Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere {Little Bookworm 2}

Little Miss has become completely and utterly pumpkin obsessed.

Last month we received a new book from Parragon titled Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere. She instantly fell in love with it and I think we’ve read it every single day since.

Little Miss even insists on a quick read before nursery… which is really helpful when you’re desperately trying to get her out the door!

I’m ashamed to say I had to hide it for a time a few weeks ago as I just couldn’t face it again.

Growing up in the States, Halloween is a pretty big deal to me. (See Ghost of Halloween Past: 1993.) I have fond memories of trawling the catalogues every autumn (it was before the days of internet shopping, I’m not that young), folding down the pages of my favourite costumes until I’d whittled it down to the perfect outfit. I also remember Trick or Treating and how my mum always made me wear a coat or cardigan over my costume, much to my distain (#stillbitter).

So last year, Little Miss’ first Halloween, I was super excited. And then I was ill. And then Little Miss caught it. And Halloween was a total wash out. *sob*

This year, ironically, we’ve ended up not celebrating Halloween with Little Miss as it falls on a weekend we’d arranged for my mum to take her so we could have some ‘us’ time. So instead, we’re hosting a grown up party (a Halloween tradition I fully intend on installing in our family that the OH doesn’t yet know about…). While it saddens me I won’t spend Halloween with Little Miss, where we live in London isn’t geared up for Trick or Treating and she is still a bit young to truly grasp the concept.

But, that hasn’t stopped us having some pumpkin family fun all the same.

We took Little Miss to choose her pumpkin(s) at our local grocer’s, which resulted in lots of running around and squealing.

While she was napping, we gutted and carved the pumpkins for her, then refilled them with the innards and placed the carved pieces back in their holes so Little Miss could ‘carve’ them herself when she woke up.

We actually based our pumpkin faces on two from the book; Pumpkin Cheeky and Pumpkin Mad, who Little Miss is particularly fond of. As soon as you turn to that page, her face crumples into a frown exactly like that in the book and she starts shouting, “Ma! Ma!”

Little Miss and our Pumpkin Mad. (Yes, that’s her ‘Mad’ face in photo 2 and signing ‘friends’ on the right to her pumpkins.)

If you’re looking for a Halloween read for toddlers or preschoolers, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere has completely captured Little Miss’ imagination. The pages are filled with brightly coloured pictures, following four Trick or Treaters and their pumpkins (all donning different emotions) with simple language.

We have other books that teach ‘happy,’ ‘sad’ and basic emotions but this is the first one Little Miss has shown a true grasp of their meaning with. Her vocabulary has also increased with, ‘cat’, ‘bat’, ‘mad’, ‘cheeky’, ‘toot’ all now featuring within days of picking up this book. She knows what a wolf and spider is and though can’t say either word, she scuttles her hand like a spider on that page and howls like a wolf.

And of course, she is now well aware of pumpkins  – though insists on calling them apples. Of course.

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FINDINGOURFEET.CO.UK IS A MEMBER OF THE PARRAGON BOOKS #BOOKBUDDIES CLUB. PARRAGON BOOKS SENDS US A NEW BOOK (OR TWO) EVERY MONTH FOR LITTLE MISS TO ENJOY AND REVIEW. BUT AS ALWAYS, THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

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Ghost of Halloween Past: 1993

In July, 1993, we moved from North London to Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Even though only age four, I was not best pleased.

But in the October, a wonderful thing happened: I discovered Halloween.

In Britain at the time, as far as I was aware, Halloween did not exist. But in the States, oh my. Halloween was every child’s dream.

1993 was the year Disney’s Aladdin was released. So naturally, myself and every other girl in my class wanted to dress up as Jasmine for the class party. I remember this costume so vividly, how excited I was, how amazing I thought I looked, how much the waistband itched; I think I would have lived in this costume if I’d been allowed.

We were also invited to our first family Halloween party. My parents were told that Halloween was even a big deal for the adults and if they didn’t dress up, they’d be frowned upon. So they too dutifully obliged…

Dad thrilled as the prospect of dressing up as you can see, while Mama – her drama background shining through in style! And me, tickling myself with her tail… as you do…

And then finally I was introduced to Trick-or-Treating.

Oh. Em. Gee.

I still have that same pumpkin basket. It must be classed as vintage now, no?

It was a bitterly cold Halloween and my Jasmine costume was filthy after two parties and a Coke spillage. So mom had the brilliant idea of me bundling up and wearing my infamous ‘ducky mac’ and wellies for Trick-or-Treating. Practical, warm and everyone thought I was cute as a button.
We went Treating with some friends, as you do, and to start with I didn’t really know what was going on. I just followed orders to go and ring the bell and hold out my pumpkin for a treat. (Which in hindsight, not the best advice to give small children!) I flew back down the path to where our parents were waiting, grinning from ear to ear, crying, “they gave me sweets!! Look! They just gave me sweets!”

And so it went on. At every house. They just kept giving me sweets!

“they gave me sweets!! Look! They just gave me sweets!”

As you can see, I was rather taken with the whole affair, and slightly buzzed from the sugar.

Looking back at the family photo album from our first year in the States, it’s no wonder I fell in love with Halloween. In my mom’s words, “It was just one party after another!”

And so, to this day, I continue to love Halloween – almost, almost as much as Christmas. When we moved back to the UK (age 11) and Halloween was a sad, sorry shadow of the holiday I grew up with, I continued to insist to carve pumpkins and host a Halloween parties. For me, it’s a tradition and one I hold very close to my heart. And I can already envision the Halloween parties we’ll host in years to come when Little Miss is old enough to understand…

Dressed in my Bridesmaid’s dress from two years before (because I grew that little as a child!) ready for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Halloween family performance.

Behind the scenes {The Wonderful Ordinary 12}

Almost every weekend, we take Little Miss for a walk in the woods near our home. Getting lost amongst the trees, down all the hidden paths is  one of our favourite things to do as a family come rain or shine.

Every week, we take our camera and get some beautiful shots of Little Miss. But this week, I thought I’d keep it short and sweet and share one from behind the lens.

See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonderful Ordinary posts. 

This post is part of the My Captured Moment linky from Running In Lavender

The Unemployed Mum

Little Miss helping me get ready for interviews...

Little Miss helping me get ready for interviews…


Hi, I’m Amie. I’m 26, I’m a marketing professional, and I’m an Unemployed Mum. Not a Stay At Home Mum. Not a Working Mum. An Unemployed Mum.

For the past twenty months, on the blog I have delicately danced around my experience of job-hunting while on maternity leave. And then extended maternity leave… And then while looking after Little Miss full time… and now, let’s just admit it shall we? I’m unemployed. And I happen to be a mum too.

Recently, a friend – another unemployed mum – suggested I should write about my unemployment saga (for that’s exactly what it is). I explained that I have refrained from being too explicit as I include Finding Our Feet on my CV and am nervous of scaring away potential employers. What if they consider this an attack? Or take it the wrong way? Or worse, consider me unemployable because of something I say?

But since going on Mat Leave, I have spoken to countless women who have been made redundant, forced to resign, unable to find work, you name it, after becoming a mum.

Well. Enough’s enough.

My saga begins on Monday, January 20, 2014. The Other Half and I’s five year anniversary and the start of my final week at work before Mat Leave.

I was a contractor at a large, popular UK brand. My agreement was up for renewal for a third 12 months stint while I would be on leave.

HR asked me for a meeting first thing. Truth be told, as soon as I saw the email I knew what they were going to say.

HR gave me the choice: end my contract now, “so you don’t have to worry after the baby is here” or wait until June when my contract was due to finish to go through the process then. Either way the message was clear. They weren’t renewing my contract.

My lawyer said if I wanted to fight, I would have a good case. But I had to be prepared for them to back down and keep my role open for me. Which in reality, wasn’t practical; I commuted nearly two hours to and from work each day. The OH and I had already been wondering how we would manage it with a nursery run in the mix as we commuted in opposite directions out of London.

Whether they were simply making a kind gesture as I had worked there over a year or were aware of the grey area we found ourselves in, I’ll never know but my employer bumped me up to the permanent employees’ maternity benefits package as part of my redundancy agreement. In some ways, I was lucky; redundancy meant I could take a year off with Little Miss – something we wanted but previously couldn’t afford. So I took the money and left quietly.

Five weeks later, Little Miss was born.

I spent the next six months in the baby bubble until August when an opportunity came up with a parenting app start-up in London. I came on board as a marketing consultant in return for share options, which was fine as at that point it was more about keeping my CV ticking over and my brain active between laundry loads and nursery rhymes.
It was around November we started discussing my return to work, ‘for real’. By March 2015, I was attending interviews fortnightly and by June, I was attending one, sometimes even two a week. Calling in any and every favour possible to help look after Little Miss in the meantime.

I was trained at a successful UK brand; I’ve kept active during my maternity leave, with both the blog and in the end consulting three small businesses on their marketing strategy. For every interview, I research the company, their past campaigns, their competitors, their products, their opportunities. I ensure I can speak about my own experience confidently and passionately in relation to the criteria they’re looking for. I work damn hard.

And as a result, I’ve gotten through to the final round of over half the interviews I’ve had. But none seem willing to take a risk on the woman who’s been out of the workplace for a year… or 14 months… then 18 months… now 20 months…

I’ve had interviewers ask me outright how I feel about returning to work after having a baby, if I mind working late now I have a family, have my priorities changed now I’m a mum…

I’ve applied for roles to be told I don’t have enough experience, or that another applicant had more fitting experience. I’ve also applied for jobs below my level of expertise, to be told I’m over qualified or wouldn’t be satisfied with the role.

Perhaps I just have really bad luck, but it seems there’s always a reason to say no. And while there is a chance that it is my experience that’s the issue, after nearly a year of job hunting, interviewing and rejections, I’m starting to find it hard to believe that’s all it is.

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My typical Monday morning.

And so, I continue trawling Guardian Jobs, 2to3days.com, LinkedIn, speaking to recruiters about any new opportunities and reaching out to contacts I have around the industry.

In May, I sold my car, giving us a cash influx to see us through the next six months. In July, I finally scored some steady freelance work. A friend passed my CV along and it turns out, a mum was exactly who they were looking for. I managed the social media profiles for three Early Life Nutrition brands (ie, formula and baby food).

But the work was quite dry, responding to parents’ complaints and comments, finding a hundred ways to say “he’s such a cutie”. Not only that, but the hours were hardly sociable: 4pm-midnight any night of the week or 8am-4pm on a weekend.

After three months, I sadly gave my notice. As a family, weekends are precious and evenings are mine and the OH’s time to catch up – even if only with oh-so-romantic household jobs. Unfortunately the pay wasn’t high enough to compensate the antisocial hours.

I then was offered a role at a childrenswear website. I was extremely excited; I was offered a fair salary and four days per week. It all seemed to good to be true.

And then the offer changed. And then it changed again. We finally compromised at a 25% reduction in my salary, 4 days per week in the office and 1 day per week working flexible hours with a six month probation period when I would be on one week’s notice.

I had a bad feeling after the negotiations, but once I was actually in the office, certain things came to light that made me uncomfortable, not least, the employer wanted me to sign a waver stating I was happy to work over 48 hours per week. I lasted 5 days. But we won’t dwell…

I’m sure some readers will say, ‘more fool you. You had a job – twice no less – and you gave it up. Stop complaining.’ And perhaps they’re right. But in nearly a year of job hunting, the two offers I’ve had would not be deemed acceptable by most working professionals for their own reasons. And yet because I find myself an Unemployed Mum, I feel forced to accept a below par offer. Parenthood comes with sacrifices, we all know that. But I understood that to mean I couldn’t go out drinking after work anymore, or lie in on a Saturday, or wear the same clothes two days in a row.

There are various schemes cropping up to help parents, mums in particular, back into the work place. DigitalMums, 2to3days.com and WorkingMums.co.uk are all great and I respect what they’re doing. But why should we be marginalized in the employment market as ‘a mum’.

Have my priorities changed now I’m a mum? Yes. And would it be preferable any future line manager keep in mind I have a nursery run to share and manage between my partner and myself? Yes. But this is no different to the changes the OH has experienced since becoming a Dad. And he does feel the pressure of that, but no one has questioned his loyalty to the company or his role as a result. No one sees him any differently.

So does the working world view me differently?

My story thus far has no happy ending. I am writing this blog post in-between an online interview (where you speak to your webcam, your video answers are recorded and sent off for analysis) and writing cover letters for more applications.

Something will come up. That’s what everyone says. And by the laws of probability, I suppose it will. But will it include a salary that will keep us in the black? Will it be below my level of expertise? Will I have to work twice as hard to prove my worth in the role, because sometimes my kids gets sick and I have to work from home or worse, take the day off?

I truly hope not.

Because I am intelligent. I am good at what I do. I’m bloody organised. I want to work. And I have a lot to offer an employer. All I need, is for someone to give me a chance.

This post is part of the Brilliant Blog Posts links, hosted by Honest Mum

Proud to announce this post was featured on Mumsnet’s front page on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

Sensory Play – Mama gets her act together

IMG_0541-1So, I was quite late to the ‘Sensory Play’ party. This trend totally passed me by.

But, to be honest, it strikes me as just normal play before we had screens and all singing, all dancing plastic…
But maybe I’m still missing the point…

We have done some sensory play unwittingly – basic stuff like building forts, bashing pots and pans with wooden spoons (a personal favourite of Little Miss’) and water play.

But a friend with a daughter 3 months older than Little Miss always posts pictures of Baby A’s daily sensory tray. Everything from toys hidden in sand or shaving foam to bits of ribbon to play with… Her imagination seems endless.

Then came the day she created a play house with fairy lights and ribbons out of a cardboard box, with animals printed on the sides.

Stacking cups, reading stories and walks in the woods are great. But let’s face it. I needed to raise my game a little bit. Nothing like a bit of Mummy Peer Pressure to help you get your ass in gear, right?

So, I hit Pinterest. Hard. I started an ideas board began our sensory adventure. Safe to say, it’s been quite the success with Little Miss…

RIBBONS! A firm favourite of Little Miss’ to date. (I’ve had to hide the tin on top of the wardrobe!)

Cloud Dough – so much fun (even for me!) but so, so messy.

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Colouring on giant pieces of paper taped to the floor has been a massive win with Little Miss.

For sensory play ideas, recipes and more, check out our Pinterest board. Don’t worry, there’s some non-messy play ideas in there as well.

How to: survive flu with a baby

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Keep the child entertained and in a good mood at all costs. And catch a quick nap whenever possible…

It’s that time of year again… The leaves are changing, the weather is turning and the germs are spreading in full force. 

Last week, I had flu. I get flu almost every October but this was a particularly bad strain lasting a full seven days, five of which I was in bed with a fever. I haven’t been so ill for so long in a long time. (And hopefully I won’t again!) 

But if there’s one thing worse than flu, it’s flu with a baby.

You’re aching, your nose is streaming, your chest hurts from coughing, all you want to do is lie on the sofa with a cup of tea & wallow, drifting in & out of sleep… But you have to prepare bottles, read stories, and if your toddler is anything like mine, they’ll be banging on the front door demanding to go to the park even if you would rather drown in a sea of Kleenex.  

Of course, we all know how it goes. When one family member gets ill, it’s only a matter of time before the others follow suit. And if there’s one thing worse than flu with a baby, it’s flu with a fluey baby. So while you’re at death’s door wanting nothing more than to curl into a ball in your onesie, you have a baby who feels the same & looks at you with tear filled eyes saying, “Mama, make this feeling go away;” who wants to be held solidly & doesn’t understand that you just aren’t up to this today.

So what do you do? 

1. Stock up on Lemsip & Calpol. Never run out. Ever. You will regret it. 

2. Alternate your medicine times. This way as your drugs are wearing off, your baby feels at their best & vice versa. If both of you are at your worst at the same time, it will only result in tears and possibly the end of the world. You’ve been warned. 

3. CBeebies. We’re quite strict about how much TV Little Miss can watch (we figure she has her whole like to stare at a screen; she can learn to play properly for the time being). But that goes out the window when the lurgy comes to stay. If you can’t face another episode of Mr. Tumble (as if you didn’t feel crap enough already) try some animated movies; Toy Story, Brave, The Princess & The Frog, whatever it takes to keep the little one stupified and still next to you. 

3.1 Netflix. If you don’t have a Netflix subscription you are missing out on a trick. Stop faffing around and sign up pre-emptively now. Thank me later. (NB: also includes plenty of trashy adult-friendly TV shows and movies for while the littl’un is sleeping. Just what the doctor ordered.)

4. Feed a fever, starve a cold. Or is it starve a fever, feed a cold… Either way, you & baby still needs to eat to keep what little strength you have up. It’s tempting to each biscuits, jam on toast and canned soup when you’re ill, but ask your other half to pick up some easy but nutritious things from the shop like bananas, pasta, fresh vegetable soup and scrambled eggs (see our quick and easy microwave eggs recipe here). And also biscuits. Because you are ill and caring for a baby.

Remember, while you’re dying on the sofa, it’s a tough week for hubby too as he tries to take care of you and baby after he gets in from work. Think ahead and get leftovers out of the freezer that are easy to warm up after he’s managed bath and bedtime.

5. Outsource your parenting. Call in any help you can, any favours you have outstanding; you are not above begging. Most nurseries won’t take littlies when they’re running a fever and each nursery has their own policy regarding coughs and colds. So likely that help will come in the form of a grandparent – not many others probably love you enough to risk catching your germs. 

6. When baby sleeps, you sleep. You & baby both feel worse at night – the aching, the coughing fits, the inability to breathe without needing to blow your nose… So it’s likely that sleeping can be effected. Little Miss often sleeps more during the day when she’s ill and while I would love that time to sit without her in my aching arms and enjoy the feeling of the paracetamol coursing through my veins, realistically sleep helps us restore, recharge and get better. So regress back to those early days; crawl under the duvet* with your mini-me, snuggle up and get some rest. You might not feel any better for it, but you certainly won’t feel worse! (Also, check out last year’s Parenting Hack to help prevent your baby’s nighttime coughing fits here.) 

*always use duvets in a safe, non-smothering, non-suffocating way with babies. Refer to NHS/NCT/some other authoritative body’s guidelines if you’re unsure. Remember, duvets are not as friendly as they appear and do not have your’s or your baby’s best interests at heart.

7. Keep the fluids flowing. It’s hard to be on the ball when you’re ill but if nothing else you’ve got to remember to keep baby hydrated. Leave the sippy cup of water within easy reach to remind you. If you’re still breastfeeding, breastfeed on demand – ill babies want feeds more regularly than usual, even if it’s a struggle because they can’t breathe through their noses. 

Good luck.

A Collection of Nursery Rhymes Give Away {Little Bookworm 1}

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The Other Half and I met doing a literature degree. I’d like to say our eyes met across the library… but in reality, I was playing Tetris (I know, so retro) in a lecture and he was sleeping on the desk next to me. We bonded over our shared hatred of Medieval English and a love of skiing. My mum also loves books (I’m actually named after a character from Little Women) and Little Miss’ Odd Mother would die for books – she’s a literary agent’s assistant, not a weirdo.

Little Miss has shown a true love of books since a young age. Even at just 9 months, she would sit and flip through the a board book on her own.

I’d often notice the apartment was suddenly still and quiet. (Cue panic.) And half the time I’d find her simply sitting quietly on the floor of her room with every book pulled off the shelf surrounding her on the floor.

(The other half of the time she would have climbed in the shower in the dark or be chewing on an iPhone charger… I digress…)

So when Parragon Books asked me if I’d like to become a ‘Book Buddy’ I jumped at the opportunity. Each month, they send Little Miss a new book to explore. And each month, I write about it. Winning!

9781472379153So to celebrate our new partnership with Parragon, we’re giving away A Collection of Nursery Rhymes to one lucky reader.

This collection of over 100 nursery rhymes is part of Parragon’s Cute As A Button range, beautifully illustrated by Annabelle Ozanne. She layers and sews material and using a technique called freehand machine embroidery – or as Annabelle calls it, ‘doodling with thread’. She then photographs the end result to create the unusual look and feel of these books.

We started introducing Little Miss to paper pages at around 18 months – with mixed results. So A Collection arrived just at the right time. She was instantly taken with it; she loves singing so it was always likely to be a winner. But she also seemed very taken with the illustrations; detailed enough to hold her attention but not overwhelming for younger readers.IMG_0532-1

A Collection has all the classics and has reminded me of some I’d forgotten all about. For some, it even tells you the actions – just in case you didn’t know to rock throughout Seesaw, Margery Daw…

And the first thing I thought when I opened the package was what a lovely gift this would make; the perfect addition to any nursery and is very reasonably priced (RRP: £8.99)

So, to enter, simply comment below with your favourite childhood nursery rhyme.

Good luck!

If you’d like to Tweet about the competition, don’t forget to mention us, @findingourfeet.
Or find Parragon Books on Twitter @parragonbooks.

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T&Cs:
1. The prize is one A Collection of Nursery Rhymes (ISBN 978-1-4723-7915-3) published by Parragon Books Ltd.
2. Entrants must be age 18+. UK entrants only. One entry per person.
3.The competition will run from 8am on Saturday, October 10, 2015 to 8pm on Saturday, October 31, 2015.
4.The winner will be chosen by an independent adjudicator on Sunday, October 18, 2015.
5.The winner will be notified within three days of the competition closing. In the event that the winner does not respond within one week of being notified, a new winner will be chosen. Finding Our Feet holds the right to chose an alternate winner if the original winner does not comply with the T&Cs.
7. The prize will be sent via Royal Mail first class post to the winner’s nominated address within five working days of Finding Our Feet receiving their nominated address. Delivery is subject to Royal Mail estimated delivery times and Finding Our Feet cannot be held responsible for loss or damage of the prize once it has been sent.
The prize was provided for free by Parragon Books Ltd to be reviewed by Finding Our Feet. Parragon Books Ltd is not involved any further than that in this give away. For more information on this competition or our affiliation with Parragon Books Ltd, contact Amie Caitlin, owner of Finding Our Feet, via email at amiecaitlin@icloud.com.

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FINDINGOURFEET.CO.UK IS A MEMBER OF THE PARRAGON BOOKS #BOOKBUDDIES CLUB. PARRAGON BOOKS SENDS US A NEW BOOK EVERY MONTH FOR LITTLE MISS TO ENJOY AND REVIEW. BUT AS ALWAYS, THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

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A Tea Party Surprise {The Wonderful Ordinary 11}

Last week, it was my mom’s birthday. She was feeling, errr, not enthused shall we say about another candle joining the club on top of the cake.

So, on Saturday, we told her to put on her party dress and meet us at Embankment. And off we strolled down the Thames to a surprise Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Horseguard Hotel (chosen because their website assured me that despite the 5* rating they were family friendly).

And family friendly they were indeed. Our little tea party was lovely with plush velvet arm chairs and silver tea pots. Little Miss was good as gold and even managed to keep a little pink bow in her hair for a whole ten minutes. She seemed to know the whole affair was very grown up and clearly enjoyed joining in the fun. Towards the end, however, she couldn’t resist the wide open space of the reception and the long corridor to the side of the lounge. She clambered out of the highchair and scurried off to play hide and seek round the reception area sofas and dancing in front of the mirrors. The blazing fire place was also of particular interest…

The service was a smidgen slow but the tea was delightful with a good mix of mini pulled pork burgers (for me) and cucumber and salmon mini finger sandwiches (for veggie mom) with teeny tiny cakes, mousses and scones. Unfortunately, Little Miss’ enthusiasm didn’t promote table manners the occasion called for, with her scooping the jam with her scone giggling, “dip, dip, dip!”.

Little Miss is lactose intolerant, so I actually baked her some mini lactose free scones to take with us so I wasn’t worrying and she could join in properly, feeling like she had the same thing on her plate as we did but actually as it turned out there were dairy free options available.

All in all, I think we managed to take Nina’s mind off that extra candle. Little Miss and I certainly had a lovely time. 

See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonderful Ordinary posts. 

This post is part of the My Captured Moment linky from Running In Lavender

Little Miss starts at nursery

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Raring to go on her first morning!

In August, Little Miss started attending nursery two days a week.

I had scored some freelance work, but it was mainly graveyard shifts managing a few brands’ social media accounts. Have you tried working a night shift then looking after a toddler the following day? I wouldn’t recommend it.

But aside from that, it was becoming clear I wasn’t enough stimulation for Little Miss. Every morning, she would be itching to get out of the house and if I wasn’t showing signs that we were going out by about 8:30am, she’d be throwing shoes at me (yes, really) and banging not the front door.

To be honest, I also just needed a break. It’s tough work looking after a toddler seven days a week. And two days off would give me a chance to get everything done – job applications, housework, whatever – so that I could concentrate on Little Miss and being a great mum on the days we have together.

Little Miss is very confident and extremely sociable (even offering kisses to complete strangers on the tube. We’re working on this.). So I was relatively relaxed about her starting nursery. When we went to look around, she ran off playing and even sat down at the table ready for snack time with the others. She clearly felt at home

Settling in week went well.

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Spying through the door on day 2 when I came to pick her up.

Monday: 1 hour, with me in the room
I sat filling in paperwork and just let her get on. I figured she’d come and get me if she needed me and thought it was better for her to get used to the surroundings without me. She only came up to me once with fistfuls of chalk and crayons as if to say, “look! They just let me have these!”. She was also at this point, covered in chalk.

Tuesday: 2 hours, without me
It went really well and I got the most amazing cuddle upon my return. Apparently she was a little gem.

Wednesday: 4 hours, without me, including lunch and nap time
She remembered that I had left the day before and kept a close eye on me as I dropped her off. She was quite unsure about my leaving, but apparently calmed down within five minutes and got on playing. She even managed a 40 minute nap.

Thursday: 6 hours, without me, including nap time and two meals
She had cottoned on by this time that this wasn’t just for fun and was very clingy when I dropped her off, even a little teary. Apparently was calm within five minutes and didn’t look around for me at all the rest of the day. Managed an hour’s nap and was asking for seconds at lunch and tea (she’s her Mama’s daughter!)

Friday: full day 9am-5pm
Daddy joined us for drop off today. Again, Little Miss was very clingy at drop off but I could see through the little portal window in the door she’d calmed down by the time I’d got my shoes back on outside the door. She did brilliantly and painted us a picture.

The staff can’t believe how quickly she’s slotted in. The first week after settling in, she was quite unsure at drop off but by week two, she was giving me a kiss good bye then running off to play.

She loves her key worker, “Gace” and now, when I say, “Today’s a nursery day, you’ll see Grace today,” Little Miss is climbing into the buggy in a flash, ready to go.

A pleasant side effect is that Little Miss seems to appreciate her time at home more. The morning after a nursery day, she happily sits in her tipi reading her books or colouring quietly. The first week she was at nursery, this took me by surprise and I was up, ready to go and trying to persuade Little Miss to get dressed. She kept taking off her leggings and running away. When she crawled in mine and the OH’s bed and got under the duvet, I realised that perhaps she just wanted to chill out at home after a hectic day at nursery the day before…!

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Every day, the nursery fill in Little Miss’ contact book letting us know what she’s been up to.

“WEYEES!!” {The Wonderful Ordinary 10}

This summer, Little Miss got a book with a picture of wellies in it. From the moment she saw them, she loved them. And from then on, whenever she saw wellies – on TV, in a book, in a shop, anywhere – she would repeat over and over, “WEYEES!!”

But alas it was July. It was too warm for wellies.

Finally, the leaves began to turn and fall and there was a crisp, freshness to the air.

Finally, it was September.

Most weekends we go for a walk in the woodland park near our home. This weekend, like so many times before, we said, “Come on Little Miss, we’re going for a walk. Where’s your coat?” Off she scurried to find her coat. When she returned, both the Other Half and I had our wellies on. “WEYEES!!” She cried.

“Yeh, Mama’s wearing wellies. Daddy’s wearing wellies. Where are Little Miss’ wellies?” we asked.  She looked up at us half confused, half annoyed as if to say, “I don’t have any, idiots.” Then the OH pulled out a tiny pair of turquoise wellies from behind his back. Her face lit up with shear delight and amazement.

“WEYEES!! WEYEES!!” She bounced on the spot reaching up, fingers splayed, desperate to pull on her very own wellies.

And then we went for our first autumnal walk of the year. With one very happy Little Miss. And her weyees.


The boots were made for dancing…

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See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonderful Ordinary posts. 

This post is part of the My Captured Moment linky from Running In Lavender