Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Project Playroom Extension - Laminate Flooring and Underfloor Heating

Last year, I wrote about our extension building work - Project Playroom Extension - Planning and Building. Once the build itself was complete - we had to wait for quite a long time for the concrete floor to dry out enough to continue with our plans and lay the laminate flooring.

Play room extension choosing and laying laminate flooring and underfloor heating

This wasn't something I had planned for when thinking about our 'timeline'. Naively, I assumed that once the building was finished we would just lay the floor and everything would be finished, but it took just over 3 months to dry enough for the next step...

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Teenage suicide - what are the warning signs and how can you help?

Last month, the lives of some of my closest family were changed forever as one of the younger members, Quinn, took her own life a few short weeks before Christmas. Quinn was just 17.

teenage suicide - what are the warning signs and how can you help

The passing of anyone you know and care about feels like a huge loss, but when they leave this life by choice, the “what ifs” feel louder, the responsibility feels heavier and the ability to make sense of it all feels so out of reach. We know we aren’t to blame, and yet we still can’t help but wonder if we could have done more...

Monday, 10 December 2018

Christmas Eve Poem for Parents

Last year, when Arthur was still 2 yrs old - I spent almost my entire Christmas Eve sat on Arthur's 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!

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

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Miele Complete C3 Pure Red Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner - Review

We were recently sent a Miele Complete C3 Pure Red Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner to review from AO, here is how we got on...

Miele Complete C3 Pure Red Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner standing upright in the corner of my lounge with the blog post title displayed

It's been a while since we've had a bagged vacuum cleaner, we've been using a hand held vacuum  for a few years now, but we always said that if we were to switch back to a corded vacuum then a Miele vacuum would be one of our top choices. My Parents in law have a Miele vacuum and rave about the quality of their products so we were really keen to see if this lived up to the hype! Plus, we haven't been able to use the storage vacuum bags for clothes since switching to a handheld vacuum because you need a 'straight' edge to get the suction! As it happens, we've also been doing a lot of clothes sorting lately so this product review was perfect timing for us...

Friday, 30 November 2018

You Can Keep Me A Secret - POEM

A little creative poetry post for a Friday - something I wrote in the middle of the night a few weeks ago and had no recollection of until I found it on my phone the next day...

a poem - you can keep me a secret

Sunday, 11 November 2018

EYFS activities using rainbow test tubes and pipette droppers

A few EYFS child development activity ideas using plastic rainbow test tubes in a stand and pipette droppers...

A few child development activity ideas using plastic rainbow test tubes in a stand and pipette droppers...

If you follow my social channels then you’ll know that I regularly post quick activity updates and ideas of things to do with young children which don’t often make it into a full blow blog post on here. After sharing my link to my Amazon store which show cases some of my favourite tried and tested activity products, one of my followers asked me how I use the pipettes from the store. Below I have pulled together and embedded some of my past Facebook activity posts using the resources. Facebook is notorious for not showing all posts to all followers unless you check my page regularly so you may have missed some of these along the way...

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Struggling with heavy periods? You need to read this... #WearWhiteAgain

I was going to start this blog post by stating that if you are my Father-in-law, ‘look away now!’....and then I realised - THIS is exactly the problem we are trying to solve here. The taboo around discussing women’s health issues openly. The feeling that there are only certain people within our inner circle we can openly talk to (and even then in hushed tones) so, I did the complete opposite. Never one to shy away from the gory details, I went and spoke to him first, in person, and told him all about this campaign for Wear White Again – because I am a part of the more than 1 in 5 women who suffer from heavy periods… 


There are lots of things in this post that can help you, but first, let me tell you a bit about my story...it’s been a long old road, and I implore you to please read on - ESPECIALLY if you are feeling uncomfortable...

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

10 Questions to ask when choosing a Primary School

We are currently looking around Primary Schools for Arthur for next September when he will be leaving preschool to start in Reception class, or, Foundation stage 2.
 I am finding 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...

Sunday, 21 October 2018

When blogging is hard to do...

After writing that title ^ I sat here for a good ten minutes unsure of what to say next. I'll probably sit here for another ten after finishing this sentence and do the same thing. I have numerous half written posts in my draft folder and I can't seem to finish any of them, because at the moment - blogging is hard to do.

when blogging is hard to do - black and white  side portrait photo

It's not just a case of writer's block, although that does play a part and I'm sure this is something that we can ALL relate to - whether we write for a living or not. Sometimes its just hard to find a way. Good old Motivation has taken a long walk in a vast desert and lost its bearings. Ever elusive miss Energy has done her usual disappearing act and Colonel Clarity has clearly trod on his own specs. I don't know if I've lost my 'why', my 'who for', or if I'm just finding it too tedious setting up my laptop in order to write, only to get interrupted after 20 mins that I just can't fully immerse myself into the task at hand ... just in case I forget to feed my child lunch, or leave the house in time for preschool pick up. Clearly Mrs Multi-tasker has taken a long walk off a short pier as well. Farewell my marbles - you shall be next!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Enhancing imaginative play with personalised books - Librio - The Tree, The Key and Me

 For this activity post, we will be using Librio’s beautiful, personalised book - The Tree, The Key and Me. The book tells the story of a little girl or boy who finds a key in their garden leading them on an awesome adventure. You can find out more about Librio and their personalised books here: Facebook​ | ​Instagram​ | ​Twitter​ | ​YouTube​ | ​Librio Blog​

Enhancing imaginative play with Librio personalised book the tree the key and me

If you follow me on social media, then you will know just how much Arthur loves imaginative play. Whether he is playing alone with his toys, or alongside others, he will usually be taking on the role of a character he has read about or seen on TV and encouraging others to join in his role play ideas.

Books are a great way to help children to build up ‘story language’ when taking on a role, and what better way to encourage this level of imaginative play than with a personalised book where your child is the main character?!

To make this story especially engaging, I put together some story props to use while reading and retelling the story, alongside some activities to really make the story come to life....

Monday, 24 September 2018

The Rainbow Fish Activities for EYFS

Using props and activities to bring a story to life can not only help to instill a love of reading and excitement around a book, but it also helps little minds to understand and follow a storyline better. 
The Rainbow Fish Activities for EYFS

  In the year when we saw Niall from Love Island 2018 talk about his ‘rainbow fish’ and seemingly describe a completely different moral to the story, here are a few activities that should hopefully help your little ones pick out the right message and also retain the plot of the book!

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Charlotte's 12-13 month Toddler Update

Charlotte has just turned 13 months, so I thought it was about time I did a blog update for her as I did a 12-13 month toddler update for Arthur! (Complete Mum guilt if I don't, let's be honest!) It was lovely to look back at his and see the similarities, plus read about a lot of things I had forgotten...but thought I never would!

Charlotte in a trilby hat - 12 to 13 month toddler update and routine

Friday, 7 September 2018

How to make a Quilted Princess Birthday Cake - step by step

This summer we saw Charlotte turn one, and as is the tradition in my family - I make the cakes myself. I don't come at this from a professional angle (ha!) I am very much an amateur and this 'how to' guide is really aimed at other parents who just want to give it a go themselves but need a little visual guidance! 

Quilted Princess Birthday Cake - how to make step by step

Arthur's 1st birthday was a star themed birthday cake based on his first word and obsession! His 2nd was a Fireman Sam cake (made whilst suffering badly from morning sickness!) and earlier on this year I made him a Bin Lorry Birthday Cake for his 3rd birthday. For Charlotte, I didn't really have a set idea in mind except that I wanted a quilted cake, so I set up a Pinterest birthday cake ideas board and decided to just get started and let it evolve as I went along! 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

How to set up an EYFS Thinking and Feelings Talking Station Provision Area

It might sound like a bit of a mouthful, and of course you could change the name, as long as the intention stays the same - but a 'thinking and feelings talking station' was a KEY area in my Reception classroom and the name allowed for me to make sure it was accessible for all whatever the emotional need....

Thinking and Feelings Talking Station Provision area free printable

Have you made a sad choice and you need to have a think about how we can make it better? Go to the thinking station. Are you feeling upset about something and would like some help and support? Go to the feelings station. Fallen out with a friend and need to come to an agreement? Go to the talking station. All of these scenarios are linked to a child’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) - but the idea of doing something about these big feelings that you can’t see can feel so abstract to a child, it can be impossible to control. Giving children a designated area where they can go to for support, advice, resources or even just to feel heard is crucial in order to help them learn how to manage their personal, social and emotional development independently...

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Wicked Uncle Big Kidz Review

This isn't the first time you will have read about Wicked Uncle on this blog - a few years ago I wrote a post about whether children's toys should be based on age, ability or interest and we had a look at some of the fab items available on the website, grouped by age, which Arthur still plays with to this day!

Wicked Uncle have now launched a new section on their site which is aimed at 'Big Kidz', for ages 13-33 ... which is lucky, because that last number just so happens to me my age!

Wicked Uncle BIG Kidz review

The idea of the Big Kidz area is that children shouldn't be the ones to have all the fun, and there are plenty of ideas for older ages too. I couldn't agree more with this, fun and games are important at any age - but it was lovely to see such a wide range of items available which in my opinion could also work well for a large age range....

Thursday, 5 July 2018

End of Term Gift Guide for Teachers

It's that time of year again folks - the one where you show your appreciation to the person or people who have put their heart and soul into helping your child to develop and grow within a school or nursery setting....

End of term gift guide for Teachers

Now, before you jump on the high horse with cries of "but it's their job! Why should they be rewarded for it??" (Yes I have heard this many times, which is why I'm addressing it straight away), let me remind you of a few things:

Thursday, 28 June 2018

I've always been a writer...

Writing has always been my therapy. From as far back as I can remember, I would write...letters to friends, songs, poems, diaries....I remember writing a poem when I was 11 years old, and my Dad was adamant that I'd copied it from somewhere. When I read it back now I can understand why - I don't know where those words, ideas and thoughts came from. I'm not sure I even understood the meaning behind what I had written - the topic seems far too dark and complex for an 11 year old (living a very sheltered life) to have any semblance of knowledge of...and yet I remember writing it...lying on the wooden floor in my sister's bedroom, in between the bed and window with the light shining through....stopping every now and then to continue to draw a picture ... (of a male model from a 'little black book' of men that had been acquired as a joke present from a gift shop on our seaside holiday...laughing at this now!)

I've always been a writer

The thing with writing though is that you need space for your thoughts and time for your penmanship. Its why the best blog posts come into your mind as you drop off to sleep, or are in the middle of a shower....not when you are rocking a baby bouncer with one foot whilst simultaneously cooking dinner and trying to dodge the Lego bricks on the floor.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

I sent my child to nursery* for a better life - and what happened next shook me to the core

This nursery was the kind of place where dreams come true - or so we were told. Our children would be happy and safe. They would have better life chances and the opportunity to make friends with a diverse range of people. Of course, there would be a settling in period and like most places, we would be able to stay with our children until they were confident and comfortable with the adults in the setting...

I sent my child to nursery for a better life - what happened next shook me to the core - replace nursery with America and classrooms with cages

This particular nursery can be rather exclusive and over subscribed. Places are usually reserved purely for those of a certain level of financial wealth, a family or friend recommendation or those who simply ‘fit the mould’....but we had heard about an opening and we took our chance. We clawed together a reservation fee to save our place and went on our way.

The first day of nursery arrived and we were all feeling a little nervous about how it would go. We packed our bags and waved goodbye to our home ready for our adventure. Holding hands tightly I tried to hide the fact that I was slightly worried about the kind of reception we would receive once we arrived, we aren’t the usual type for this particular setting but I told myself we had just as much right to a great future for our children than anyone else in this world right?


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

5 reasons why the early days are the easy days...


You know how it goes when you have a new baby, everyone tells you "it gets easier". You'll be walking around in a sleep deprived fog, week old hair hanging onto an entire can of dry shampoo whilst you 'lose' your glasses in the dishwasher and put your shoes in the fridge...but the advice is always there and readily available: It gets easier. 

In many ways, yes it does. They don't feed ALL night forever. Eventually they can walk and it gives your aching back a much needed rest. They learn to feed themselves so you aren't chained to the table at mealtimes. They learn to 'give back' and it makes every single thing absolutely worth it when they say 'I love you' and mean it......but when you've done this whole baby thing once already, you already know that there are just a few things that are already as easy as they are going to be...a few things you don't want to take for granted...or ok, a few things to feel grateful for now...

Friday, 8 June 2018

Birthday Gift List of a 30 something year old

Birthday gift lists change massively as we make our way through life. Our youthful demands of 'get me something I want' as we circle ALL the toys in the back of the Argos catalogue make way for our maturing ideals and moments of 'get me something I need'.  Suddenly, the idea that your other half might actually get you a new vacuum for your birthday seems quite exciting, and lets face it, your kids could give you a snot covered hankie as a 'present' and you'd love it anyway.

Birthday gift list guide of a 30 something year old

This gift guide includes products that some women and mothers (or men!) may initially believe to be luxury rather than necessity products. I would like to highlight why, in fact, they may be an investment in terms of longer term well-being and self care - and lets face it...THAT is a birthday gift we ALL need...