26 December 2015

Aria's 17 Month Update

Aria is 17 months old! It really feels like no time has passed since I was writing her one and two week updates.

We've been so busy the last few months, this being a big one with lots of new experiences and learning along the way.


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17 November 2015

Review | Usborne Baby's Very First Christmas Play Book

It's already starting to feel like Christmas in our house. In fact, it has for the past three or four weeks! If you can't tell, we are incredibly excited for Christmas this year, especially now Aria is at the age where she is starting to understand more and is aware of all the magical festiveness around her!

I love how she knows who 'sana' is, he says 'ho ho ho', brings 'toys' and to get toys you need to be 'nice'. I can't describe the look of excitement when she see's Santa, which is why we are currently obsessed with the Usborne Baby's Very First Christmas Play Book.
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15 November 2015

WHY ARE STEP FAMILIES TREATED DIFFERENTLY?

Since becoming both a mum and step mum, I've really taken notice to how the world treats step families differently.

Now, this post isn't aimed at any person in particular, but more toward society in general. I feel that even in 2015, where approximately 35% of children in the UK do not live with both parents, step families are not considered 'the norm'.


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12 November 2015

HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR TODDLER TO TALK

One of the most common questions I get from parents on my YouTube channel and social media platforms is 'how can Aria say so much at such a young age'. If you're a regular reader of my blog or are subscribed to my YouTube channel, you'll know Aria is quite the chatterbox!

Now I'm certainly no child psychologist or professional in any way, but I wanted to share with you a few things that I think have helped Aria develop her language skills so quickly at such a young age. 

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SLEEP TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

During those first few months of your child’s life, when you spent several hours pacing the room at 3am, how many times did you wonder ‘am I the only person awake at this hour’ or ‘surely there is someone in the world who has figured out how to get a baby to sleep at night’.

Having just checked on Aria peacefully asleep, I thought back to those nights when these question wracked my sleep-deprived brain. Is there really someone out there that has figured out how to get a child to sleep easily? Maybe not one person, but a culture perhaps?

Colic and sleepless nights affect babies across the globe and the only difference is how the parents choose to soothe their little ones! Infacol, Britain’s Number One Infant Colic remedy, decided to research snooze views from around the world to provide parents with a global perspective.
Image provided by Satellite PR
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7 November 2015

DADS CHANGE NAPPIES TOO

Before having Aria, there were a lot of things I never considered to be 'important' in my daily life. Things such as, where the lifts were in a store - if any, how easy it was to manoeuvre a pram through the busy clothes racks, and most importantly, what kind of changing facilities they had.

Now I am a mother, I see these things in a whole new light, and really take notice of the changing facilities available and how helpful they are to parents i.e with general cleanliness, if they have a supply of nappies and products to disinfect the area before and after use and even if they have breastfeeding areas. What I didn't think about until recently, is how accessible these changing areas are for dads.
Image provided by Satellite PR

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1 November 2015

So when are you having Baby Number 2?

The day Aria was born, quite literally, people asked us 'so when are you having baby number 2?'. I still looked about 6 months pregnant and still trying to figure out how to pee and poop with stitches (let's face it, we all know the struggle!) but somehow, people's curiosity was would I endure it all over again?

My labour was relatively positive - aside from the agonising 30 hours of pain - and left me with no emotional scarring! So in short, my answer was yes, I would happily do it all over again.  

But then there's the 'when'. Peoples curiosity became more and more intrusive, and everything I said seemed to be a 'giveaway' of some pending news.

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31 October 2015

Aria's 16 Month Update

Aria is now 16 months old, and what a busy month we've had! Our days have been filled with playgroups, play dates, meeting new babies, teething, watching the leaves change for Autumn, clock changes, Disney movies, reading, colouring... the lot!

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29 October 2015

Filling Your Downtime

When we have kids, there's often so much going on that the idea of downtime is laughable. However, as they get older, you'll find that increasingly there are pockets of time that we actually need to fill. It can be nice to sit back and relax, but let's face it - as parents, we've kind of forgotten what that means! The consequences of always being on the go with the kids, though, is that we've forgotten how to really do things for ourselves. So, just what should we do with those blissful moments all of our very own?!

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23 October 2015

Bath and Bedtime with JOHNSON'S®

Bath time is a big part of Aria's bedtime routine, and has been since she was around 8 weeks old. It has been a big help in establishing a routine for her, not to mention a great way to burn off some that last bit of energy by having a good splash!



We have always used Johnson's in our bath time routine, and particularly love the JOHNSON’S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Bath. I've always been conscious of Aria's skin, mostly due to the fact that I have sensitive skin, so always look to avoid anything harsh on her delicate little skin. This is as mild as water and can be used from birth.

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21 October 2015

Teaching Toddlers Life Lessons

Ah, toddlers. Just when you think you've nailed the 'baby' stage, the toddler stage comes bounding in, quite literally.

I love the age Aria is right now, it's a whole new level of bonding we have as she understands more and more every day. But at the same time, it brings a whole new set of parenting challenges.


Toddlers have a limited, but ever growing, understanding of the world around them. They often see important objects as an extension of themselves, which can lead to them being reluctant to share. It is almost as if they are giving away a piece of themselves unwillingly to another child... or so I've read!

But it all makes sense really, if you think about it. Aria has hit a stage where she isn't interested in sharing her toys, and becomes very protective over them. This is all fine and well, but how on earth am I supposed to teach her to share in a calm manor when at a busy playgroup with eyes all around!

To be honest, those looking our way when there's an 'incident' over a toy or book aren't eyes of judgement but more of 'oh, I know EXACTLY what she's going through, I've been there' aren't they? I know I've certainly thought that when I see another toddler having a moment. You want to help, but you barely know how to deal with your own child at this stage!

I'm trying my best to keep calm in these situations, act live I've got my sh*t under control, and move on. It's not always easy but I'm trying the 'fake it 'til you make it' approach!

Just like every other milestone and accomplishment, Aria will get there eventually. She will learn that she is able to give a child another toy, and take it in turns to play with it. It won't always be easy, but what part of parenting is?


I'd love to know any advice you have on teaching toddlers to share, and if you've had any similar situations with your little ones!


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16 October 2015

Doing Something for Me | Mumsnet Blogging Awards Finalist

I've just booked my travel and accommodation for the Mumsnet Blogging Awards, and it's finally sinking in that I'm a finalist!

I wanted to say yet another huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my blog and YouTube channel, and taken the time to vote! There's still time to vote for me as Best Vlogger here *shamelless plug* haha. 

It has not only made me think about the impact it's having on Love Little Poppins, but also on myself. Blogging and vlogging is something I do for me, although revolved around my family. Other than that, I don't do a lot for 'me'. 


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13 October 2015

'Handy' Trick or Treat Bags

With Halloween just around the corner, why not try out some easy yet creative ideas for the family. As part of the Channel Mum Halloween playlist, I made these 'handy' trick or treat bags!



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11 October 2015

Toddler and Teen Shared Room - is it Possible?

Living in a three bedroom house, we've always known that extending our family would mean there was a possibility of Aria and Maya sharing a room, as we can't exactly have either sharing with a baby that wakes several times a night!

Now before you think you've missed some big announcement, don't worry, you haven't! I'm not pregnant, but the idea of the girls sharing a room one day is always in the back on my mind. 

I constantly wonder about how a teen and toddler can share a room happily. Maya only stays with us on a weekend but as a typical teen, she is going to want her privacy when staying with us. And Aria, she will like her room to be filled with toys and all things fun and playful. 

Not only that, but I can imagine Aria finding it impossible to sleep when she could be pulling all-nighters playing with her big sister. 

So, with all these thoughts and questions, I've been spending many and evening searching Pintetest for ideas that will suit both their styles and needs... 

I've been going a bit Pinterest daft recently, as you will no doubt notice, but there are so many creative ideas there that I would never have thought of, especially for home décor!

As you can see, I've been looking as a mixture of pull out and bunk beds, and trying to find a theme that will suit both their styles - I seem to be naturally drawn to dusky pinks and metallics, but that could all change again the next couple of years I suppose!


Do you have any experience of kids sharing a room when there is a large age gap? I'd love to hear any advice you may have, or some new pictures for my Pinterest board! 


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9 October 2015

Toddler Meal Ideas

Last month, uploaded a video on my YouTube channel based on Toddler Meal Ideas, and the kind of food I give Aria on a daily basis. I had so many messages from people asking about meal ideas for their toddlers/kids, that I thought I'd do a blog post too!


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8 October 2015

I'm a Mumsnet Blog Awards Finalist!

I'm writing this with shaky hands and smudged mascara, as I can't quite believe I've been nominated as a finalist for best vlogger in the Mumsnet Blog Awards!

mumsnet


I've never been nominated for anything, let alone make it to a finalist for such an incredible award.

I would absolutely love if you could take a quick moment to vote for me, it would honestly mean the world to me!

http://www.mumsnet.com/events/blogging-awards/2015/vote-now


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28 September 2015

Aria's 15 Month Update

Another month, another update! Doesn't time fly? I feel like I always say that, but I know Christmas isn't too far away and we'll be saying 'remember when it was only September and Aria was a little 15 month old?'.


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26 September 2015

The Tired Toddler

As I begin this post, my precious little toddler is sound asleep having her afternoon nap. Sounds blissful doesn't it? It is, but getting here wasn't easy...

I'm sure all you parents out there will understand the importance of nap time. If for any reason is it late or god forbid, missed at all, it can see our perfect little angels turn into what I can only describe as complete and utter demons.

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25 September 2015

The Importance of Car Safety with Kids*

Since becoming a mum, there are so many aspects of my life that have changed. One in particular being the way I drive. Now, I was never an unsafe driver, but I definitely pay more attention to the road now that I am chauffeuring very precious cargo!

Not only do I pay more attention to the way I drive, but the way that others drive too. I make sure I keep my calm and don't put my foot down if I need to get somewhere in a hurry - no matter how much I want to overtake the old biddy driving at 3 miles an hour - better late than never!



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19 September 2015

Quality Time

For our family, a weekend together is quite rare. Tom works most weekends so Saturdays are usually spent just us girls, which is wonderful, but nothing beats a day together as a whole family.

This weekend, we get to have that quality family time we constantly crave, so we decided to take a trip to Sandyhills beach.


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12 September 2015

Finding My Body Confidence after Having a Baby

It's almost been 15 months since I gave birth to Aria, and I'm finally feeling content about how I look.

I haven't suddenly lost a tonne of weight or gone on some health kick, I've just come to realise that this is me. This is the body that produced the most amazing child (suppose I have to give Tom a little credit too) and I'm damn proud of it!


Sure, I'm a stone heavier than my pre pregnancy weight, and a dress size bigger, but I'm finally in a place that I feel confident about how I look.

I was lucky not to get any stretch marks during my pregnancy, but I put that purely down to genetics. However, I did gain a bit of mum tum that after 15 months, I've grown to love. I don't have that toned stomach I used to have - although with a bit of exercise I'm sure I could attain - but honestly, I'm not bothered. Working out, for me, isn't fun, and the emphasis on work definitely sticks out. If I can run around after a toddler all day without running out of breath, that's good enough for me!

That little bit of cuddle is something I've finally been able to not only accept, but embrace. The thought of going up a dress size terrified me at first, but you know what? I'm really happy with the size I am now. My body is a different shape now, my hips are wider and therefore going up to a bigger size feels more comfortable. More natural.

I will never look like I did pre pregnancy, but why would I want to? This body is mine and I'm god damn proud of it. It took a while to get here, but I really am.


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10 September 2015

Having a Mummy Time Out

I often forget the importance of having time out to myself. The mummy guilt sirens go off in my head and I feel like a terrible parent for wanting, needing this alone time.

But it makes me a better parent. I feel like I am being a better parent. Partially because before this break, I feel like a pretty sh*t one.


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28 August 2015

Pillar House, Keswick

Looking at my Instagram, you probably think I'm some kind of coffee and cake addict... to be honest, I totally am, but I wanted to do a little post on a treasure of a cafe my mum and I stumbled across in Keswick today.

We decided to take Aria for a little run out to the Lake District, just for a change of scenery. We've been to Keswick countless times, but found an adorable little cafe in the high street that I wanted to share with you because quite frankly, it's the most adorable little place I've been to.


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27 August 2015

Aria's 14 Month Update

Now that Aria is officially a toddler, I'm going to change up how I write these monthly updates a bit! After all, there is so much more to her now than her weight, height and size!


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21 August 2015

When only Mummy Cuddles & Peppa Pig will do

Touch wood, Aria has always been healthy little girl and has never been unwell, aside from one minor cold last Winter. So last night came as a little surprise when she very quickly came down with a temperature.

Honestly, It made me feel useless.


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18 August 2015

Switching from Bottle to Sippy Cup

Like every other new stage of parenting, I was pretty anxious about what life without bottles would be like.

Would Aria come off them easily? Would she miss the comfort? Would she be completely fine, or would I be left with a pre-schooler still fully attached to her bottle?

There were so many questions running through my mind that I probably made it seem much more dramatic than it really needed to be. After all, she drinks perfectly fine from her sippy cup for her water, and can even use a straw and an adults glass! ...With supervision, of course!


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9 August 2015

Aria's A/W Wardrobe Wishlist

It's only August, but I'm already lusting after so many items for Aria's Autum/Winter wardrobe. It may be the rubbish weather we're having, or the fact that I'm a slight shopaholic, but I thought I'd put together a little wishlist here on my blog!

Zara

Next



 As you can see, there is definitely a theme in mind when picking out these pieces! I absolutely love dusky pink, beige and burgundy this time of year, and want to make sure the pieces I pick up go with one another so I don't end up buying things that never get worn!

There's still a lot in Aria's wardrobe...OK I lie, a lot in Aria's wardrobe... that I haven't got the wear out of yet as we've either not had the weather for it or it's just far too big still! So I want to be able to layer those pieces so she can use them through the colder months too.


There's a tonne more stores that have beautiful clothes in for kids, but these are the ones that have really caught my eye so far!

Have you started planning your little one's wardrobe yet? Don't you just hate that they dress better than we do?!



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28 July 2015

Aria's Thirteen Month Update

I feel like I woke up, and my baby became a toddler. Literally overnight my bambino has turned into this little person! Lots has happened this month so lets get started...

Milestones
  • Aria is officially walking!! It's amazing and slightly terrifying that she is now chosing to walk round the room rather than crawl. If you've seen my Instagram, you'll have seen plenty videos of her strutting her stuff! 
  • She can now say a lot more words such as ball, flower, tea, more, milk, bear, baby... the list goes on! She only seems to need to hear a word a few times before she starts trying to repeat it. What a bright little spark.
  • As well as walking, she's a lot sturdier at climbing up/down from things, and really seems to think about what she's doing before she dives right off the couch! Something I am very grateful for!


Sleeping
I'm so happy to say she's still sleeping fantastic. You can now ask her if she wants to go to bed/for a nap, and she tottles off to the stairs and waits for you to take her up - too cute right?!

She's sleeping from 6:30/7 to 7/8 in the morning, sometimes until 8:30! She's still having two naps, both which seem to last 1.5/2 hours. I was debating whether to cut one of these out, but she gets pretty grumpy if she doesn't get to nap so for now I'm just going to keep following her lead. She will tell me when she's ready to drop one!

Feeding
This. Girl. Can. Eat! I mean my gosh, there isn't anything she won't devour! Yes, she does have her off days when she just isn't interested, but on the whole we are really lucky to have such a good eater. She's also getting realy good at feeding herself, even if it is a whole lot of mess!
Routine
Our routine hasn't changed much in the past few months, and I'm quite glad as it seems to work really well for all of us. Since all her baby classes have ended for summer, I'm finding it a little more difficult to keep her entertained and get her out and about while the weather is so rubbish, but I'm hoping to plan a few more play dates for her in the next few weeks which will keep her busy!

Height/Weight/Size
I'm thinking of dropping this section of Aria's monthly update for now - at least until I have an update to write! I'm forever telling you I haven't had her weighed and measured so until I do, I'll just skip out this section.

And that's Aria at 13 months! I wonder what next month will bring, as this one has seen Aria turn into a fully-fledged toddler! I'm sure there will be a few more teeth by then too, as I can see a few more making their way now.



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I've Waited Your Whole Life For This...

I love nothing more than a big snuggle on the sofa or in bed, watching a movie... with Tom, obviously! And I always hoped and prayed for the day I had a baby that I could do the same with.

However, Aria was not that baby! She was never really into snuggles, and much prefered to be playing, reading books, or causing mayhem.

Until now.


I don't know if it has come with age, or that predicted 'clingy phase' but Aria has become so incredibly affectionate, and it kind of takes my breath away.

For a year I longed for this cuddly little baby, and I finally have her! It may only be for a few minutes but let me tell you, those few minutes bring me more joy than I can ever put into words. It's a deeper connection with every cuddle, every random kiss for no reason, and every 'pat pat' she gives me in affection.

I love the little character she is turning into. We've already seen her cheeky side develop, her sense of humour, and now her affection. It's so lovely to see her love for us displayed in these little gestures. It makes me feel like yea, we're doing good.

So I'm stocking up on Disney movies in hope that someday soon, we can snuggle on the couch in our PJ's with a little feast, like I've always dreamed of...


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24 July 2015

Healthy Sticky Stir Fry

One of my favourite quick dinner meals is stir fry - not to mention a perfect comfort food. However, this stir fry incredibly good for you too, and best of all, includes my all time favourite almond butter!

I couldn't not share this recipe, and with me being on my new health kick it seemed the perfect post for 'Fitness Friday'.

 Serves 2
– 4 carrots
– 2 red peppers
– an inch of red cabbage
– a dozen mushrooms
– a handful of long stemmed broccoli
– a handful of spinach
– 2 servings of buckwheat noodles (I bought these)
– 2 tablespoons of almond butter
– a dash of light soy sauce
– 1 lemon
– coconut oil

Optional: add turkey breast or prawns, or chia seeds for extra goodness!

Start by peeeling cutting your carrots into small half rounds, and dicing your peppers into large chunks. Add these to the pan with the coconut oil, whilst you trim your broccoli, wash and half your mushrooms and finely slice your red cabbage. 

Add your broccoli, mushrooms and red cabbage to the pan with the soy sauce and almond butter, and cook your noodles as per the packet instructions. 

Once the noodles are cooked and drained, turn off the pan with the vegetables then add the noodles and spinach with a dash of lemon juice and mix well... then serve and enjoy!

I would love to know if you try this recipe and what you think of it! I've got plenty more recipes coming up soon so keep your eyes peeled for those.



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20 July 2015

Getting Pinterest Motivated

I spend many an evening trolling through Pinterest, looking at all the beautiful pictures of not only hair, clothes and make-up, but also of healthy foods and fitness.

You'd think for the amount of time I spend on Pintetest I'd be some sort of clean eating, fitness fanatic with hair that even a model would envy, but sadly that's not the case... Until now!


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14 July 2015

DIY Birthday Chalkboard

If you saw my post on Aria's First Birthday, you will have seen I made a 'birthday chalkboard' as part of the decor! 

I have to admit, I'm really chuffed with how it turned out *pats self on back* so thought I'd share with you how I did it, if you fancy having a go and save yourself £20!

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4 July 2015

Aria's First Birthday

As you will already know from my first birthday spamming on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, last week was Aria's first birthday! Our little girl is one, how crazy is that?!

As well as the hundreds of pictures I took, I also filmed majority of the day and put together a little video on my YouTube channel!


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1 July 2015

Review | Usborne Slide and See Under the Sea Book

It's no secret that Aria loves her books. She's a complete bookworm, and can spend hours going through her growing book collection. Seriously, we've spent many an afternoon just reading book after book after book. It's something I really want to encourage her to continue to do as she gets older.

Books with lots of words don't interest her too much just yet, she prefers something more colourful and interactive. We have a few books like this, and the most recent one we added to our collection was the Usborne Baby’s Very First Slide and See Under the Sea.

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26 June 2015

You Are One | Aria's Twelve Month Update

My Dearest Aria,

I can't quite believe you have been in this world for a whole year. To say I'm emotional is an understatement. I can't express what joy you have brought into our lives, and the amount of pure unconditional love we have for you.

You're growing into the most beautiful little girl, inside and out. You have the cheekiest little personality, and love nothing more than making people laugh. You're gentle, kind, and my gosh girl you can eat!

I could go on, but I've got your twelve month update to write!

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8 June 2015

When Raising Kids Becomes a Competitive Sport

You may know a parent... or you may know someone who knows a parent... and so on... who treats their kids like a competitive sport.

It's the proud parent that's taken it a step too far, and rather than enjoying each milestone, they are comparing it to babies of a similar age in order to 'beat them to the mark'.


It's not a parent I've come across often at all, but by gosh do they leave a lasting mark. You may be sharing the precious milestone your own baby has just reached and rather than a supportive 'well done!' it's either shrugged off or the perfect timing to brag about their own.

The 'one-upmanship' can be completely draining and exhausting.

Parenting is hard enough without it feeling like you're battling against other parents.

And it doesn't seem to stop as they get older. I've known parents with children in school who feel the need to 'beat' their friends kids, and rather than congratulate said child on doing well, they shrug it off and return to talking about how much 'better' their child is.

Of course, we all think our children are the brightest, smartest, most wonderful children in the world, but that doesn't mean we can't support other children in their accomplishments and applaud them for doing something new. Sometimes, it's good to be proud of a child other than your own.

I know I've many of these parents ahead of me, and they'll be right there to poop all over my little parade, but when the time comes I hope that I am able to rise above it and move on.

I think it's important we remember that each child is just as wonderful as our own, and when their parent's are singing their praises for whatever they have achieved, we take that moment to reiterate that praise and give them the acknowledgement they so well deserve.


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Family Tip to Fife, Scotland

So we're just back from the loveliest week away in Fife and even though we were still in the UK, I'm definitely feeling the holiday comedown!

Check out this week's vlog to have a nosey around the gorgeous house we were staying in (pool, hot tub, snooker table... you get it!) and follow us round for the week :)


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29 May 2015

Aria's Eleventh Month Update

Aria, you're 11 months old! Only a few more weeks until your first birthday. To say I'm excited is an understatement, I've just no idea how a year has gone by so quickly!
Aria's personality keeps growing every month. She is the sweetest, most gentil little girl and is so delicate with everything she does. She has a smile that can brighten the room and loves showing off her toothy grin at any chance she gets! Although, the independent, determined and at times stubborn side is coming through fast! Definitely her mothers daughter! She is desperate to do things herself and when she can't, my gosh can that girl let you know she's not happy! 


Anyway, on to the milestones...
  • She has cut two more teeth, so we're now at a grand total of eight! 
  • She has learned to stand unaided, and she's so impressed with herself!
  • She's now copying us a lot more and will initiate games with us. 
  • She can now say 'mama', 'dada', 'hiya' and 'doggy'!
  • She's cruising around the furniture. 
  • She's feeding herself more and gets the idea of how the food scoops onto the spoon. 

Sleeping 
I don't want to jinx things, but Aria's sleep is fantastic at the moment. She has anywhere between 1-1.5 hours at 9:00 and around 1.5-2 hours at 2:00. She goes to bed between 6:30-7 and recently has been waking at 8!! That extra hour she's giving me at the moment in the morning is complete bliss, but I know how the good phases end just as quick as the bad!
Feeding 
Aria has her three meals plus an afternoon snack. She's on two 8oz bottles and loves to drink water - long may that continue! If you'd like to see a meal ideas post, let me know! 


Routine
Pretty much covered that in sleeping I think! Apart from that extra hour in the morning, her routine hasn't changed since last month. 


Weight
I'm not sure how many times I can say I still haven't had Aria weighed! I really want to have her weighed before her first birthday, so I'm going to make sure she is weighed before then!
Size
She's starting to outgrow her 9-12 month clothes, so I'm trying to plan her 12-18 month wardrobe for when she does. She's still in 6-12 month shoes, but in sizes I think she's now a 2.5 - but I'm waiting until she's waking before getting her feet properly measured... That Clark's milestone is getting nearer!! 


Next month I will have a one year old. I can't wait to do a full birthday post! 

Nicola 




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