Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New year to you all! This new year, I have decided not to even attempt to stay up until midnight, so the closest I will get to seeing the new year in will be comforting the kids at midnight if the fireworks wake them up! A few years ago this would have been unthinkable, but then sleep deprivation kicked in!

I have made some new years resolutions, which are:

  1. Eat mor fruit and less chocolate
  2. Shout less
  3. Stress less
  4. Learn how to do DIY so I can get things done around the house (and not rely on other half to NOT do it!)
Have you made any resolutions this year and do you ever stick to them?

Hope you have a good one xx

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sand Art kit review

Princess was sent a Sand Art picture kit by the lovely people at Kids Bee Happy. She loves playing with sand and finds it really soothing and calming, so as our kit had a picture of Santa in, I thought the perfect time to try it out was Christmas Eve afternoon, in order to calm her excitement slighty!

She was very impressed when we opened the packet, and loved the sand in little bottles. The kit consisted of 2 pictures, lots of little bottles of sand in different colours, a little yellow stick for pulling back the paper, and some plastic wallets to display the finished art.
Princess chose the Santa picture and some pink sand and we got started. She needed some help peeling off the paper with the little stick but loved sprinkling on the sand. She went for slightly unconventional colour choices of pink beard and Santa suit!

Princess got more and more enthusiastic with her sprinkling as we went on, so it was definitely a good idea to use a tray so that we could just scoop up the excess sand and reuse it. When we had peeled off all the pieces and used all the colours of sand, we put it in the display pocket to protect it and hung it up. This is our finished picture.

Princess is so pleased with the finished product, and she enjoyed doing it a lot (even though her colour choices are slightly unconventional!) and I enjoyed doing it with her. I had been a little bit worried about how messy it might be, but all the mess was contained (mostly) within the tray so there was very little clearing up to do (less than painting!)

These Kids Bee Happy sand art kits are a great idea, really original and lots of fun. I loved the sensory element to it, and as an added bonus, when we had finished the picture, Princess used the sand left in the tray to practice drawing letters. We are looking forward to doing the next picture now!

Disclaimer: we were sent a sand art kit free of charge but all views are my own.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Elf Antics

Our elf Jingles has been with us for 2 weeks now and has been mainly good so far this year,  has brought a few gifts, but has still managed to get up to a few cheeky antics!

On her first morning she turned the milk pink (slightly more appealing on my porridge than last year when she turned it green!)

She set up an invitation to play with Christmas cloud dough one morning, which was lots of fun!

She brought Princess a countdown to Christmas advent calendar so that she can practice her bigger numbers
One morning we found Jingles had brought a new Christmas book and was reading it to the other toys

She brought everyone a Christmas jumper and hid in a basket with them for everyone to find

And she had another naughty night when she got out a packet of sweets from the kitchen cupboard and left a trail of wrappers round the house!

She has some fun planned for next week, especially as Princess will be finished in preschool for the holidays in a few days so the build up to Christmas can really begin!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas snow cloud dough

This week we had some cloud dough as an invitation to play (it was actually left by our christmas elf, Jingles). It was peppermint scented and glittery, and it was almost like it had snowed inside by the time it had been sprinkled all over the floor! And the best part was that Grapie could join in and play too!

What you need
7 parts flour
1 part vegetable oil
Peppermint food flavour
Glitter (optional)

Put the flour in a bowl and stir in the oil and a few drops of the peppermint. I found it was best to start off using a spoon to stir then use my fingers to break up any lumps. Then mix in the glitter if using. I took a batch out for Grapie first before adfing glitter so it was safe for her.

I laid it out on a Christmas tray along with some Christmas shaped cookie cutters and some Christmas craft shapes. Princess was amazed when she saw it (especially as Jingles the elf made it herself!) Grapie was very pleased to be allowed to play with it too! We put the tray on the floor and let them get on with it.

Princess scooped the cloud dough out onto the floor, squashed it down and made shapes with the cookie cutters and decorated them first, then she discovered thst the cloud dough can be moulded into shape and made snowballs. That's when things got very messy as she started throwing them in the kitchen!

This was the state of the kitchen when they had finished, which of course Princess insisted on trying to clean up herself!

Grapie did exactly what I thought she would do to start, which was to put it in her mouth! (That's why hers had no glitter!) But she soon got the hang of it and tried making shapes and decorating it just like her sister!

Once we were finished playing, I scooped up most of the cloud dough and put it in a box to play with again, the rest just swept up easily (as soon as I was back in control of the broom!)

Friday, 29 November 2013

Christmas Elf

We are getting ready to welcome a very special guest to our home next week. Her name is Jingles and she is one of Santa's elves who has been sent out from Santa's workshop to stay with us to make sure that we are all being good.

It's a tradition that we started last Christmas, and that I think we will continue for many more Christmases to come. It is based on the Elf on the Shelf idea that has become so popular, but with fewer rules. Our elf is allowed to be touched and played with, and quite often is found doing funny things in the morning (because everybody knows toys only move when no one is around!)  

She is sometimes a bit naughty, last year she turned the milk green and wrapped the Christmas tree up in toilet paper. Sometimes she will bring treats like an advent calendar, a Christmas cd or book, or set up crafts or baking with a Christmas theme. This year she is planning on bringing Christmas jumpers all round!

Last year, Jingles went down so well that we also had a summer elf to stay as well. It is so much fun to do and adds so much magic to the whole build up of Christmas, that it also has the added bonus of making Christmas about much more than just the presents. Here's some of the things that Jingles got up to last year.

If you are thinking of giving it a go this uear, I would definitely recommend it, we had lots of fun every evening planning where to put Jingles, my other half got really into it too, and Princess enjoyed it so much. Hopefully this year will be as much fun, I have some things planned and Pintrest is full of inspiration too.

Do you have an elf visitor coming this December? Have you got any ideas of some mischief  that she can get up to? Please let me know, I would love to hear from other elf hosts!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Fun in a box

Today I went shopping for a new set of saucepans. Nothing exciting there. Except that the saucepans came in a box. A big box. Also known as the most fun ever!

It started with Grapie locating a crayon under the sofa and practicing her 'drawing' on the box. I thought this showed a lot of initiative for a 14 month old baby!
Then of course Princess saw what was going on and wanted to be part of it, so she joined her in the box. Then they found the cardboard pieces that had protected the saucepans were perfect crowns, so had fun ' crowning' each other.

Then the box ripped and this became the door, then it became a car. Then Princess fetched her fuzzy felt game and sat in it to play, then made it into a bad. All while I made dinner. I wonder what the box will become tomorrow?

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Autumn fun at the park

The weather has really turned cold now, and winter is really here, but we were lucky enough to have a lovely autumn day at the park before the cold weather set in. We are fortunate enough to live walking distance to an excellent park and we do go there most days.

 We had a great time stomping in the fallen leaves, then we found a big pile of acorns that had fallen. We played football with them first (or at least attempted to!), then we made them into the letters in Princesses name.

We then played with sticks, drawing in the ground with them, throwing and fetching, hockey and sword fighting.

After that, Princess fancied playing crazy golf, so we hired a golf club for her and had a go. We have never played it properly before and Princess wasn't too keen on playing by the rules but she did have a lot of fun!

All this time, Grapie was asleep in her pram (which is rare for her!) So Princess and I gor to spend some quality time together. Hopefully we will have lots of days if winter fun to look forward to soon.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Playing with Oobleck

Princess loves messy, sensory play, it really calms her and we have been trying to do more of it so today we made Oobleck for the first time. If you have never tried making it before like us, please please do give it a go, its great!

To make oobleck, you will need:
1-2 cups cornflour (also known as cornstarch)
1/2 cup water
Food colouring

Put the cornflour in a bowl and mix in the water, you can either add the food colouring to the water, or put it straight into the oobleck mixture (or a bit of both like we did as Princess kept asking for more pink!) Add more cornflour or water gradually until it feels ready.

You will know it is ready when it is liquid when you sink your hands in slowly but feels solid when you tap it quickly. Here comes the science bit...... Oobleck is known as a non-Newtonian fluids as changes  pressure can change the properties of it. It feels solid when tapped quickly because the pressure forces the cornflour particles together whereas when you put your hand in slowly the particles have time to move out of the way so the oobleck behaves like a liquid.

I gave Princess a pot with a lid to play with and she had a great time scooping up and grabbing the solid oobleck and letting it drip off her hands into her 'cake', then putting on the lid and shaking it.

Next she decided to make some 'tea' which involved grabbing the oobleck and transferring it to the cup. This entertained her for quite a while as she enjoyed feeling the oobleck drip through her fingers. Grapie and I also had a go, Grapie didn't like the feel of it and wanted her hands washed straightaway, but I loved it and actually once Princess had finished playing with it, I kept it for a few hours and couldn't resist poking it every time I passed!

This is what the floor looked like at the end, but it was so easy (and fun!) to clean up. I scooped most of it up an put it back into the bowl, where it 'melted' back into liquid after seeming to have dried up on the floor. The rest cleaned up with a couple of baby wipes. This is definitely something that we will be doing again, it was just so much fun!

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Something a bit different today, short and sweet as my poor baby is struggling with her teething. A little poem about growing teeth

 T - terrible teething,
E - every single one
E - every razor sharp blade,
T - twisting and pushing,
H - hurting my precious girl.
I - inconsolable,
N - nothing I can do
G- growing teeth hurts.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

10 things I love about breastfeeding

I have been making some changes to try to get Grapie to sleep better at night, and while it's too soon to evaluate its success yet, three days in and there has been a definite reduction in the amount of milk feeds Grapie is having at night (as I can tell from the uncomfortable feeling in my chest!) As she doesn't have milk during the daytime, I know that once she is sleeping well at night and not waking for milk, that will be the end of our breastfeeding journey together. She is 14 months now and I never had planned to breastfeed for this long, but the thought of stopping still makes me a bit sad.

So as its nearly national breastfeeding week, I thought I would share with you my favourite things about breastfeeding my two girls and what I will miss:

  1. Instant baby-calming - when your baby is tired, grouchy, hungry, hurting, but the second she latches on, all is right in her world again. Bliss.
  2. Falling asleep together while feeding - at night we lie down cuddled up to feed and both drift off to sleep
  3. Milk drunk babies - so cute! Just blissfully dozing after a satisfying feed
  4. Fuss free feeding - no sterilizing, no equipment, no warming, no planning required, just always available, on demand
  5. It's free 
  6. That it was the hardest thing I have ever done - in those early days, of pain, mastitis, bleeding cracks and awfulness but somehow I got through it and came out the other side. I'm proud that I did.
  7. Magic milk - the health benefits are amazing, and I love the fact that the milk changes as her needs change. Magic.
  8. Weight loss - I'm not going to lie, this is a huge added bonus for me, I'm sure I wouldn't have ever lost my baby weight otherwise!
  9. The smell of milky baby breath 
  10. How much my babies loved it - and so did I.
So that's my top 10 favourite things about breastfeeding, what did you enjoy?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

It's National Stress awareness day today. I'm already pretty aware of my stress levels. At good times they are high, when the girls are both playing up, stress levels ate through the roof! Of course the main reason for this is the fact that I haven't had a decent nights sleep for 3 years now. Or the fact that I can't even have a shower in peace, never mind a relaxing soak in the bath. Or that 'me time' now consists of doing the washing up without being nagged! But that's life as a mum, and I wouldn't have it any other way (ok, that's a lie, I want sleep!)

But as a typical mum, I am great at putting everyone else's needs before my own, but that's not necessarily a great idea all the time. Stressed mummy equals kids playing up, picking up on it, knowing that your attention is somewhere else, and acting up accordingly. Or at least this is what happens in my house.

Last Christmas, I wad given a voucher for an evening with my partner at Nirvana Spa, which I hadn't got round to booking, mainly due to not wanting to leave Grapie. But she is 14 months old now and I think thats probably long enough for me to deserve an evening out. So I have now booked my date to go, next month on my birthday, and as my other half is coming too it will also be our first date night since Grapie was born!

I have never been to Nirvana Spa before and I'm really looking forward to going, the facilities look amazing and we are having a floatation treatment to, which involves floating in a mineral rich pool in a state of total relaxation

But the thing I'm looking forward to most is closing my eyes, lying back and relaxing without anyone shouting MMMUUUUUMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Chocolate Sparklers and Fireworks

Today was bonfire night and we had some friends round for some dinner and Fireworks. My partner and I both associate fireworks night with hotdogs from our childhoods, so that's what we made for dinner for everyone. And Princess and I made something extra special for dessert, chocolate sparklers!

They were really easy and fun to make and were very popular, especially with Princess! We started with some chocolate fingers, some melted chocolate and some crunchy chocolate sprinkles. We dipped the chocolate fingers into the melted chocolate, then dipped them into the sparkes and let them set. Easy and delicious!

Then we had some fireworks. Grapie didn't like the fireworks so I watched from inside the patuo doors with her where she felt safer. But Princess, who can sometimes be a bit sensitive to noise, watched them outside with her ear defenders on and loved it. I love this picture of her watching the fireworks

Monday, 4 November 2013

A grouchy day for Grapie

Poor Grapie has had a grouchy day today. We all have coughs and colds at the moment and last night sleep rates as 1 out of 10 (or even less, it's not every night I take both girls downstairs at 3am and put on a dvd!)

But even taking that into consideration, she's still been grouchy. So I rhink that she may be finally getting some teeth! She's 14 months now and until last week only had 4 teeth. She got one last week (not in the order the charts say she should get them) but sooner or later she's bound to get some.

So Sophie giraffe has come out of hibernation (G apparently thinks that giraffes roar like lions, she's been roaring every time she sees her today!) No dinner has been eaten, it's definitely been a case of teeth glorious teeth rather than food glorious food today. And the Calpol is at the ready. Hopefully it won't be a huge drawn out affair and it ill be quick and easy for her. Or at least I'm crossing my fingers and wishing for it to be over soon. Because teething sucks! For all involved.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel? A plan for sleep

Last week I wrote about how it was time to think about a plan to get sone more sleep for my while family. Grapie has been teething all week but the time has no come to introduce some changes. I am using Elizabeth Patently's book, The no cry sleep solution as a guide. This is what i will be trying:-

  • Introduce a lovey- I tried doing this when I first got the book, we took her to a toy shop and got her to choose a cuddly toy, the one she was most attrated to. She chose a duck and is becoming more and more attatched to it but not to the point where it comforts her a night yet.

  • Introduce a song as a sleep association- we already have this, I sing her twinkle star

  • Bedtime routine- we alreadt have a bedtime routine of bath, milk bed but I am starting to tweak it a bit to make sure that it works for Grapie as well as Princess. I have introduced a little baby massage with some lavender lotion, and a story in her room.

  • Change the sleeping environment- at the moment Grapie has her milk and falls asleep on my bed, then I put her in her cot when she is asleep. After that she comes into bed with me when she wakes up and often doesn't go back to her cot. But today we have made a big change. We have taken down her cot and she will be sleeping on her matress.  We have got a special bed guard for the side and a gate for her door to prevent night wandering. And tonight she had her milk and fell asleep in her own bed. The plan is that she will gradually spend nore and more time in her bed and eventually get used to sleeping on her own.
So, according to the book, we should carry out the changes for 10 days then do another sleep log to she if there has been an improvement. So I will report back in 10 days with my results. In the meantime, wish me luck!


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Squirty bug alphabet game

This is a game that I made up to play with Princess, to help her with her letter recognition.Ii drew some bugs on the floor with chalk, just  rcles with legs or wings, and write a different letter in the middle of each one.

Then Princess uses a water sprayer to squirt each bug as I call out each letter. Simple but great fun, this is a game that is requested often! Sometimes we use numbers instead of letters, especially the teen numbers that Princess is less good at recognizing. As a variation, sometimes I draw cars instead of bugs, or clouds, but bugs is definitely most popular! And as an added bonus, all thst squirting is strengthening her hands resdy for lesrning to write!


Friday, 1 November 2013

Blog every day in November day 1- Introduction

For the month of November I am taking part in a challenge to blog every day.  This challenge has been set by Elizabeth at Rosalilium, who has also set up a month long list of topics and ideas to serve as inspiration to those taking part, such as Bonfire night, relax and hobbies.

The main reason I wanted to take part, apart from liking a challenge, is that there is a whole host of other bloggers taking part in the challenge and the idea of doing something as psrt of a community of bloggers and getting to know them appeals to me.

So, to start, a little bit about me. I an a 32 year old mum of 2, originally from South Wales but now living in Berkshire, where my other half is from. I met said other half 11 years ago in Sydney, Australia when I was backpacking round the world, and he took me to Sydney hsrbour for our first date. I have 2 lively girls who are 3 and a half and 1. I started blogging about 6 months ago, mainly about crafts we do with the children and family life, and find writing my blog had become an important escape for my brain from dsy to day life. If I could wish for anything in the world, it would be a good nights sleep!

Let the challenge begin, I look forward to getting to know some fellow BEDN-ers, so feel free to say hi and

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Easy Halloween craft you can do today!

So Halloween is here and Princess is very excited! So here is a roundup of the easy Halloween crafts we have been up to this week to get ready. They are all easy and use things you probably have at home already.

Really easy and effective pumpkins made out of paper plates

We had lots of fun turning an empty tin into a pumpkin
A spooky ghost made from a paper plate

Happy Halloween all, have fun!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pumpkin plate craft for Halloween

Princess and I decorated our kiving room today ready for Halloween, so we made some pumpkins to put up on the wall. Even Grapie had a go, and they look great!

You will need: 
Paper plates
Orange paint
Black paper

First the girls painted the plates orange (it was Grapie's first ever go at painting!)

While the paint was drying, we made the faces. I drew triangles for the eyes and nose and drew some different pumpkin mouths on black paper, and cut them out. Princess drew her own, insisting that her pumpkin mouth needed proper teeth too! Then once the paint was dry we stuck on the faces. Here are our finished 3 pumpkins.

Once we were all decorated, we had a practice Halloween party which mainly consisded of the three of us dancing round to the Ghostbusters song!

What will you be doing for Halloween with your little ones this year?