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Friday 29 December 2023

Complete guide to tuff trays

Are you wondering what a Tuff Tray is? Perhaps you can't understand what all the hype is about - do you REALLY need a tuff tray? Are they any alternatives to having a Tuff Tray? Will a tuff tray fit inside your space? Perhaps you have purchased one and now you don't know what to do with it, and need some help and advice on tuff tray set ups? 
complete guide to tuff trays

Fear not, we have you covered! This post will tell you everything you need to know about tuff trays and will sign post you to some fab tuff tray play ideas too!

How to Help Your Child Develop the Pre-Literacy and Numeracy Skills They Need for Kindergarten

While kindergarten serves as the introduction to formal education for many young children, it isn’t always the initial place where a child receives their first learning experience. The home is often credited as a child’s first school because their parents—who are considered to be their first educators—provide them with a safe and nurturing learning environment where they can develop their motor, language, and imagination skills. Creating this environment is crucial during early childhood development, as it helps provide children with a strong foundation for academic success. It also gives parents the opportunity to equip their children with the pre-literacy and numeracy skills they need to prepare themselves for their kindergarten years.
how to help your child develop the pre-literacy and numeracy skills they need for kindergarten

Speaking, reading, writing, and counting numbers are just some of the important skills children must learn before they begin their educational journey at a  preschool in Singapore   or in any other country in the world. When they’re able to develop their pre-literacy skills and numeracy skills early, children can navigate the challenges of kindergarten with great certainty and cultivate a love for learning. They can also express themselves more clearly and engage with their peers and teachers more confidently. 

For a child to achieve good pre-literacy and numeracy skills, however, parents need to convey the lessons they want their little one to learn effectively so that they can absorb the knowledge in a manner they can understand. Parental facilitation  of early mathematics and reading skills plays a key role in the future of a child’s academic success, and as a parent, you want to ensure that you’re employing the right activities to provide your child with the best learning environment at home. If you’re looking for more ideas, here are some strategies you can implement to help improve your child’s pre-literacy and numeracy skills.

Saturday 23 December 2023

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  it this year, 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....

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Christmas Playdough Mats | Free Download

There are so many benefits of playdough play, whether your children prefer lots of structure or to mix the colours of the playdough it is a great way to release inner creativity and to keep little ones (and big ones!) busy and entertained with an activity over the holiday season. These free christmas playdough mats are ready for you to download and laminate....

christmas playdough mats free download

These xmas playdough mats were originally a free download over on my shop to be used alongside my playdough. I am now posting them here for my blog readers to benefit from too. You can also find a home made playdough recipe here. 

Thursday 16 November 2023

9 Things You Need to Upgrade Your House in SG into a Smart Home

In 2014, Singapore launched a highly ambitious initiative, Smart Nation, to make the city-state one of the first smart cities in the world. In many aspects of urban life, the country has succeeded in doing just that. Moreover, within modern Singapore homes, smart technology is becoming the norm, improving the lives of busy residents in this fast-paced and cosmopolitan city.

 Things you need to upgrade your SG home into a Smart Home

Do you currently live in Singapore, and are you thinking about rolling out such a change in your household? What exactly will it take to convert an ordinary home into a so-called “smart home” of the future? Here are nine things you’ll need to turn your house into a bona fide smart home: 

Tuesday 14 November 2023

How to Become an Organ Donor and Why You Should Become One

Every year, more than 500 patients in Singapore are in need of a life-saving organ transplant. Some of these patients are lucky enough to quickly receive a compatible organ from a living donor—who is typically a member of their family; other patients may not be as fortunate, with some having to wait anywhere from 5 up to 17 years before finding a suitable organ. This long wait time isn’t only emotionally draining, but also agonising because the reality is that some patients will die waiting because there aren’t enough available organs for transplant. 
how to become an organ donor and why you should

Singapore has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world, with 4.48 deceased donors per million population. A possible reason for this is that Singapore is the sole Asian country adopting an opt-out organ donor system. In the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA), Singapore citizens and permanent residents can opt out from donating all of their organs and/or the specific organs listed under HOTA. 

Monday 13 November 2023

Gift Guide for 40 year olds

Welcome to our carefully curated gift guide for 40-year-olds! Whether it's a milestone birthday, a special anniversary, or just a thoughtful gesture, finding the perfect gift for someone in their 40s can be a delightful challenge. At this stage of life, individuals often have a clearer sense of their interests and preferences, making it all the more important to choose a gift that resonates with their unique personality and experiences. 
 gift guide for 40 year olds
Disclosure: Some of these items were gifted in return for an honest review.

In this comprehensive guide, we've compiled a diverse range of gift ideas that cater to the tastes, passions, and lifestyles of those navigating their 40s. From personalized and meaningful presents to practical and indulgent options, you'll discover the ideal gift to celebrate this significant moment in their life. So, whether you're shopping for a friend, family member, or your significant other, let's dive into this treasure trove of gift inspiration to help you make their 40s even more remarkable!

Sunday 5 November 2023

Preparing for Twins: What do I need?

Congratulations! You're expecting twins! But what products do you actually need when preparing for the birth of multiples?  How can you make sure you have everything covered when you have one pair of hands and 2 (or more) babies?

preparing for twins - must have products for parents of multiples

This blog post will make your life so much easier, by arming you with the info and the items you really need to buy when expecting twins...and yes, this guidance comes straight from my own twin sister, who also gave birth to twins herself...shes a twin with twins, and she knows her stuff. Let's dive in...

Friday 6 October 2023

Mud Kitchen | Ideas & Accessories for Outdoor Play | EYFS

Would you like to understand more about what a mud kitchen is? What the benefits are of having a mud kitchen in your outdoor area? How can you you effectively use a mud kitchen and plan for activities for kids? What do you need in a mud kitchen? Where can you buy a mud kitchen and accessories and what are the learning outcomes? 

This post aims to give some useful ideas and inspiration for using your mud kitchen and mud kitchen accessories effectively for outdoor play...

 mud kitchen with pump action sink, large outdoor blackboard and pet bowl mini mud kitchen

For young children to really benefit from outdoor play, the outdoor area should be an extension of the indoor area - not a simply a separate place for 'limited' playtime, a reward for hard work or somewhere to simply 'have a run around'. I have talked before about this separation of indoor and outdoor play, and the negative consequences that this can have in my post about the importance of learning through play outside which can be found here. One of the key pieces of equipment for an outdoor learning space, which will tie into lots of different areas of learning is to have a mud kitchen. Whether you are looking to encourage role play, speaking and listening, relationship building, mathematical concepts or simply to create a space where children can learn and explore and play with what they know or just make mud pies - a mud kitchen provides endless possibilities...

Thursday 5 October 2023

Exploring the Benefits of Coding for Young Learners

It is no secret that the world of technology is changing and evolving at a rapid rate, and in order to cope with this constant evolution, it is more important than ever that coding and the various essential elements of computer programming be taught to students at a younger and younger age.

benefits of coding for young learners - child sat at computer coding

What seems difficult to grasp to an uninitiated adult will hopefully feel like second nature to a young person growing up with all of the education and tools provided to them, and this is what is needed to ensure that generations of the future are adequately prepared to face all of the changes that are inevitably coming. Whilst there is plenty to read at Codemonkey on the subject, here is an exploration of some of the biggest benefits of coding for young learners.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

57 Tuff Tray Activity ideas for open ended Play

I love our tuff tray, (probably even more than the children do), and thinking up tuff tray ideas - and although it can be a challenge to set them up sometimes - I love the wow factor a new tray play 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 using the box at the bottom of this post. I've picked out 57 (originally 19 but i keep updating!) of our current favourite tuff tray ideas here for you to enjoy and feel inspired! I also have a post showcasing our best sensory tray play ideas here.  If you want to learn more about tuff trays first - have a read of our complete guide to tuff trays here. 

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

Friday 29 September 2023

Forest School Activities

Are you looking for Forest Schools activities for your home or setting? Perhaps you’re wondering how to set up a DIY Forest School, considering the benefits of sending your child to forest school or simply wondering what a Forest School is?

 Forest School Activities child sat in forest

This post is here to answer all of your Forest School questions, we’ve got some fab book recommendations to get you started and information from our very own Forest School expert – Kim Jarvis from Wirral Wildlings Forest School.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

CARAT London Carissa necklace review

This Carissa necklace from CARAT London is a gold vermeil of 92.5% Sterling Silver with a layer of gold, 9 round stones to the front and additional decoration on the closure at the back.
CARAT London Carissa necklace review

Disclosure: Partnership with CARAT London

I have recently had my very long locks cut into a graduated bob, and so this graduated stone design which sits beautifully on the neck is the perfect finish to my current look. Read on for more detailed information on this piece, how best to wear it and measurement details…

Friday 25 August 2023

Planning our Summer holiday 2023

It’s been almost 5 years since our last proper summer holiday. We went to Spain in 2018 when Charlotte was still a baby and the world was a very different place! Throw in a few years of Covid lockdowns, a new summer born baby, a new house and a partial renovation … the chance of a holiday was way out of our grasp. 

planning our summer holiday

After losing my lovely Nanna last year (the day after the Queen passed), we decided that we wanted to focus more on family experiences this year - going to new places, doing things together and absolutely having a summer holiday. I’d been saving for the last few years and used most of my maternity allowance as our budget for going away. I was pretty sure that once I’d given birth, I’d find it harder to undertake my usual work and so wanted to get used to living without the security of my wage ‘just in case’. You can use various financial calculators to help plan your finances if you wish. We made sacrifices in lots of areas of our life in order to cut our spending (I stopped having my hair coloured and highlighted and embraced the grey for a start!) and so thankfully, we were finally able to book somewhere to go...

Friday 18 August 2023

Back to school uniform ideas for home and school

When I was at primary school, we didn’t have a school uniform and so your everyday clothes for home were also your clothes for school. These days, you’d be hard pushed to find a school which doesn’t have a uniform requirement, and so finding the best quality and also affordable school uniform items which will last is really important.
back to school uniform ideas with

Disclosure: Paid partnership

 In this blog post, I will be showcasing some back to school uniform options from Very, BUT I will also be showing you how to utilise these pieces outside of school, mixing and matching them with everyday wear to make the most of your child’s wardrobe and maximise use of clothing so that your budget goes further and your washing pile gets smaller…

First Day of School Poem

It's here. Now’s the time. I tell myself I’ll be fine
Its your first day of school, a new book, a new line
But one day you were here every day of the week,
playing with toys, reading books, hide and seek
Now those little legs skip on the pavement to class, as your hand fits in mine - but I hold it like glass...

A Poem for your First Day of School ...

Saturday 22 July 2023

Can we help our kids grow taller?

We know that good sleep, exercise and nutrition play an important role in bone growth in children and adolescents, and having children with cmpa (cows milk protein allergy) has made me more aware of making sure my children have all of the nutrients they need to grow and thrive properly…but is there more we can do to help our children to grow to their optimal height?
mother measuring child against a height chart with words - can we help our kids grow taller?

 Disclosure: Collaborative post

NuBest Nutrition believe that they have come up with a natural and effective way to help children to grow tall and strong, and have developed a number of products specifically for this purpose…

Friday 21 July 2023

Surviving the Cost of Living Crisis: Introducing Jam Doughnut Cash Back Website

In today's world, where the cost of living continues to rise, every penny saved makes a significant difference. As we navigate through the challenges of financial stability, finding smart and practical ways to save money becomes essential. That's where Jam Doughnut Cash Back Website comes in. In this blog post, we'll explore how this platform can help you save money and ease the burden of the cost of living crisis. Plus, we'll guide you on utilizing the App’s features effectively to maximize your savings.
Jam Doughnut cashack app review

I also have a referral code for you to use (KYKJ) which will entitle you to 200 points when making your first purchase.

Sunday 9 July 2023

How to encourage children to do chores at home

The key to encouraging your child to take part in daily chores is to start early, and make it fun!

how to encourage children to do chores at home - picture of a girl spraying cleaner
                                                            This is a collaborative post

Chores should not be seen as a ‘chore’ by children. It works on the same principle of play based learning in the foundation stage - for a child to learn, take part willingly and also remember the skills you have taught them, then it needs to be playful and fun and it must be purposeful.

Sunday 11 June 2023

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

German author Thomas Mann once said that “a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people”, and anyone who has ever encountered Writer’s Block will understand him completely. Things can get very difficult when that ominous mist descends and swallows up every ounce of creativity, leaving you in a pit of despair and wondering why you ever even bothered in the first place.

how to overcome writer's block

In this guest post, Author - Daniel Grabowski will talk through the types of writer's block, and the techniques to overcome it...

Saturday 6 May 2023

Dinosaur Hunt Ideas

We’re going on a dinosaur hunt, we’re going to catch a big/tall/fierce/strong/scaly/baby one…do you have a Dino fan on your hands? If so, you are going to love this post all about different ideas for dinosaur play, Dino activities and how to set up and create your own dinosaur hunt! (Including a free printable!)
dinosaur hunt play ideas photos of children searching in the forest
Disclosure: Partnership with Wicked Uncle

 But first, get those ideas flowing and the inspiration cogs turning by clicking this link here: Dinosaur toys and play items - you will need this info a little bit later on if you’d like to enter to win a very special dinosaur giveaway!

Monday 3 April 2023

Things to think about when buying shutters for your home

Are you looking to upgrade your home's interior design? We have been slowly renovating our new house over the last year, and one area that's often overlooked but can make a big impact is window treatments. We have recently replaced all of the windows at the front/back and right hand side of our house (left hand side is s future extension project!) and we are in the process of installing interior window shutters. In this blog post, we'll cover everything you need to know about buying shutters for your home.
a home office with full length interior shutters in the background
Disclosure: Collaborative Post

Shutters are a popular window treatment option that can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room in your home. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, shutters also provide a variety of benefits, such as privacy and light control, energy efficiency, and added security. However, with so many different types of shutters available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your home. In this blog post, we'll provide a detailed overview of the different types of shutters available and the benefits they offer.

Friday 24 March 2023

Save money and make memories with family experiences

Last year, we moved house to our ‘forever home’, which, aside from a massive increase in our mortgage and bills, came with the realisation of just how much STUFF we have. Unpacking boxes and attempting to find a place for all our belongings is really hard when you’re a sentimental old bean like me - it’s difficult to throw things away! (I’m no Marie Kondo) With a new baby, we seem to have acquired even more items to keep and store and I started to dread Xmas and birthdays and the imminent arrival of even more ‘things’. We decided therefore, to have a focus this year on ‘doing’ things together as a family, using the gift of time rather than collecting more belongings. Consumables were ok, but we really wanted to plan days out, visits to new places and some nice meals or treats to enjoy now that the world seems to be getting back to some level of normality!

image of a family having coffee out with the wording save money and make memories with tastecard family experiences
Disclosure: Paid Partnership

When covid lockdowns hit the UK, Arthur had just turned 5 and Charlotte was 2. Along with millions of other children, they’ve missed out on so much over the last 3 years. We all did our best to keep life at home fun and happy, with lots of play experiences, but now is the time to try and make the most of getting out and about! Especially now that the warm weather is approaching…we are hoping that Easter will bring us our first germ free school holiday of this year so that we can really enjoy ourselves.

Monday 13 March 2023

Can Teaching Babies Sign Language Delay Them Learning to Speak?

As a parent, you want to do everything possible to promote your child's development and ensure they reach their milestones on time. One question that often comes up is whether teaching babies sign language can delay their ability to speak.

picture of a girl using sign language with wording - does makaton and baby signing hinder speech development

 In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of baby sign language and Makaton, and how it can actually help promote speech and language development in babies and toddlers.

Sunday 12 March 2023

How to Look Like a Stylish Mum Even in Winter

Are you the type of person that tends to regard winter as the season for hibernation? Maybe it’s the season when you typically take a break from worrying about fashion and style as you figure it’s just not possible when you’re bundled up in multiple layers. The fact is that fashion has come a long way and, thanks to today’s trends, there are many ways you can look like a stylish mum even in the winter months. Here are some great tips you can use as inspiration in the final stretch of winter...

females wearing bright and contrasting colours of mustard and lavender

Collaborative Post

18 ways to use a beanbag

Beanbags are a versatile and comfortable seating option that can be used in a variety of ways. From a cozy seat for reading a book to a fun prop for photo shoots, beanbags have become an increasingly popular addition to modern homes. Their uses don't end there however, in fact, there are numerous ways to use beanbags that you may not have thought of before. In this blog post, we'll explore 18 different ways to use beanbags to maximize their comfort, convenience, and style. Whether you're looking for a creative solution for seating or a fun prop for your social media photos, these ideas will help you get the most out of your beanbag. So, let's dive in!

woman and child sat on a red beanbag on the grass with a drink and a laptop
Disclosure: Paid Partnership 

If you're looking for a beanbag to test out some of these ideas, Big Bertha Original have lots of fab beanbag options. 

Monday 6 March 2023

EZ Shopper height adjustable desk | Review

If you read my earlier post on home office essentials for dealing with back pain, then you will know that an adjustable height, standing desk was on my wish list for when my small office room was finally complete!
EZ Desk Air from EZ shopper in a home office

Disclosure: gifted item

This was the last room in the house to be renovated (for this first phase of renovation!) and we were torn for a while about how best to use the space. We considered whether it should be a nursery room for Annabelle, a small playroom for the children, or an office for me (hubby has taken over my previous desk and office space for when he works at home and there definitely isn't room to share...especially when he has moved most of the tea/coffee mugs and lunch plates in there too...) If you follow me on social media you will know that Charlotte is very creative and is constantly making things - her new bedroom carpet was getting ruined SO...this room is half craft room, half office for me. On one end of the room we have a makeshift craft table for Charlotte (we are looking for a suitable permanent option) and the other end we now have an adjustable standing desk which I have been sent by EZ Shopper. The fact that the desk can be made lower is also a bonus for when I am 'crafting' alongside Charlotte too - so that she can reach when needed. In this blog post, I am going to show you more of this space, along with some additional information about the standing desk such as assembly and how it works... (youtube video available at the end of the post)

Thursday 2 February 2023

How to raise kids' self-esteem

Create Your Own Confidence is a brand-new fun and colourful activity book by psychotherapist Becky Goddard-Hill.

The book looks at a variety of issues impacting kids’ confidence and each topic includes an activity for kids to try out and is backed up by science and research. It is full of simple, practical ideas to help children to feel confident, strong and happy. They can try out out power posing, create a control wheel or set mini goals.
picture of book create your own confidence on a blue background with words how to raise kids self esteem

Here Becky shares an extract from the book…

Co-Parenting as a Stepdad

Co-Parenting as a Stepdad: Building and Maintaining a Family Together | A guest post by Daniel Grabowski: 

 2 parents sat on a beach holding hands with a child who is between them

In my previous article all about advice for new step dads, I talked about what to expect if you choose to become a stepdad. To go a step beyond that, in this piece I’ll discuss co-parenting as a step-parent. As the novelty wears away and you simply become a family, there are still obstacles to overcome.

I mentioned before that the two most important things are respect and communication. You’d be correct in thinking nothing has changed there. If those two things are a healthy part of your relationship already, you’re off to a great start.

Monday 30 January 2023

Pregnancy after PND

Post natal depression, and/or post natal anxiety are no small matter. When you’re in it you can’t see through the fog to trust there is ever going to be an end. When you’re out of it, you never want to go back there. It’s easy to decide in those moments that any future pregnancies are off the cards, simply because the risk of spiralling back feels too great…
pregnant lady with her hands over her face. text reads pregnancy after pnd post natal depression

...but what if that tiny little flicker somewhere inside that clings onto the possibility of another baby never goes out? What if that small flame turns into a roaring fire of determination to do it all again and all of the risks feel worth it for the sake of a new life… because here you are, and you made it through. Should you reside yourself to the fact that PND is your destiny? Are you certain to suffer again? Will you definitely get PND again after your pregnancy??

Why flowers make the ideal present for your loved ones

Finding the perfect gift for your loved one for any occasion is not as easy as it seems. You may find yourself wracking your brain trying to find that one gift that will make someone feel special, but at the same time show them your emotions that just can't seem to be expressed in words.
9 different flowers with their names and meanings
                                                  Disclosure: Collaborative guest post

However, now it is easier than ever to buy and send flowers, which might be exactly what you are looking for. You can go to the nearest flower shop or order a bouquet without even leaving the house through sites like and many others. In this article, we're going to share with you why an ordinary bouquet can actually be the perfect gift.

Monday 16 January 2023

When is the best time to put a TV in your child’s bedroom?

Whether or not to have televisions in children’s bedrooms is a contentious issue for both adults and children alike. There are those who sit firmly in the ‘no’ camp, and those who often grew up with a TV in their room and see it as no big deal.

child sitting on bed with a tv remote watching tv in bedroom

                                                  Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

In a time where virtual nannies  have become an actual ‘thing’, online games on tablets, phones, Nintendos and PlayStations are at an all time high in order to ease the burden on parents who are trying to ‘do it all’, does having a television in a bedroom add to this?

The WHO (world health organisation) recommends no screen time for children under 1, no more than an hour a day for 2-4yr olds, recommending that children sit less and play more  with a focus on good quality sleep, with experts recommending switching off screens at least an hour before bed