The Isle of Mull

At the end of May we took a break to the Lake District to see family and then headed off on the long journey to the Isle of Mull for a week. Blogging has been on the back burner recently but I couldn't miss the opportunity to record some memories and photos from our holiday because Mull was amazing.

We stayed in a little cottage four miles from the nearest main road which overlooked Carsaig Bay in the south of the island (the little white cottage in the photo below). We had no internet, phone signal or TV so it was a wonderful opportunity to truly get away from it all and spend time together as a family...which was much needed after several months of busyness and illness. It was gloriously isolated and we could spot otters, seals, eagles and deer from the front door.

Mull is so beautiful and there is wildlife everywhere if you know where to look. I did plenty of research before we left and thanks to TripAdvisor found several stunning (and deserted) white sandy beaches to spend our afternoons on.

The girls were great and coped pretty well with us dragging them around on long walks, getting them up at silly-o'clock to go otter spotting and staying up past bedtime to watch short eared owls hunting. (Although, in the name of keeping it real a few moments after this idyllic looking photo was taken both girls were screaming their heads off and I was despairing of ever having a relaxing holiday again...so you know - not always perfect!).

I would have loved to stay for longer on Mull (read: forever) and we'll definitely be trying to make a return journey to this beautifully wild island in the future.

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Puffin Rock

Our three year old daughter is obsessed with a children's program called Puffin Rock; a beautifully illustrated, happy little show about a couple of puffins and their various wild friends.

We're lucky enough to live near to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire so I had the idea to take Ivy to a real life 'Puffin Rock' this year so that we could try and spot all her favourite characters from the program.

We left Alys at home with a friend and had such a wonderful day with Ivy. She loved going on the boat and was amazing at walking all day long. She was really excited to see the puffins, Silky the seal, May the rabbit, the pesky seagulls and we even listened carefully for Mossy the shrew in the undergrowth.

We also managed to catch the spectacular display of spring flowers that Skomer is famous for. It was truly beautiful and the most amazing spread of bluebells I have ever seen.

Ivy asks daily when we can go back on the boat so I think the day was a hit!

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Fields of Sunshine

I have been pretty rubbish about getting regular portraits of Alys and recording her monthly milestones (sorry second child!) but I was determined to get some first birthday shots, so the other day we packed up and headed off for a photo shoot in a field full of sunshine!

Picture the scene...mid photo shoot and the farmer drives through the field. We're trying to stand there nonchalantly with a massive 'one' balloon floating behind us. I'm sure we didn't look strange at all!!

At 12 months Alys:

// Has 3 full meals a day and 2 or 3 milk feeds. She also feeds at night, although we are trying to wean her off these in an attempt to help her settle herself. (This mostly depends on how exhausted we are!).
She has two day time naps and wakes at least once at night, although this has recently improved from a long stretch of waking up to 8 times in the night (zzz).

// She crawls around everywhere and eats everything she can find on the floor, although she's pretty good at sticking her tongue out and looking sheepish when I tell her to stop it! She's just starting to pull herself up to standing on low things (like a step) but hasn't got to the stage of using a walker or cruising on furniture yet.

// She has two teeth at the bottom and one and a half on the top!

// She'll happily play with the contents of her toy box but mostly loves chasing her sister around and ripping up books when my back is turned.

// She now says 'hiya' very clearly and in context and can also say mama, dada, ivy, ta and can sign 'I love  you'.

At 3 years and 8 months Ivy:

// is very independent and knows what she wants. Recently she has become a lot more confident with exploring and loves to climb and jump outside.

// is still very sociable and would rather be with people than playing on her own. However, she is becoming more independent in playing outside or on her scooter. She loves to be with Alys and they will play nicely together.
She loves to cook and I am trying to encourage her confidence in chopping and preparing food more independently.

// is still pretty fussy with food but we've given up making a big deal out of it now because nothing has worked; she will try new foods occasionally. Her favourite foods are fish and chips and cake.
She generally sleeps all night.

// is enjoying school although it makes her so exhausted. She is doing well with her lessons but needs to work on her sharing skills!
Her vocabulary is excellent and she seems to pick up new words all the time and amuses us when she comes out with something new. She is using 'babyish' talk and mispronouncing words less and less which makes me a little sad - she's growing up so fast!

Oh girls, you exhaust me but you are a joy!

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Linking with Country Kids, My Wild Ones