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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 (https://ididitmummy.com/2013/02/11/happy-birthday-grandpa/) and I have stolen George off Ava’s 4th birthday cake (https://ididitmummy.com/2012/10/05/mrs-p-stars-in-her-own-version-of-the-great-british-bake-off/). 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 – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

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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 – https://ididitmummy.com/2012/07/28/olympic-dreams/
2. Pimp my cupcake – https://ididitmummy.com/2012/08/04/pimp-my-cupcake/
3. ‘Tis the season to get cooking – https://ididitmummy.com/2012/12/30/tis-the-season-to-get-cooking/
4. Where’s my sticker? – https://ididitmummy.com/2012/08/31/wheres-my-sticker/
5. 136 sellers, 445 shoppers and £4.5k raised for the NCT- https://ididitmummy.com/2012/11/20/136-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 – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

What does this button do?

‘What does this button do?’ aptly describes my ability to use my DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera or at least it did until I recently attended my first photography class; a Beginners Digital Photography course with Fab Photography.

Andy and I had long discussed getting a ‘proper’ camera. Up until now, we have been more point and shoot type photographers and to be honest I’m not totally convinced that just because we have the equipment, means we have graduated far from this level of usage, yet. We undertook a certain amount of research to come to our purchasing decision.  I canvassed opinion from my photographer friends on Facebook so in essence we had some qualitative market research amongst our peers. Andy trawled through a multitude of retail and photography websites and conducted a site assessment at Jessops (where would he go now?) to get a hands on perspective. Once he had decided what he wanted, he invited me for a test drive too. We’ve always been Canon people (in the way that some people prefer Coca Cola and others prefer Pepsi; I dislike both!) so to be honest any recommendations for other brands were likely to fall on deaf ears. In the end we plumped for a Canon EOS 650D and we’re pretty pleased with it so far. A bit like getting a new car, up until the course, I hardly dared touch it, let alone take pictures with it, for fear of damaging it or more likely putting it on some setting that I could not recover from.

The course itself was too much presentation and not enough practical application for me. I would have much preferred to have been presented with a series of exercises and given some practical tips on how to take the best photographs. In fact the only tip I do remember, because we were given an exercise, is that when taking a photograph of someone/something where the light is behind them/it, turn your flash on to fill in the light (examples below).

IMG_0474With flash

Without flashWith flash

Unfortunately, we were largely shown a series of PowerPoint slides and then after a couple of hours, we were sent out on our own, armed with our cameras, to take photographs of anything that took our fancy. I attempted to tinker with the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure (I do at least know where these buttons are now and what they are supposed to achieve) but without the practical experience and mentoring from a pro, I’ll be honest I was a bit lost. The other ladies (including my mother who attended the course with me) at least had the benefit of being able to compose a decent shot.  Later when we returned to the studio, we were treated to a display of Photoshop acrobatics by the pros who managed to turn a nothing shot into art. Here’s my prize shot of the day.

Beer canBeer can

And here are my mother’s…

Kite Reeds

I feel heartened by the following quotes I found from professional photographers:

“ You don’t take a photograph, you make it. – Ansel  Adams
“ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri  Cartier-Bresson
“ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.  – Ansel Adams

Although I am still finding that I take better photographs when my camera is on the automatic setting, at least I am no longer afraid of a my camera and armed with my ‘Canon EOS 650D for Dummies’ book, I feel certain that my best shot is yet to come.

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

He said Mummy

Who would have thought I would have found so much to talk about but here I am at my 50th blog post. Rather aptly it’s a video showing my little man saying ‘Mummy’ properly for the first time!

Mummy

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

Happy Birthday Grandma

As promised in my post ‘Happy Birthday Grandpa’, my challenge was to make a coffee and walnut cake for Grandma’s birthday and I think with a little help from Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace and the veteran of a thousand cake sales as described by the BBC Good Food website, I did pretty well. I took the ingredients for the sponge element of the cake from the traditional coffee and walnut cake recipe (although I finely chopped the walnuts rather than halved them) and the icing, filling and decoration from Greg Wallace’s recipe. I was ably assisted by the little lady and my twin brother (who was making a special flying visit) but as you can see from the photographs they preferred to lick the whisks rather than do the hard graft!

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

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