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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. Get ready to cosy up and create a soft and calm interior within your living room...

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)

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

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post but all thoughts and opinions are my own

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...PLUS A FREE PRINTABLE

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!

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 10 April 2019

The sleepless family - an experiment in better quality sleep

Disclosure: We were sent the Dream Pillow, JuveRest pillow and Sleep Master mask in return for an honest trial and review. 
Sleep. It's hard to come by as a parent of small ones isn't it?

When we have enough of it, we can do pretty much anything. When we don't have enough of it, the opposite is true. Lack of sleep affects our diet, our mental health, our physical health and the ability to be the best version of ourselves. Its the reason I've sat in front of this laptop many a time, unable to type a single word. Its almost certainly to blame for the extra lines on my face and probably a few bad choices I've made along the way.

JuveRest sleep wrinkle pillow, Lamby dream pillow, Sharky dream pillow and Sleep Masters sleep pillow Review and experiment

If you are a parent you will understand the helplessness and lack of control you feel when you really want to sleep, but you can't because your child is awake. When they are small, things like Colic or Reflux can play a big part. As they grow, separation anxiety sets in and you may find yourself asking the question like I did here: Should I give in and try controlled crying?  Bigger still and nightmares can impact on the quality of their sleep.

Add in lighter evenings, lighter mornings, snoring partners and aches and pains - its a wonder we manage any sleep at all to be honest!

In order to help combat some of these sleep issues, we have been trying out some sleeping aids ( which will work wonderfully along side these three sleep solutions I have written about previously) for us and for the children. You may also be interested in learning this pillow manifestation technique.

The Dream pillow for children,  the JuveRest Sleep Wrinkle Pillow and the Sleep Master Sleep Mask.

Saturday 6 April 2019

Dear First-Time Mum, here’s what you need to know...

Imagine that you’ve been planning the most amazing surprise party for months and months – the kind where you get to go home with an awesome party bag, the best present in the world and a happy glow that can only come from the most joyous of moments…the only caveat being that you probably wont know exactly when this ‘surprise’ is going to be sprung upon you so you have to be ready! Goodness you’re ready. You’ve got it all mapped out, written down, decisions made. You know exactly how you’re going to behave during and after the event. It’s going to be PERFECT!!
This ^^ is your life as a mum-to-be.

5 tips for first time mums - dear first time mum here's what you need to know

The day of the party arrives, and despite there being no alcohol on the premises, you find yourself shouting and slurring like a teenager in a park after a litre of white lighting. The music is SO much louder than you’d planned it to be and you spend most of the time feeling like you need the loo. The event goes really quickly, and before you know it, you’re back home in bed with a hangover, a boob job, the worst period in the world and an inability to remember your own name because you’re JUST SO TIRED. Oh, and tears. Lots of crying tears*

*Not always yours.

This is your life as a first-time mum.

It’s hard. It’s wonderful. It’s exhausting. It’s happy and sad rolled into one. Its feeling like you’re doing everything and nothing every second of every day. It’s the highest rollercoaster with the lowest drops. You smile for the cameras and then feel physically sick waiting for the next twist and turn. You get to the end of the ride and feel so goddam proud of yourself, sometimes you queue up and give it another go!

Dear First-Time Mum, here’s what you need to know:

Saturday 30 March 2019

Cuthbert the Crab and his Shoelace Shenanigans | How to tie your laces | Review

[Disclosure: We were sent this book in return for an honest review. We know the wonderful author of this book, Sally Beattie, personally - she has a wealth of experience of working with young children as well as being a fabulous mum to her own children.]

Do you remember how you learnt to tie your shoelaces? I found it really tricky until someone taught me the 'bunny ears' method and I remember the school Nurse watching me in fascination as if I was some strange breed because I couldn't do it the 'normal way'. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realised that LOTS of you learnt the same way and it is, in fact, an easier way for most children to tie their laces...

How to tie your laces with cuthbert the crab

This book, Cuthbert the Crab and his Shoelace Shenanigans, not only makes me feel reassuringly normal (it demonstrates how to tie your laces using the bunny ears method) it is a wonderful introduction into the tricky task of learning to tie your shoelaces...

Friday 22 March 2019

Honey Bees tuff tray activities - learning through play

Spring is (almost) in the air, we've seen our first buzzy little friend roaming the emerging flower beds and bees still really need our help to thrive - so what better way to teach the next generation all about the importance of bees than a Bees Tuff Tray Activity!

 bees tuff tray activity - tuff tray set up with resources for learning about bees

It started out with the purchase of a pack of 'bee pollen' from a local supermarket - I was intrigued to learn more about it and I wanted Arthur and Charlotte to join in with a real hands on 'learning through play' approach. I sourced a number of resources which you can find over in the 'bees activity' section of my Amazon store here  (USA followers click here for my US list) and got to work planning some activities:

Sunday 17 March 2019

Parenting Outdoors - Jacamo Menswear Review

Discosure: We were sent the menswear items from Jacamo in return for an honest review.

Jacamo deals in clothing from sizes S - 5XL and aims to provide nothing but legendary style choices to today’s modern man - whether that be a smart look, casual or everyday style. They are part of the Ethical Trading Initiative, and have a range of brands available so that you should be able to find everything you need online for a complete outfit. With next day delivery available, and a range of return options - it makes clothes shopping easy for busy parents!

Parenting Outdoors - Jacamo menswear review - man crouching down next to a toddler outside

With his love of fashionable attire, Mr Arthurwears, aka, the Husband/Daddy was tasked with the job of choosing himself a few select pieces for an outfit review from Jacamo. I am lucky enough to have married a man who loves shopping and clothes more than I do ( I know - rare breed!) and I have no doubt that this request to pick something out came as a refreshing change from my usual requests for him to stop buying more shirts, shoes, ties, jackets etc etc...

I had the equally as difficult task of having to take photos of my husband (see my instagram feed for a behind the scenes photo) for the purpose of this review, and even better - I didn't even have to write it myself! I shall now hand you over to the man himself....

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Helping Children to be Safe around Dogs | HEY DOG | Book Review

We were recently sent a copy of the book Hey Dog! Let's Talk! by Wendy Keefer - an illustrated guide for children to help them understand dogs and learn to communicate with them in order to keep them safe.

I developed an intense fear of dogs as a child after my own dog passed away when I was 4, and I am very keen to make sure my own children don't pick up on this and react in a similar way. Likewise, it is important to be able to explain what IS appropriate and okay to avoid potentially dangerous situations without making them feel that every dog encounter is either dangerous or completely safe. It does, of course, depend on the dog and the situation - but I felt completely clueless as to how to go about teaching this! 

Within the past year, Arthur has started to become frightened of dogs himself - something that Charlotte is picking up on. This book has come along at the perfect time, enabling me to help Arthur to learn more about how to understand dogs and also giving me the tools to try and do the same as an adult....

Friday 15 February 2019

Products for Men that Women Swear by...

Disclosure: This post includes some gifted items (marked with *) including those sent for the giveaway. 

Clearly, it’s no surprise to most of us that women can and should be able to use products which are aimed specifically towards men. There aren’t many things in the world that aren’t truly unisex when it comes down to the bare bones of it...unless, of course, you are talking about something like - I don’t know - the male condom....although studies have shown that more women actually buy them compared to men.

  products for men that women swear by flat lay with mens products in view

We try to avoid gender stereotypes as much as possible in our household, so it will come as no surprise to you that there are a few products I now buy and use for myself which were originally for my husband. I also asked some of my fellow bloggers if there are any male marketed products which they swear by (and vice versa in some cases) .... Plus, I have a nice little giveaway for you which you can enter at the end of this post...

Saturday 2 February 2019

Love is Love - An LGBTQ engagement poem

Poem - Love is: For James and Stuart on your Engagement x

Love is Love an LQBTQ engagement poem image of two male shadows holding hands

I wrote this poem, Love is Love,  a few years ago now, and it has been sat in my notes, waiting for today - the day when James (my wonderfully supportive and caring big Brother in Law) finally became engaged to Stuart (the man who secretly filled my biscuit tin with chocolate biscuits and my freezer with ice cream at the end of his visit - if that doesn't tell you what a lovely person he is, I don't know what will). There aren't many things in life which can fill your heart with joy and settle your soul like the moment you realise that someone you care about has found someone who really cares about them... and like all moments of high emotion, words tumbled through my mind in rhyme form, waiting to be written... So here it is...Love is Love - A poem...

Friday 25 January 2019

Should year 1 children still have continuous provision and Learning Through Play in KS1?

“The dilemma still exists as to whether play can provide any kind of ‘excellence’ in relation to ‘real’ learning for children as current and future citizens” (Moyles 2005, p. 3)

Should year 1 children still have continuous provision and Learning Through Play in KS1?

As you perhaps know, Learning Through Play is a huge passion of mine - the benefits of which I feel are far reaching and long lasting. This blog post focuses on a research investigation I undertook whilst training to be a Teacher: "Should year 1 children still have continuous provision?" - it is a watered down version of the original, but I hope will encourage you to make time and space for planning in play based learning for both younger and older children (year 1, year 2 / KS1 and even beyond)
 whether you are a professional or a parent, based on research fact alongside personal opinion....

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...

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