Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Reminding myself

It has been a tricky year, one of my most challenging years to date. That's why I have been withdrawn and quiet. It's like I have been here but not been here all at the same time. 

Things finally began to change 12 weeks ago when I made a decision to hand my notice in at work, to step away from a job that I love. I finished last week, an emotionally tired and drained wreck. I can't talk about it, and I don't have the words to express it.

This week has been all about moving forwards, reminding myself of who I am. A friend challenged me to keep a journal, and that has been helping a lot. Writing down my thoughts gives me focus. Making time to write it down and not forget it, but process and store everything that has built up over the last year, so I can move forward, so I can move on.

My sister took me out for a much needed brunch and chat this week, sisters are so good at speaking the truth and seeing you despite all the chaos happening around you. 

She reminded me that:

I want to move forward. 
I want to remind myself of who I am. 
I need to dream again.

Sometimes I think we all need a reminder about who we are. I wrote down all the things that I need reminding of on a daily basis about at the moment, it would be great to have them on a metal  24 x 30 in customised sign in my kitchen that I stare at whilst I drink my first cup of the tea in the morning. To remind me when I am making lunch that I am valued and loved, and I have the ability to love beyond, and dream bigger than I ever imagined. To get my attention just before I head upstairs to bed that a new day is coming, and with that I need to be brave and true to who I am.

This is what I came up with! 

This is the end of that challenging year, and the start of something new for me. These words are the start of me, being me again and being true to who I am. What do you need reminding of at the moment? What words would inspire you?  

This post is an entry into the #MyCustomSign blogger challenge.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Getting creative with the #NODDYCHALLENGE

It's the summer holidays, and we have decamped down to Cambridgeshire for the week visiting family. It has been lovely having an extra pair of hands (or two) to help with my two boys, however on Sunday my eldest really needed something to challenge him and get his head into.

I saw the #NoddyChallenge on Tots 100  in conjunction with The Book People and decided to give it a go! We love stories and have spent many a happy hour sharing a Noddy Story together, laughing at Noddy's little nodding, jingling hat.

Crafting is something we love to get into and I we will do lots of over the summer. With my son not really being in to drawing, with painting and messy craft slightly off the table because we are not at home, I challenged him to create Toyland village from Lego. We used the picture from the Book Peoples Noddy activity pack as our inspiration!

Lego is the most underrated craft material I think, one that we should look to use more!

'Lego' is definitely the key word if you want to get my seven year olds attention! Before I had even shown him the picture of toyland village he was already talking about how he was going to make Big Ears toadstool house, he was hooked! And so the build began to take shape...

Things he included were:

Big Ears Toadstool house
Noddy's house
The rainbow bridge
Street Light

One of the things I pride myself on is not interfering in his crafting but allowing his creative flair to shine through. I can't bear craft projects that have obviously been tweaked by parents or worse still created by parents and passed off as the child's. Instead I love to give him an idea and see how it develops. I cherish his interpretation and viewpoint. I get excited when he unveils the final masterpiece, proud of his achievements.

This craft project took a lot of time and his attention. He diligently worked on it until he felt like he had the balance of it right. You can tell how proud of it he is.

What have you been crafting this summer? We would love some more ideas for our next project!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Christmas Wishlist

So this year has been pretty manic. This might be the first time ever that by the 1st December I have nearly every Christmas present wrapped or ordered for the family. However everyone keeps asking me, what do I want, and the truth is I just don't know. I have been so consumed sorting everyone else out, that I have forgotten about me. Sound familiar?

Debenhams are challenging bloggers to come up with their ultimate Christmas Wishlist as part of their Debenhams Win your Wishlist competition. How good would that be, if I could decide what I actually wanted. So I have enlisted help. I asked Jacob who is six, totally unprompted to come up with ideas for presents for me and this is what he said...

Some interesting ideas there Jacob!

I have taken Jacob's ideas and come up with the ideal wishlist, adding in a few additional suggestions. So here it is:

1. I couldn't find a hatchimal, and I am thinking an X-Box might not be quite the gift I want, but we did find this John Adams Silly Sausage game £25, which looks hilarious. One of my Christmas wishes each year is to have lots of fun together as a family and this would certainly help that!

2. I do love these Debenhams Set of two black penguin tree decorations for £6.30. Every year the kids and I both get a new decoration with the idea being that when they move out they have enough to decorate their own tree!

3. For me having the tree really makes Christmas, Christmas and I do love this Festive 5ft Pre-lit Patterson Pine with warm white lights, £120. One of my favourite things you have picked Jacob!

4. I couldn't find a chocolate dinosaur, no surprises there! So I went for the next best thing... Charbonnel et Walker Truffles sea salt dark, £12, Yum. These would certainly be welcome as a present for me! 

5. Perhaps this one night escape with dinner for two from Gift Experiences, £119 would be a better choice than a games console? I am guessing it would be much more relaxing! 

6. Finally I actually came up with something I want, slippers... but I let Jacob pick them! These Lounge & Sleep Brown Reindeer Slipper Boots, £18.50 really are very fun! Perfect for keeping my feet warm over Winter.

Thank goodness I have done the Christmas present shopping this year. But I do love your suggestions Jacob for presents that Mummy would love.

I hope that this inspires you too with your Christmas shopping. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Fitness Inspiration

This photo is my #LumiaFitnessInspiration  because my son has so much energy and enthusiasm for being outdoors. Its that passion that sparks my interest to keep up, to stay fit, and to encourage us to be healthy through what we do together! I love it when I hear one of them say "shall we run together" and I see my love of running rubbing off into their lives. I feel so proud that we bike to school together when everyone else goes in the car, and I know that my son inspires me, which inspires other parents, who inspire their children and that way we keep the fitness sparks growing! So why not let us inspire you too!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere Review

This month as part of the Parragon Book buddies scheme we have been reviewing Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez.

Our first impressions have been that we love all the pumpkins faces on the front as they look so friendly an the glitter on the cover too. We don't celebrate Halloween so Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere is a nice book which tells of the adventures of four little trick-or-treaters as they make their way to the pumpkin parade. It was a good introduction to what some of my boys friends will be doing tomorrow night.

My five year old very much enjoyed reading this book to his younger three old brother. The text is really easy to read and there isn't huge amounts of it per page. I was really excited that he wanted to read it instead of me as he often feels quite daunted when its not a school text book. It has a great rhyme to it which really helps when you read it and the illustrations are great and we particularly liked the pumpkins shaped as the spider, bat, cat and wolf.

Overall if you want a fun themed book then you will really enjoy Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere. We really enjoyed looking at it together and it also inspired us to carve our own pumpkin face too!

Disclaimer: I received this product from the publisher for free. However, they have not paid me for this review, and they do not exercise any editorial control over my review or anything else on this site.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Spot a Lot: Animals Jigsaw Review

This month as part of the Parragon book buddies scheme we have been sent Spot A Lot: Animals Jigsaw to review.

My first thoughts were that I really liked the box it all came in, not too big or too small, with a velcro tab to hold it all in, and so very easy for small fingers to open without destroying it. Many of our other jigsaw boxes have been destroyed due to their difficult entry process, so this was a good start. Inside the box there is a paperback book Spot a Lot Animals which my three and five year old were both keen to look inside. The book starts by explaining that there is trouble at the zoo today as all the animals have run away! Gibbons swinging and playing on the jungle gym, zebras camouflaged on the crosswalk, penguins keeping cool in the swimming pool. The idea is that you have to look very carefully as you help the zookeeper count and spot all the zoo runaways.

The book is lovely and the illustrations are really fun. My three year old had to work quite hard to spot some of the animals as they are small and each page has a lot of detail. My five year old was able to work more independently with the book finding and counting the animals as he went. There is a lot of detail on each page and this book kept them occupied for quite a while as we sought out the animals. I liked that it was tricky in places and it wasn't a quick or obvious find.

The jigsaw puzzle is double sized and you need to have read the book first in order to know how the puzzle fits together as it is one of the pages from the book. One side is in colour and the other is a black and white version that you can colour in yourself. Due to the jigsaw being shiny it was quite hard to decide which pens to use to colour it in and we had to wait for the pen to dry for quite a while. My kids were also frustrated that they smudged the colouring a bit. The jigsaw is a good size and my three year old enjoyed the challenge of putting it together but needed a bit of help from myself. My five year old was able to do it on his own.

Overall we have really enjoyed playing with the jigsaw and reading the book and spotting all of the animals. This would make a lovely gift for a child and as I said above the box is very accessible and would keep it all together nicely. It has been great to have something that has three different elements to it; the story, the jigsaw and colouring the jigsaw. I would recommend.

If you would like to buy your own copy of Spot a Lot: Animals Jigsaw it is available to buy from Smyths Toys.

Disclaimer: I received this product from the publisher for free. However, they have not paid me for this review, and they do not exercise any editorial control over my review or anything else on this site.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Doodle & Draw Spots, Stripes, Squiggles Review

This month as part of Parragon's book buddies scheme we were sent Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles to review.

As soon as this book arrived my 4 year old got stuck straight in. He has never been big on drawing where he comes up with his own ideas but prefers more structured colouring and patterns so this book has been perfect for him. What I like about it is that its easy for my son to read the instructions himself as well as see on each page what he is being asked to do. On most pages you have to complete the patterns using stripes, swirls, circles to complete the pictures. My son started with the spiderweb below and enjoyed connecting the segments and adding spiders in. It has been great to see him putting the time and effort in to completing each page and it is great for pen control too all skills that children in their reception year need.

The book itself it very gender neutral which I like and the paper is very good quality and not that flimsy kind that you sometimes get. It is very sturdy and the pen doesn't show through. We have been taking this in our activity bag when we head out and about as it has hours and hours of fun in it and lots of variety. It has been really nice to find a book that is more than just a colouring book that can captivate my son and hold his concentration. The book also encourages counting and matching and has lots of learning opportunities throughout it.

Overall we have really enjoyed doodling in this book and learning all about patterns and we would recommend it as it has so much packed into it. It would also make a lovely gift for a birthday.

If you would like to buy your own copy you can find it here: Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles.

Disclaimer: I received this product from the publisher for free. However, they have not paid me for this review, and they do not exercise any editorial control over my review or anything else on this site.