It’s been a mixed year for us, 2012, we’re certainly looking to 2013 with greater expectations.  We’ve been through what has probably been the toughest year since we got married and I think my Other Half would agree that we have basically limped through the last few months of 2012!

But I spent some time reflecting over the past year and whilst it feels as though they have been few and far between, we have had some lovely moments this year.

Camping with the kids
Not necessarily to be recommended if you have a Houdini-esque toddler like us, he must have managed to escape every possible way from the tent but it’s nice to be able to say we did it!  And on the same trip we visited Peppa Pig World which I think made Meg’s year!

Our little get up

Making an Easter Bonnet
My first encounter with this tradition.  And incidentally my first real blog post!

 Starting a blog
I can’t really put into words how glad I am I started Catch A Single Thought.  I have made some lovely friends in the blogging community, attended my very first blogging event (winged by two fabulous bloggers who included me in their tribe!) and have been able to give Meg opportunities we might never have experienced otherwise.  I think the highlight was attending the Gala Screening of the new Tinkerbell Movie.  That really set the year off and no, it’s not what blogging is all about for me but I was so thrilled to be able to see how excited Meg was by the experience!

Adding to our family
First by way of the rabbits, and secondly by getting Alfie.  I can’t pretend that the decision to get Alfie has necessarily been a wise one (I will be blogging more on this in the New Year!) but I am pleased we did it nonetheless.

Hearing Eli say ‘mummy’ for the first time
It felt like the day would never arrive!  He was a total daddy’s boy and whilst I was fairly certain he had the requisite skills to say ‘mummy’ he just point blank refused.  The fact that it was mixed in with one of his first real coherent sentences “thank you mummy” made it all the more heart-warming!  Also I think I want to add into here, watching him become a proper little scamp.  He is so cheeky and whilst at times I despair I also want nothing more than to squidge his little cheeks and give him a big cuddle!

So just a few small things, I’m sure there have been many more but it’s difficult to come up with them when you’re on the spot!  For some people, they will seem insignificant and pointless but they have formed some fond memories for me, which is what it’s all about really isn’t it?

So here’s to a much improved 2013!

I hope you all have a Happy New Year and enjoy your celebrations, whatever you decide to do.  I think I’ll probably be getting an early night (yes, I know what you’re thinking…life and soul of the party me!)


Silent Sunday

This year we decided to stay at home for Christmas, just the four of us (plus Alfie and Peppa of course!)

Last year was total present chaos with Meg just becoming completely overwhelmed, ripping wrapping paper off any gift she could get her hands on, not bothering to look what was inside and accidently opening other people’s presents too.

In an effort not to have a repeat of that we decided we would stay at home and take things slowly.  On Christmas Eve we opened all the presents and made sure if they needed batteries then we’d put them in and there was no awkward packaging to undo so the kids could play with them straight away without having to wait.

We started our fun on Christmas Eve with new PJ’s for everyone and a Christmas book each for Meg and Eli.  We have decided that we will give the kids new PJ’s and a book each year from mummy and daddy on Christmas Eve and that way all the other presents we buy can be from Santa on Christmas Day.  At least for as long as the magic of Santa is present in our house!

My mother in law had given us a lovely plate decorated for Santa from Meg and Eli so we made sure that Santa had some homemade cookies and milk left out for him under the tree.

And finally we mixed some porridge oats with red glitter and left a sparkly path in our back garden up to our front door so the reindeer wouldn’t get lost!

The kids went to bed surprisingly well, I don’t think that the concept of Santa and presents has really set in yet, other than us telling Meg it was Christmas the next day she didn’t have much expectation about what that would mean, which is obviously very beneficial at the moment!

The next morning the kids didn’t wake until 8.30am (woohoo!) so we had a leisurely time opening stocking presents before heading downstairs for a cooked breakfast and some bucks fizz (for mummy and daddy of course!) before sitting down to open our presents.  It’s a little concept of mine that we have to be dressed before we open tree presents and I think taking our time and making sure that we were all ready and had eaten before we let the kids near the presents worked well, it was certainly a lot calmer than last year.

We stretched the present opening throughout the day, opening a couple and then allowing the kids to play with them for a bit whilst we replenished our glasses and cleared up the paper.  I hope that we can continue this in years to come as it was really quite relaxing, not at all what I had expected.

There was a distinct pirate theme to our presents this year with Meg and Eli getting a pirate ship, two pirate dressing up outfits and a variety of other piratey bits and pieces, anyone would think we were fans!

Alfie wasn’t left out either, we found some dog slippers at a local charity shop and wrapped them up for him.  Unfortunately he was so pleased with his gift that he managed to tear the slippers apart in just one day so I think next year he may need something a bit more hardy!

Around 2pm (after Eli had had his nap) we sat down to a mammoth Christmas dinner made by my Other Half.  I think a real Christmas dinner is when you can’t see the bottom of your plate and he definitely achieved that!

Finally, we saw my parents and sister for a short time, opened some more presents and gave the kids an early night before putting our feet up and indulging in some David Attenborough ‘Life of Mammals’ (a gift for my Other Half)…we know how to live on the wild side!

I had been concerned that this year would be the most chaotic of all with two children knowing what opening presents meant but actually it was far more chilled out than I had expected which was a lovely surprise.  I hope that next year it can be the same!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, here’s to a Happy New Year!!



I love to wear my bright green clothes,

My hat that has a bell.
My buttons burnished bright as stars,
All elves must turn out well.

By morn you’ll find me working hard,
I tinker all day long.
Making toys for boys and girls,
Who have done no wrong.

I sing carols all year round,
Not just at Christmas time.
My favourite treat is Christmas Pud,
It really is sublime!

I feed the reindeers lots of treats,
(they work hard you know.)
And polish Rudolph’s bright red nose,
It’s vital that it glow.

And when it’s time for Christmas Eve,
I help get Santa dressed.
Stand and cheer as he sets off,
and well, you know the rest!

This is my entry for the Tots100 Center Parcs Challenge

I’ve seen a lot of posts buzzing around the blogosphere this week all to do with Christmas traditions.  We’re a young family so we haven’t had much time to build up any traditions yet but we’re starting a few this year and I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for more exciting ones we can implement.

It’s too late this year but my favourite so far is to have a basket full of Christmas books which we get out each year.  I will definitely be getting a stash together for next year!

So, when I decided to do my ‘Single Thought of the Week’ post around Christmas I couldn’t really think what I could write about.  After much umming and ahhing I thought I’d put down my top tips for not blowing the budget at Christmas.  This may be a little late in the day seeing as Christmas is next week *panics* but maybe it’ll help someone…or maybe next year when I’m sitting down to write my lists I’ll be reminded of these tips!

We fell into the trap with Meg’s first Christmas of over buying.  We wanted to make it special, we wanted to take lots of photos and use it as an opportunity to spoil her.  We really shouldn’t have bothered.  Whilst I remember getting annoyed at people commenting that she would just be interested in the cardboard box or the paper (she wasn’t, she knows what the good stuff is!) we really didn’t need to go quite as overboard as did, and to be honest, our purse strings didn’t really allow for it either!

Meg’s first Christmas

By Meg’s second Christmas we’d learned our lesson somewhat and tried to be more restrained in what we bought for her.  I still couldn’t help myself though and was out buying ‘those last few bits’ on Christmas Eve!  

Meg’s Second Christmas

So by the time Eli’s first Christmas arrived we’d pretty much got a handle on how to have Christmas without blowing the budget.

Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Make a list.
Decide on how many presents/what budget you have and write a list which keeps within those parameters.

2. Stick to your list!  
So many times I have entered a shop with my list in hand and then gone into panic mode, seeing all kinds of Christmassy treats on offer and just bought far more than I needed to.  This year I’ve done all my shopping online so I can’t be tempted!

3. Buy pre-loved toys
We love buying pre-loved toys.  Not only have we got some brilliant bargains but also, it means I’m not tearing my hair out when Meg decides to add some colour and uses her crayons on a £50 toy garage (that we actually only paid £10 for) or when the kids take a shine to the same toy and end up snapping or damaging it.  I know it sounds scroogey but the cost of toys these days is astonishing, consider pre-loved if you’re looking to save some pennies!

4. Don’t go overboard
It’s so easy to do, especially when you have small children, and especially when it’s a first Christmas but there really is no need.  Last year Meg was so spoilt and had so much to open that she ended up in this wrapping paper frenzy just ripping it off left, right and centre.  She even managed to open some of our presents!  This year we’ve been much more reserved, and I bet she’ll be happy opening one or two things and actually being able to play with them there and then.

5. Wait until the sales
This year, we have borrowed an idea from my brother and his girlfriend and are not buying each other presents until the January sales.  To be honest, Christmas for me now is all about the enjoyment of watching the kids opening their presents and loving the magic of Christmas that I’m not so interested in gifts.  I’m looking forward to having some money put aside to grab myself some January bargains!

And most importantly of all Christmas is all about family fun – so make some memories.  My favourite part of Christmas Day is spending time together as a family with no interruptions – just us, good food, good TV and good family times!

Merry Christmas 🙂