Author Archives: apopple

All Aboard

I think it’s fair to say my in-laws have been planning what they would do in their retirement for some time. There had been talk of faraway holidays, a log cabin in the Lake District and buying a narrowboat. In the end, it was the narrowboat that won out and after 4 years of dreaming, 1 year since the commitment was made and 6 months since construction started, ‘Meladine’ was launched on a sunny August day at Stockton top lock (somewhere near Daventry).

See the moment it hit the water for the first time –

Andy and I and the children had never been on a narrowboat before so it was a first for us and we are hoping for new adventures on the English canals soon. One small snag; I hadn’t banked on sea sickness being an issue on a narrowboat. Travel bands and tablets will be at the ready for the next time we set sail!

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS –


Happy Birthday Prince Benjamin of Reading

Okay so Prince Benjamin of Reading doesn’t quite have the ring of Prince George of Cambridge but our little Prince will forever share his birthday with the future king and although I shouldn’t live long enough to see Prince George of Cambridge on the throne, my children will and that’s pretty cool. Of course, we were rather hoping that the Prince would have been a Princess but that would have been too much of a fairy tale ending.

Anyway, Benjamin turned two last week and our little two year old has certainly hit some milestones over the last few months or so…

  • He can recognise opposites such as hot and cold, on and off, open and closed and push and pull.
  • He knows most parts of his body, including his belly button which he is finally able to see more often, now that the winter vests have been removed.
  • He knows when something has fallen, been broken or dropped and says ‘oops daise’.
  • He has excellent manners and has learnt that he doesn’t get much without a ‘please’ and a ‘thank you’ and will say ‘excuse me please’ if he wants you to move out of the way! He has also learnt ‘I want’ but usually follows it with a please. We are working on ‘Please may I have…’. Our 4 year old still has trouble with this!
  • He knows when something hurts and says ‘ouch’.
  • He wants to be first for everything and will now say ‘me first’.
  • He can pull his own tops off yogurt pots, as well as removing the thermostatic valve from his radiator!
  • He can drink from an open cup, although this often still turns into wet play when he considers himself finished!
  • He can walk up/down stairs holding onto the wall.
  • He can turn the telly on/off.
  • He can count, well sort of…1,2,3,6,7,8,9,10.
  • He has a brain, well at least he now knows that he has a brain, as he often says ‘I think’. We’re still not sure what he’s thinking but then again do we ever know what another person is thinking?
  • Finally, he mimics everything (apart from his own name which he just says ‘me’!)…I am somewhat regretting my choice of words when we got lost in the car the other day!

No birthday would be complete without cake and a very smiley little man…

Birthday Boy Birthday Cake

Eagle-eyed readers may notice that the cake is a bit of a recycled effort. The chocolate cake is the same one I made for my father’s birthday ( and I have stolen George off Ava’s 4th birthday cake ( In my defence, I did make George and he is one of Benjamin’s favourite characters, plus chocolate cake is a firm favourite for our rather fussy eater (next time I may add a little spinach to the cake!)!

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS –

Celebrating 1 year of blogging

When I first launched my ‘I Did It Mummy’ blog, I would never have imagined that one year later I would still be sat at my computer writing my blog and actually finding something to say. In the last year, I have written 68 blog posts (that’s more than one a week!), had over 5,500 views and raised £172.00 for BIBS (Babies in Buscot Support) and I’m pretty proud of that. I have also tried a few new things – painting, photography, cake decoration, using a slow cooker for the first time, attempted a make over (clearly still a work in progress!), tried out a bit of sewing, taken up netball and found myself a lovely part-time job, after two and three quarter years as a stay-at-home-Mum. The children have also hit some pretty major milestones – Benjamin has learnt to walk and has turned into a very chatty nearly 2 year old (more of that in an upcoming blog post!) and Ava has got her 5 metres at swimming and left pre-school. My long-suffering husband has recently achieved a couple of cool things too. I have promised I will dedicate a blog post to him soon so more of that then!

In the spirit of my blog ‘Because there’s a first time for everything’, I thought just for fun I would test out the poll functionality on this blog. I have looked at my readership and come up with my top 10 blog posts over the last year and I want to know what you have enjoyed reading so vote now!

A year in review wouldn’t be complete without looking at the less popular posts, so here’s five posts that didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Maybe they’ll get another few hits by reposting them…

1. Olympic dreams –
2. Pimp my cupcake –
3. ‘Tis the season to get cooking –
4. Where’s my sticker? –
5. 136 sellers, 445 shoppers and £4.5k raised for the NCT-

As ever I am on the look out for new things to try, so if you have any ideas, please feel free to ping them my way and if they can help raise money for BIBS, then all the better!

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS –

Bye bye pre-school

Today after 2 years at pre-school, it was Ava’s last day!


Pre-school has been brilliant for Ava. We’ve watched her grow in confidence, make new friends, have fun, write her name, learn her letters and numbers and start to read. It is definitely the end of one chapter and the start of another and judging by Ava’s comment this morning of, ‘I don’t like pre-school because there are too many babies!’, I think she might be ready to join the big girls and boys!

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS –

Last dance?

At the age of 3 when Ava announced that she would like to go to ballet, I was reluctant to find a class immediately. My own experience of ballet when I was a little older than her, had perhaps tainted my views. I don’t remember asking to attend ballet lessons but according to my mother, I did. My affair with ballet was short-lived and lasted about 9 months, during which I remember two things; 1. I was put out by having to wear a blue tutu when others were given a pink one (this surprises me now, as I never really liked pink!) and 2. I was the child mid performance who shouted out that one of the others girls was doing it all wrong, when in fact I was the one out of position. Now that I am the parent sat in the audience, I can imagine how embarrassing this must have been for my parents. Although Ava does appear to be afflicted with the Collins gene set when it comes to rhythm (none of us can dance or hold a tune), she still managed to gallop, skip and jump with the best of them and certainly would have upstaged the 4 year old me. Was this the last dance for our little ballerina? We’ll just have to wait and see what she decides.

Ballerina Ava

Video clip –

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS –
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