What Elsa & Ted Wore | Q1 2016

So we are already a quarter of the way through 2016. Once again, time is whizzing by too fast. Here we have some of Elsa & Ted’s favourite outfit so far this year.

 

coll1

We are not normally huge fans of yellow in this house. Mainly because I have a tendancy to turn it a mucky colour when I wash it. But Elsa & Ted seem to have been wearing quite a bit of yellow lately.

1 Our best buy of the Winter was the Maxomorra cars fleece. It’s been perfect for babywearing, thin enough to wear in the car but cosy enough for snowy days. The awesome coordinating hat is by the very lovely SoSatsuma who knit the most amazing hats, scarves and many other things.

2. Buzzzzz buzzzzzz. This bumble bee look went down a storm at Nursery. Elsa is wearing an Oh Baby London dress with Country Kids Marigold tights.

3. Twinning in Maxomorra polar bears. I love twinning. Elsa is wearing a Little Bird By Jools knitted waistcoat with her dress.

4. Vintage L’asticot for Nursery, Elsa? Well, why not?! This L’asticot dress was bought preloved but the quality is amazing.

coll2

5. We love Little Bird By Jools for bringing affordable unisex colour to the high street. I originally only bought the striped tank top for Ted but then Elsa wanted one too. We have loved and worn them so much that I bought the next sizes for next Winter. Although this does mean that Ted will have four of them to get through and will be wearing this tank top every year until he is 5!

6. Maxomorra velour. I blooming love the stuff. It is a wardrobe staple now and Ted is wearing my favourite colour, petrol. With a lovely More Than A Fling football vest.

7. More Maxomorra velour. Bright orange for Elsa this time. The lengths I went to to get this dress. Because orange is Elsa’s favourite colour. She mentions that at least 20 times a day.

8. Fantastic Mr Fox is on the loose. Twinning in Maxomorra foxes, Elsa’s dress is from Uni & Jack and Ted’s top is from Tantrums.

 

coll3

9. Bananas for bananas. This Indikidual jacket from KyNa Boutique is just amazing. I wish I had got the next size though as it is a bit snug on Ted’s chubby arms. But I have heard a rumour of a banana parka for Winter so all is not lost!

10. You can never wrong with hand knit tank top by Granny. And she pulled out all the stops with this rainbow stripy tank top. And what could go better with it than Slugs & Snails Drop tights. Understated as always!!

11. Meet the veggies! These two are totally rocking the Duns Sweden vegetables. Both the dress and the trousers are from Uni & Jack. I love Duns Sweden and I always find that I am not initially overwhelmed with the prints but they are so much more beautiful and vibrant in real life. Try them, you’ll love them!

12. And finally we have Elsa in another of the new style twirly dresses from Maxomorra. This is from Tantrums again and Elsa is wearing matching knickers. That’s fancy!

 

CLAIRE

A Mama To Two: One Year In

mama1

 

It is almost one year since Ted took me from a Mama of one wild toddler in to the brand new territory of motherhood to two children.

How did this happen? Surely only yesterday I was solo back packing around Australia, having wild nights out at Uni and having multiple holidays per year. I am not old enough or wise enough to parent two children!

This year has been challenging to say the least. Having had an easy baby in Elsa I expected much the same and to take having two children in my stride.

Ted had other ideas.

His entrance to the world could not have been more different to Elsa’s, calm, quick, dare I say easy! However as a baby he has also been the complete opposite. A terrible sleeper, clingy, in need of a dummy to stop the constant feeding.

I have learnt a few things over the last year that have made my life a little bit easier:

Organisation is key

With Elsa starting nursery school in January I need to have two children up, fed and dressed promptly on a morning. Most Mama’s appear to take this in their stride but I am not great at getting myself up on a morning, let alone two small people. Laying out clothes, bags, having sandwiches made the night before is the only way I have managed to be nearly on time. Basically do as much as possible so that breakfast can be thrown at them & then shoehorn them into clean clothes as quickly as possible.

 

You do get used to the lack of sleep

We all expect a lack of sleep after having a baby. We don’t necessarily expect no sleep for weeks followed by a few hours sleep a night for months. By the time Ted was 4 months old I was averaging 5 hours sleep a day. This is not enough for me. But there comes a point where you seem to move past the tiredness. You gradually become used to less sleep and begin to function better. This is not to say you are not knackered but you do become able to manage.

 

Choose your battles

I have 3 year old. Every day there is a battle about something but there would be infinitely more if I didn’t let some things go. I am not saying you can be totally slack but weighing up the necessity of arguing over something relatively minor has helped a lot.

 

Never say no to a cup of tea

No more needs to be said about this really. I go to Baby & Toddler playgroups purely because I will get a cup of tea there.

 

Going from one to two has been a far bigger shock for me than going from none to one. With your first baby you can still be very selfish. There is only the two of you to think about so if you want to stay in bed all day you can do. Not so much when number 2 comes along. But obviously I wouldn’t change anything. Well…maybe the the sleep thing!

 

mama2

Review | Blast Off With The Rainbow Factory Space Theme

IMG_1574

 

We are massive fans of reading and books in the What Elsa Wears household so The Rainbow Factory, down the road from us in Leeds, is one of our favourite places to visit. And last week we had an extra special visit for the launch* of their latest theme – Space.

*Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.

This tied in brilliantly as Elsa is learning all about space and the solar system at nursery this month. So as we trudged through the very soggy snow, signing the solar system song we were very excited about what we might learn at the The Rainbow Factory.

As usual we were greeted by Boggles, The Rainbow Factory mascot who introduced us to the story of the day; There’s No Place Like Space starring The Cat In The Hat.

We followed the yellow brick road into the ‘rocket’ and went on a journey with The Cat In The Hat through various other story scenes, collecting letters at each one to eventually spell out a Space themed word (I won’t spoil it for you and tell you what it is!).

The staff were once again excellent as they try to involve all the children. Elsa is very shy and it can take her quite a while to warm up in front of people she doesn’t know. It is hard work trying to involve her when you are met with silence and a sullen stare but none of the staff let this put them off and kept trying with her.

coll1

 

After the tour we headed to the craft area, Goldilock’s Kitchen, where there were plenty of activities on offer. Elsa coloured in her own rocket, made a spaceman’s helmet and created a spaceship complete with it’s own alien. Massive points at Nursery when we took those in for homework!

 

coll2All the kids also got the opportunity to create a Nebulous using squishy gel stuff and food colouring. This went down a treat and it is the kind of messy stuff I would love to do at home but never actually get round to.

While we were at The Rainbow Factory the staff also put on two shows in which they encourage the children to get involved. Elsa eventually came out of her shell and was up on the stage hunting for aliens!

So once again we had a lovely afternoon and pretty much had to be kicked out at closing time. For full detail for The Rainbow Factory and their Space theme see the website here. We can’t wait to go back!

IMG_1599

*We were invited to the launch of the Space theme by The Rainbow Factory. All words and opinions are my own.*

The {Lack Of} Sleep Diaries | Our Cranial Osteopathy Experience

cran1

 

Sleep…that much loved and much longed for necessity and pleasure has been missing from my life for almost 10 months now. My social media posts have alluded to my lack of sleep but isn’t that the same for all parents of small children? I know that I got super lucky first time round with Elsa, having a baby who slept for 13 hours from 10 weeks and had a 3 hour nap on an afternoon. I guess I didn’t expect to fall so lucky twice but I was also not prepared for the shock of a baby who doesn’t sleep.

After more than 8 months of not sleeping more than 3 hours at a time I reached breaking point. I felt unsafe to drive, I was falling asleep mid-conversation and, most upsettingly, I was snappy and short with Elsa through no fault of her own.

Something which kept cropping up during my middle of the night sessions googling ‘Why doesn’t my baby sleep?’ was the subject of cranial osteopathy. I do not know anyone who has taken their  child to see a cranial osteopath but at this point I had nothing to lose other than my sanity (that may already have gone to be honest).

Our first session began with a detailed consultation about my pregnancy and the birth, Ted’s sleeping patterns and his general health. It was very interesting and our Osteopath made a lot of observations which made a lot of sense. After listening to our birth story she advised that babies who are born quickly, as Ted was, often do not have time to stretch out their necks as they should and may suffer from compression and tension in the head and neck.

The consultation was followed by her examining him and carrying out what appeared to be the gentlest sports massage ever. On the most part Ted absolutely loved this. She advised that she had found three points of tension, the first being in the centre of his back which she believe was his ongoing bronchiolitis. The second area was slight tension in his shoulder which was a relatively new point of tension. The third and final area of tension was at the based of his skull / top of his spine, which she believed was due to the fast nature of his birth. Interestingly enough, when she touched this area he cried and was clearly in discomfort whereas he had previously been chilled out and even leaning into his massage. She also thought that this has been the root cause of his (mild) Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome as he has had difficulty and pain turning his head to the left.

The Osteopath recommended three sessions to relieve this tension and hopefully sort out the sleep issues.

I had expected that Ted would sleep straight after that first session but I was wrong. He was wide awake all the way home and for the whole afternoon. But he did sleep for 7 hours that night (and 3 subsequent nights) which was the longest period of time he had ever gone.

Ted’s sleep did deteriorate again for a couple of nights before the second session but then followed the same pattern again in the run up to the third session. We went along for the third session a couple of days before Christmas. Upon examining him the Osteopath said that she was not going to treat him as she could no longer feel the tension in the back of his head.

Super tired. Look at those bags!

Super tired. Look at those bags!

So has the Osteopathy improved anything? Well, I am still exhausted. I am still drinking gallons of tea to get enough caffeine to see me through the day. I am still falling asleep mid text message and sending a load of garbled nonsense to the confused person on the receiving end.

The boy is still not a brilliant sleeper. We have seen slight improvement in his night time sleep now, consistently sleeps for 7 hours so I can now get a reasonable block of sleep in. However, day time sleeping is still a disaster. He will only sleep on me / in the sling or in a moving car.

But I do think the cranial osteopathy helped a little bit. He seems a bit more chilled out, he no longer cries when I pull clothes over his head or put a hat on and the sleep is improving. Maybe this would have happened anyway, we will never know but for me the it was worth the spend on two osteopathy sessions.

 

CLAIRE

 

 

Review | The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish at Rainbow Factory, Leeds

 

header

 

One of our favourite places to visit in Leeds is the Rainbow Factory so Elsa and I were thrilled to be invited along to a sneak preview of their Christmas show, The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish, a couple of weeks ago.

 

A reimaging of the classic tale of The Elves & The Shoemaker, the show was written by and starred local actors Emily Goldie & Jennifer Carss. The show was a wriggle proof 40 minutes long which was perfect for Elsa. It was cleverly written and acted and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the adults and children in attendance at the preview. Full of music, laughter and clever lines I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two talented ladies.

 

5

 

Tickets for this show are completely sold out but a trip to the Rainbow Factory is fabulous at any time. Hours of entertainment for children, capturing their imagination with storytelling, arts and crafts, dressing up and running wild! Elsa genuinely loves visiting the Rainbow Factory (she is particularly enamoured with the sinks and hand dryers at child height – little things!) and we are looking forward to visiting again in the New Year. A lovely day out for anyone in the Leeds area.

IMG_9105

 

Credit for the professional photos goes to C Johnston Photography (apart from my dodgy one of Elsa!)

Full details of opening times and events at the Rainbow Factory can be found here.

 

*We were invited to the performance of The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish by the Rainbow Factory. All words and opinions are my own.*

Elsa & Ted’s Festive Wardrobe 2015 #1

header

 

It’s that time of year again…

 

The time where I go ridiculously overboard on festive outfits. But you can only do it once a year so here goes with the first edition of Elsa & Ted’s Festive Wardrobe 2015.

 

staglogo

Starting off subtle for Ted in beautiful Stag dungarees, handmade for us by The Princess & The Frock & available in our very own Florrie & Max. 

 

ohbabylogo

I do love it when I can hand clothes down from Elsa to Ted. They are wearing matching Oh Baby London fair isle but Ted’s sweater originally belonged to Elsa. However, she was 15 months when she wore it, this chunky monkey is just 8 months!

 

squishlogo

 

We love supporting working Mamas & handmade, both through the business and through what my babies wearing. And here we are combining both. They are wearing hand screen printed Rudolph t-shirts by Little Squish which are available EXCLUSIVELY in our little shop, Florrie & Max.

 

penguinlogo

Penguin  Day! Who doesn’t love a penguin? Being a bit thrifty Elsa is wearing her penguin dress by The Princess & The Frock from last year. And Ted is rocking more hand-me-downs in the shape of this vintage Maxomorra penguin top with some funky penguin trews from Nutmeg at Morrisons.

 

bootslogo

 

You can’t get  much more Christmassy than our wardrobe staple of red velour. We have the Maxomorra velour in pinafore dresses for Elsa & dugarees for Ted & they are worn constantly. Elsa’s top is by Duns Sweden from Peppa K and Ted is wearing a Boots Mini Club knitted romper which I bought in the sales last year before I knew how would be a giant baby. It’s a bit of a squeeze.

 

jumperlogo

 

Christmas Jumper Day – although ours arms weren’t long enough to get the Christmas Jumpers in! They have been a long standing tradition in this family with Daddy being a fan naff knitwear long before it was cool!

 

maxreinlogo

 

This Maxomorra Rudolph print is one of my all time favourites. Elsa’s dress was bought last Winter from KyNa Boutique and I managed to find the vest for Ted at Funky Rascal. With our trusty Maxomorra red velour dungarees!

Rudolph Rules!

 

CLAIRE

Life

life

 

Life is a funny old game. Full of plans, good intentions, an ever growing ‘to do’ list of things you definitely will get round to today.
And then life itself gets in the way.
Real life.
Two children who want to play, grow, learn. Days of fun, days of fights and tantrums. Days where you wish you had 10 minutes peace to get on with the ‘to do’ list. Laughter, fun filled days that you wish will never end and you certainly don’t want to ruin with the mundane of everything on that list that you need to do!
A small business. One which needs a bit of time and love to make it grow.
A husband who is woefully neglected but never complains.
All of these things and more have take me away from here. Life gets in the way. But that’s how it should be really. Whilst I wish that there was more time, more hours in the day, I don’t want to be sacrificing my actual real life to create a virtual one.
I am sad that I haven’t documented Ted’s first few months in the way that I did Elsa’s. That is something that I must try to change. More effort from me is needed there. After all, this is what my blog is all about. A virtual memory book for our family.
So I’m resolving to try. To try to be here & make a little time. For Elsa & Ted & our memories.
Life is a funny old game. Not enough hours, not enough time. Life gets in the way but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Review | Magical Tales And Fabulous Fun At Rainbow Factory, Leeds

cover

 

As part of the Big Birthday Week, to celebrate Elsa turning 3 whole years old last week, we paid a visit to the wonderful Rainbow Factory in Leeds. Ted is a bit young to appreciate the magic of books and storytelling so we took along Little Cousin Martha to join in the fun.

The Rainbow Factory is a new venture in Leeds based around a magical wonderland of storytelling, fairy tales and encouraging little imaginations running riot. Classic and modern storybooks are brought to life through whimsical scenes featuring handmade models, crafty activities and the acting out of exciting tales.

We originally visited Rainbow Factory in the summer school holidays. As it turns out it was one of their busiest days ever & it was a bit overwhelming for Elsa. I was very pleased to be invited back to try out the latest themes and experience a quieter and more personal Rainbow Factory.

The Rainbow Factory journey begins with a trip down the yellow brick road to meet the resident creature, Boggles…….

IMG_7238

 

Before venturing through the heavy red curtains in the world of whimsical characters and hand modelled scenes.The models have all been painstakingly created by hand and have a beautiful ‘crafty’ feel to them. They have character and charm and provoke questions and curiosity from children looking at them. The scenes and characters will rotate slightly and changes are planned for the coming months. I had the privilege of a sneak preview of the ‘works in progress’. Coming months will see Snow White and her Dwarves and Jungle Book characters all make an appearance.

 

IMG_7252

coll3

 

Each month the ‘theme’ at Rainbow Factory changes. When we visited this time the theme was ’emotions’. the staff talk through the scenes and characters with the children, encouraging them to recall reading the books or to describe what they can see in front of them. Children are given a little bucket in which to collect an ’emotion’ (star) from each story scene which they can use to craft bunting or a crown or anything they wish in ‘Goldilock’s  Creative Kitchen’.

IMG_7256 IMG_7242

After spending some time creating star and glitter masterpieces in Goldilock’s Kitchen (and fully embracing the dressing up box) Elsa and Martha joined it with an active storytelling session involving dance, singing and all round toddler fun.

The staff get fully involved in the stories they are reading, acting out characters, encouraging participation from the children so they ‘become’ part of the story and immerse themselves in the world of the book.

IMG_7273 IMG_7278

As it was a beautiful October day we ventured outside to look at the newly opened Secret Garden. Full of scarecrows, fence murals and strangely seculded from the car park below, on a sunny day like this we could have been in the countryside! Bubble blowing and giant dominoes fun in the glorious sunshine followed until it was time to leave. A very reluctant Elsa removed her fancy dress outfit and came away full of talk of her crafting and playing and when could we visit again?

The Rainbow Factory is a fantastic and enriching experience for children, from young to not so young. There is a wealth of activities to get involved in and your time there can be as structured or unstructured as you please. We love this place and cannot wait to go back. It is so different to anything else out there and is an experience like no other.

 

Full ticket prices can be found here with children (3-12) £8, under 1’s free, age 1-2 £4, adults £4. Ticket price includes a whole day at the Rainbow Factory. Annual tickets are also available priced at £96 (£8 per month) for one children and one adult. 

Opening hours can be found here but are subject to change. After the October school holidays the Rainbow Factory will be closed to the public on both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Lots of seasonal activities will be taking place in the near future, from Halloween events to Christmas celebrations. Full details can be found on the website or via the Facebook page

 

*We were invited to visit the Rainbow Factory for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*

Review | Penwizard Personalised Book – The Snowman & The Snowdog

review1

 

As well as being a clothes-a-holic Elsa is something of a book lover which makes us very happy at What Elsa Wears HQ. Elsa’s Daddy reads two books a week and I used to be the same before I had babies. I now just fall asleep when I try to read anything more challenging than Twitter!

 

We are also huge fans of books ‘featuring’ Elsa & Ted. This is fairly easy for Ted; he has a couple of shelves in his bedroom solely dedicated to books such as ‘One Ted Fell Out Of Bed’ and the ‘Detective Ted’ series. But not as much luck with Elsa, particularly when we are trying to avoid the Ice Queen association. So personalised books are the way forward.

review2

The Penwizard version of The Snowman & The Snowdog is the classic tale with the added twist that it stars your child. Elsa was immediately intrigued by the story having her name in it & found the drawings of ‘her’ fascinating.

“That’s Big Girl Elsa”, is her favourite thing to say.

 

My initial thought was that the story may be a little old for Elsa at just under three. But although it is longer than most books we read it does keep her interest.

 

review4

 

The Penwizard website is very simple to use and the books are easily personalised. Just enter the child’s name, a personalised message if required and a few options on hair style and pyjama colour and hey presto – your personalised book is done.

 

The illustrations are beautiful and whilst the options on personalisation of them are obviously limited I think that you can create enough of a likeness to your child. I can definitely see Elsa looking a bit like this in a few years!

 

The Snowman & The Snowdog books would make a lovely Christmas (sssshhhh!) gift and are available in either paperback or hardback format with prices starting from £17.99. Visit Penwizard here to create your very own personalised book.

 

review3

 

*We were sent the Penwizard personalised book for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*

Diary Of An Umbilical Hernia (Part One)

After Ted was born his umbilical cord did as they all do and hung about for a week or so, getting increasingly crusty, before falling off. Not one for keepsakes, especially of the rotting flesh kind, it quickly went in the bin and we thought no more about it.

 

Four weeks later I noticed one morning that his belly button we looking slightly ‘sticky out-y’ but thought it must be that Ted was going to have an outie rather than an innie. A few hours later, at bathtime, S commented on it too and that’s when I realised that it must be something as he never notices anything!

 

partone

 

 

 

So I googled. That was a bad move, It’s never wise to attempt to google anything medical, particularly not if it involves your children because you will self-diagnose the worst possible thing. So instead I did the sensible thing and sent a picture to my Brother In Law who’s a GP who confirm what I really did think. An Umbilical Hernia.

 

I had never heard of or come across this before but it is apparently a relatively common thing, affecting up to 1 in 10 babies to some extent. They occur when the circle of muscle surrounding the umbilical cord doesn’t close up quite as quickly as they should. At Ted’s 6 week check the GP advised that it causes no pain and that 95% of them sort themselves out by the time that baby is one. The four (4!) student GP’s who where on in his 6 week check all had a good poke at it. None of them had seen an umbilical hernia before. Given the way they undressed Ted with fear and trepidation in their eyes I would hazard a guess that they’d not seen a baby before either!

tedhernia

 

 

Apart from me freaking out about being able to feel his milk moving through it, we have had no issues with it. And fast forward 8 weeks and it has suddenly and definitely started to shrink. From Ted’s belly button being stretched to the maximum as it is in the above photo he now has a little crease of skin around it again. Hopefully it will retreat as fast as it appeared and I am definitely hopeful that it will be gone and there will be no surgery required.

 

In the meantime I just have to avoid touching it so I don’t feel all the inner workings of his digestive system. Weird.

 

CLAIRE