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Two Very Special Friends.

on Tuesday, 15 April 2014.

There are many very special things about being a parent.  But one of them is seeing the magic on your children's faces when they experience something new and exciting for the first time.  Those twinkly eyes dancing around, the happy smiles and the sheer wonder etched across their faces.  

Blogging has brought me a great many things but last week I did something with my girls which truly was so simple yet so special.  We went to make two very special new friends.

I have known about Build a Bear Workshop for a long time, in fact Mads has 'Rosie Rabbit', who one of our dear friends bought for her on the day LL was born.  However we hadn't been before, mainly due to the fact that I wanted to wait until they were old enough to understand.  I was really excited to take them, and Mads was excited to go and 'make a special friend' too. 

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We arrived and were greeted by the two lovely members of staff who were helping us make our new friends.

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There were lots of different animals to choose from but after careful consideration Mads decided she wanted a lamb and she wanted LL to have a bunny.

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First up we were told to cuddle each animal to make sure that the cuddles were good.  Mads thought the lamb was very cuddly!

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It was then over to the sound machine to pick a sound for our new chums.  Mads decided that her lamb would say 'I love you' and LL had to have One Direction 'What makes you beautiful' because she gets so excited and dances every time the song comes on.  

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The Build a Bear experience is so hands on for children, Mads was absolutely transfixed with everything that was going on and her smile was honestly so wide.  

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The next thing to do was give our friends some stuffing.  Mads get to help do hers and LL's by pressing on the foot pump.  This was 'the best thing ever.'

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LL was in awe of everything and the staff were so lovely with her, telling us that she had made their day with her happy smiles.  Auntie Annie doesn't look so impressed!

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Cuddling to make sure the stuffing was perfect.

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Next we needed to give our friends a heart.  We had to kiss it, shake it and rub it on our knees as our new friends would always '(k)need us.'  The staff were so great at making it an amazing experience.

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His heart went in so he was ready to be stitched up.

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LL loved to crawl round the shop and stand up to try all the things for herself.

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Next up our new friends needed a bath and their fur brushing.  

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We then had to decide on outfits for the as yet named Lamb and Bunny.  Mads decided the lamb was a boy and the bunny was a girl so we set about sorting out their new wardrobes.

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As Mads is obsessed with Toy Story, it was entirely necessary to go for a Woody outfit.  LL's bunny was dressed in a pretty summer dress.  We also bought them a pair of pj's each as well.

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Finally we needed to make our new friends a birth certificate.  It was decided then that lamb would be 'Woody' (we are nothing but original) and bunny would be 'Blossom'.

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And that was it!  We were given boxes to carry Blossom and Woody and sent home to enjoy our new friendships.

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I can honestly say that since we brought them home, Mads hasn't been too far away from her new friend Woody.  She absolutely loves him, and the fact that she got to experience seeing him made has meant it is all the more special for her.  She asks to put his PJ's on every night, although this means bedtime takes twice as long.  And LL loves to snuggle in close to her new bunny Blossom too.

The Build a Bear concept is simple, but we truly had such a special time there.  The staff were amazing with the girls, and the whole experience is so special for children.  Mads was at the perfect age to enjoy it and find it so magical, and LL just smiled and giggled non stop.  I found it so wonderful watching them having such a great time, and I will remember it for a long time.  There is something so lovely about watching your children's innocence and child like wonder.  

We can't recommend Build a Bear highly enough, and I know that Woody and Blossom will be special for a very long time.  In fact as I write this there are two little girls snuggled up in bed asleep with their arms tucked around their lovingly created new friends.

 

NB. We were invited to try out the Build a Bear experience and given two bears and some accessories (plus buying some too!) but all thoughts and opinions are my own, and we would have written about it anyway.  It's the most fun my girls have had in ages!

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #15 'Amazing Chocolate Sweetie Tasty Things.'

on Sunday, 13 April 2014.

I often feel guilty that I am not the best Mum I can be to my girls.  Don't get me wrong, I am the best Mum for them, I love them with all my heart, but I mean in terms of creative activities.  I am not very crafty, and I often feel like I don't make enough effort to do things like that with them.

We have our own little routine, our own little structure to the week and it suits us perfectly.  They are in nursery two long mornings a week and then on the days where they aren't we rarely are in during the morning, mostly out with friends or Grandma and then the afternoon is taken up by nap time.  While I relish their naps and am so grateful they nap at the same time (hello blogging and trash tv time), we don't get a huge amount of time to be in the house just being creative.

I often opt for the easy life and I make no excuses for the fact I should be doing more crafts with my girls.  It is something which I feel guilty for and something I should try more of.  However since January one thing that I have been trying to do is be more adventurous in the kitchen with Mads.  I am a disaster chef, Mr E does the cooking, and I don't really enjoy it, but Mads adores to make things with Mummy so I am trying to bring out the creative side in her by baking together.  She loves it and I really enjoy watching her little face light up when we do these things together.

Therefore this week we decided to make our own recipe modified from something I saw on a friend's facebook timeline.  We called it the very original 'Amazing Chocolate Sweetie Tasty Thing' and honestly it was quite possibly the best thing ever.  But perhaps not for the healthy eating,

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It is a really easy thing to do with young children as there is absolutely no baking required.  I think out of all the things we have done Mads found it the most enjoyable because she could really get involved with it properly.

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All you need is LOTS of sweets and some chocolate bars.  Quite possibly the best ingredients ever.

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I guess you could choose any sweeties but we had Smarties, Haribo and Mini Eggs as a homage to Easter. (and because everyone quite frankly knows Mini Eggs rule.)

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All you need to do is melt your chocolate bars together (we used three large white chocolate bars) and then pour it on to a plate with greaseproof paper.  Even a disaster in the kitchen like me can melt some chocolate.  Just.  Then my beautiful assistant set about placing the sweets into the melted mixture.  (We put more sweets in our mouth but that's compulsory really)

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Then pop your horrendously sickly but all kinds of amazing creation in the fridge until it sets again.  Mads was very impatient at this point and kept peering into the fridge to see if it was hard enough.  So did I. 

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And voila!  Break into pieces and serve.  Trust me, you need to experience this.  It doesn't look anything special but it is better than anything you could ever imagine. ;)

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This post should probably come with a disclaimer.  This is the most sickly, unhealthy treat you could imagine and it is definitely not good for the waistline but is so easy and fun to make for little ones.  Mads and I made a fair bit and we wanted to leave a big slab for Mr E.  Unfortunately for Mr E, his slab ended up being rather small as the chocolate just seemed to want to be in our mouth's.  Oops.

So if you have zero willpower like myself and my three year old then perhaps it isn't the best thing to make as you will just want to eat it ALL.

We had a great time making it together, and an even better time eating it.  I love these ordinary moments with my lovely little girl.  She's even worth going in the kitchen for.

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My Sisters In April.

on Thursday, 10 April 2014.

At around ten past four each afternoon I walk up the stairs and shout 'Small Bean'.  LL is the first one I collect from her cot, normally she is standing up waiting for me by this point.  She gets upset when she hears me shout her current most used nickname, frustrated I am not getting to her quick enough.  Then we pretend to knock on the door and go and get her big sister from her room.  

Every day without fail Mads rustles around under her covers and pulls out Pongo.  Pongo is a cuddly dalmation, but he isn't just any old spotty dog, he is Mads absolute favourite friend.  The one she needs to sleep, the one she wants when she is sad.  Every afternoon she holds him out and gives him to her little sister, who pulls him in close and giggles.  This simple act of sisterly love never fails to make me choke up a little bit.  The fact that Mads wants to make her sister happy by giving him her most treasured friend.

Both are still blurry eyed from nap time, and normally have damp, bedraggled bed hair from getting sweaty in their slumber.  I carry them, one in each arm (harder than it looks!) down the stairs and plonk them down on the sofa.  I turn on the television and put on a film for us to watch- the current favourites being Frozen, Toy Story 2 or Monsters University.   I leave them there together, still a bit sleepy, and go and get a biscuit from the treat drawer in the kitchen.

Most of the time it's a Rich Tea, but sometimes we are flash and have a pink wafer biscuit which is all of our favourites.  They snuggle together close, neither saying a word, just staring intently at the television while nibbling on their biscuits.  Sometimes I join them, usually with both sat on my lap, Mads playing with my ear and LL cuddling in close.  But most of the time I sit at the other end of the sofa and watch them.

That half an hour or so of quiet time is one of my favourites of the day.  Both are so cuddly after they wake up and they snuggle together closely.  Mads always puts her arm around LL gently, LL still doesn't climb so we often worry she will fall off the sofa.  LL doesn't loosen her grip on Pongo the spotty dog, she holds him tight, occasionally pressing her face into his soft pretend fur and smiling.  Mads often takes him away and gives him straight back to her, enjoying seeing her little smile when she gives him a cuddle.

The best thing about being a mother to two is watching these simple moments.  The way in which my girls effortlessly combine together.  The way in which their sisterly bond is ever present.  The way in which when I study them closely I can see that actually they do look pretty similar.  I relish that half an hour every day before the madness and loudness starts again.  

I couldn't resist taking some photos of them like this, and luckily they were so engrossed in Toy Story 2 that they didn't even notice I had my camera out.  There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing these two little girls develop and watch their love for each other grow stronger and stronger.  Of course they get grumpy and have mini stops with each other, this is happening more and more as they grow older.  I can tell that they are going to wind each other up constantly in the future.  

But as they sit on that sofa after their nap each afternoon, I see two little sisters who are the very best of friends.

And nothing makes me prouder than that.

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*****

This month I am sending you over to have a look at Carie's blog.  Her blog is one of my favourites, and the way she writes often has me feeling really teary even if there is no need to be!  She has two little ladies a similar age to mine and another on the way.   

 

'My Fitness Mission' - March.

on Wednesday, 09 April 2014.

We are well into April now and so it is time for me to reflect on my fitness mission for March.  The past month has flown by crazily fast with lots of busy days and weekends, as well as some serious bouts of bugs for me.  I can't believe I am only three months into this journey, I feel like I have been running for so much longer than that.

I turned 30 at the start of the month, something which in part I think is contributing towards me wanting to feel better about myself.  I just want to get my confidence back and feel good about myself again, of course Spring and the thought of Summer makes me want to do this too.

Anyway to this month...

 

Exercise


I am still addicted to running, I cannot believe how much I enjoy it.  The hardest part for me is getting on my trainers and actually going, I really do often feel like backing out and not doing it, but once I am out there I feel so much better.  Although of course occasionally I decide not to bother.  I have got into a little pattern of doing one or two short runs in the week of just 5k as I have found a perfect little loop that takes me right back to my house, and then a longer run at the weekend.  The most I have done is 8 miles and I felt amazing, but my knee hurt for a fair few days afterwards.

I have had two sickness bugs this past month which has really put a stop to my running as it has left me feeling really weak and not good at all.  So this has hampered my overall progress.  I find that I am really competitive with myself though and enjoy trying to break my records.  When I started running in January I could hardly run a mile and was doing 5k in about 35 minutes.  My fastest time to date is 26.35, so I am really pleased with how I am doing. 

Mr E supports me so much with my fitness and running, like he does in everything and for my birthday he bought me a Nike Sports Watch.  It's really brilliant and means I don't have to carry my phone about anymore.  It also syncs to the Nike+ community on my phone too and I am loving it so far.  He also brought me an iPod shuffle from the girls with a message engraved on the back from them meaning I have some great playlists to keep me motivated.  

I have set myself the goal of running three races so far this year including two half marathons.  They are still pretty far away so I am not too nervous about them just yet, but I know I will be nearer the time.  If anyone fancies sponsoring me, my Just Giving page is here.  

I decided to cancel my gym membership that I started in January because I just wasn't going regularly enough, I much prefer getting outdoors instead.  However because I am wanting to tone as well as shed fat, Mr E brought me a kettlebell and at least once a week I do a kettle bell workout off You Tube.  They are great and I really feel like my muscles are working when I do them.

 

Food


Food wise I have not been so good this month.  I have eaten out a fair bit, for my birthday, for random nights and days and for a recent hen weekend and as such I have no willpower when it comes to tasty treats.  Plus I cannot resist cinema pick n mix and the odd Dominoes pizza!  Also because I have had the two tummy bugs I have not really eaten properly at all for a few days and then been starving so eaten rubbish as a result.  However because I am exercising I find that I can treat myself every now and again.  

I find that I am really good and won't need or crave chocolate or sweet things, until Mr E has some in the house and then I literally don't have any willpower at all.  I cannot sit next to him on the sofa while he is eating mini eggs and not eat them and then once I have one it's almost like I have unleashed my inner chocolate monster and then I eat far too many.  

We are still really boring with our evening meals and I do need to try and be more adventurous.  I struggle with lunch times especially as I need something quick, so I usually eat two Warburtons Sandwich Thins with chicken and rocket and then some Vegetable crackers.  But I do find wheat bloats me so if anyone has any yummy lunch ideas do let me know!

I have been quite bad with my water intake, I started off so well at the start of the year but I have gone back down to hardly even drinking half a litre a day.  I am also drinking way too much diet coke again, as it satisfies my sweet tooth.

 

Overall

 

Overall March has been a funny old month.  I feel like I have taken a step back with my running a little due to the fact that I have been poorly, so in April I am going to concentrate on trying to run farther for my long weekend runs.  However I am really pleased with my times, I just need to try and up my distance. 

I haven't lost any more weight as I have hit my one stone target of what I wanted to achieve but I have lost another inch around my waist, meaning that I have lost 4 inches overall.  That is quite amazing really, but I still do have a rounded tummy- it seems the more I lose everywhere else the worse my tummy looks.  I know that I have had two children, but I do want to try and tone it a little more if I can. 

I feel so much more confident in myself and it's having such a great effect on my wellbeing.  I got some birthday money and went shopping, and for the first time in about three years I actually felt ok looking at myself in the changing room mirror.  I am loving having new outfits and not hiding in old, frumpy clothes.  I also have a lot more energy and just generally am having a lot more of a positive outlook, and that is what I wanted to achieve the most.  

This is the longest I have ever stuck at regular exercise and I definitely have running to thank for that.  My lovely husband is also training to compete in a dualathon in May, and we are both really enjoying this new found shared interest we have.  It's honestly great, and if you are wanting to start exercising but are nervous or unmotivated, I couldn't recommend it enough. 

 

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(Check out my January and February fitness posts)

 

 

 

 

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