This morning as I hauled myself out of my warm cosy pit I thought about the day stretched out in front of me, and I breathed a sigh.

Life is running by so fast at the moment. Our days and weeks are a carefully pieced together working mechanism. We have so much happening that sometimes I wonder how long we can sustain the pace. I was fast running out of steam in the lead up to Christmas and limped into the holidays with tonsillitis. The break was much needed!

So I thought I’d write down a typical Thursday which is usually our busiest day.

6am – BBRRRIIIINNGGGG!!! I have precisely 19 minutes from my alarm going off to get out the house! I shower on a Wednesday evening so that’s ticked off my list. A quick face wash and spray in the right places gets me feeling ever so slightly more awake. I pick up my pile of neatly folded work clothes and go downstairs to get dressed. Under the cover of winter this is easy however when the mornings start getting lighter I’ll have to rethink my strategy. I don’t want to go scaring the milkman! I then run the straighteners through my hair. Now that I have REALLY short hair I can’t just scrape it back into a ponytail, I have to DO something with the birds nest! Once I’m looking presentable I down some water, brush my teeth and then haul ass out of the house whist pulling my shoes and coat on.

6:20am – I take the bus to the train station and aim for a specific train. Without fail I always have to leg it from the bus to get the train. I’m beginning to recognise fellow sprinters from my bus! It’s a 50/50 chance that I make the train, this week I have missed it twice. It’s a sweaty 15 minutes into Victoria and I often don’t get a seat. I used to spend the time with my crochet however now that I’m working on a different project it’s a bit too big to bring on my commute. Now I tend to flick through the pages of the Metro or check out some blog linkys on my phone. I arrive into Victoria just before 7am and navigate the tube, arriving at the office at 7:10am. Believe it or not, I am not the first person in the office!

7:15am – check emails and clear off any work that I can do very easily. I then go to the ladies and quickly put a bit of make-up on. Don’t want to go scaring my colleagues! Then back to my desk where I eat a small bowl of cereal and a banana while working.

7:45am – Joe calls me to let me know how the drop-off has been with the kids. He has his own mission in the morning; getting the children up, nappy changed and into the car. He drives 25 minutes to my parents’ house where he leaves them and then walks 15 minutes to the train station. Usually there’s something that’s happened like Ezra filled his nappy as Joe was putting him in the car, or Violet has been too busy running in the front garden to get in the car. Today’s drama was that I had left with the car key in my pocket. Cue a frantic hunt for the spare all the while Violet is hollering for her vitamin sweet! In the mayhem of leaving the house Violet ended up in the car with no shoes on. Ah well it’s raining today, they probably wouldn’t have got to the playground anyway! Is it just me, or does it feel like your head is just full to bursting with so many things to remember that sometimes the fundamentals just seem to go out of the window!?

WORK

11:15am – is it lunch time yet?

11:45am – is now an acceptable time to get lunch?

Midday – Lunch time! By this point I’m hungry and feeling tired. I need a good lunch to see me through to dinner. I’m on a bit of a healthy eating kick at the moment so try to avoid all the snacks and chocolates!

WORK

15:45 – I’m out the door faster than you can say “see ya tomorrow”. I now have a sprint on. Thankfully I wear trainers on my commute. But if you see the girl legging it through Covent Garden around this time…well it’s me. I have a train to catch and the rest of our militarily planned evening hinges on me making this train! I’m noticing that as my fitness improves, the more spare time I have.

16:35 – If I made the train then now I’m getting off and walking to my parents’ house. This is the house I grew up in and I know the route like the back of my hand. I make it to their house and find my 2 happy kids waiting for me. They will have had a fun day with their grandparents; playing, going to the park and sometimes to the library. I have a 15 minute breather where I get loads of cuddles and hear what they have been doing. We then load ourselves into the car and drive home.

17:10 – hello traffic. I try to chat with Violet about what she’s been up to and our plan for the evening. I find that she is less likely to lose her rag if she knows what’s going to be happening, well doesn’t everyone?

17:30 – we are home! Pile out of the car. Usually Ezra is starting to get quite agitated. He is tired and he just wants cuddles. He is very attached to me at the moment and even finds not being in the same room as me quite alarming. I try my best to divide myself in 3 but my focus once we are through the door is to get dinner on. I’m getting better with my organisation and usually have something home cooked defrosted in the fridge.

17:50 – Normally Joe gets home by now and the kids are eating their dinner. Hopefully all is calm!

After dinner we try to get a little bit of play time in. Even 5 minutes to just sit and mess around. Violet usually has a dolly she needs to get to bed or a treasure map she needs to draw, and Ezra is either playing peekaboo in his tent or clambering over me!

18:10 – Kids are in the bath

18:30 – kids are clean, in their pj’s and we start the bedtime routine.

19:00 – we flop on the sofa and breathe a sigh of relief!

What a day. If every day was like this I’m not sure we would be able to keep it up! But needs must, we need the pennies.

Do you work? How do you juggle your days?

 

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This year Christmas took on a whole new meaning with Violet being a fully believing 3 year old. Her excitement levels were at an all time high, probably something to do with the advent calendar sugar hit first thing in the morning! With a car full to bursting with presents we drove to spend a few festive days with my inlaws. Our only task to do before Christmas was to assemble Violet’s dolls house. Flat pack sends many a couple into a minefield of allen keys, instructions, screws and arguments but Joe and I worked as a team and here’s the finished result!
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The house even has a lift!!

That night I went to bed to find this…
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The following day we took a trip to Stanwick Lakes. It’s got an amazing adventure playground with sand, slides, climbing frames, tunnels and swings. We were the only family there braving the windy weather but it certainly helped the kids let off a bit of steam and avoid cabin fever.
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We then went to the café which looks over a beautiful lake for coffee and cake.
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That evening Violet was beside herself with excitement. Buzzing around like a bee she helped to set down a glass of sherry and a mince pie for Father Christmas and 2 carrots for the reindeer.
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She then squealed I HAVE TO GO TO BED NOWWWWW!! Once the children were in bed my sister-in-law got to work with making sure Violet’s Christmas morning was truly magical.
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Christmas morning came and Violet was amazed that Father Christmas had been and left everyone a stocking plus some extra pressies for Ezra and herself. She set to work ripping the wrapping paper off and was so happy with what she had received. Ezra also loved pulling the paper off his presents and exploring.
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We sat down to a delicious breakfast of bagles, scrambled egg, bacon, fruit and Bucks Fizz.

The afternoon had the family watching films, opening more presents and dancing!
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Both children received so many wonderful gifts but Violet in particular got some really fabulous presents….a shop, shopping trolley, huge dolls house and baby change bag. All things she loooves playing with!

Once we had spent a few days with my inlaws we went to my parents for Christmas part 2.
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I had worked so hard to get my mum’s crochet cushion finished in time and I’m thrilled with the finished result.

We spent time at home and also took a trip to Greenwich Park.
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Greenwich Park holds so many happy memories for me growing up. But I am now creating new memories with my little family.

Violet and Ezra are such lucky children to have family who love them so much and did everything they could to make their Christmas special, memorable and magical. They couldn’t want for anything more, and neither could I.
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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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I experienced one of my highlights of motherhood last week.

We went to visit our local infant school for their open day and I fell utterly in love! It felt like the most beautiful learning environment and I can see Violet thriving there.  The children looked so happy and relaxed.  The classrooms were really vibrant and engaging and overall I got such a positive impression of the school.  They even have chickens that the children look after! I just hope she is offered a place next year.

We then went to Violet’s preschool nativity.  She has been singing the songs at home for weeks and had taken great joy in telling me who was going to be playing which part.  I did have some worries that she would find the whole experience too overwhelming and either refuse to take part or become upset. I was willing her to be relaxed enough to participate fully.  Well, I didn’t need to worry, she did fantastically! When Violet came on to the stage I did feel an overpowering wave of pride and there were some tears (from me!). My daughter’s first ever show. I am now a parent who gets to go and watch their kids put on performances! Violet was an Angel and was dressed in a beautiful white and gold dress, white tights and gold tinsel in her curly hair. She really did look so sweet.
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All of the children sat on the stage together throughout and sang all of the songs.  Each group of children got their turn to stand up and sing with actions.  There was such a difference between the boys and girls!  The Angels all stood very neatly in a line, sang their song and then went back quietly to their places on the stage. The Shepherds got up and bounded across the stage, jumping up and down gleefully whilst singing their song.  They really made the audience laugh.  I couldn’t help wondering whether Ezra will be one of these boys in a couple of years!!
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All of the children did so well.  You could see how happy they were to show us what they had been learning for weeks.  The staff did a fantastic job and I’m sure they breathed a big sigh of relief once it was over!

We then went to Violet’s Christmas party.  There were party games, songs, a yummy tea and crafts.  And then they were all taken back into the Church one by one to visit Father Christmas.  Previously Violet has been terrified of Father Christmas!  I didn’t expect this occasion to be any different.  However when I suggested we go and see him, her eyes lit up and she skipped excitedly.  We waited in line behind one of her friends so she was able to just watch what was happening. I took the opportunity to whisper to her about what she would do and what Father Christmas would talk about.  Clutching her Betsy bunny toy we went to Father Christmas and she sat on the chair next to him and TALKED TO HIM!!!!!  She smiled at him, looked him in the eyes and told him what she would like for Christmas.  She also mentioned that her little brother Ezra would like a toy dinosaur!
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Violet believed so hard it was magical.  I think this age is so precious because she just believes anything I tell her… we wrote her Christmas present wish list and I said we have to leave it on the fireplace so that the Christmas fairies can come and take it.  An hour later her list had gone and the Christmas fairies had left sequins in the fireplace and on the floor.  Violet was beside herself with wonderment.  She gathered up all of the sequins and dashed off to draw Father Christmas a map of how to get to our house!

It really was the most perfect day, I felt on such a parenting high.  Violet did so much more than I had expected and showed me how she is developing into a bright, sweet little girl.  I was SO proud to be Violet’s Mummy!

 

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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

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

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My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows