Thursday, 9 January 2020

Ikea Flisat Table | Skadis Pegboard | Desk Hack

Are you looking for some inspiration for the Ikea Flisat desk? Perhaps you would like to use this for smaller Tuff Tray activities, or maybe, you would like to combine the table with the Ikea Skadis pegboard, but are unsure of how to do this and which resources you need?
This post will tell you everything you need to know about the Ikea Flisat table / Skadis Pegboard desk hack...

Ikea flisat table skadis pegboard desk hack

(NB: Some of the links in this article are amazon affiliate links - it wont cost you anymore, but I may make commission on qualifying purchases.)

We have this Flisat table and Skadis pegboard in our Child-Led playroom at home, set up specifically for independent learning through play. This hack does not involve fastening the table to the wall and so this can be moved around the room easily...

Friday, 3 January 2020

Dietbon Diet Plan | Ready made meals for a busy lifestyle?

Sponsored PR sample

DietBon are a French company specialising in diet plan ready made meals, which are 100% natural, delivered straight to your door- tailored to your needs. The name, translated literally, means ‘good diet', and so we arranged for a weeks worth of meals to be sent to my husband to try out. He has a busy working life as a Leeds based Lawyer, which involved lots of travel, early mornings, late nights and office desk dinner dates! Ease of use and speedy preparation were key here, as well as a tasty meal of course!

DietBon diet plan main meal pasta and beef dish

First of all, DietBon make sure that their diet plan regime is right for you by scheduling in a call with one of their dieticians. Thomas had a call with an English speaking dietician based in France, who talked him through how the plan works and realistic expectations for the 7 day review plan. She explained that the diet plan is particularly popular amongst  Lawyers for its ease of use within a busy working lifestyle as the plan is made to be as simple as possible.  Weight loss expectations are roughly 3-4kg a month, depending on what his usual intake was like and how much exercise he does.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Christmas Eve Poem for Parents

When Arthur was still 2 yrs old - I spent almost my entire Christmas Eve sat on his bedroom floor trying to help him get to sleep as he was afraid of Father Xmas visiting our house!! I had a bit of time to kill, so I wrote this poem... I'm hoping that we don't have a repeat of this in a couple of weeks, but I am absolutely certain I wont be the only one if so....

A christmas Eve poem image with the first few lines: 'Twas the night before Xmas and all through the house,   not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse....  Toddlers don't count though, especially mine - he's frightened of Santa...  Lordy bring me the wine!

Christmas Eve Poem for Parents

'Twas the night before Xmas and all through the house, 
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse....

Sunday, 8 December 2019

'The Snowman' Tuff tray ideas and activities

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...oh yes! It's that time of year again folks, and based on the fact we have already been watching The Snowman on DVD and reading The Snowman by Raymond Briggs since November, I have been busy putting together 'The Snowman' Tuff tray and activity ideas for you - including a link to a blog post and video of how to make your own Snowman squeezy-oobleck sensory ball!

The Snowman sensory ice melting tuff tray ideas and activities
You'll have probably noticed by now that I love a good Tuff Tray Activity, and whereas I usually resort to posting them straight to my Instagram page, this time I shall provide you with  a little bit more information! Carry on reading below for information on how to put together this fab, snowman melting tuff tray activity...

Friday, 6 December 2019

What is the best flooring for the kitchen and bathroom?

For many of us, choosing a flooring comes down to two things: appearance and also practicality – especially where little ones are concerned, but there’s no reason why you can’t have both. While most of us put appearance first and practicality second, this all depends upon which room you’re looking at. Most of us would say we don’t mind sacrificing some practicality for the sake of beautiful flooring. Rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom however, must have practical flooring, due to the nature of their usage. We are going to dive into which type is the best one for your bathroom and kitchen…

what is the best flooring for the kitchen and bathroom

**Ad: This is a collaborative post**

When choosing flooring for both of these rooms, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: how resistant will it be to the damage these rooms are exposed to? Generally, you’ll want your bedroom, living room and dining rooms to all be aesthetically pleasing, but the tables tend to turn with the bathroom and kitchen.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Gratnells Iconic Tray Challenge – Learning Rooms Play Activities

We have been busy setting up some tuff tray challenges on a smaller scale, using the iconic tray from Gratnells and taking inspiration from the Gratnells Learning Rooms project and What's in my Tray.

  Gratnells Tray Play activity ideas

***Ad: We were gifted the iconic Gratnells trays in order to put together these activities, and compensated for our time*** 
The smaller Gratnells Trays fit perfectly into our Ikea Kallax shelving unit within our open plan, child-led playroom environment – allowing for a colour co-ordinated ‘iconic school tray’ challenge activity, by choice. The trays can be easily removed in order to access each individual activity, and then placed on the floor, table top or on a larger tuff spot tray. Similarly, the larger Gratnells trays can be placed on top of a stool, cable reel or an old tyre to create a tuff tray table at child height.

I have put together four moveable, learning through play challenges using the smaller, rainbow coloured Gratnells trays, and a further challenge using two of the larger Gratnells trays which you can see below...

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Furnishing a Pink and Grey Lounge

I absolutely LOVE a pink and grey colour scheme! Now that we have finished our playroom extension, and finally have our lounge back, I have recently started to furnish the sitting room to include some blush and pale pink accents to work alongside the grey and I will be giving more details of these in the post. This post includes a giveaway for one lucky reader to win their own dusky pink faux fur beanbag from beanbag bazaar. If you would like to enter the giveaway, scroll down to find the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post.

Dusky blush rose pink and grey lounge sitting room with faux fur pink beanbag

***AD: The Beanbag in this post was gifted for the purpose of this review and giveaway. This post may also contain amazon affiliate links which will be indicated by an asterisk. For full disclosure please see me About Me page ***

One of the key rules I have had to stick to when adding pink accents to this room is that nothing is permanent. Everything that I have added in to create a blush rose hue to the grey interior can be easily removed, changed or moved around. It is still a work in progress, but I am really happy with the pieces I have included so far...

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

A child-led playroom for open ended learning through play

Within this post, I am going to be telling you a little bit more about child-led learning spaces - what is a child-led learning space? Why is child-led learning so important? and, how we can make a start to setting up a child-led playroom, using simple but effective provision? I will be demonstrating how this can still be achieved in smaller spaces – such as our playroom at home - with open ended resources for learning through play.

a child led playroom for open ended learning through play

***You can find many of the resources pictures and mentioned throughout this post over in my Arthurwears Amazon Associate storefront, (click here for the USA version) or on the 'shop' tab on the main menu (please see my work with me page for a full disclosure) *** 

It’s taken me a while to write this post, mainly because I keep changing everything around SO often, and its always well used, so always a mess!

You can see my previous posts about the actual building of the playroom extension, and then how we came to decorate and choose the right type of flooring for the playroom before finally adding in the furniture and resources. (Although I do use the term ‘finally’ very loosely here as this space changes and evolves constantly!)

My regular readers will know how passionate I am about good quality continuous provision, and although I did choose a primary school for Arthur, where I felt the ethos leant itself well to learning through play, I know that the current pressures within schools and increasing formalisation of learning meant that I would have to make sure I was providing him with additional opportunities for open ended play at home. My aim with this playroom has always been to create a space which lends itself to child led learning, through play, and I will try to explain a little within this post as to why this is so important…

(you can scroll down to the bottom for a video tour of the playroom if you would prefer to watch this first)

Sunday, 13 October 2019

10 Questions to ask when choosing a Primary School

Are you currently looking around Primary Schools for next September ready for your child to start in Reception class, or, Foundation stage 2? Are you wondering what questions you should ask when choosing a new school? What things you should be looking for when looking around a new school or classroom?

 I found it really hard to approach this task with my 'parent hat' on, rather than my 'Teacher hat'. As many of you will know, I am a Primary School Teacher who specialised in the Early Years (EYFS) and I am extremely passionate about active, free-flow, play based learning. 

10 questions to ask when choosing a primary school

I have compiled a list of questions to ask when trying to choose a primary school below, some of which I asked when looking around the schools...some that I wish I had asked! Anyway, here is the benefit of my hindsight, carefully set out for you to use when researching schools for yourself... and once you've chosen, you can pop back and read my post all about school readiness and how to help our children prepare for Reception class. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Role Play | Postman Mail Bag | TUTORIAL

Perhaps your little one has a strong desire to emulate Postman Pat...or maybe just your local Postie...but whatever the reason, this DIY role play Postman mail bag tutorial will have them playing messenger and delivering handwritten letters in no time! Better still, the bag only needs 5 key resources to be complete! Excellent for encouraging mark making in the Early Years and ties in well with the topic 'People Who Help Us'....

postal worker postman mail bag role play

Children LOVE to role play and act out scenarios from real life. One of the most constant 'people who help us' figures in every day life will be the local Postman or Postlady. Enabling your child to re-enact this role by providing them with a Postman messenger mail bag and some resources inside to write and make marks is a fantastic way to encourage early literacy in a fun way! 

These Postman bags also make fab home made gifts, and are REALLY EASY to make yourself.

Here is what you'll need:

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Ice cream role play tuff tray

If you're looking for some good ideas and some fab resources for your ice cream role play tuff tray and sensory play, then look no further! All of the items in this blog post can be found in my Amazon afilliate store front, within the ice cream role play section here. (USA followers you can navigate to the US resource info here)

This post includes images, ideas, recipes for home made ice-cream playdough and a video of our jelly (Gelli!) and ice cream sensory tuff tray...

ice cream parlour sensory tuff tray role play

You don't need to spend lots of money on commercial products for little ones when it comes to role play scenarios such as this, this post includes images from different ice cream role play activities we have set up - including home made ice cream playdough, gelli play jelly and ice cream (AD - Previously gifted), and some good old ice cream parlour play resources...

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Play for life | Using deliberate play to enhance physical development

Ad: We were gifted the microscooters shown in this post in order to take part in our own movement challenges alongside the Play for Life campaign. All thoughts, opinions and professional conclusions drawn are my own based on my knowledge as an EYFS Primary Teacher specialising in Early Years.

Micro Scooter Play for life | Using deliberate play to enhance physical development

pink micro scooter stage 3 with basket and blue LED maxi scooter

When we are talking about child development within the early years, physical development underpins almost everything that a child learns to do. From those first moments of tummy time as a new baby, to climbing up a climbing frame as a pre-schooler – what starts off as those BIG gross motor movements eventually leads into the smaller, more refined, fine motor skills needed for things such as writing…or having the postural control to sit confidently on a chair or move with co-ordination around a room. If you miss out the big physical development skills, children will struggle with the smaller (but trickier!) physical development skills.

Of course, with small children if you want them to learn anything, it needs to be fun!! Scooting is a great introduction to harnessing some of those important skills because it requires such a number of different levels of planning and co-ordination!

Saturday, 15 June 2019

School readiness – preparing your child for Reception Class

School readiness…its something you’ll probably hear quite a lot if you have a child who is preparing to start Reception Class in September, but what does it actually mean??
school readiness - preparing your child for reception class

How can we, as parents, make sure that we are helping and not hindering when preparing our 4 year olds for big school?

Most of my Teaching career was spent teaching Reception, and so this is something I thought long and hard about when passing on information to Parents. What would I hope, as their Teacher, they could do already? What sort of things would I discuss in the Parents meetings for new starters? Where would my expectations be bearing in mind I don’t yet know the children or what level they are at?

Its not what you might expect….

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Why I didn’t return to Teaching after the birth of my first child

I loved my job as a Primary School Teacher. I had specialised in Early Years during my teacher training and landed a role teaching Reception in a one form entry school in West Yorkshire. Play based learning is my passion. Children and their development both intrigue and fascinate me. (Make me invisible for a day and I’ll spend it watching a child at play and analysing every little thing they do). I felt like I’d found my calling and I genuinely loved going into work every day and making lots of small differences to the children in my care. I felt privileged to be in a position where I was making a difference in those critical early years of life.

why I didn't return to teaching

I’d just started to put plans in motion to further climb the rungs of the career ladder when I found out I was expecting. I’d been recommended for a position elsewhere, closer to home which felt perfect for me, but suddenly the moves I had been making in this game of life felt like they were being played for someone else. As much as I wanted to climb higher, I felt a huge responsibility towards any future school, or children, to place myself in a position which I knew I would be leaving shortly afterwards – albeit temporarily! I decided I had no choice but to stay put and continue to strive for inspirational learning opportunities and fun, worthwhile days within my current Reception Class. I had an amazing Teaching Assistant and Support Assistant who totally ‘got’ my ethos and did everything they could to help me guide my class towards the type of learning environment befitting of 4 and 5 year old children. I carried on...

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Natural Lip Plumper that works | CODE LIP | Review

Are you looking for a natural lip plumper to make your lips look fuller without botox, fillers or a lip plumping tool?  In this blog post I give the CODE LIP 'Lip Intense Plumper' a try along with the CODE SSL Soft Smooth Lip Liner, along with a giveaway to win your own! Includes before and after photos. 
Disclosure: AD: Gifted.  I was sent the Lip Intense Plumper and the lip liner in return for an honest review and to host a giveaway.
CODE LIP intense lip plumper and CODE SSL soft smooth lip liner flat lay image with pink flowers and marble background

Honest review, as always...

Monday, 20 May 2019

How to set up a Life cycle of a Frog Tuff Tray Pond

We have recently been learning all about frogs and tadpoles during a visit to my Nanna's house, so we decided to set up a life cycle of a frog tuff tray pond, including a quick video...

Pond Tuff tray with frogs and frog spawn

We were previously gifted a packet of the green 'slime baff' which we used for this activity (half a pack) to create the swampy, slimy pond. Have a read of what else we did to create this sensory, slimy, frog pond tuff tray....

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Guest Post | My son banged his head and now he's deaf | Living with EVA

Sudden hearing loss in a child can come as a huge shock. Not only does it change their perception of the world around them and put them in a potentially frightening and unfamiliar situation – it also changes the lives of those around them, who interact with them, who are used to dealing with and speaking to them in a certain way or a certain tone. It is a steep learning curve, not just for the one who has lost their sense of hearing, but those who now have to learn different ways of communicating. 

 boy with hearing aids drinking a drink - he has EVA - enlarged vestibular aqueducts

The year before last, my younger sister, Laura, called me to tell me that my young Nephew, Oliver had suffered sudden hearing loss due to a bang to the head and what we later discovered was EVA – Enlarged Vestibular Aqueducts.

I am going to hand over to Laura now to tell you their story….

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

19 Tuff Spot Tray Activities for open ended Play

I love our tuff tray, (probably even more than the children do), and although it can be a challenge to set them up sometimes - I love the wow factor a new tray activity brings to young children and how excited and enthusiastic they are to go and explore straight away! I know that my carefully laid resources will be scattered around within minutes, but honestly, that's the beauty of it. A well played with tuff tray, where learning opportunities arise, does not come from children feeling like they can't touch, move, reorder or explore. A day without some 'mess' has usually been an unproductive one....

images of tuff spot tray activities with text 19 tuff spot tray activities for open ended play

I often post new tuff tray ideas over on my Instagram or my Facebook page - usually they never make it into a blog post because I'm just too excited to share our learning straight away! Please pop over and give me a follow if you'd like to keep up to date with new activities.  You can also subscribe to my blog here. I've picked out 19 of our current favourites here for you to enjoy and feel inspired!

You can find many of the resources mentioned over in my Amazon affiliate ideas list here (click here for USA version).