There is something special about being in a capital city… being in such a famous place that is filled with so many people, so many stories and spectacular sights. There is something special about taking your own kids to all of the places you have loved from being a kid and sharing in their excitement as well as holding your own, over all of the famous sights of our beloved London!

For a few weeks now Ethan and I have been excited about our approaching trip to London which took place on Saturday. We had plans to go on a date (just the 2 of us for just the day) and see a few sights, go to the theatre, ride the underground and eat sushi. I love that because we live in Yorkshire, going to London always feels like such an adventure for us, and whilst parent/child dates are becoming an ordinary for us – this one was certainly more extra ordinary!

I really love London these days. We used to live a short tube ride away as a kid, and I have fond memories of being on daddy daughter dates with my Dad there! I also remember in my early 20’s I spent a lot of time visiting my now sister in law at Uni in London and it was always a lot of fun. But as I have had my kids and entered my 30’s, I haven’t had that many opportunities to visit, and at times (with current affairs) I have also felt more than a little anxious to go!

However, since blogging more seriously over the last couple of years I have had many opportunities and reasons to go, and each time I have grown more in love with it again and found myself feeling way more comfortable there. I love that no matter how many times we visit, and no matter what the weather, London never fails to impress and excite me, and being in the capital feels so special!

Seeing London through the eyes of kids is something else though, and the moments spent there with Ethan this weekend were wonderful. It felt so much lighter and less rushed than it usually is. We wandered along those city streets avoiding puddles and laughed as we ran for the tube and through each barrier. We stood in awe at the London eye and the river Thames (because its “such an amazing river”). And we snuggled and sat mesmerized together at the theatre, before enjoying the lights of Leicester square in the evening (and a quick trip to Zara!!).

We didn’t see everything, but we saw enough. He got to see the River, Big Ben, the London Eye, and the main focus – We got to have a wonderful afternoon at the National theatre seeing Pinocchio. And then to tip it all off, we scoffed sushi and noodles on the train as we headed back north in the evening which is something we both share a love for, but that the rest of our little family turn their noses up to!

I really loved my date in London with Ethan. I loved how exciting things felt that I have seen so many times before, and I loved the moments we shared in the capital on our adventure together. I feel we bonded in a way that was much needed between us, and as we headed back to Kingscross station for our train home we made plans to return again very soon to see where the Great fire broke out (his latest interest) and to visit the pigeons and fountains of Trafalgar square.

Parent and child dates provide so many ordinary and special moments together and this is a special little date we will both treasure for a long time.

The main purpose of our visit was to see Pinocchio – if you would like a sneaky preview then you can catch it here. My review should be live in the next day or so if you want to pop back and have a read! It was a spectacular and magical show and we haven’t stopped talking about it!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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With 2 of our kids in school I often wonder (whilst at home with Alice) what they are both getting up to, or how they are and what their little routines are. I wonder what school is like for them and if they are having a good day. I put my hands up and say that I do miss my kids most of the time they’re away from home, and wish we could hang out far more than we do in term time… days are so busy and we don’t often get time to sit and talk and catch up.

Of course I can usually battle to get snippets from them about their day and friends, over dinner or on the way home, but hearing about it and seeing it for myself just aren’t quite the same. So when we moved here, we were all excited to discover that parents were allowed to go in to school and sit and have lunch with their kids if they wanted to (or take them out for a picnic at the front), and whilst I am sure we all have tales to tell when we hear the words “School Dinners”, I couldn’t wait to go in!

For my kids anything around food is the highlight of their day and whenever I ask about how their day was, its always what they had for dinner that comes up first. We play a little guessing game of what was on the menu and what they chose (even though I usually already know) and this is followed up by them asking when I will be coming in for dinner!

To be honest I had half forgotten up until a couple of weeks ago, and when I did remember I thought that I would need someone to watch Alice for me. The truth was that I didn’t at all and they welcomed us both last Thursday for School dinners with the kids and it was a lovely moment in our week!

It was the cutest thing to see them lined up with their little trays, and how good they were at getting their cutlery. They had excellent manners and I loved that the dinner ladies knew exactly what Ethan prefers and how happy he was to get peaches instead of a pudding! I loved how kind the dinner ladies were to Alice and I, helping me to get our food and pouring our water. And I loved how Megan was trying to be so sensible but wiggled in her own little way as dinner was put onto her tray!

We all grabbed our dumplings and stewed beef with veg (and shortbread with custard) and sat down on the little chairs at the little tables! We instantly had friends battling to sit with us and it was so much fun sat chatting in school with all of them about their morning and about what they were looking forward to in the coming afternoon. I pretended to be mischievous and the kids were laughing their heads off – “You can’t do that at school”! And overlooked by a couple of teachers we snapped back into best behaviour!

Alice chucked food around whilst we all gobbled up the (mostly) lovely lunch before having hugs and saying goodbye til home time!

School dinners aren’t anything amazing but it was one of my favourite lunches because of where I was and who I was sharing it with. I think they have come on a bit since we were there, and the shortbread and custard was a tasty bonus, but this moment of being sat together at their school enjoying lunch was just brilliant.

I love the ordinary moments of motherhood where we get to have a glimpse into their independent little lives and share special moments in our days that are just a little bit out of our ordinary routines! I loved seeing them in their school setting and sharing lunch together. I loved the day we went for School dinners and I look forward to our next lunch date!

The Ordinary Moments
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Yesterday Ethan’s wish came true when I took him to the barbers to have his hair cut just like his new style Icon “Bugsy Malone”! As he walked into church today with his suit and bow tie on, the ladies of all ages commented on how absolutely adorable he looked, and in his coy little way he gave a cheeky grin! He loves his new do, we all do, and whilst it reminds me of the 90’s, it has certainly given him an air of confidence!

Ethan has always been one to take great interest in his hair. From being quite little I would gel it, and whether it was that or just his personality he became very particular about how he wanted it cut! In Summer it has always been shaved (because he has a big sweaty head!), and in the winter he tend to keep it neat, but longer! It was just his ordinary.

From quite early on, when we entered the barbers and they would ask “Mum what we doing today?”, I would point to Ethan and he would explain to them exactly what he envisioned. They laughed and commented how cute it was, but I knew to him it was something important he want to be involved in and feel in control of.

Up until a few weeks ago, he was growing his hair out long enough to be a “Rock Star”! It came from seeing a picture of Bon Jovi, combined with the fact that last Summer his youngest of uncles had his hair long enough for a top knot/Cool head band. Ethan found both of these fascinating and has spoken a lot about having “even longer than normal” hair. I love his hair short but I also don’t want to be controlling over such personal things, and so in half a hope that it was a passing interest – I agreed it was fine and he has been working on growing it out/never washing it!

Fast forward to the Christmas Holidays and lazy movie days at home. We all became just a little bit obsessed with my old time favourite “Bugsy Malone!”. It was on most days, and on the days we did venture out we would be quoting it to each other and be found doing a couple of dance moves and singing the songs between giggles, as we waited for the train or walked to our destination. The kids loved it, and I loved that they did! And even now we sing as we go to school or I will catch Megs shouting a not so insulting insult from it to Ethan!

Then a few days ago Ethan came to me with his Gel and asked if I would style his hair like Bugsy – “I want to look like Bugsy Malone Mummy!”. I laughed a little but helped him to, and his face beamed for the rest of the night. It was so funny and cute and I assumed it was just a moment of make believe play! As he went to bed however, and when he awoke the next day, he suggested that maybe we could go get his hair cut more like Bugsy! Apparently he’s so cool and nice that Ethan desires to look just like that!

And so yesterday we did. I googled a picture and showed it to the lady and she smiled as she cut the style! As always he sat so still and serious, watching like a hawk at what was being created. I caught the odd grin as he saw his dream become a reality and then as he left the Barbers he excitedly exclaimed – “I wanted to look like Bugsy Malone and now I do!!”. He was so happy! At least until Megan suggested he looked nothing like him!!

Apparently he just needs a hat now, and he will be living the dream.

I can’t believe this year Ethan will be 8…sometimes we really butt heads on things, but I have loved the last couple of days of seeing him looking older, smarter and more confident. I have loved the excitement and harmony between us, and the ordinary moments of childhood where they become obsessed with things and want to be like someone or look like someone they so admire. For Ethan right now that interest is a fictional, straight laced 20’s gangsta kid, that all the ladies like, and that’s totally fine – It’s a lot of fun and very cute he is into something not so mainstream.

The Ordinary moments of hair cuts, style icons and being a 7.5 year old boy – How handsome you are my darling!

The Ordinary Moments
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I remember when Ethan was a tot, and a friend passed on some toys for him. In them were some lovely wooden building blocks, and for days on end we built anything from buildings, to animal houses for his toys, and forts. As he grew he used them to launch at his sister (?!), and they built all sorts together too. Soon they became too tatty and lost, that we decided to get rid of the remaining ones to de-clutter and make space for more age appropriate toys!

How much fun they brought us, and how they drove their imaginations!

Move forward a few years, and little Alice entered our lives! Then, last January whilst sale shopping, I found some lovely colourful building blocks in Wilko for £1.25 and bought them for her 1st Birthday! Like anything you buy for that major milestone of turning 1, it’s often more for the foreseeable future for them to grow in to. And only now (at almost 19 months), has she really shown an interest and a love for them.

Almost every day this week we have had them out. Stacking, carefully placing, clapping and laughing together. We have built all sorts and taken risks with which block goes where! I have loved her meticulous concentration as she balanced one on another. I have loved her eager noises of excitement and cheeky grins as she succeeded! But mostly I loved that I made time with her to play, to build and to share these ordinary moments of childhood development. It was so lovely to spend a good 40 minutes on Wednesday, when the kids were in school and the house was quiet; to be together and giggle, clap and play with building blocks.

Too many times I set her on task with toys so I can do laundry, clean the kitchen or tidy up. But this week I have chilled out and played more. I have tried harder (in line with my goals) to be a more present parent and make more ordinary and lovely memories in the moment.

Alice loves her building blocks – there are so many things she can do with them, and they bring hours of fun. I am excited for more days of building, laughing and “ahhhhhhh-ing” as they fall, as we play together and bond over the blocks!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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