A squash and a squeeze

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When our boys were born the house went from magazine-worthy to mega-mess almost overnight. Our wonky little cottage — that seemed roomy for two grown adults — felt like a bit of a squash and a squeeze with the addition of our two gorgeous babies.

The kitchen went from clear to cluttered, just hours after bringing them home. It’s single meagre work surface housed an extra kettle, bottle steamer, gazillions of bottles and various other gadgets needed for our two new little residents.

The table had two extra chairs around it; in the form of Stokke Tripp Trapps (aptly named as they have rather large feet that have a habit of tripping you up if you’re not concentrating).

The snug suddenly felt very snug, with the arrival of a couple of baby gyms, playmats, bouncy chairs, a big inflatable ring for them to sit in and — six months in — two Jumperoos.

My work room turned into a nursery and it’s contents was dismantled bit by bit and shipped out to other areas of the house (or to my boy’s office 25 miles away).

And on every surface, in every room of the house, there were muslins, various rattles, baby toys and books.

I had the feeling that our little home had been picked up — shaken very hard — then set back down again.

It was chaos for those first few months.

But despite the clutter and disarray, I secretly loved having a kitchen full of baby paraphernalia. I’d waited so long for it to happen and it gave me a sense of elation to see my house resembling a branch of Mothercare.

Then little by little, as my babies grew, things started to vanish almost as soon as they’d arrived.

The bottles became larger and fewer. Then, as my tiny sons began to have solid food, in the place of milk, the Dr Browns and the steamer disappeared from sight totally.

The Jumperoos and bouncy chairs were sold and the sea of shape sorters and baby toys were replaced by cars and Lego.

Happily, the books have remained —and multiplied.

One of the things I love most about having children is being able to read to them; to transport them to other worlds with words and pictures. I used to love bedtime stories when I was little. My dad used to do brilliant voices, for all the different characters, and I’ve definitely tried to follow suit in that department.

When the boys were very tiny, Dear Zoo was the favourite. I even wrote a post about it. But as they’ve got older and their imaginations have started to grow, the amazing books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have totally captivated them, and these are definitely now the favourites.

It started off with ‘Hide and Seek Pig‘ — which stayed in the top spot for a long time — but now they’ve just moved on to Room on a Broom and Monkey Puzzle.

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The boys in their lovely t-shirts from Three Bears Threads

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cosmo

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Reading in the garden

Our very favourite childrens’ retailer the Great Little Trading Company who are masters in the art of storage — particularly for all the books that children seems to accumulate — have teamed up with Macmillan who have generously given us a full set of eight, shiny new copies of the re-issued Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books to give away to one lucky reader.

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To win them, just let me know what your favourite ever childrens’ book is.

It can be one of the Macmillan books above or an old classic like ‘The Secret Garden’  — then follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK entrants only, I’m afraid.

This giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday 7th June 2016. Terms and conditions apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So books aside, I’m pretty sure that our house will never be as it was before the boys arrived. And I LOVE that.

Give me the colour and noise — and chaos — that two little boys bring, any day of the week. Who wants a tidy house when you can have chocolate smudged kisses or cuddles from stocky little bodies, throwing their arms round your knees?

What could be lovelier than reading a story to a captive(ated) audience and watching them learn and grow each day?

It’s definitely one of my favourite things about being a mum! In fact, I’ve made a little film, sharing my vert best things about being a mama — have a look.

And thanks to an extra room in the garden in the form of a teepee and some clever storage ideas in the house, our home is no longer a squash and a squeeze.

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A squash and a squeeze!

This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and lifestyle images — as ever — are entirely my own.

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

49 Comments

  1. Sarah Bacchus
    30th May 2016 / 3:01 pm

    One of my favourite books as a child that I still read to my classes of KS1 children is ‘On The Way Home’ by Jill Murphy, it’s usually one they haven’t heard before but which they always love.

    • 30th May 2016 / 4:24 pm

      I don’t think I know that one Sarah!! Off to Google it now! :) I always love a recommendation! :)

  2. Thea
    30th May 2016 / 4:38 pm

    We love The Tiger who came to tea

  3. 30th May 2016 / 7:24 pm

    What a gorgeous post! Having twins is chaos but so much fun isn’t it? We do stories in the teepee – the girls find that magical. We read about 2/3 books a night. We are Julia Donaldson obsessed so would love to win this. X

  4. Rebecca Evans
    30th May 2016 / 11:52 pm

    The Gingerbread Man, We’re Going On ABear Hunt and Owl Babies are firm favourites for bedtime and The Gruffalo and Stick Man wherever we go!

  5. 31st May 2016 / 7:30 am

    I am a huge fan of the Julia Donaldson books having read a lot of them to my daughter when they were still newish. Gruffalo was a favourite and she could recite it we read it that often and then that became a favourite for our little star Oliver and so it will always be special to us. I know what you mean about the baby paraphernalia clutter too and the jumperoo will be coming out the loft before long too. No!!!!! #twinklytuesday

    • 31st May 2016 / 6:19 pm

      It’s funny isn’t it? For tiny little humans, they really come with a LOT of stuff! ;)

  6. 31st May 2016 / 9:47 am

    Love the book collection and your little ones in their little play tent. #TwinklyTuesday

  7. Vikki H
    31st May 2016 / 6:17 pm

    Matilda was my favourite book for many years but Monkey Puzzlecomes a close second

    • 31st May 2016 / 6:18 pm

      Aah I LOVED Matilda too!! I haven’t read that to the boys yet! :)

  8. Tasha Hamilton
    31st May 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Mog the forgetful cat

  9. 31st May 2016 / 10:59 pm

    My nephew is obsessed with the Gruffalo and it would be great to win these to show him that there are other books 😏
    My favorite ever children’s book has got to be The BFG (or pretty much everything that Roald Dahl wrote).

  10. Sarah @theparentingtrials
    1st June 2016 / 7:36 am

    Me and the kids love reading ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’

    We’re going a bear hunt.
    We’re going to catch a big one.
    We’re not scared.

    :)

    • 4th June 2016 / 7:03 pm

      I LOVE Bearhunt!! It’s the only book that I can ‘read’ all the way through without actually looking at the book!!!

      PS — Oh — and Hairy McLairy too!

  11. 1st June 2016 / 9:31 am

    When I was a child I loved reading Heidi and the What Katie Did series but my favourite book to have read to me as a child was The Water Babies.

    • 5th June 2016 / 8:02 pm

      I can’t wait to read books like that to the boys!!! I loved The Water Babies too :)

  12. Anthony Harrington
    1st June 2016 / 5:23 pm

    mine was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

    • 5th June 2016 / 8:01 pm

      Aah I love that one! And The Twits! Roald Dahl’s books are amazing aren’t they?! :)

      • anthony harrington
        5th June 2016 / 10:13 pm

        indeed! I am looking forward to reading them again with our little chap!

  13. Hayley
    1st June 2016 / 7:46 pm

    You know there are so many I think it is really hard to pick!

    Mine would include Five Children and It, Black Beauty, the Railway Children and the Secret Garden :)

    • 5th June 2016 / 8:01 pm

      I feel the same — there are SO many amazing books aren’t there? :)

  14. Liam Bishop
    2nd June 2016 / 11:46 am

    He loves Room on the Broom, but at the moment it’s Supermarket Zoo by Caryl Hart/Ed Eaves – he loves it!

    • 4th June 2016 / 6:56 pm

      I’ve not heard of Supermarket Zoo!!! I’m off to check it out now — thanks so much for the recommendation! :)

  15. 3rd June 2016 / 10:08 am

    I think books and reading are so important!! I loved Each Peach Pear Plum

    • 4th June 2016 / 6:55 pm

      Me too! So lovely to be able to immerse yourself in another world isn’t it? :) xx

  16. Chrissie Curtis
    3rd June 2016 / 2:50 pm

    The Gruffalo!

  17. 3rd June 2016 / 9:46 pm

    We adore Julia Donaldson here and I think we have all but one of those books! Love the teepee as well bit I absolutely love the start of this post telling us about the chaos that ensued when two tiny beings joined you. I cannot, honestly cannot, imagine having two jumperoos!! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • 5th June 2016 / 8:10 pm

      It was SO chaotic when they were born! The Jumperoos actually took up less space than all the bottles!!! We had so many of the blooming things!! 10 bottles for each baby — that was a LOT of bottles on our little worktop!! So worth it though — I can’t imagine life any other way! :) xx

  18. leonii amber
    4th June 2016 / 8:38 am

    My girls love julia books currently the favs are the stick man and what the ladybird heard!!

    • 4th June 2016 / 6:45 pm

      What the Ladybird Heard is a new one on me!! Am off to Google it! :)

  19. Claire Harper
    4th June 2016 / 9:13 am

    My twins have different opinions on their favourite books! Current faves are ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’. I can’t wait for them to be old enough to appreciate Roald Dahl and the Famous Five!!

    • 4th June 2016 / 6:45 pm

      Same Claire!! My two love Room on A Broom and Monkey Puzzle at the mo! And I totally agree!! I can’t wait for the Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton stage!! :)

  20. Erin Vincent
    4th June 2016 / 12:54 pm

    I adore reading to our kids! It’s one of our favorite daily activities. I’m loving your tent though! Where did you get it?

    • 4th June 2016 / 6:43 pm

      It’s such a lovely thing to do isn’t it? :) The teepee was from the Great Little Trading Company — there’s actually a link to it in the post. I highly recommend it — it’s the 3rd summer we’ve had it and it’s still going strong! :)

    • 4th June 2016 / 6:41 pm

      Haha!! YES! Considering they were so small when they were born, our two had more gear than Mothercare!!

  21. Kim Styles
    4th June 2016 / 11:51 pm

    I love the Velveteen Rabbit

  22. 5th June 2016 / 11:13 am

    Lovely post and so nice to seethes gorgeous boys of yours enjoying books together.

  23. 7th June 2016 / 2:35 pm

    We have nearly all of these books, Julia Donaldson is a big favourite in our house. Lovely pics in this post too x

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