Time without Daddy

Last week John’s Nan passed away and this meant he had to go to Ireland for her funeral. He went Friday lunchtime and won’t be back until nearly midnight tonight so pretty much four and a half days. This has been Erin’s longest time without Daddy.

The first couple of days were not so bad. My mum was visiting anyway so I had some help which was fantastic. However, when it came to bedtime Erin struggled without John. He does bath and bed most days and the first night she really struggled to get to sleep. Sunday night was horrendous. After 11 times of going up to her I gave up and brought her downstairs. She went to sleep fine as long as I was holding her. The minute I put her down the screaming happened.

Time without Daddy

On Saturday John phoned and wanted to speak to Erin on the phone. Massive mistake. She turned her head to the phone, looking all excited at hearing her Daddy’s voice. She tried to find him. When she realised he wasn’t there she was so upset which then made me upset. I was a crying mess. No more phone calls!

Not only was this the first time Erin and John had been away from each other for a longish period of time but John and I are very rarely apart for more than a day. Since we’ve been married I think the longest is two nights.  I hated every minute of it. 

I know that John has hated being away just as much. If I let him, I think John would wake Erin up at midnight when he gets home. He’ll just have to settle for me instead I think.

What’s the longest you and your children have been apart? How did you cope if it was for quite some time?

Man’s best friend

John is always telling me that he’s not anyone’s favourite. Obviously I love everyone in my family in different ways. John knows there is this special bond between Erin and I that he can’t compete with sometimes. Just recently Erin has been really needy because she’s been ill and has only wanted me and John has felt left out. I thought I’d write about John’s best friend Jackson!

Best friend

John may not think so but Jackson really does love him best.

Jackson has had a few issues with figuring out who the pack leader is, especially since I have been on maternity leave. He wasn’t used to me telling him what to do all day. However, I think he does know now that John is pack leader (only when it comes to Jackson)!

This crazy dog absolutely adores his human daddy. He certainly doesn’t miss me as much as he misses John. If I go out and I don’t get the same reaction when I get home. Jackson waits for John to get home at the window like a soppy little sod and sulks until he gets home.

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John is the one who plays with Jackson most of the time. He also takes him to the park twice a day or for walks.

Best friend

Best friends

Sometimes John whinges about Jackson, saying how annoying he is. I know he loves him really though. The thing is, Jackson is an absolute maniac. Sometimes it’s super annoying but most of the time it makes us love him even more.

best friend

Best friend

I probably shouldn’t have taught Jackson to ‘lick Daddy’s head’ but it was so much fun. I didn’t really think he would be able to learn how to do that on command. We don’t do that anymore though… unless Erin is in bed and Jackson is being particularly playful.

Best friend

There is no denying that John is Jackson’s best friend. We got Jackson his own sofa bed as we now don’t let him up on the couch because of Erin. However, Jackson still chooses to sleep in the arm chair which is directly next to where John sits on the couch. Soppy git!

Do your pets prefer one of you to another?

Family Friendly Norfolk: Harriet’s Cafe Tearooms

This Family Friendly Norfolk post is all about Harriet’s Cafe Tearooms in Norwich.

Family Friendly Norfolk

On 8th July, while my mum was here to stay for the week, my sister came up from London for the day. We all love afternoon tea and had walked by this place the last time we were all together. We’d made the plan in advance to see what this place was like. I called in advance the day before to book a table, letting them know at the time that we would have a pram with us.

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Our table was booked for 12:30 but we arrived a bit early but this wasn’t a problem at all. We were greeted with a warm smile at the door. After mentioning our booking we were shown to a table at the back of the room. Now, at the time, this felt like we were being shoved out of the way. However, we really weren’t. Another party came in with two prams and sat near us. The back area has a lot more space for prams so I guess more comfortable for everyone.

I was absolutely amazed to be sat next to a piano player. My mum plays piano so she was happy and the setting was absolutely wonderful. Who would complain at afternoon tea with real piano music being played. The cafe decor matched the feeling from the piano player. The whole place is beautifully decorated and even before ordering anything, I was enjoying myself.

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All three of us chose to order the Special Afternoon Tea, priced at £19.95 each. This consists of any tea or coffee, smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese and ham sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, miniature patisseries and handmade macaroons. When Erin is older I will definitely be getting her a child’s afternoon tea. I think it’s amazing that Harriet’s do something like this. I haven’t seen it anywhere before. Other children’s meals are offered too at really reasonable prices (£2.35 and up).

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We asked for a couple of alterations on the sandwiches due to dietary requirements (and me being picky). My sister is the tea drinker of the family and she was really excited about the options available. To start with she had Rose Chocolate Tisane and later had Russian Caravan. My mum had coffee while I had orange juice because I don’t drink hot drinks. Nothing was too much trouble!

Our visit to Harriet’s was Erin’s first time in a high chair that wasn’t her own. She is small for her age still and doesn’t actually fit in generic high chairs. I had to pad her into one with blankets etc. I had with me but this isn’t the fault of Harriet’s. I was glad that Erin was happy enough sitting in the chair so she could have her own lunch at the same time.

Our afternoon tea was amazing and by far the best I have had so far. As three of us were eating everything came out on two sets of tiered plates and it looked so nice. We all commented immediately on the cakes and how good they looked. Honestly, everything tasted amazing. We all struggled to finish everything but we did, slowly. You get so much for your money with this afternoon tea and I was thoroughly impressed.

Erin managed to try some herself, as she was pretty desperate to when sat on my lap for a bit. She’s in that place now where she wants to try everything and scone with jam was her pick for the day!

My only real negative about our visit to Harriet’s was the facilities for Erin. At the back of where we were sat was the toilets, one male and one female. There was no accessible toilet and there was no baby changing. I thought I might have been missing something but there was no where else these could have been. While the ladies toilets are probably the most beautiful I have seen, I wasn’t happy about changing Erin on the floor. Luckily, I had a portable mat with me but it is not comfortable or easy. I also felt like I was in the way of other people coming in.

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Harriet’s not only serve afternoon tea but they have a regular menu as well. We saw some meals come out and they looked so good. Next time (there’s definitely a next time) I will struggle to decide what to order!

On the way out we stopped to look at the teas, cakes and macaroons available to buy separately. My sister, who cannot come to Norwich without buying tea, did so.

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Harriet’s was so close to being very family friendly. Had there been baby changing facilities, it would have been the perfect day out for me.

Harriet’s Cafe Tearooms can be found at 38 London Road, Norwich, 01603 614848. 

Grandma’s Visit

Last week we had a visit from Erin’s Grandma.

I’m originally from Grimsby, where my mum still lives. She doesn’t drive so it takes her about 6 hours and a pretty expensive train ticket (there are never any cheap advance tickets) to get to us. It doesn’t matter though. On nearly every one of her weeks off from work she comes down to see us and to spend some time with Erin.

We had such a fun week and did some really exciting things with Erin.

Tuesday didn’t quite go to plan as Erin has been teething so we didn’t go to Baby Yoga like we normally would have. We went for a bit of a look around town and to a local cafe for lunch though.

On Wednesday we met John and took Erin to the zoo for the first time. She was still grumpy because of her teeth but she was very interested in the crocodiles!

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Thursday we had a bit more of a chilled out day.

Friday we went into Norwich and met my sister who came up from London. Erin was so excited to see her Auntie Natalie. She’s her favourite teether at the moment! We went to a wonderful place called Harriet’s Tea Rooms for afternoon tea which was amazing (review later this month).

Mum went home on Saturday evening but we did manage to go to a local summer fair  in the morning. Unfortunately it chucked it down and we couldn’t stay long. We did manage to look at a few of the stall and I got to hold a real owl. I’m terrified of anything with a beak so it was a pretty big deal for me. I also picked up a couple of things for Erin’s bedroom from some craft stalls!

Owls

We’ve all loved having my mum to stay for the week. I love that Erin got to spend some quality time with her. She has really enjoyed getting used to the feel of her two new teeth by chomping on mum’s hands, tops, hair… anything she can reach really.

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It’s really important for me that mum and Erin get this time together when she does come to stay. Living so far away means that mum doesn’t get to see Erin as much as she would like, and she’s her only granddaughter. Erin absolutely adores her grandma and seeing the smiles she gave her was amazing.

We already can’t wait for the next visit.

Drink more water: Begin at home

Robinsons set up the Enjoying Drinking More Water campaign in January of this year to help children stay refreshed after active play. I honestly believe that the best way to get children to drink more water is if they see their parents, or other adults, doing it as well.

Over the past few (quite a few) years I have got into a really bad habit of drinking too much Coca Cola. It all started when I lived in Toronto, Canada. I was really  surprised to see that they don’t seem to have any kind of squash products for drinks. I used to be a massive Robinsons drinker. I could go through glasses and glasses of the No Added Sugar Apple and Blackcurrant squash every day. I absolutely hate drinking plain water so I didn’t really have many options in Toronto. The guy I lived with at the time also had a fridge full of Coca Cola or Sprite making it easy to fall into this bad habit. I brought it back home with me and haven’t really been able to get myself out of it.

Erin is only 6 months old but she is already noticing when I drink and I wasn’t expecting that. She can see anything red at the moment and is mesmerised by it. I don’t want her to grow up to think it is okay to only drink fizzy, sugary drinks. I know that if I want her to grow up having healthy and refreshing drinks then I have to do the same.

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I was lucky enough to get a fabulous box of six Robinsons Squash’d bottles to try. The new flavours Orange & Peach and Lemon & Pink Grapefruit sounded amazing! The really great thing about the Squash’d bottles is that they are super small! I can carry a couple of different flavours around with me and not notice the extra weight. Now I can easily buy bottled water while I’m out and top it up with a flavour.

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Children need to find things fun to be able to enjoy them sometimes and Robinsons do a fantastic job of making their drinks so colourful.

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I absolutely love the range of flavours that Robinsons Squash’d offers. The new Orange and Peach flavour is delicious and perfect for those hot (or miserably British) summer days. A glass of this really quenches my thirst and I know children would love it too!

Disclaimer: This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons.

Family Friendly Norfolk

Family Friendly Norfolk

Family Friendly Norfolk is going to be a semi regular feature from now on.

Since having Erin I have realised that so many places are not family/ child friendly at all, the main offender being the town where I live. The pavements are super narrow or non-existent in places, 95% of the shops in town have massive steps into them which are just impossible with a pram, especially when you’re also trying to open the door at the same time.

It’s not just towns and shops though but restaurants too. Some places just don’t have the space for a pram which means either they don’t want me to eat there or I won’t even try it, which is a real shame.

I really want to focus on the fantastic family friendly places around North Norfolk, whether it be a local attraction or day out or somewhere to go for lunch where I’ll be welcome  with Erin and pram in tow.

If you are, or know of somewhere, that Erin and I should visit, please do get in touch. Email, get me on Twitter or Facebook or leave a comment! I’d love to discover some wonderful, family friendly places in Norfolk.

Bounce and Rhyme Time: North Walsham Library

Something I have regretting since being pregnant then having Erin is not ever learning to drive. I did start when I was 17 but hated my instructor so I just gave up. I’ve never really needed to learn though having lived in places with fantastic transport. It was moving to Norfolk that made me realise I really should have learned at some point.

Anyway, my worry about not driving was being able to take Erin to do different activities. I want her to be able to do whatever she wants when she’s older and I want to take her to things that are good for her now. Luckily, I’ve found that there is more to do than I originally thought where I live in North Walsham.

2016-03-23 10.30.11A couple of weeks ago I discovered Bounce and Rhyme Time at my local library. I have only just started taking Erin to get books out for her to read at bed time and until then, didn’t go in for any reason. Bounce and Rhyme Time happens on a Wednesday morning from 10:30 to 11:00. It isn’t a long activity but it’s free and anyone can go along!

Bounce and Rhyme Time is run by two wonderful women who really seem to enjoy it as well. The half an hour activity is made up of different nursery rhymes, well-known and some I’d never heard of, songs and stories. Erin was by far the youngest the first week we went and she really didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time. However, she loves singing and sounds at the moment so that was enough for her to smile and kick her little legs around like crazy.

I feel like I really benefit from going to Bounce and Rhyme Time too. It has been a very 2016-03-23 10.41.28long time since I knew any nursery rhymes or baby songs and although I’m constantly singing to Erin, it’s always random made up crap. They’re never real songs. Also, I struggle to think of things to do with Erin when she wants to play sometimes so this activity really helps me to have more ideas for things to do with Erin at home!

It seems that not a lot of people know about this activity. I’m currently trying to get other mums from the Baby Sensory class I go to interested because it’s a real shame that more people don’t go!

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My life is a musical

You know when you watch any kind of musical whether it be TV show, film or play you think that people don’t really sing all day. I thought it was crazy to see people singing random songs about making the bed or cleaning your teeth. Never in a million years would I have said stuff like that actually happens.

It does. In my house.

Actually, it’s not even just in my house. I sing about the most random things walking down the street too.

I’m not completely crazy though because it’s all for Erin who seems to love it when I sing. I don’t know why because I can’t sing a note in tune. So, because it makes her happy, I sing about everything. I sing about changing her nappy, getting dressed, fussing the dog and pretty much anything else you can thing of. My songs don’t even make sense which is the worst part.

Singing around the house is one thing but people must think I’m absolutely mad singing at a baby in a pram while we’re walking around town.

I wonder when Erin will realise that her mum is the worst singer ever… next to her dad!

Video of Daddy singing!

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And he’s off!

2016-03-12 17.49.37Jackson is now 15 months old and still a crazy puppy. I thought he’d be a lot calmer by now but his favourite thing is  still to run around like a maniac or play with John. I don’t get much time to play with him to be honest because of Erin so giving him exercise is really John’s department.

Due to how Jackson reacts to new people and other dogs we have never taken him out and let him off the lead before. It has scared the crap out of both of us. For some unknown reason though I recently had the urge to take him to the park and let him go wild. John was not as keen as I was but we went prepared. Maybe I wanted us to go out for a bit with Erin too but not on a really long dog walk.

At about 5pm one evening we headed to the park armed with 4 tennis balls, a thrower and loads of treats. We just had to hope the park was empty… which thankfully it was pretty much. There was only a few teenagers sat on a bench quite far away. We walked a fair way in and off came the lead!

Jackson was so excited to be chasing a ball and knowing there was another one waiting for him when he came back made it even better for him. We’ve had issues before with him not dropping toys or bringing them back to us at home but he did this every single time at the park.

We didn’t even stay out for an hour but Jackson was so tired that he gave up playing. John was easily able to get his lead back on before heading home. I’m so unbelievably proud of Jackson because he did so well. People and dogs being there would be entirely different but at least now John can take Jackson in the mornings for half an hour or so rather than for a walk for over an hour!

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Yellow sticker day

I love a good bargain as much as the next person but I’m not one of those people who live for coupons and discounts. I’m quite happy paying full price for food but some unexpected ‘yellow sticker’ items is a bit of a bonus.

Today seemed to be a yellow sticker day in my local Sainsbury’s which was surprising because I went in at 4pm and things don’t normally start being reduced until 6 or 7pm. So many isles had yellow stickers everywhere!

Although I did buy more than I had planned, and items I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, I did really well. I spent £24 and as you can see from the picture, I got quite a lot. My best buys were salads and stir fry ingredients which will last John for a few days.

I didn’t only get food though. Sainsbury’s have 25% off their clothes at the moment so I got Erin a dress with leggings. This was already half price at £4 but with the extra off it only cost £3.

I also got some child locks reduced from £3.40 to £1.05 each. We don’t need them yet but they’ll come in handy eventually. Another great purchase was a picture for Erin’s room which was £1.50 in the sale from Valentine’s Day.

I’m super pleased with my shop today! I probably would have bought more though if I hadn’t been on my own with the pram. I just couldn’t carry everything!

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