June

The month of June, I look forward to it but I also dread it. I love it but I also dislike it.

June marks the half way point of the year, and dare I say it, only another six months until Christmas, eek! June is also the beginning of summer in England and the beginning of winter in New Zealand. Living in New Zealand now for just over 12 years I am well adjusted to the seasons here, but June will always be a summer month to me.
I celebrate and remember some pretty special people during this month. The first week of June, it is one of my younger brothers birthday and Little Misses birthday. (I still remember the same brother saying to me shortly before I had Little Miss that I wasn’t too have her on his birthday, as it was his day). Brothers huh?

June 2nd 2011 was the day my beloved Grandpa passed away, he lived for 97 years, pretty good innings huh? And the 3rd June 2011 was the day I delivered our beloved, firstborn baby boy Alex.

This year marked five years since we met him and said goodbye to him. Wow, five years, it’s quite a milestone huh? The build up to the day was harder that the actual day itself, it always is. I had the day planned, I knew how we would celebrate his day and we did.

It is a day to remember him, but of course it is also a day to celebrate. I miss him everyday, and often find my mind wandering at different times of the day, what would he look like, what would he enjoy? What would he have liked for his fifth birthday?

A few days leading up to his birthday I explained to Little Miss that we would be having a family day for Alex’s birthday. Mummy and Daddy would not be going to work and the four of us would have a day of fun. Little Miss decided Chipmunks would be a great idea (indoor soft play venue), followed by cupcakes for afternoon tea and a trip to the cemetery with Nana and Grandad (my Husband’s parents) to do our balloon release.

When I was having this conversation with Little Miss, one evening after dinner, she looked at me and said “But Mummy, Alex is supposed to go to school this year”. With these words I burst into tears. Just hearing these words from my daughter made the event seem more real. I hadn’t felt like crying prior to my chat with her, so the tears caught myself as well as her off guard. I guess with the lead up to the actual day, the tears were a form of release. Little Miss and I shared a hug and I explained to her that Alex couldn’t go to school because he lives with the stars, but he would be watching over her when it will be her and Mr Happy’s turn to venture off to school.

To us Alex is our shining star, we look to the sky at night and we can always see him. Little Miss will always point to one of the brightest stars and says it is Alex. For me and our family I feel it is really important to have a symbol we can look for and see and be able to think of our boy and big brother.

We had a lovely day remembering Alex and celebrating his fifth year. To me as hard as it is, his birthday is a celebration. He existed, he was and still is my first born baby. I think of him everyday, and these days I smile. It wasn’t always easy to smile but know I feel that I can.

Here are some of the photos from our day.

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Mr Happy

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Slide Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Yummy Cupcakes

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Beautiful Flowers 3 vases xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Balloon release

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xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Project Doll House: Part Three

Welcome to Part Three of Project Dollhouse.

Little Miss is now four years old, she had her birthday this week. Wow, its crazy how quickly time flies. My husbands parents, along with her aunt and uncle gave her some furniture for the dolls house as a birthday present and lets just say, she was one happy girl.

It was no secret to her that I was working on a dolls house for her birthday, she would often look at it with pride whilst I was working it and never once asked to have it before her actual birthday.

I wanted to share some photos of the finishing touches I did. There are still some things I would like to add to the house, but to me it is work in progress and it is great to see Little Miss enjoying her dolls house.

I mentioned in Project Dollhouse: Part Two that I was going to attempt to make some curtains, well lets just say they didn’t go according to plan. I thought it would be relatively easy to hand sew them, but I was wrong. Luckily, a friend offered to loan me her sewing machine and then she offered to sew them for me. I took her up on the offer, and the curtains look FAB!

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Awesome curtains. They are hanging on a bamboo skewer cut down to size and I used some 3M hooks to hang them up.

The paint featured in the room with the curtains is Sugar and Spice by Resene

I personally think the curtains look great and Little Miss is really pleased with them, I know just need to get something that I can use to pin back the curtains and something that is safe. Little Miss’s brother Mr Happy is 2 and he is also a fan of the house. Any ideas would be appreciated, I’m thinking Bakers Twine would be quite good, but then it could get lost and I’m not sure how Little Miss will get on having to tie them back all the time.

In my last blog post I shared photos of two completed rooms and I did day in this blog post I would share another couple of rooms, here they are:

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Sugar and Spice

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Perfume

I used the colour Perfume in two of the rooms as I thought it broke up the pinlk, plus I loved it!

As you can see on some of my photos, my painting is not the best and my lovely Father even commented that my finishing wasn’t the best. I will agree with him there. I know I’m not the best painter and I don’t pretent to be. At the end of the day I was painting the doll house for Little Miss and I’m sure she isn’t going to criticize my painting skills. So there were quite a few pait marks on the floor, but I didn’t mind as I knew I would be covering it.

At first I thought about putting scarpabook paper onto the floor, I had a few papers that could easiely pass for flooring. I tried them out and didn’t like it. I then thought of carpet, but decided against it as I thought it would be too bulky and I thought the dolls and the furniture wouldn’t sit nicely. Also, I knew Little Miss would get highly frustrated if her doll house accessories would fall over! so, I then thought about felt after someone suggested it.

I don’t have any felt at home so I had to hit the art and craft shops. I immediately thought of black, but when I looked at it I just knew it would be too dark. After looking at the other colours I decided on white. And I reckon it looks perfect. I bought half a metre as it was cheaper and I had enough for the four rooms plus the loft room and I had a little left over. I used superglue to stick it down, after it had dried the ends started to lift so I used double sided tape to stick it down. And now it looks perfect and even looks like real carpet.

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White felt as carpet, before I used double sided tape.

Can you see on the photo that there is also some black and white washi tape covering the edges?! More on that next time.

I think I will save a more on the doll house for a fourth and final post Project Dollhouse: Part Four.

I will leave you with a few photos of some of the interiors, I used some of the cute dollhouse decor from Luluncat

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Planter, Rug, Lego man and Wall hanging from Luluncat

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Table accessories from Luluncat

 

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Mothers Day

Sunday May 8th is Mothers Day in New Zealand, Australia (where some amazing Mumma’s live!) as well as several other countries. The day to awknowledge our special Mum’s and thank them for everyone they have done and continue to do for us. This day has always been a day I haven’t forgotten (memory of an elephant over here!) and now I am a Mum myself it is even more significant.

Unfortunately Mothers Day isn’t always a joyous event, it ends up being another day we would rather just forget about.

Mothers Day 2011, I was pregnant with our firstborn, dear Alex. I remember working that day and a few people mentioned to me, that Mothers Day next year would be my first Mothers Day because my baby would be here. Apparently, some people thought being obviously pregnant means you aren’t a Mother yet or deserve a Mothers Day. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, why would I? I would have my baby next year to celebrate being a Mummy with.

Moving on to Mothers Day 2012. I was heavily pregnant with my second baby, (with our soon to be four year old daughter). This Mothers Day officially sucked arse! I was angry and sad my baby wasn’t in my arms. I knew I was a Mother but I thought back to the comments I had the previous year, this WAS supposed to be my ‘first’ Mothers Day. Instead, I was blessed to be pregnancy but also mourning the loss of my boy. I remember my thoughts drifted to “Why me? Why my baby? And would I be able to celebrate Mothers Day next year?”

You are probably wondering what it the point of this blog post? Well, for me I look forward to Mothers Day, as I’m sure most Mothers do, but I also dread it. As my boy’s fifth anniversary looms next month I find myself thinking about him more and more as the day comes closer. And sadly Mothers Day is another reminder that I have three children but only two to wrap my arms around.

Mothers Day can be incredibly difficult for Mothers that have lost children or are yet to have living children and of course those that do not have their mother around to share the day with.

Some women will choose to ignore this day and want to hide away from the world and that is fine, but please remember you are a Mother, this beautiful quote from Franchesca Cox sums up exactly how I and some others Mum’s feel

“A Mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart”

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My beautiful ‘Queen Mum’ mug from Sands New Plymouth xxx

 

This is an awesome article by Lexi Behrndt of Scribbles and Crumbs

7 Ways To Remember the Hurting Mothers This Mother’s Day

Please be kind to yourself  on this day if it is particulary hard for you, sending love and hugs dear Mumma.

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Cloud Nine Creative

Cloud Nine Creative can be found on the South Island of New Zealand in Christchurch. Lee Sinclair is the lady behind Cloud Nine Creative and most of the items that she sells are handmade. And guess what there is a Sale live now on the website!!!!

I found Cloud Nine Creative during one of my Instagram searches (I’m always on Instagram, yes I’m a little obsessed!). I saw her gorgeous tassel necklaces and just knew I had to have one. I was lucky enough to be offered one in exchange for a review and I absolutely love it.

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Lee sent me some information about herself and Cloud Nine Creative. (The information I was sent is in italics).

When Cloud Nine Creative was started the main product sold was jewellery, but due to a passion of interiors Lee soon realised some of the tiny graphics she was using on her jewellery would work well as larger items. Along with jewellery on the website you can also find cushions, art prints, plates, vases, planters and clocks. The majority of the items sold are handcrafted, and some items are limited edition, to ensure that item is deemed more special. However, the cushions are printed with unique designs and made in the Canterbury studio and the plates and planters are hand painted.

Lee devlops her own products, and uses inspriation from her mood board which is a collection of vlolours and ideas, as well as pieces from magazines that catch her eye. Making things, the planning, the sourcing of items brings her a lot of joy and I think you can see by looking at her work this clearly shows. She tries to source as much material as she can from New Zeland suppliers but at thimes certain things come from overseas suppliers.

Lee explained as a child she has a love for creativity and she was always interested in arts and crafts. This led to pursuing a career in graphic design, and having the opportunity to work in Australia and London for six years, before returning to Christchurch and starting Cloud Nine Creative.

Cloud Nine Creative was fortunate to have not been affected by the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2010. At the time a range of jewellery was created and produced called ‘Love Christchurch Collection’, 20% of the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal. Over $10,000 was raised.

A lot of Cloud Nine Creatives sales are made on line, of course this can bring disadvantages as well as huge advantages. Lee explained that online sales are growing all the time, and if people need something quickly and have it instantly delivered to your front door this is great. However the drawback to buying online is you are unable to touch and feel the product you are buying. Cloud Nine Creative products can be found in boutique stores around New Zealand and there is a pop-up store in North Canterbury. Selling online and via shops, Lee feels is the best of both worlds. heck this link for a list of stockists throughout New Zealand.

For those of you who are Blockaholics like myself, you might like to know that some Cloud Nine Creative’s piece was used in the kids bedroom of the sisters Minanne and Sarah. Here’s the link to The Block Villa Wars website showing you the room. The following photos were obtained from Cloud Nine Creative Facebook Page

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Green Magical Forest Cushion $69.00

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Prints avaliable as A3, A2 & A1

 

image IMG_2080The Leather Tassel Necklace I received is the Cornflour Blue one and retails for $65.00. I love it! I find that it goes with most outfits and really adds a ‘pop’ of colour to your clothes choice for the day. Sure, its a little pricey for some people but I think you get your moneys worth from it. Plus, its always a bonus to wear something that is NZ made, I love to support local businesses.

There are at least 10 different colour necklaces to choose from via the website and new to the collection of beautiful jewellery are Tassel bracelet sets, these retail for $49.00. I ABSOLUTLY love them, I don’t have one but owning one is on my wishlist.

 

I felt when looking at Cloud Nine Creative website a lot of her pieces were unique and different. Tassel necklaces are quite ‘in’ at the moment and I find her ones are really nice and well made.

You can also find Cloud Nine Creative on Instagram

 

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Let me introduce……Clever Poppy

I discovered Clever Poppy on Instagram, I’m just a tad obsessed with Instagram. (I’m sure some of you can understand the obsession!?)

One day, I was just looking through the search option, (this is a great option to look through if you want more people to follow on Instagram, you can see what others are posting) and I stumbled across Clever Poppys DIY Kit- Easy Watercolour Art. I thought the finish of the work was really lovely and looked like it wouldn’t be too tricky. I love arty crafty things, as some of you may know (hence my blog name), I’m all about the craft. I have too many craft supplies, (so my husband says) but I dont think you can ever have too many?!

The main thing that caught my attention about the DIY art kit is it is something that can be done with kids. My Little Miss, just loves crafty things. And I really like to be able to do things that include both of us.

 

Julie is the lovely lady behind Clever Poppy, I sent her some questions, and here are her answers.

Can you tell my readers a little bit about Clever Poppy, how did you come up the name and a little about yourself:
I have always been passionate about DIY projects and have made many I love over the years. I recently noticed that DIY projects were becoming quite popular in mainstream media, but while most people love the idea, they don’t have the time spare to get sorted to make projects of their own. So I created Clever Poppy to make it easy for people to experience the fun of creating something beautiful for their home. I studied law and graphic design at uni -wish now I had chosen something in the arts field! After practicing commercial law for 4 years and pretty much hating every minute of it, I finally got the courage to completely change tack and moved into a brand experience / promotions agency. I did that for 3 years and learnt a hell of a lot about marketing and project management, and realised how much happier I was doing something creative. Then I went on maternity leave to have our little man Harvey. While I was on leave I gained a lot of perspective and realised I just had to follow my dreams and start my own business doing what I love. I still work part time in promotions but my main focus is Clever Poppy and this will hopefully become full time down the track. Very exciting and I’m loving every minute so far!!

Do you sell your kits anywhere or just on the Internet? 

At the moment I only sell online, but I’m looking into getting them into stores next year. She did feature in some markets in Auckland leading up to Christmas, lucky Auckland!

How long have you been doing Clever Poppy?

I launched Clever Poppy on 7th August 2015, so it hasn’t been very long! I can’t believe that, it feels like I’ve been doing this for a lot longer, but I guess if you take into account all the planning and prep then it all kicked off in March last year.

Where do you hope to see the business in a few years time?

I would love to be New Zealand’s go-to brands for creative DIY projects! I’ve love to have a variety of kits for sale on my website and in stores nationwide. I also would love to do more freelance work developing DIY projects for third parties.

Do you have a favourite DIY kit? 

My DIY Cooper Magazine Rack for sure.

What’s next for Clever Poppy? Are you able to share what you are planning on doing next?

At the moment my focus is on getting the Clever Poppy brand and concept into the marketplace, and testing various kits to see what gets people excited. Next year (now this year 2016) I’d like to focus on developing kits for wholesale, so you can find me in shops around the country. I’m also working on some freelance project where I am developing DIY projects for third parties, so I’m very excited about where that might lead.

I purchased the DIY- Easy Watercolour Kit for $30, I was really keen to give it a go after seeing what others had created. I loved the idea that everything you needed was in the kit and it would be something that Little Miss would enjoy too. It was money well spent in my opinion.

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After the white-out liquid has been applied

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Before the white-out liquid

The kit includes: 5x Designs- ‘Young and Brave’, ‘Love you to the Moon and Back’, ‘Welcome to the Chaos’, ‘It’s cool to be Kind’ and ‘but first Champagne’

Watercolour paper, paintbrushes, watercolour paint palette, ‘magic’ white-out liquid and DIY wooden poster hanger as well as really clear instructions, with photos to assist you step-by-step. I needed to trace the design and apply the white-out liquid but once that had dried I gave Little Miss free reign to paint away.

When we did the ‘Welcome to the Chaos’ design, Little Miss applied pink and red paint and it looked lovely, but then she discovered the black paint! I really wanted to stop her, but I knew I just had to leave her to do what she wanted and in the end the result looked FAB! I used the wooden hanging poster kit to hang it up, and now it hangs in own home.

 

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Little Miss with the lovely red and pink

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The finished result!

 

I have now bought three kits by Clever Poppy and through following her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest you can keep up-to date with new kits she is either developing or has released. Julie also shares some great DIY ideas you can do at home with the kids or without them.

Just the other day Julie shared that she was looking to add more deisgns to the DIY- Easy Watercolour Kit, I cannot wait to see what deisgns she comes up with.

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Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs: Kellogg’s Coco Pops Favourite Family Recipes

A review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs, who sent me a tea towel for Coco Pops as well as a small recipe book Favourite Family Recipes. The book features eight recipes which contain Kellogg’s Coco Pops.

kmb_grey-pinkWe don’t buy Coco Pops usually so receiving the book to review was a great excuse to buy a box of the childhood favourite cereal. With it currently being school holidays here in New Zealand this book is perfect if you want to do some baking that won’t take too longer and taste great. Plus, all the recipes are child friendly, so it’s great to get the kids involved.

I was tempted too make the Chocolate Crackle Balls but my three year old daughter requested the Chocolate Crackles, so we made those instead.

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The recipe said it would make 36 mini chocolate crackles, we didn’t really need that many so I decided to half the recipe. I had all the ingredients I needed in my pantry, except for Kellogg’s Coco Pops and Kremelta (vegetable fat shortening, made from hydrogenated coconut oil. It is popular used in Australia and is used for a lot of children’s foods). I hadn’t cooked with it before so I was quite intrigued as to how it would work out.

Little Miss loves to bake, and is always requesting to do so. After looking through the Favourite Family Recipes book, I thought that Little Miss would be able to make these herself, with a little of my help and supervision.

The recipe was very straightforward and didn’t take Little Miss and I long at all to mix everything together and spoon the mixture into mini paper cases. These are a quick, easy and tasty treat for kids and adults.

image imageEven though I made half the recipe we still had 32 mini paper cups filled with Coco Pops mixture. The recipe suggested adding sprinkles if you wanted something colourful for a kids party, which I thought was a good idea.

 

Along with the Favourite Family Recipes booklet I also received a tea towel. I think it is so nice I don’t want to use it to dry my dishes, don’t think it would look better hanging on a wall in a frame?

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NB: The recipes featured on this blog post can be found  via this link

It’s Christmas!!!!!!!

I’ve been MIA with my blog posts lately, in fact I don’t think I have written anything for the month of December. And now it’s just two days until Christmas!!!!

Life has been pretty hectic in our household, as it is in most households at this time of year (and people who have young kids, that’s actually a big chunk of the population huh?). I’m pretty excited about Christmas, I’ve tried to make our home as Christmassy as possible. I’m a big, big fan of Christmas, always have been. And of course now I have my own children to celebrate with, I’ve definitely become a kid again.

Christmas can be an extremely difficult time of year for people, financially and emotionally. This is our fifth Christmas without Alex and it has gotten easier. I’m always aware when it comes to significant events that he is missing but having Little Miss and Mr Happy makes this holiday time a little brighter.

The first Christmas without Alex, SUCKED big time. I was fortunate to be 16 weeks pregnant with Little Miss at the time, but I still struggled at Christmas, as it would of been his first Christmas. My hubby and I were in England with my family for Christmas 2011, which helped a great deal. I was on ‘holiday’ and it eased my broken heart to be around my family. We had a Christmas with some of my husbands family when we returned to NZ, bonus two Christmases and both different.

I have lived in NZ since 2004, so I have had my share of Christmases here, but  Christmas in the summer?! It still doesn’t feel the same. Give me some cold days, dark evenings, mulled wine and a Christmas jumper to rug up in and it’s Christmas! I think because my childhood Christmases were in England and during the winter, this will always feel like Christmas to me. To me Christmas is also a time about family, a time to catch up. I know this isn’t the case for some people and they would rather avoid a family together. My family are often celebrating Christmas in England and I spend Christmas with my husbands family, but this year I get both! We will have Christmas Day with some of my husbands family and two days later on the 27th December my parents arrive from England!!!!!!

Although I’m looking forward to Christmas this year, I think I could possibly be more excited for my parents arrival. I haven’t seen my Dad in 14 months and my Mum for 10 months, it’ll be great to have some quality time with them. I have a pretty good relationship with my parents, I think the distance has helped our relationship in some ways, or could be it be me as I have gotten older? I feel very fortunate to have the relationship I have with parents as I know some people are not as lucky.

I had intended to start some Christmas traditions in our house this year, but I haven’t managed to achieve it. At first I was so annoyed with myself, but I also tell myself Little Miss is only three and Mr Happy has just turned 20 months, I can start next year. Do any of you have Christmas traditions? I would love to hear about them. Here is a list of the ones I would like to implement and have tried to start this year.

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Little Miss (2012) 6 months

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Mr Happy (2014) 8 months

 

The Elf on the Shelf

I have seen some great photos of Elves in people’s homes getting up to all kinds of mischief via social media. I decided against one this year, mainly due to cost and I thought my kids wouldn’t really be aware. I have decided I am DEFINETLY getting one for next year. I just know I will have lots of fun with the Elf leading up to Christmas.

Santa Letters

This is a tradition I started last year and again I ordered letters from Santa. I let the kids see them earlier last year but this year I’m waiting till either Christmas Eve Eve (the 23rd) or Chrustmas Eve. I will be posting our letters via social media when the kids receive them.

Christmas Eve 

I have seem some friends adapt Christmas Eve as a day to give some pre Christmas treats, and to mark it as a tradition. I have a new Christmas book for my kiddies to open on Christmas Eve.

Advent Calendars

This year was the first year I didn’t have an advent calendar! My Mum has always sent me one (yes I know I’m not a kid!) but I can never resist a bit of chocolate each day. But this year I told my Mum, no calendar for me and send one each for the kiddies. Plus it’s a good bribe to get Little Miss to eat her dinner, no dinner no chocolate from her calendar!

I know some people use an advent calendar as another way to countdown to Christmas without the chocolate treats. I love that you can give the kids a Christmas themed task or treat each dat.

Photo with Santa 

Little Miss had a photo with Santa when she was six months old, she was pretty content to sit with the man in red and have her photo taken, result! The following year (2013) she was 18 months and I was 5 months pregnant with Mr Happy. She did not want to go near the man in red! So I am in the photo with her! Last year I decided to flag the Santa photo, I wasn’t in the right head space and I figured it wouldn’t matter? So this year….. no Santa photo, I intended too but it hasn’t happened. Oh well, there is always next year right?

Little Miss (2012)

Little Miss (2012)

Me and Little Miss (2013)

Me and Little Miss (2013)

Christmas Books

You cant beat a Christmas book at Christmas time, right? We have collected a few in our house. I took them out of the book collection for the kids at the beginning of the year and put them away with our Christmas things with a good intention. My intention was to wrap the books and give them a ‘new’ book every so often in the lead up to Christmas. I also wanted to get a couple of new Christmas stories to add to the collection. Has this happened, I admit with disappointment that it hasn’t! I have the books wrapped, but it is now the 23rd December and I haven’t given them any Christmas stories, geez I feel crap now I write this!

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Christmas 2014

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Christmas 2014

 

Geez now I finish listing all the Christmas traditions that are around, no wonder I feel overwhelmed! I really do put a lot of pressure on myself at times. I have been feeling rather guilty about not seeing through certain traditions but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter! My kids are happy and loved and Santa will be paying them a visit on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas everyone

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