Dotty & Margot’s 2nd Birthday | Rainy Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Back in August Dotty & Margot turned 2. I am only just getting round to blogging their party but I wanted to make sure that I did as I spent so much time making sure everything was perfect and making so many different elements. Unfortunately on the day it was torrential rain – not good for a teddy bear’s picnic but we made the best of it anyway! Scroll down to see our ideas come to life.

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We decided to make a bean bag toss for the kids to play with. Josh drew and painted a teddy bear on to a stand that my dad made and wrote ‘feed me’ on it.

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We also put together a biscuit decoration area using ‘2’ biscuits that my mum made. It was definitely a hit.

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We created loads of chalkboard signage, reusing chalkboards from our wedding. I wrote out exactly what I wanted on them and Josh – being the artistic one – drew it all out for me.

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The plan was to have lots of picnic blankets scattered around the garden with loads of teddies on them. The girls’ friends were asked to bring their favourite teddy with them. But due to the rain the blankets all got completely soaked and the kids ended up sitting on a sheet of tarpaulin!

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I created this teddy bear out of cardboard and made some bow-ties to stick on.

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We made these teddy bear picnic bags by buying some paper bags on Amazon and adding the circle for the nose and a little bow. Inside was a drink, sandwiches, fruit pouch, teddy bear crisps, raisins, cheese and a teddy bear biscuit.

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Despite the rain the girls had a fabulous birthday and everyone enjoyed it! I did find the whole process very stressful and I don’t think I will go to that much effort for their third birthday as the stress of the party really took away from my enjoyment of the day.

Polzeath Beach

One sunny day in October myself and the girls headed for a day out at the beach. The weather was gorgeous and we felt so lucky to be there. I couldn’t believe that it was October and we went for a dip in the sea!

Polzeath is a fair way away from us but I love going there as you just park up on the beach. When I’m on my own with the girls it can be difficult getting us and all our stuff down on to the beach especially as it isn’t exactly easy to push a buggy over sand! There are so many lovely cafes around Polzeath but my personal favourite has to be the one made out of a shipping container just by the car park!

My new venture! | Going back to uni |

So this is an exciting blog post to write! Tomorrow I’m starting my new adventure… I’m going back to school! Or rather uni, to do a Masters Degree!

My MA is in publishing at Plymouth Uni and it’s all about… publishing! My passion is writing (hence this blog) and my biggest desire is to get a job in that field. So something along the copywriting, editing or marketing route. Obviously I’m not particularly experienced in these areas which is why the Ma is important. It will teach me many skills but also give me the necessary experience to get a job that I want in the future (there’s a work experience module that I’m so excited about!)

I’m definitely excited but nervous too. I know I can do the work – I’m not worried about that. I mean I got a first class in my undergraduate and although I know it’ll be more challenging I feel I have the capacity to do it. My main concern is how it will fit around the girls – of course they have to be my main focus so I am nervous about how I’m going to work it around them. I’m also sad because I’m not going to be with them 24/7 too – I’m in uni 2 days and they will be in 1.5 days at nursery and half a day with my parents. I know they will thrive but I’ve been their main carer for so long!

Anyway that’s my thoughts! I’ll let you know how I get on!

Holywell Bay | My National Trust

Last weekend we took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather and headed to Holywell bay. To be honest we didn’t actually know that the weather was going to be so nice and we didn’t pack any swimming stuff or anything! Luckily the girls had their wetsuits on so that was something at least!

I think Holywell bay has gotta be up there with one of my favourite beaches in Cornwall. It is just utterly stunning! It’s such a vast beach too, meaning it never feels particularly busy.

I would definitely recommend it!

How I have finally learnt to love my body | Body positivity, intuitive eating and self love | Kate and the Twins

Over the years I have shared a lot of my story in regards to body love, eating disorders and exercise. I will leave a list of blog posts related to this one at the bottom so you can check them out if you wish.

Over the years I’ve found loving myself really challenging but now, finally I feel that I’ve come to a place where I am truly happy with myself and my body. Well, most of the time anyway. Of course I still have wobbles and days when I don’t feel great but for the most part I’m doing really well and I wanted to share my top tips in reaching a stage of self love with you guys!

1. Diversify your feed

By this I mean follow all different types of people. Follow fat bodies, thin bodies, middle bodies, disabled bodies, black bodies, white bodies and everything else in between. Unfollow the people who make you feel crap about your body. Don’t just follow people who fit in to society’s idea (aka slim). Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being slim but not everybody is and that’s ok, but if all you see every time you check Insta are bodies that are not even close to how you look then you’re not going to be very happy. I also think it’s important to follow people who are a similar size to yourself and are rocking their body, wearing amazing clothes and practising self-love. Some of my faves are @midsizecollective @stylemesunday @effyourbeautystandards @bodyposipanda and sooo many more.

2. Ditch the diet

Diets do not work. It is a proven fact. If diets did work we would all be skinny by now but the fact is they don’t. Only between 3-5% of people who lose weight on a diet will actually keep the majority of the weight off. Diet companies such as Slimming World, Weight Watchers and every other one you can think of are BUSINESSES. They exist to make money. Now, think about it logically, if their diet worked and you lost all your weight and kept it off they wouldn’t be getting any money from you – not a very good business model is it? Diet culture is real. It is the idea that society tells us we are fat and then sells us the solution, if you want to know more read about diet culture here.

3. Intuitive eating

So if we’re ditching the diet, what are we replacing it with? Well that’s where intuitive eating comes in. Intuitive eating is the idea that you eat whatever you want, when you want it. Sounds too good to be true right? Basically it’s the idea that our bodies know what they need and we should listen. Nothing is off limits. You may think this means you’ll constantly gorge yourself on cake but actually when cake is no longer seen as “bad” you actually crave it less. Ok when you start you might eat more cake but after a little bit your body naturally balances itself out and now I honestly barely think about food. It’s not even an issue for me. If I ate chocolate before I would obsess over how bad I was but now I just move on. What’s more registered nutritionists actually recommend this for a healthy relationship with food – follow @laurathomasphd @dietitiananna for more. If you want to know more, read about intuitive eating from an expert (as I certainly am not one)

4. Say goodbye to the scales

I can honestly say since I’ve done this I feel so much better. When I was trying to feel better about myself I was doing really well for ages, then I’d weigh myself and I’d hit rock bottom again. Weight can change for any number of reasons, a big one is gaining muscle. So setting a goal based on a number is unrealistic and will just get you down. If you really, truly want to change your body then I encourage you to take progress pictures to see changes rather than looking on the scales. But honestly, you are amazing as you are!

5. Set point weight

Following on from the previous point, I have recently discovered set point theory and it makes total sense to me. Research suggests that every individual has a “Set point” and just as we have no control over our natural hair colour, we also have no control over our body’s biologically and genetically determined weight range. This is obvious when you and your best mate have near enough the same diet and both exercise regularly yet she is heavier/ lighter than you. Scientists estimate that this range is between 10-20lbs so there’s quite a lot of room for change. Look back on your weight over the last 5 years (assuming you’ve not been pregnant or had an unusual illness or something) I bet your weight has rested within certain parameters. This means that we are all meant to be different and that’s ok! And trying to get out of your set point range is going to be very difficult and make you very unhappy. On that note, we need to realise that we are going to weigh less or more at different stages of life. It made sense that when I was walking 4 miles a day to the train and back I was consuming way more calories and still was slimmer than I am now. It made sense that when I was burning 1000 calories a day breastfeeding my twins that I was slimmer than I am now. It makes sense that you’ll be slimmer when you work on your feet all day than when you sit at a desk. Activity levels differ throughout our lives and that’s just a fact. Don’t punish yourself for it.

6. Exercise

One of the times I feel the most confident in my body is when I’ve just finished exercising. When I’ve pushed myself to run an extra mile or I’ve smashed my PB time. It feels amazing and I’m so proud of my body. What’s more, exercise has so many benefits. It’s good for the mind, body and soul. So find an exercise you enjoy…don’t run if you hate it. Take your pushchair for daily walks, do yoga, swimming, rowing, boxing. There are sooo many options. But my best advice would be try not to focus on changing how you look, focus more on how it makes you feel. Strong, confident, fast etc. Exercise really is so great and body acceptance doesn’t mean you have to stop working on yourself physically, it just changes the mentality behind it. A great person to follow on Instagram for this is @thefashionfitnessfoodie

7. Remove triggers

You know that person you follow on Instagram who constantly goes on about their weight? If it’s getting you down, unfollow them. If someone starts talking negatively about weight on a YouTube video, skip past that bit. If your friends and family are going on about dieting either find an excuse to leave the conversation for a bit (go to the toilet, check on kids etc) or try and zone out and go somewhere else in your brain. It might not bother you but sometimes the progress I’ve made can be hindered when I hear others speaking negatively. If it does then I try to remove the problem. I will also never talk negatively about my body to anyone else and especially my daughters. I want them to see me as a positive, happy role model and not feel inadequate if they grow up to not fit society’s beauty standards.

8. Bad days are ok

You won’t feel good about yourself all the time, bad days will come. It’s a journey and not a 3 steps to success programme. There will be days when I’ll see a photo of myself and get really down, but I always try to talk myself round. I also speak to my husband about it and he helps me to see things in a different light. The point is, don’t feel like a failure if you don’t crack this right away. I’m sure nobody does.

9. Realise your worth outside of your looks

You are so much more than what you look like. Sometimes we can be so caught up with “working on our bodies” we forget to work on our minds. For me I am a first class university graduate, a writer, a mother, a sister, a friend, a wife, a Christian and so many other things. I’m kind, caring, generous, silly and many more things. My outward appearance is just a shell. I’m not saying people are wrong who care about their appearance at all – I love make up, clothes, getting my hair bleached and all the rest of it but just remember it isn’t the only thing you are.

I hope my story helps you change your mindset. I would encourage anyone to read the book Body Positive Power by Megan Crabbe & to listen to podcasts by Laura Thomas to start the ball rolling.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! I know it’s long but I am passionate about this and I really did try to make it more succinct!

(P.s the last 2 photos are to show how awkward I am at posing!)

New beginnings | Dotty & Margot start nursery | Kate and the Twins

Hello!

Today has been a big day for my little girlies as today is the day they started nursery.

In the UK, all children get 15 hours free nursery care when they turn 3 years old. However if your household income falls under a certain bracket, you are eligible for 15 hours per week for 2 year olds, too. We don’t fall under this bracket generally speaking but as I was working out our taxes this year I realised that last year we did due to Josh not working for a few months when we first moved to Cornwall. As they take your household income from the previous tax year, we were eligible!

You are able to have 15 hours per week during term time or you can spread it across 51 weeks of the year and have 10 hours per week instead which is what we opted to do as it just makes things easier for us to have a routine.

The girls are going to be going on Mondays 8.30-11.30 and Thursdays 9.30-4.30 so 10 hours in total. Over the last couple of weeks they’ve had 2 settling in sessions where I stayed and played with them and then left for a little bit of time. Both of these sessions went well but as today rolled around I started to feel quite anxious.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I don’t really have any concerns about Dotty but Margot is very clingy. I’ve never had regular child care, I’ve always been a stay at home mum. Every now and then my parents or sisters would have them for a couple of hours but that’s about it. Margot has always been more of a needy child, even as a baby you couldn’t put her down ever. She just cried all the time unless being held or fed or asleep. Today went as I expected and she got really upset when it was time for me to go, she was cuddling into me so much and saying “no”. Then, as I left she was screaming “mummyyyyyy”. She was being looked after by a member of staff and was fine but I barely could keep my composure. I got in to the car and burst in to tears! Anyway, a few minutes later I rang to check and they said she was absolutely fine.

Dotty on the other hand is little miss confidence. She was nervous when we first went in but when I told her I was leaving she was fine and just ran off to play. She’s always been adaptable and more chilled and absolutely loves toys and books so she will have the best time ever.

So, what am I going to do with my spare time? Well I’m going to write a separate blog post on that so watch this space.

When I went to pick the girls up they didn’t want to come home! They had a fantastic time and kept saying “back again” and constantly have played “let’s go to nursery” ever since!

My menstrual cup experience

So I have decided to bite the bullet and review my experience with using a menstrual cup. These photos were taken when I first bought it and hadn’t used it yet just FYI. Not that it really matters but I personally wouldn’t wanna show something that’s been inside me that closely!

Anyway, I have been using the cup for 4 cycles now and honestly I really love it. Well as much as you can love a period catching device anyway! I didn’t have periods for over 2 years from when I got pregnant in December 2015 to this January (2018) and luckily my periods have been nowhere near as heavy since having the girls and only painful one day of the cycle.

Using tampons has always been great for me, I’ve never really had any issues. The main issue that caused me to want to make the switch was the environmental impact. My sister, Mary, has an amazing blog all about her efforts to reduce plastic andthis post offers insight in to why our periods are damaging the environment. But the biggest thing for me is realising that every sanitary towel and every applicator of a tampon I have used is still sitting out there in the world somewhere. Scary. Not to mention the fact that tampons contain harmful chemicals and we are literally shoving them in to our most sensitive area! Using cups also save money. I think my cup was around £20 which is a lot however I probably spent £5 per period on products and now I don’t need to so in 4 months I’ve made my money back.

So down to the nitty gritty. What’s it like to use? Ok I’ll be honest, it’s pretty hard to start with. Like messy, slightly painful and stressful. But the truth is by the end of your first period it’s a lot easier and now, 4 months in its gloriously simple! Just make sure you follow the instructions carefully and don’t put it up too far!

Cleaning is the worst part about it and that’s just something you have to deal with. But at the end of the day it’s not that bad. I personally hate blood but this doesn’t really bother me.

You don’t have to change it anywhere near as much as a tampon either. There’s been times I’ve forgotten about it and left it in all day (not that I recommend this) and it’s been fine. No leaks or anything. To be totally honest I’ve yet to need to change it in public – I normally do it before I go out and when I get in but I can imagine it’s tricky to do. You don’t need to wash it if you’re out though, you can just use loo roll and clean it thoroughly once you’re home. Also another plus point is that if you’re not sure if you’re due your period or if you’re very light you can just pop it in and it isn’t bad for you or painful when you take it out!

There are so many cup brands out there now. I personally use the Mooncup however I’ve wondered whether a different brand would suit me better – I’ve spent £20 On it now so I’m just gonna stick it out! You can find what cup suits you here

www.putacupinit.com

In conclusion, I haven’t found the cup life changing. In fact it can be a little bit more difficult in some ways but I certainly would never go back to using tampons!

Day 5 – Falmouth | West Cornwall Holiday with toddlers |

Day 5 and the final instalment of my series on our holiday in West Cornwall!

We packed up our caravan and headed to Falmouth as it was on the way back home. As soon as we arrived I fell in love. I know it sounds dorky but Falmouth is just so cool. I would absolutely love to live there and we had a look at houses but sadly they are WAY out of our league!

We headed to gyllyngvase beach to start with and the water was gorgeous. The beach cafe there is so great and Josh and I enjoyed chips from there … definitely would recommend.

After this we headed in to the town via the harbour. It was really gorgeous and all of us enjoyed having a look around … apart from.Dotty who slept through the whole thing!

After this we headed in to the town and got an iced coffee from Espressini which I would highly recommend. The town was gorgeous too and there were so many nice bars, restaurants and cafés dotted around. Unfortunately we’d massively blown our budget by this point and decided to head home.

What an amazing week we had!

Thanks for reading and I hope this gave you some inspo for future cornish trips!

Dear Margot, on your second birthday.

Dear Margot,

What a year it’s been for you, I can’t believe how much you have changed over the past year! I barely recognise this 2 year old in front of my eyes, you were only just 2 days old and now you’re 2 years!

You are such a sweet and kind person. It is already shining out of your character at such a young age. You enjoy sharing and taking in turns and rarely say no when I ask you to let Dotty have a turn with something. You are very caring and always ask people if they are ok. You also say sorry all the time and you even say sorry to your slide if you go down too fast!

You are a bit of a copy cat. If Dotty is doing something you immediately say “I turn, I turn!” Or, take whatever she is playing with off her because you don’t want to miss out. It’s never malicious and you normally move on very quickly. Sometimes you annoy Dotty as you always want to play with her and she likes to be independent but a cuddle will normally make you happy again!

On that note, you have an incredibly short attention span and you cannot stay with one activity for long. You constantly need to change and often me or daddy have to take part in activities or you get bored even more quickly… You don’t much like independent play! You rarely get through a whole book without discarding it and won’t sit still and watch tv for long.

You are definitely a people person and enjoy being cuddled and played with. You love playing with other children and particularly thrive off adult attention. You always have to be talking and regularly say “um…” as if to start a sentence but you don’t have anything to say!

Your speech is impeccable though and I can have full conversations with you easy peasy. You have also become fearless when it comes to trying new things and love climbing up climbing frames and whizzing down the biggest slide at the park!

You are quite mischievous and don’t really listen when we tell you to stop doing something you want to do! However if you don’t realise you’re being naughty and we tell you off you get so upset and really cry and that always gets to me!

This year you went on a holiday in a caravan and you absolutely loved staying up late and being busy all day. You adore the beach and couldn’t be more suited to cornish life with your bleach blonde hair and tanned little face!

I definitely see you in a caring and loving role in the future and I know God is going to use your compassion in a big way.

Margot we love you so much our sunshine girl.

All my love,

Mummy xxx