

Kivet:

Kivet -pussilakanasetti

Unikko:

Unikko duvet cover set

We have sheets from Debenhams and John Lewis.  And even some brushed cotton ones from Primark!  As long as the sheets are comfy and wash well I am not really too worried where they come from.

When Violet stopped using baby sleeping bags I bought her an amazing duvet cover from Finlayson.

Otso:

Otso Duvet Cover Set

It’s probably not your obvious choice for a 2 year old girl but it just caught my eye and I love it.  The colours have remained vibrant despite all the washes and I can see this being a source of inspiration for when we decorate their bedroom.  I think woodland themes are quite ‘in’ at the moment when it comes to kids rooms but it feels all the more apt for us having Finnish roots!  Ezra is still in his sleeping bags (can I just say I think these are absolute genius!) but once he is using a duvet cover i’ll have to see what we can get him.

When browsing through the Yorkshire Linen Co website I came across so many duvet sets which gave me ideas for our decorating plans.

I really like stags so these ones caught my eye:

  

and Violet loves owls so this one popped out at me:

I’ve also considered a sea/sailing theme for the kids room so this one caught my eye:

And just because it’s Christmas time I had to pick out this one!  I’m pretty sure Violet would refuse to get out of bed if she had a Santa duvet and pillow set!

The Yorkshire Linen Co was established in 1993 and they pride themselves on luxury bed linen and soft furnishings at affordable prices.  They have products to suit every taste from contemporary all the way to traditional.  As well as a huge online store there are 30 shops dotted around the UK.  And what’s more, they have a massive sale on at the moment!

 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

 

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Family Life:

After declaring that November would be the month of a healthy family, we took a rapid decline into the depths of coughing, vomiting and sleepless nights!  I took Ezra to our local hospital twice due to his latest bout of Bronchiolitis and Violet kept us up a few nights through croup!  So that’s really it, ok?!  We have had our lot.  NO MORE GERMS * !

At the start of November we did our Northern Family tour and stopped off to visit one of my best friends who is also Ezra’s Godmother.  She took us to see Saltaire which was a textile mill and village built by Titus Salt.

The rest of November has been fairly quiet, we have stayed at home and just trundled on through the working week.  On Saturday it was Ezra’s first birthday.  We had the best time celebrating and felt like it really was the perfect family day.  On Sunday we put up the Christmas decorations!!  I know it’s slightly early but with Ezra’s birthday falling on the 28th, it felt like a lovely new tradition to start Christmas straight after.  Joe put up some blue LED string fairy lights on the outside of the house and I positioned 3 LED toadstools in our garden!  Joe had been very dubious when I bought these mushrooms, it was definitely a stray away from the usual reindeer and Santa we see in people’s front gardens!  But he agreed with me, they look fantastic!!  Certainly a little different, which I like.
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I was right in predicting that Ezra would not take his first unaided steps by his birthday.  He is still cruising really well and can walk with the walker however he still seems quite a way off balancing by himself. He has learnt to point and clap in November.  And he says “dah” which means something to him.  We haven’t figured out what though!  Ezra is really discovering how to show if he is frustrated.  He will deliberately throw himself onto the floor with dramatic tears or he will pick something up and just throw it!  My super chilled out boy is starting to display some personality traits I think he has learnt from his sister!!

Violet has been a really good girl in November.  There have been occasions where I am ready to pull my hair out, but overall she’s been great!  She is going to be an Angel in her pre-school nativity this week.  She’s been singing the songs for weeks at home – I just can’t wait to see her in the play!  Both sets of Grandparents are coming to watch!

 

Blog Life:

I have seen a first draft of my new logo and banner for my blog.  I absolutely LOVE it!  It really captures what my blog is about and the influences in my life.  Hopefully i’ll be able to get my mitts on the finished product in December!  I feel like I’ve settled into my groove a little more in November, I’ve got 2 regular posts; My Sunday Photo and Happy Days.  It feels good to have a couple of anchor points in the week which can otherwise be difficult with working full time and raising a young family.  I also posted my first collaborative post.  The process of working with the client was much smoother than I expected.  I have a few more collaborative opportunities in December so I hope they are just as good.

Most read post: Best Newborn baby Buys. I enjoyed looking back to when my kids were born and thinking about the products we used to make life a little bit easier. I think I’ll have to write a top baby buys and toddler buys post some day soon.

Favourite post: Babywearing – Carry them Close. This post meant a lot to me. I am a huge advocate of babywearing and have helped many friends with their babywearing journey.

My favourite blogger: Run Jump Scrap is a fabulous blog by Sarah about life with her daughter. I love her honesty and thought provoking posts. And she has the most adorable little Gremlin who never fails to make me smile on my Instagram feed!

 

My targets for December:

  1. To get my logo finalised and uploaded – I hope I can figure out how to do this!
  2. To work out how to block so much spam from my comments
  3. To be more active on Facebook

 

Thanks for reading and sticking with me during November.  I hope you have a lovely festive December!

Vix x

* Ezra may or may not have just been sent home from nursery with diarrhoea…

 

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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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