The Christmas elves – part 2

So after a quiet few days, gently introducing Betsy to the idea of the Christmas elves we start ramping things up a bit. I’ve had to start this whole advent thing gently, not only for Betsy’s benefit, but mine too. It’s very, very easy for me to get carried away in the first few days of a project and then be totally burnt out and sick of the whole thing before hitting the halfway mark. But I’ve been having fun with these elves and I think Betsy is too, she’s slowly moving on from walking downstairs and immediately looking for chocolate to finding the elves first, which is nice. I don’t know if she’s been caught up in any magic though (the first day the elves arrived I asked her where she thought they had come from and replied “you, Mama?”), but she is enjoying having them around.

6th December.
Advent day 6

We put some food out for the birds today. So far, as of writing, we have spotted one robin and 3,409 squirrels.

7th December.

Advent day 7

A quiet day of reading and relaxing after quite a manic day the day before (as well as feeding the birds we had swimming and soft play, I was knackered…). This one didn’t quite go to plan as we ended up doing an impromptu day out, but the Christmas books are out and we do read them fairly regularly, so thanks, elves!

8th December.

Advent day 8

Today we made some Christmas cards! This went down a treat with Betsy. She’d been up only half an hour and managed to make two cards. Boo quite happily made lots of cards throughout the day, and was happiest when she was making the cards on her own without my input or help at all. It’s so good to see her create like this, and do it with such enthusiasm too, a rather good reminder that this is the kind of craft that could and should be done often when at home. This is the one she made for me:

Betsy's card

9th December.

Advent day 9

Free hugs for all! I think Betsy’s a bit like me and not the most physical of people, but I think she did give Caspar an extra big hug when at nursery.

 

10th December.

The elves had a day off today. A teething and unsettled Arthur meant that I didn’t manage to prepare anything the night before. Ooops.

11th December.

Advent day 11

More crafty things today, hooray! We are so bad at saying thank you for things here. Betsy’s birthday was in October! We’ll pop the notes into Christmas cards. Better late than never, right? SUPER SPARKLY FUN TIMES by the way was a trip to a couple of garden centres who go all out on their Christmas display.

sparkly fun times
sparkly fun times

More advent days soon!

Our Christmas elves – part one

Christmas Elves

You know what I don’t like about Christmas? That list Santa supposedly keeps of who has been naughty or nice. I’ve always seen Father Christmas as a nice chap who gives presents to all children because it’s Christmas. I’ve never really got on with the whole bribery aspect of telling children that if they’re naughty they won’t get any presents, it’s Christmas! That’s a crappy thing to tell them. Besides, it’s also a blatant lie. You’d have to be Scrooge himself to actually go through with a promise of not giving your children presents. But I do think it is healthy to encourage niceness during Christmas. Especially as the season becomes more and more materialistic and after all, the whole point of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of a guy who basically said be nice to each other isn’t it? So how do you encourage a three year old to be more kind and nice to others? Using elves of course. This isn’t my idea by the way, I was very inspired by the Kindness Elves from The Imagination Tree who started this last year. Betsy was too young to join in then and so I’ve been itching to do it this Christmas. Our Christmas elves help spread joy and kindness over advent while also encouraging us to be more creative at this time. I have to admit that since having Arthur, I’ve been a bit lax in creating activities for me and Boo to do at home, but as he’s getting older and can happily sit in a high chair or move around on the floor on his own it’s time to start being a bit more pro active. So on the morning of the 30th November, a little door that looked like it was made from cardboard and stuck on with washi tape appeared out of nowhere. No one knew where it was from, no one who lived at the house put the door onto the wall. Betsy would knock on it and wonder if anyone would come to the door, but no one did. It was as if it had appeared by magic.

1st December.
Advent Day 1

As Betsy came down in the morning with me we discovered we had visitors! There was a note to Betsy. It said:

We are Astrid and Hans and we are CHRISTMAS ELVES! We’re here spreading magic and visiting you because you are AWESOME! We look forward to having lots of fun with you this Christmas!

Astrid and Hans like their exclamation points and capital letters. If I’m honest, Betsy was more excited about the chocolate left in the advent calender and didn’t quite know what to make of the elves. It takes a bit of time for her to get into something (unless it’s chocolate related).

2nd December.
Advent day 2

Hello Betsy! Before you go to nursery, lets read this Christmas book together! Have a super day! Astrid and Hans. PS. You played really nicely with Caspar yesterday!

Nursery day today so something very quick and simple while Betsy gets used to the idea of the elves. She saw this with Dave while I was still upstairs with Arthur and when she came up for a cuddle and milk she was very excited. Mostly about the chocolate still, but hey! She mentioned the book too, so that’s something.

3rd December.
Advent day 3

Good morning, Betsy! We have sorted out your advent calender for you :) We have found some cakes! There is one for you. Shall we give the others to Nanny and Grandad when you see them today?

A day with the grandparents today and a perfect chance to do a bit of sharing. When Nanny and Granddad did turn up, she was happy to give them their cakes. Betsy still more excited about the chocolate. The advent calender mention is to do with a lovely calender my sister made Betsy last year which was out, but not yet hung up, so the elves hung it up above their door.

4th December.
Advent day 4

Good morning! Look what your Auntie Juwee gave you! Lets make it!

Betsy now fully on-board with the elves now that they have delivered something Peppa related. The tree was made and up with Dave before I had even got out of bed!

5th December
Advent day 5

Betsy had been asking to go to the zoo for sometime now, which is a bit unusual for her as it’s normally me who asks if we should go. We had a brilliant but very cold day out, got to love Whipsnade!

If Andy Williams says it’s the most wonderful time of the year, then it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s December, I’m eating my own weight in gingerbread and mini stollen bites and I’ve cracked open the Lidl knock-off Baileys. It’s Christmas time! I always say the time around Halloween is my favourite time of year, but then Christmas comes speeding round the corner and I realise that I get very excited for that. Overly excited perhaps, especially as there are now children around. But how can you not do a little inward squee when you see your daughter shout out from the back of the car because she’s seen some decorations or when you see your son stare up in wonder at Christmas lights, even if it’s only a display at the local garden centre?

Here in Enfield there is a great event that’s been happening for the past few years and that’s the Enfield Parade of Light. It’s organised by the council and involves all manner of community groups and locals parading along a route through town in the early evening festooned in lights and shiny things. It’s very much become the official start to Christmas for us as we all bundle up in warm clothing and meet up with family and friends and stand along Chase Side watching everyone walking by. We have marching bands, local dance troupes, the Scouts and Brownies and casts for all the pantomimes taking place in the area. Father Christmas makes an appearance as does the mayor of Enfield.

Enfield Light Parade

Enfield Light Parade

Enfield Light Parade

Enfield Light Parade

Enfield Light Parade

Enfield Light Parade

Once everyone passes by, we make our way into town and stand in the market square looking at the Christmas lights and the fireworks display that’s accompanied by a local band playing Christmas songs. There’s a great atmosphere and a lovely community spirit lacking only in mulled wine (which I think we’ve all made the mental note to make some and bring along in flasks next year).

Enfield Light Parade

Enfield Light Parade

I popped into work a couple of weeks ago and managed to visit Liberty. God, I love this shop so much. If only I had more money…

Liberty

Their decorations, as ever, are beautiful. Their Christmas shop, as ever, a place of wonderment and sparkly things. I was in there for ages.

Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

I just love these kitsch kittys.

Liberty

I managed to not buy anything (a feat in itself) and I have a half mind to take Betsy one morning and and we choose one decoration each to take home. She’d end up choosing one of the £20 decs though!

As for actual planning for the big day, I’ve been rubbish and haven’t quite got round to anything. No presents bought, no cards sent. I have made the cake though! Things will be kicking up a gear this week, I think.

Living Arrows 49/52

living arrows

Aw, these guys. ♥

Lots of things going on this week, including soft play with Caspar, swimming, visiting Whipsnade and a trip into East London (more on that soon). Most importantly this has been the first weekend in a month that Dave’s been around so we’ve been enjoying life as a foursome again. A weekend of normality before Christmas madness starts next week!

living arrows

Cheery things

Ugh, another couple of weeks of writer’s block*, I couldn’t even put words to this week’s Living Arrows, and there’s so much so say!

Cheery Things 1
Cheery Thhings 2

1. Scattered Stars dress from Cath Kidston. Festive without being too festive. I’d wear it pretty much all the time.
2. Love winter list by the Homesteady. So using this in the middle of January when it’s miserable.
3. Working Mrs Cat white wearing glasses by zyzanna on Etsy.
4. Stitch the stars calendar kit. Isn’t this the most perfect give for me a crafty person in your life? It glows in the dark, people!
5. Everything by Hannah Turner is amazing.
6. Winter Forest washi tape at The Fox and Star. This is pretty much the best thing ever, isn’t it?
7. Kitty pile body suit at Buy Olympia. This would suit Arthur down to a T.

Other things:

 

There’s also the matter of CHRISTMAS, but that’s its own post I think. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

*I am hardly a writer. Work block? Word block? Both are valid. I think procrastinator is the better term for me though. Have you seen that thing on Facebook where you Google image search your first name and meme? One of the first hits for me was this picture. I need to frame this and put it EVERYWHERE.

hey-charlotte-do-some-fucking-work-thumb

Living Arrows – 47/52

Untitled

art

I got a new phone this week, the HTC One M8. The camera’s pretty sweet! Both these shots are from it. We’ve been out and about this week; Dave was away this weekend and I’ve discovered that it’s much easier looking after both kids if we keep out of the house for as long as possible. So we played in playgrounds, visited the library when it got too cold and risked soft play on a Sunday (which back-fired a bit with an over-tired, cranky Betsy and an over-tired, cranky Mama). We also had a super day in London catching the number 11 bus (Betsy’s first Routemaster!), seeing the reindeer in Covent Garden (the beautiful silver reindeer statue and the real reindeer that are brought in every Saturday until Christmas) and finishing off with a hot chocolate in Starbucks. Quite possibly the most suburban trip ever (had we included a trip to Hamleys, it would have been the most suburban trip into London ever).

living arrows

Cheery Things

cheery things 2

1. Gorgeous cushion from Beetroot Press. Almost makes me wish spring was here.
2. Never a truer word said.
3. Smitten Kitchen’s pickled cabbage salad. I made this last week and it’s lovely. It makes LOADS though and I ended up giving a whole load of it away to friends and I still have it coming out of my ears. I seem to be eating it rather than my usual late night biscuits, so that’s got to be a good thing, right?
4. Christmas decorations from Liberty and Rockett St George. Just look at their little faces!

Usually I’m one of those grumps who try not to even think about Christmas until the 1st December, but with a three year old who’s already asking about Father Christmas and a new baby who loves looking at all the sparkly lights, I am SUPER excited about the end of December this year. Guy Fawkes night has been already, I’m allowed, right? Besides, the Christmas lights have been switched on along various roads and now I really want to take the kids into town to look at the lights, wonder around the Christmas shop in Liberty and generally try not to get too stressed by all the other people. That should be do-able, shouldn’t it? Just look Carnaby’s lights! And if Betsy can get really excited about the Christmas lights she spots in Enfield, then these will blow her mind…

Also, this and this. Science is cool, especially when it’s in space.

Smitten Kitchen’s cabbage wasn’t the only recipe from a blog I made recently. I also made some of Jack Munro’s Punkin pumpkin jam and used that instead of the rhubarb jam in Pudding Lane’s rhubarb and custard kisses. So easy to make and so melt in the mouth. Okay, I haven’t just been eating healthy salad in the evenings…

pumpkin

Want to see more random things? Follow me on Pinterest.

Living Arrows – 46/52

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This is how Betsy smiles when I’m pointing a camera at her these days. It’s always been a bit tricky to get a picture of her smiling, but now it’s bloody impossible!

living arrows

More swings this week, this time Arthur’s first proper swing all on his own. He loved it! Looking forward to pushing him and Betsy in swings side by side, that’s going to be mucho fun.

living arrows