Illustrated Teacup

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Friday, 30 June 2017

Thank You Notes #3 - the mamarazzi edition

June, you have gone by way too fast!! 
We're now fully over half way through 2017 and it's been quite the year. 

This month has of course been a pretty big one, with us celebrating Henry's birthday!! Plus I've gone back to work. So a big one, with lots of change, which always brings about a little thankfulness. 

So here's my June (or no.3) thank you notes...


Monday, 26 June 2017

Tips for eating out with a baby

We've been very fortunate that since we've had Henry (and before too) we've been able to eat out quite a bit. I do a fair amount of restaurant reviews and collaborate with Sotonbloggers a lot with events and reviews too, which means plenty of opportunities to go out for dinner.

Obviously being parents, we don't often (I think we've managed twice in 12 months) eat out just the two of us, and generally take Henry with us (thank goodness for understanding PRs) and of course we eat out as a three, or more, outside of reviews too!

With Southampton developing so much at the moment we've certainly been making the most of getting out to eat, and of course we ate out every night whilst we were on holiday. So we've become pretty savvy at taking a baby/almost toddler out for a meal and what to do to make it stress-free and enjoyable an occasion as possible.


Friday, 23 June 2017

A Farm Birthday

So you know we went to the zoo just before Henry's first birthday? Well to continue the animal theme, we decided to take him to Manor Farm for his actual birthday.

Being a Monday we both took the time off work, and after his morning nap, headed out to the farm. As it was during the week and during term time, the farm was really quiet, and in places it genuinely felt like we had the place to ourselves which suited us perfectly.

We loved seeing the range of animals and introducing Henry to different kinds of wildlife. He was quite taken with the baby goats (as was I) and the horse in the main paddock.

The entire place is absolutely perfect for children, with the old farmhouses set out as wartime homes, including a school room (and a taxidermy dog that creeped me out and gave me quite the shock!) as well as animal greeting sessions and a chance to milk a cow (unfortunately Henry was too young, and too tired for us to stick around for this). Plus they have a huge outside play area with sand pits and a mini racetrack, and play equipment. It was so good we went in twice!

Here's a farmload of photos!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A first birthday at the zoo

For Henry's first birthday last weekend, we decided instead of a party, we would go to the zoo with a few friends and family.

With him still being young, and not all of our friends having little's we wanted to do something that everyone would enjoy, especially as we know well how tedious children's parties can be for non-parents, and well parents too.

So last Saturday we packed up a picnic and headed on over to Marwell Wildlife.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Co-parenting - it's a partnership thing

A few weekends ago we decided to make the most of a sunny Sunday and head out to our local beach for a little fresh air and family fun.

Seeing everyone outside and enjoying themselves always makes me feel really happy, and seeing parents interact with their kids whilst playing is probably the highlight. It makes me slightly sad to see a parent on a mobile phone at the side of the park, ignoring their kid.

It got me thinking: I truly believe that raising kids should be a partnership between the people that brought them into the world, where ever possible.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day

Technically this is Dann's second Father's Day but as last year Henry was only a week old we didn't do a huge amount for it, and to be honest we were both still in that newborn bubble and didn't know what day of the week was half the time!

I wasn't really sure what I was going to write for this post but knew I couldn't let the occasion pass without writing something! 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Summer loving with Turtle Bay

Is there anything more in keeping with summer than spicy food and cocktails? No I don't think so either! 
Luckily for us Southampton is filled with amazing food places and cocktail menus galore, which mixed with the brilliant parks and lots of outside seating, we're set for a really good summer (weather permitting of course).

To start off our love affair with the summer food we were invited to Turtle Bay* in Southampton's Guildhall Square to try out some of their new summer additions, and man were we impressed!


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

One year as a parent - what it's taught me?!

I'm going to be going on about this for a while yet, so hold on guys and girls, but I'm still somewhat bewildered that we've kept a small human alive and well for an entire year!

A year of ups and downs, and swings and roundabouts (literally sometimes). 

There's been days that I genuinely wondered if I was really cut out for this and worried that I wasn't good enough, and then days of utter bliss and joy and happiness. 

So what has a year as a parent taught me?


Monday, 12 June 2017

Happy First Birthday Henry!!!

Today is the day, and I am so far from prepared for it, it's unreal.

My baby boy is one!!
Happy birthday my sweet boy.

This past year has been the most surreal, amazing, hard, exhausting, brilliant and over-whelming year of my life. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

I absolutely my sweet Henry. He is the kindest, happiest, cuddliest, and contented child. His smile brings smiles from everyone that meets him.


Friday, 9 June 2017

I want to be an outdoorsy mum

I'm really not an outdoorsy person. 
As a kid and teen I guess I was more so. We lived near the woods so would spend a good amount of time up in the woods building dens and playing on make-shift swings hanging from trees over hills. I was definitely the most outdoorsy in my family, but I still wouldn't describe myself as outdoorsy. 
Since being an adult, I'm definitely an indoor kind of person. I'm in absolutely no way sporty and as I always feel like I have to be doing something, just being sat outside felt like a waste of time. 

But I want to an outdoorsy mum. (also check out Henry's reflection in my glasses!!)

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Nothe Fort: Weymouth

When I started researching places to visit for our trip to Weymouth, Nothe Fort came up many times in the top 10 places to visit, so of course it had to be added to my list.

We finally got a break in the rain and decided to drive over for a late morning/lunchtime visit. 

I wasn't 100% sure what to expect as we haven't visited a fort before I don't think, and the last castle I visited was back when I was in school. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Maternity Leave - one year on - the reality of a year from work

I count my blessings every day that I was able to take the full year of maternity leave allowed to parents here in the UK. I know that I was incredibly lucky.

But was maternity leave everything I had hoped for?


Monday, 5 June 2017

Weymouth: Sealife Adventure Park

As part of our trip to Weymouth last month,we decided we absolutely had to visit their Sealife Adventure Park. The theory was that it would be fun for the whole family as both Dann and I love aquariums and it would be a good sensory experience for Henry too. 

It also absolutely poured it down on the day we visited (we booked tickets online as they are far cheaper) so it was nice to be indoors for most of the day. 

What was super surprising about Sealife Adventure Park is that it is a series of smaller buildings which are numbered and you moved around them following the map. There's lots of outside space, including splash pads, splash pools and an outdoor play area, as well as the normal aquarium attractions and an interaction rock pool area where you can touch starfish and crabs. 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Am I ready for baby number two?

I've always always wanted a big family.
I'm the first of three girls. Dann is the first of three too. We both have close age gaps between us and our sisters next in age.
And if I'm totally honest, it's what I want for my family.

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