Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Joke is a Very Serious Thing

"I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks." - Winston Churchill

Mark and I were working in the garden at the weekend, so I popped Alexander into the Bumbo for the first time so he could be with us and see what we were doing. He looked so funny! My mother-in-law says he looks like a baby Winston Churchill in this photo and she is so right!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Happiness is...

Is there anything more conducive to happiness than a walk in the late afternoon Autumn sunshine with my favourite people? If there is I haven't discovered it yet!


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Four months old

Alexander at 4 months

Time really is flying by and life with this gorgeous little man gets better and better. He was 14 lbs 4 oz when I had him weighed on the 15th (at 18 weeks old) and is now starting to wear 3-6 month clothes. He is the happiest little baby and only cries when he is hungry or over tired. He doesn't give you a lot of notice when he is hungry though, going from happy to wildly upset if you don't get his bottle ready quickly enough. Because of this he has been able to achieve something none of his siblings ever did as babies, he can wake his Daddy up! Mark is the heaviest sleeper and with all the other babies I have always been able to get the bottle ready (or breastfeed) before they started making enough noise to wake Mark. Not so with Alex! He starts yelling so quickly that he can achieve the impossible! Four babies in and Mark is finally getting to experience the joys of disturbed sleep! To say that Mark is not impressed is probably an understatement!

The other Podlings continue to adore Alexander. Four months in and the novelty of a new baby brother has in no way worn off. The feeling is entirely mutual and Alex gives some wonderful smiles to his older siblings. Lily can get the most adorable laughs out of him too. They love Alex so much they keep trying to talk me into having another baby!

Alex is the sweetest, most content little boy and brings so much happiness to the family. We all adore him!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

A Good Day!

Last Saturday we took a walk in Park Hall country park. Although it was a little late for blackberries, we optimistically brought along a basket to collect any lingering berries. We had a really lovely walk across fields and then through the woods, gathering blackberries, pine cones and other treasures as we went. The late afternoon sunshine cast a warm September glow over everything and it was so peaceful. We ended our lovely afternoon with tea, scones and biscuits before heading home to watch the Last Night of the Proms on the BBC with the Podlings.

As if the day couldn't get any better, we also learned over the evening that Mark's brother Ryan and his wife Carrie had become parents to a baby girl. Our precious niece Grace was born around 8.30pm, weighing a teeny 5lbs 3 oz. We were naturally all very excited and can't wait to meet her. A perfect end to a thoroughly lovely day!

I was born in 1977, so couldn't resist posing next to this bizarrely placed rock!

Mark picking blackberries, Tom eating them!

Our basket of treasures

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Alexander at 17 Weeeks

Alexander is just the happiest, most sunshiny and content little baby. He smiles all the time and is an absolute joy. I adore him!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Alexander's Nursery

We don't spend a lot of time in the nursery at the moment as Alexander still sleeps in with us, but we do try to spend some of our day here. It is so soft and sweet and is even better now that I have my little boy to put in it.  Alexander is my last baby, so I am doing my best to soak up everything 'baby' and I just love his nursery. Now that we know that Alexander is a boy, I would like to replace the pink carpet and faintly pink walls at some point (you may remember it used to be Lily's room). I know he doesn't care now, but there will come a time when he will object to a pink bedroom! For now though, it is lovely just the way it is.

His chest of drawers now has a few personal items on display, like the little 'Baby Boy' teddy given to Alex by one of Tom's school friends. The 'A' with the little Peter Rabbit figure was a very thoughtful gift from a family friend and we display it next to one of Alexander's newborn pictures (Thanks again Hattie! We love it!)

Of course, Alex still sleeps in with us at the moment, so he also likes to hang out on my bed. Especially around 4am!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Back to school 2014

Emma is in Year 1, Lily is in Year 4 and Tom is in Year 5. These are the best photos I managed to get as they were keen to rush off and be with their friends! Emma has her eyes shut in both of them unfortunately!


Friday, 5 September 2014


During our weekend visit to Northumberland we really wanted to visit Cragside, the Victorian home of Lord Armstrong, an industrialist, inventor, engineer and all round clever chap. Set in spectacular grounds, the house was the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity and promised to be a wonderful day out.

Due to our last minute booking, our Travelodge was a bit of a trek from Cragside, but we still expected to get there in plenty of time to enjoy all that the house has to offer. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side and we had no longer pulled onto the slip road of the motorway than we found ourselves sat in stationary traffic. We continued to sit there for a further half an hour as we waited for what must have been a nasty accident to be cleared away and the motorway reopened. The delay then meant that we had to stop on the way for lunch and to feed Alex. By the time we got to Cragside we were just too late to be able to see the house. What a disappointment!

It wasn't a wasted trip by any stretch though as the grounds are nothing short of spectacular and they are open until dusk. It soon became clear that you could easily spend more than a day here just enjoying the wonderful gardens and woodland. We drove to the adventure playground and the Podlings had a wonderful time playing whilst the adults enjoyed tea (from our trusty Thermos!) and biscuits. We left pretty late, and then mainly because the gnats were starting to snack on us.

We intend to come back to Cragside later in the year and hope to do it full justice this time. It really left an impression on us and I can't wait to see inside the house.

One of the holiday cottages on the estate. So pretty!

The Podlings enjoying the adventure playground

All of us! Mark set up this picture with his tripod and the timer on my camera. Alex is looking behind to see who has just run into the shot!


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Housesteads Roman Fort

On the last weekend of the summer holidays we took a short trip to Northumberland. We drove up on the Friday night, arriving in our Travelodge quite late. On Saturday we drove up to Hadrian's Wall and visited Housestead's Roman Fort, or Vercovicium to give it its Roman name. The ruins of the nearly 2000 year old auxiliary fort on Hadrian's Wall are the most complete remains of a Roman fort in Britain and were once home to around 800 Roman soldiers. It is also notable for containing some of the best preserved Roman stone toilets in Britain! Set in the beautiful Northumberland countryside, the fort's elevated position provides stunning panoramic views and is worth a visit on this basis alone! It is so beautifully peaceful now it is hard to imagine the hive of activity it must have been in its heyday.

Mark and I came here many years ago and we were keen to bring the Podlings here, particularly as Tom had been learning about the Romans at school last year. The site now boasts a small museum which contains finds from the fort, as well as a model of how the fort would have looked in its heyday. We forgot how far the fort was from the car park, and it was no small task pushing the pram up the steep hill, but it was not an unpleasant walk and the aforementioned views were fabulous.

Tom, Lily and Emma had a great time at the fort, but it proved too windy for Alexander and since he was due a feed anyway, my mother-in-law and I walked back to the car, leaving the older Podlings with their Daddy and Grandad. We enjoyed a cup of tea in the warm car whilst the others apparently had a fabulous time playing round the fort!

This carving depicts three Roman spirit deities

Part of the ruined fort

These are the ruins of the soldiers' barracks