Today Violet has completed her first term at school. What a rollercoaster it’s been!

She started in September excited but very nervous and it took her a little while to settle. She found saying goodbye in the playground very difficult and there were tears every morning for a couple of weeks. All of a sudden one morning she walked in without crying! I felt so so relieved that we had reached this point and it hadn’t taken too long for her to settle. Violet really loves being at school. She loves playing, eating her lunch, singing, drawing, learning new letters, exploring in forest school and getting to know her new friends. By far the highlight of the term was seeing her nativity last week. She sang all of the sweet little songs enthusiastically and I loved watching her do all the actions!

Violet has had a lot to contend with this term. We welcomed her little brother Felix into the family in October. As much as Violet adores her baby brother and is very good at helping me out with him, it has taken me away from her a little. I rarely do bedtime and story time is a juggle with her craving a book before bed while Felix wants to feed. We have worked hard on her reading and her progress has astounded me. When she concentrates she really can read! The last couple of weeks I have been reading The Twits to her. Her first introduction to Roald Dahl and first proper story book. She’s found it unbelievable that 2 people can be that awful to each other!

I took her to a cafe for an end-of-term treat of hot chocolate and cake.

I asked her of all the things she has done at school what was her favourite. She had a think and then said “writing letters”. I often find her at home copying words from books and writing a random collection of letters and then asking what words she has made.

Violet is complex. Friends and family will know about my endless questions about her. But she’s my number one girl who has made me so so proud over the last couple of months. She’s started her school life so positively and genuinely loves going. I couldn’t ask for more in that respect.

Oh and look, she lost her first tooth at the age of 4 and a half. That’s pretty early I think!

Here’s to a nice Christmas break and then starting the new year with continued enthusiasm.

As I’ve said previously on the blog, I am quite particular when it comes to the children’s clothes. I like bright, colourful and practical clothes. Much to Violet’s dismay I’m not into frills and embellishments. And I really don’t like slogans! I like soft fabric which is comfy and durable. The Scandi style is my favourite. Effortlessly cool and beautiful.

So to have a school friend who recently launched her own children’s clothing label which fits all of my key criteria is just the bee’s knees!

Mary is the brains, blood, sweat and tears behind Bear & Babe. She’s mum to a 3 year old boy (Bear) and 1 year old girl (Babe) and lives in Sheffield. She started off making clothes for her daughter and then decided to set up her own business. The brand is quickly gathering momentum, orders are coming in thick and fast. I wonder how Mary finds the time between looking after her family and her job as a nanny!

At the Bear & Babe shop you’ll find leggings, harem pants, rompers, bibs and hoodies. Mary is always coming up with new designs so this isn’t an exhaustive list.

The cotton jersey is super soft, the seams are strong and the elastic is not too tight. Violet can be hard to please when it comes to clothes. She has sensory issues with sleeves, seams and elastic. So for her to put on her leggings and just run off and play is a testament to how comfortable they are!

They wash beautifully and the seams have all stayed intact. The colours have remained bright despite the wear of young children and regular washing. I absolutely love seeing my children in bright, fun clothing which is so comfortable.

So go and have a browse on etsy. You can’t go wrong with handmade leggings for £10 or a hoodie for £15! By supporting a small business you are helping make dreams a reality!

Check out Bear & Babe on

Facebook

Instagram

We were sent these clothes in return of an honest review.

Unbelievably Felix is now 2 weeks old. Time has flown and I really cannot imagine life without him in it. He feels like the most special baby, I just adore him! I felt the same with Violet and Ezra but I am so relaxed this time it’s reflecting really positively on my outlook. Before these newborn days become just a memory I need to record how Felix has got to grips with life on the outside.

Feeding
Felix is a little pro at breastfeeding! After the complications, worries and difficulties with Violet and Ezra I really hoped my third baby would just get it. At the hospital a student midwife took the time to help me with positioning and the latch. She helped me so much and I felt really confident that Felix also knew what he was doing. He fed every couple of hours for the first 48 hours and before I knew it my milk came in. The sense of achievement was immense!

On the 4th night he fed from 11pm until 5am! This hasn’t been repeated thankfully and nights are going pretty well. On day 5 Felix had lost 6.5% of his birth weight. The midwives told me this was really good and to carry on as we are. On day 10 he had gained 120g and on day 14 he gained a further 240g (8oz)! These figures are so rewarding and give me confidence every day that we are succeeding.

Being able to go out without bottles or concerns that he will not feed well from me is so liberating. So far I have breastfed him in a pub, in the park and during our registering of his birth appointment. As tiring as it is taking up the feeding responsibility all myself, I am really loving our journey so far.

Sleeping
The first week was pretty exhausting. Night time cluster feeds, sore breasts, a baby who wanted to be held all night…. But Felix and I have now found our way and I think we are getting maximum sleep at the moment.

Generally our routine in the evenings is for me to feed Felix until he goes to sleep some time after 9pm. I then give him to Joe while I go to bed for a couple of hours. It’s nice for me to have a bit of baby free time and also lovely for Joe to have a cuddle with his son. Joe then brings him to me when he wakes and I feed him. Felix settles nicely when he is swaddled so I do this and then we cosleep. Cosleeping was not something I planned to do but it seems to be working really well so for now this is best. He wakes around 3am and 6am for feeds. I can’t complain.

During the day Felix loves cuddles but he also sleeps really soundly in the Sleepyhead. He doesn’t seem as keen to sleep in it during the night though!

Violet and Ezra
Violet and Ezra adore their baby brother!! There hasn’t been a hint of jealousy and both have been really gentle with him. Violet asks to hold him quite a lot and if he is unsettled she sings him songs and holds his hands. It’s adorable!

Ezra asks to “see Fee-ix” all the time. He strokes him and says “ello” in a high pitched voice when he wakes from a nap. Sometimes he even wants to give him a “cuggle”.

I hope this happy state remains and Joe’s return to work next week isn’t too hard on Ezra (or me!!).

So we are happy. Life is wonderful with Felix in it. This baby moon has been blissful and I really believe I have soaked in every moment. I’ll remember these first days forever.

Violet and Ezra love fancy dress. Violet is frequently seen in our little high street in her purple Rapunzel dress and Ezra enjoys galloping around the house in the zebra costume! So the opportunity to review a Halloween dress was really exciting.

Tickled Pink Fancy Dress stock a huge range of fancy dress costumes for children and adults. Their website is really well laid out and easy to use. Helpfully their costumes are organised into themes so finding something suitable is very simple. I headed over to the Halloween section and was on the look out for something glittery for Violet. After some deliberations I settled on the green Spider Witch dress:

Violet is 4 years old and very slim. I chose size age 5-6 so that there was some growing room.

Once the order was placed the dress arrived 2 days later. I was very happy with the delivery service and also the details sent in the order emails.

Violet opened the package and almost couldn’t contain her excitement to try it on.

My first impression was that the green was really pretty and the glitter wasn’t that awful kind that just scatters everywhere. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a lining under the skirt to give it some more shape. However, as soon as Violet put it on she started to complain about the elastic on the little sleeves. She said it was really tight and itchy. I was surprised that the elastic felt so tight as she is a very slim girl and her arms definitely shouldn’t feel uncomfortable in an age 5-6 dress.

The witches hat which comes with the dress was pretty basic with the green trim. I wonder whether some spider detail or glitter on it would have made it a little more exciting.

Violet is going to a Halloween party at her school before half-term and I really hoped she would wear this dress. But she’s made her mind up that the sleeves are too tight and doesn’t want to wear it. Such a shame! I think that perhaps if I got her a black long sleeved top to wear underneith then the elastic may not feel quite so itchy on her arms, so that might be a solution to the problem.
The outfit is available for £10.99 which seems fairly standard for a Halloween costume. There are various delivery charge options on the website depending how quickly you want to receive it.

Overall I would say this is a pretty Halloween costume however sizing does seem to be on the small side. I also feel as though the outfit was missing a bit of detail which I was expecting.

I am now mum to a school aged child.  I find this really astounding that I have a child who goes to school!  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was at school, but time flies and here we are!

Over the summer Joe and I spent a lot of time carefully and gently preparing Violet for school.  She was not looking forward to leaving pre-school and the thought of going somewhere new with new people essentially terrified her.  Also there was the fact that none of her close friends from pre-school were going to her school.  I felt immense pressure to strike the right balance getting her school-ready mentally whilst not freaking her out to the point she would refuse to even entertain the idea!

The school were really great with the preparations.  She had a 90 minute session in her classroom with her teachers and peers in July whilst us parents were ushered to a separate building to await feedback.  She hesitated at the door but somehow agreed to stay without upset.  I walked away from the classroom in amazement.  As I collected her she seemed relaxed and happy.  I could not have asked for a better outcome and told her how proud I was!

One of the mums set up 3 meet-ups in the local playground so that the children could familiarise themselves with eachother and hopefully form the beginnings of some important friendships.  Undoubtedly Violet gained some confidence from her little brother being there – she likes to be protective of him when out and about – and again she amazed me by playing a little with some of the girls.

We chatted to Violet about what her teacher would be like.  We almost created an image of her in Violet’s head and talked about her as if they were already friends.  We were trying to make her teacher familiar to her despite them only having met briefly.  The hope was that this key person in her life would be someone she already liked and felt comfortable with.

Then there were practical things like getting herself dressed and going to the toilet independently, being able to carry her plate with food on it and being able to use a knife.  All things that for a summer-born child are quite challenging.

We shopped for her uniform together and let her choose her own shoes.  We were hoping that it allowed her to feel like she was in control of the process rather than having it done to her.  She was genuinely excited about wearing her school uniform and proudly showed it to friends and family.

Everything seemed to be going really well.  She had gone from huge anxiety and worry about school to more acceptable and understandable nerves about starting a new phase in her life.  Joe and I kept putting ourselves in her shoes to try and imagine how she was feeling.  We talked positively, were up-beat but also discussed her concerns with true empathy.  It wasn’t right to just dismiss her genuine emotions as ‘being silly’.

The first day of school came.  Violet was prepared.  We were prepared.  And I’ll fill you in on the start of infant school in another post.

 Have your kids started at a new school this year?  Did you feel like you had to go through the same level of careful preparations as us?  How have they settled into their new routines?