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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Nappy rash is thankfully something which my kids haven’t suffered with too much. There has been the odd occasion where they have a sore bum but generally we apply cream as a preventative measure rather than as a treatment. We don’t favour one brand over another and their skin isn’t so sensitive that it matters.
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So when I was asked to review Sudocrem Care and Protect I sort of shrugged my shoulders and thought why not! When we received the tube it actually came at a really good time as Ezra has been suffering with Hand Foot and Mouth disease and Chicken Pox. His poor skin was a little raw and I think all the nurophen and paracetamol he had been having was upsetting his tummy a little. I must confess, when Violet was little and I was given a tub of Sudocrem I didn’t find it very effective. The cream was like a paste and I just couldn’t get it to work for us. However Sudocrem Care and Protect comes in a squeezable tube with a hinged click lid. The cream is light and spreads far so you don’t need to use very much. It seemed to really nourish his skin and felt like it still allowed his skin to breathe.

I had the cream at his change table where we get him ready for bed so we used it at every bedtime. It has a lovely soft lavendar scent which was really calming for bedtime.

As Ezra got over his illnesses the cream really helped to sooth and heal his poorly skin.

I would happily buy Sudocrem Care and Protect and will recommend it to my friends.

We were sent a tube of Sudocrem Care and Protect in return for an honest review

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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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