Today was one of those days which was good for the soul, and it was just perfect to share with you today on the Ordinary Moments. The past few weeks have been shrouded in cold, wet, lacklustre weather and frankly sometimes the thought of getting both the children dressed, battling them to get their shoes on and into it is too much effort to bear. But I had made a plan to meet with a friend of mine at our local National Trust, The Vyne, and it just so happened to be a beautiful crisp sunny morning when we woke up.

Spring days at the National Trust good for the soul

Spring days at the National Trust good for the soul

Hayley and I both have 2 boys, sadly her eldest little boy was at school. They’re all similar in age and we know how good it is to get them outdoors to run free. When friends with young babies suggest meeting at coffee shops I have to say the thought fills me with dread. It’s all fun until your baby gets on the move, then you soon realise the days spent chatting in Costa are over and you need to get a new plan when it comes to entertaining your children. Especially, in my experience, boys!

 The sun warmed our skin and the fresh breeze breathed spring life back into our bodies. Could this be the start of spring?

It’s definitely something which comes with age I think, appreciating nature. For me certainly. Being outside in beautiful surroundings really uplifts me, especially when the sun is shining, and I love watching the boys as they run around freely. The Vyne Estate is our local National Trust and it’s maintained beautifully. On this day the landscapers were eagerly tending to the beds, tidying away the damage winter had bestowed on nature. I love seeing the spring shoots sprouting up from the cold, dark soil, they always bring a smile to my face. Something about the anticipation of all the new bright colours coming to life and a happy summer ahead of us.

Spring days at the National Trust good for the soul

The boys happily splashed in muddy puddles and looked so sweet holding hands walking around the grounds. Little George’s legs were just a little bit too tired to carry him all the way around, but he loved watching the bigger boys getting up to mischief, covered in mud.

The Ordniary Moments Spring days at the National Trust good for the soul

I love this photo Hayley took of the boys, they are just so happy in nature, splashing around in muddy puddles and enjoying the freedom of outdoors. The boys played so nicely together it was so sweet to watch.

the ordinary moments at the vyne hampshire on a spring day

Spring days at the National Trust good for the soul

The sun warmed our skin and the fresh breeze breathed spring life back into our bodies. Could this be the start of spring? Everything seems better when the sun is shining, even mud covered toddler tantrums!

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It’s a bit of a whiny, moaning post today but I just feel like we are at breaking point with our toddler’s sleep regression and I guess I want to reach out to anyone who may be going through the same or who has any advice for us!!

breaking point toddler sleep regression

I wrote a while back about baby sleep tips, and back then we certainly did have it nailed. But now it’s our almost 4 year old we are struggling with. When he turned 3 he suddenly became a lot more aware of his surroundings, and with that more scared of the outside world. Totally normal, I know. We went 3 months having to sleep on his floor and finally he seemed to grow out of it. That was for a good few months, but then back around Christmas time he regressed again. Currently we’re having to sit with him each night until he falls asleep. And then once he wakes, around midnight or 2am he just walks straight into our room and into our bed.

breaking point toddler sleep regression

In theory this doesn’t sound too bad. But the reality is that he gets in and somehow, inexplicably, manages to sleep across both of our pillows kicking and headbutting us both all night. I fear waking him to move him because the thought of trying to get him back to sleep in the middle of the night seems to hard to bare and getting sucker punched in the eyeball seems the more appealing solution.

We have tried putting him back into his bed and this can happen 5 times a night, and it just gets to a point when it’s so much easier just to roll over and let him in. Last week felt like we were at breaking point when I spent the majority of the night sleeping, like a dog, at the foot of the bed, with no pillow and only my arms covered by the duvet. Not ideal.

breaking point toddler sleep regression

I filmed a little video over on my YouTube which goes into more detail. I’m not even sure what I am going to gain from even sharing this, but sometimes it just feels a little bit better when you can get it out there, and frankly have a bit of a moan! Have you been through this? Did you survive to tell the tale? I’d love to know what worked for you.

Thanks for listening to me moan!!

toddler sleep regression breaking point

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There’s a certain excitement in the Blogosphere air. Even writing this first paragraph I have butterflies in my tummy. If you are into blogging or reading blogs then you may see lots of travel posts circulating about being a #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad at the moment. Bloggers up and down the country keen to become a part of the fantastic ambassadorship programme from Mark Warner Holidays. Something that I have only heard amazing, inspiring and heart felt love for. Anyone who has been on one of their fantastic holidays or who has been an ambassador for seems to only have good things to say and it’s no surprise their accolades feature consecutive awards for excellence, or that their innovative approach to holidaying with children are regarded as some of the best trips in the world.

#markwarnermum travel to Bruge to document for Mark Warner Mum ambassadorship 2017

As both a Mum of 2 young boys and a huge fan of travel this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get stuck into. We’ve been so fortunate in the past to have done a lot of traveling and have managed to see so much of the world as young and care (child!) free singletons. Flash forward 5 years Stuart is out the house 12 hours a day working and as soon as the children go to bed it’s my turn to work. Time together is a fragile balance and duly savoured over the weekends, our carefree days exchanged for a blur of nappies and sleepless nights.

I’m on a forever mission to be the fun mum: This usually ends in major #mumfail. Like that time I tried to impress my 3 year old and ended up flying face first off of a trampoline, almost breaking my knee. Or when I fell head first into a river, in an attempt to get the perfect angle for a family photo. Laughter is the soundtrack to our parenting style and without fail Stuart will be able to make the boys fall about in fits of it mid toddler meltdown, essential skills for life with 2 under 4!

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

We love to make all of our travels an adventure even within our own country but I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I would love to spend quality time as a family learning new things, and not just seeing new things. A chance for balmy days spent teaching the boys to swim under the summer sky, the opportunity for Stuart and I to learn a sport or skill together. I love that there are so many activities available on a Mark Warner Holiday that we can take part in as a family, but with the unique opportunity to put the children into childcare while we rekindle our passions together, or even learn a new exciting challenge neither of us have done before like water sports!

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

After we had Henry we did a little traveling in North America, however latterly our adventures have been constrained to the UK. You see traveling with children isn’t quite what it used to be. Gone are the spontaneous weekends away, jumping on the Eurostar a distant memory. Our Top 10 holiday essentials are not quite what they used to be. As part of the challenge to become a #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad I’ve been asked to share my top 10 travel must-haves…Now if you’re a parent also you’ll know that packing isn’t quite the same post children, so I thought I would share my top 10 holiday essentials – before and after kids!

TOP 10 TRAVEL MUST-HAVES BEFORE KIDS….

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

 

  1. Outfits. 3 per day. Hiking in the morning, perusing the town’s market in the afternoon, not forgetting a special dress for each evening to wear to a fancy restaurant.
  2. Bikinis. 7 in total. Well I can’t be seen in the same one in each photo?!?
  3. Books. Plenty of them and as many magazines. Hours spent reading, lounging by the pool ordering cocktails and nachos.
  4. Factor 6 tanning oil. No responsibilities and no apparent awareness for sun safety!
  5. Cocktails!! See points 1 and 3. Time to drink and party and roll in at 4am...well we wont be getting up ’til noon anyway so we can worry about the hangover tomorrow…
  6. Make Up. Lots of it. A bag full! Nights out are prefixed by 2 hours blissfully getting ready by myself.
  7. Sun bathing. Not a must have, but certainly a must-do. To be done at our leisure. Hot? Take a dip in the pool or a trip to the swim-up bar…
  8. Accessories. Planning outfits months in advance and making sure I have just the right fedora to compliment that new Maxi dress of mine.
  9. Hair dryer, straighteners, tongs, curling iron…Did I mention I have 2 hours to get ready each night??
  10. The Spa. Ahhh, the spa. Couples massage? Go on then, we’re on holiday after all…

TOP 10 TRAVEL MUST-HAVES AFTER KIDS….

 

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

  1. Outfits. 3 in total for the week including something I can be comfortable in whilst cosying up on the sofa once the children are down to sleep.
  2. Bikinis. High-waisted essential to hide inevitable mum-tum. In fact a swimsuit would be best. There’s a whole lot of bending down involved when looking after children by the pool.
  3. Books. Hmm, I had one of those once. It was replaced with an iPad, pre-loaded with the CBeeBies App.
  4. Factor 50 sun block. To be frantically applied 6 times a day, attempting to avoid mixing with sand, dodging imminent toddler meltdown.
  5. Juice…Squash. Water. Ice Pops. Anything to make sure little one is hydrated and won’t suffer from heat exhaustion when all they want to do is play. Repeat hourly.
  6. CC Cream. Store by the front door so you can apply quickly on your way down to breakfast (after having packed 4 beach bags full of stuff, wrestled toddlers to get dressed, yawned 3,000 times)
  7. Bucket and spade, frisbee, skittles. Anything to entertain the children with. Why not build a huge sandcastle with big windows for you to look out of over at the couples sunbathing, carefree, cocktail in hand.
  8. Accessories. 12 children’s sun hats – ensuring you have at least 1 that doesn’t get lost throughout the week.
  9. Dry Shampoo. You may, if you’re lucky, have time for at least one shower without a small visitor or 2 tugging at the shower curtain. Maybe take a couple of cans just in case.
  10. Baby Wipes. Ever been at a spa where they bring round cold cloths for your hot brow? I have and it was bloody glorious. Well that you can forget that. Instead bring 247 packs of wipes for all those baby related spills, scrapes and sick.

Check out my #MarkWarnerMum Pinterest Board for more Travel must-haves and holiday Pins!

I hope our passion for travel is passed down to the children. There really is so much to see in this world and I love showing the boys the beauty that travel has to offer. As part of our application I’ve made a little vlog of our travels in 2016, we would love it if we could make a very special one for 2017!

 

#nofilter – have you ever seen a more incredible sunset?!

top 10 holiday essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

I’d love to know how your must have holiday items have changed since having children – let me know below!

This has been my application to become a #MarkWarnerMum, Thank you for reading xx

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

top 10 travel essentials Mark Warner ambassadorship programme entry for Adventures Of A Mum Lara Joanna Jarvis #markwarnermum

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I love the planning that goes into organising a romantic weekend away. The anticipation, the excitement of escaping the ordinary. Before we had children we used to book a weekend at a spa or jump in the car to another city every couple of months. Being based in the South of England, we’re lucky to have lots of beautiful places within a couple of hours drive away and equally just on our doorstep. I love getting lost in beautiful surroundings, learning things about the places we go and I’m passionate about exploring close to home as well as further afield.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

It is especially exciting planning a weekend away now, because since becoming parents they are understandably rare. In fact I think we have only done one or two so far, but as the boys are getting older, in turn they are getting (slightly) easier to send to doting grandparents. Equally we love to show the boys the adventures we can have as a family, hopping in the car and going off on a road trip together. Although it has to be said it’s not quite as spontaneous as it once was when we only had to think of our own needs.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

As Valentine’s Day approaches I’m sure many couples are planning romantic ventures, be it at home or away. There’s a certain pressure that comes with a weekend spent with a new partner, a relationship in its infancy is put to the test when trying to plan for a weekend away together. It can certainly be a deal breaker. It’s probably a good idea to have spent a couple of nights together before putting your relationship to the test of a full weekend away. There’s nothing quite as awkward as realising actually you’re not the match you thought you were, when 300 miles from home and have 2 days to get through.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

I love the spontaneity of a loosely organised trip. Not knowing exactly what lies ahead provides extra excitement and adventure to your weekend. Showing your partner how you can be flexible can be an endearing quality, especially if you have children who don’t normally allow for such impulsive freedom. Getting insider tips from the hotel staff for the best brunch in town, or the secret spots they don’t show you in the guide book can be exciting and a fun way of getting to know each other. It’s great to discover the places on foot too if you have the time to meander through village streets without time constraints.

how to plan a romantic weekend away

It’s especially important to make time for a romantic weekend away if you have children and rarely spend time together as a couple. Even just to give yourself that time, have a bubble bath without interruptions, to take things slowly, enjoy each other’s company like you used to be able to without having to think of your children first. Rediscover each other, remember what made you fall in love with one another in the first place. It’s so so hard to make time for yourselves in day to day life amidst the school run, the food shop and the daily battles with getting children to eat their dinner. Each day ending with falling into bed, your head hitting the pillow desperately hoping for a few straight hours of shut eye and any thoughts of intimacy as distant as the memory of a full nights sleep. We’ve all been there and it’s only natural to put yourself and each other last.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

Finding the perfect spot for your weekend of romance is key to getting the mood right. Whether that’s a weekend of escaping to the countryside to an exquisite peaceful retreat where you can spend the whole weekend soaking up the splendour of the romantic setting, walking amongst stunning gardens and taking time over afternoon tea. A weekend in the City, shopping all day, fine dining and taking in a show by night. Or perhaps an action packed weekend of fun and mayhem, jumping on the Eurostar and picking a destination as you get to the station. It’s important to choose something that you would both enjoy and that is an escape from the norm. Personally I like to make sure I get as much from the weekend as possible, which means the less travel the better – there’s not much point flying to New York if you only have 48 hours to enjoy your adventure.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire  Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

Packing for a weekend away needs to start with the bag. Nothing too big so that you have to check it in for a flight, nothing too small so you have to scrimp on outfit options. I found the perfect bag whilst scouring one of my favourite websites, where I often get lost scrolling through their pages of beautiful homewares, iconic designers and luxury gifts. It’s just one of those sites where you want everything. I knew I wanted to get something uber stylish and special for a weekend bag because it will be something I use time and time again. This beautiful Ted Baker weekend holdall is a definite investment piece and one that I think will see me through years of adventures.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall HampshireValentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

What ever you do, wherever you go, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourselves to be romantic, just relax, enjoy the time do something fun together.

Valentine's Day romantic weekend away for 2 on a date at Tylney Hall Hampshire

What’s your favourite kind of adventure?

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“Outside

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With thanks to Tylney Hall for the use of their stunning hotel in rural Hampshire.

I’ve been wanting to join in with a linky for the longest time, and The Ordinary Moments seems like the absolute perfect place to start. Firstly, I absolutely adore Katie from Mummy Daddy Me, and now that the lovely Donna has joined Katie as co-host, I know I’m in very good hands. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years, and I still don’t entirely understand linkies, no matter how many times people tell me about them, so I am hoping this is right ladies!! I really love the idea that The Ordinary Moments focuses on the little things, the ordinary snippets of our week that make our lives special, and it’s so lovely to be able to look back on these little moments which we could so easily forget.

 


Winter Walks

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

I’ve always been a Summer kinda gal, mainly because I hate being cold. But there’s just something about Winter that I am really growing to love. There’s nothing quite as spectacular as a Winter sunrise. Brilliant orange and blood red beams pouring out, warming up the crisp morning sky. I love the way the grass glistens as if littered with tiny diamonds, paths twinkling under afternoon street light. But particularly, I love going out for a brisk family winter walk. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I would spend a whole day outside during these current freezing temperatures, but to get wrapped up warm and make yourself to get out with the family to a blow away the cobwebs is really refreshing, especially after a long working week.

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

On Saturday, we ventured out with family down to the Meon Valley. It was beautiful sunshine the whole journey down, but typically once we arrived it clouded over. But determined, we forced ourselves outside to enjoy a walk along a disused railway. The mud was frozen stiff, thankfully, because the boys would have no doubt fallen into it otherwise!

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

Henry’s little cousin is 6, and he is utterly smitten with her. She’s the sweetest little girl and so caring towards both the boys, always coming over to help George out if he needs a hand and always so kind. When we are due to see her I can’t let Henry know until the day because otherwise he will be unbearable asking over and over when he is going to see her. It’s just so nice to see and capture their bond grow.

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

George managed to walk most of the way, excitedly chasing after the others and joining in with their games. He loves being outdoors and exploring nature, although does have a tendency to want to discover things in a different direction, which is no surprise given his fiercely independent nature.

The Ordinary Moments winter walks with family in Hampshire

Our walk ended alongside the River Meon with a small bridge to play Pooh Sticks and little waterfall to entertain George at while the biggies eagerly awaited the appearance of their sticks under the bridge. I love showing the boys how much adventure and fun there is to be had without having to spend lots of money on big days out.

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

the ordinary moments linky a winter walk with family

It’s always so satisfying when you’ve made the effort to get out when it’s this cold. Temptation to stay in is always hard to overcome, but the children loved running free, exploring the woods, finding different animal footprints, and the odd golf ball! We headed back for a hot coffee and cookies before the drive home, sponsored by YouTube so they didn’t fall asleep an hour before bed!

I’m looking forward to sharing more of our #OrdinaryMoments over the coming months, thanks for reading. If you want to watch our day check out the vlog.

 

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