Stock Rotation

Like any parents, we have accumulated a ridiculous number of toys. It’s fair to say that a huge proportion of them linger at the bottom of nicely-designed bags, and a few get preferential treatment (both from us and Bea). Occasionally, we’ll put things away because we feel she’s outgrown them – though these will be back out again in a few months when baby 2 arrives and can actually move about a bit. Continue reading “Stock Rotation”

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Hopeless Heroes Blog Tour!

So, I’ve signed up to do my first collaboration with Sweet Cherry Publishing, where I’ve received a couple of books to review. As an avid reader, and a teacher, I couldn’t turn the chance down!

Hopeless Heroes is a series of books written by Stella Tarakson and illustrated by Nick Roberts, and are aimed really at readers from 6-8 years old, so those from Year 2-Year 4 if you work in schools! The first story revolves around a young boy, Tim Baker, and an ‘accident’ with a priceless vase. Breaking the vase unleashes Hercules (of Greek mythology fame), who proceeds to change his life in occasionally positive, but usually comically bad ways. Throughout the book, Tim is constantly put in trouble thanks to his new friend, but manages to fumble his way through. The plot involving the bully, and Tim growing in confidence to stand up to him was a good message to the children the book is aimed at too.

I thought the part about the mum writing a book was a bit too self-referential if I’m honest, though on the whole the dynamic between Tim and his mum was a good one – there was an honesty to it and it was a believable relationship. I don’t think children would look at it in the way I would though! Finally, the ending sets up an interesting future for the characters involved, and hints at a wider story arch that will keep readers engaged.

The illustrations are great too, and Nick has done an excellent job throughout. The black and white Greek style works really well on the page, and are suitably cartoony for the age group.

We were learning about Greeks at the time of reviewing the book, so the children were able to spot the references to the trials of Hercules and added a bit more depth. I would definitely recommend saving these till your child is getting into Greek mythology or learning about it at school. Still worth a look by the way if your child is not that confident when it comes to reading, even if slightly older than the target market.

Now, onto the book tags. These are based on various characters in the books and Greek Mythology, and get you to think about your previous reads. Feel free to take part by listing your own book choices in the comments!

HH TAG QUESTIONS(1)

 

 

 

 

Nursery Rhyme Bingo

I have been meaning to blog about my experiences of being responsible for taking Bea and picking her up every day from the childminder’s, which has been hectic at times and an absolute treat at others. Either way, an hour or so in the car means a lot of time to fill, especially when she tends not to have a nap 90% of the time!

I’ve managed to eke out ‘Wheels on the Bus’ for over ten minutes, and repeated songs over and over on request (the shout of ‘More!’ from the car seat in the back is hard to resist!), and improvised more things than I care to imagine! Occasionally, we just stick on a bit of music for Ra-ra to dance to as she shakes him up and down whilst bobbing her head. I need to get the CD player fixed so I can move onto audio books and save my voice!

Anyway, I had an idea for this ticking over in my head. Feel free to play along, or just see if you relate to any of the bingo targets on the card below (either now or in the past!). No hard and fast rules, but I bet you’ll tick off at least one without even thinking. Feel free to share it around as well – apologies for the budget presentation, it was churned out on MS Word as quickly as possible!

nursery rhyme bingo full

 

Books, books, and more books…

One of my original plans when starting this blog was to get involved in children’s books a lot more. Reading has been a huge part of my life, and I am usually found with more than one book on the go. We were reading to Bea before she was born, and it is one of her favourite activities to do before bedtime. Her tastes are forever changing and evolving, but it makes me incredibly proud to see her walking around with various books and getting really excited about them! Yes, inevitably this involves a lot of repetition, but I think this was to be expected! I have definitely expanded my knowledge of children’s books in the last twelve months, and we need a fair few more shelves as a result!

To date, I’ve only managed one book review in eighteen months. That’s pretty poor, and way under what I’d hoped to do! In the next month I will be doing two reviews of books from Sweet Cherry Publishing, who got in touch a while back. This also means I’m involved in a blog tour for the first (and second) time this month! The aim is to review children’s books of all ages over time. Check out the Instagram and Twitter pages for more reminders of specific dates as I’ll be retweeting the offcial banners and stuff. Check out the snazzy hashtag #Febbookary as well for more conversation about reading.

In a brief attempt to get my book reviewing back up to speed, I’m going to do some speed reviews of some of our favs…

1. Where’s Mr Lion?

This is a big favourite with me, purely because Nosy Crow have solved that problem of the crumpled flaps we’ve got on all of our Julia Donaldson books. I’d never seen felt flaps before, but they are far more satisfying! There are some bold, colourful illustrations and some nice simple repetition that is easy for your chatty little one to get involved with! There’s also an engaging mirror at the end, which in our experience leads to a tongue poking out or turning the book to see mummy/daddy in the reflection!

2. The Bear and The Piano

This was one of the first picture books we bought for Bea. Lucy and I loved the story of a bear discovering an unusual gift for piano playing and his heartwarming return to his friends and family. Bea has gone through phases of liking this, and is now at the stage where she has the patience to sit for a bit longer and simply listen. There is even a version of this with sounds- we don’t normally buy repeats of things but may make an exception!

3. The Hat Trilogy

My sister introduced me to these when my nephew was tiny, and I had to get them when zbea was born. Jon Klassen is up there with my favourite illustrators(I would love a print for her room some day…), and I can’t wait till Bea is old enough to get the moral- if you steal someone’s hat, things aren’t going to end well…ok, maybe there’s something more meaningful at work there, but it’s the perfect opportunity to try out a few voices. The crab in the book pictured (That’s Not My Hat) gets me every time, it looks so guilty!

4. Each Peach Pear Plum

An oldie, but a goodie picked up in a charity shop. Bea has fallen in love with it over the last month and always joins in with the rhyming words on the page. As I mentioned in the ‘Beactionary’ post, I am loving every new word she discovers and uses! Getting her to point out all the items and things too is awesome to see as well.

5. Blown Away

I think we got this at the same time as The Bear and The Piano. Rob Biddulph has a clean, modern style of illustration and gets a surprising amount of expression into a range of animals in a short space of time. Lots of extra details to spot over repeat readings and a lovely rhythm to the book make this a joint favourite! His ‘Odd Dog Out’ was a recent library pick and had to be smuggled back! His daily post it notes for his daughter are both inspirational(ie, I’d love to do something similar) and so varied!

So there you have it. A glimpse into some of our bedtime reading! Keep your eyes peeled for more bookish things in #Febbookary and comment with your favourite reads!

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TOTS100

The Beactionary

The last half of 2017 wasn’t the best for the blog. I’m hoping 2018 is a bit more productive, and there has been so much to write about that has already been and gone!

I thought I’d use this first post to catch some important things before they slip away…

Continue reading “The Beactionary”

A Chilly Day Out in the Forest

Today was a rare day at the weekend with no visitors, no trips away or any other commitments. Whilst all of those things in recent months have been awesome, the chance to just be a trio for the day is something worth cherishing!

We decided to head down to Thetford Forest, which is about 40 minutes away from us. With our usual ‘precision-planning’, we set off during her usual nap time, and Bea dutifully obliged, nodding off peacefully in the back. This would give plenty of energy for the next couple of hours!

The weather didn’t initially scream ‘let’s go out and play’, and we were both constantly aware of her getting too cold. Bea, on the other hand, just wanted to be and roaming about as per usual!

Our first port of call was meeting the Gruffalo, which is yet to be read in our house but she knows it from the childminder. From there, we nearly got a bit lost in the woods and came out at a fantastic sound trail. Bea (and us) had a great time smacking and jumping on things, creating all kinds of echoes around the trees. These little moments were occasionally interrupted by dogs popping out of nowhere (and Bea loves nothing more than trying to chase them!), but our musical explorations left us ready for lunch, which was suitably hearty and warming.

The afternoon was spent arond the obligatory play area, but in reality most of it was spent with Bea applauding the children on the Go Ape highwire overhead! She then spent ages just running up to random people and smiling away and leaving us following behind meekly apologising for her interrupting their afternoon (I imagine this a fairly common trait among parents of toddlers…).

 

Back for a nap and snuggles in front of the telly before some teething kicked in around tea time (we’ll blame it on that and  not the new recipe we tried for tea!). Thankfully, a bit of playtime before bed distracted her enough and now it’s time for me to blog during Strictly! Don’t know why I didn’t think of using that time more wisely before…

 

 

The Blogiversary – A Year Of Blogging

I got a lovely reminder from WordPress that the blog started a year ago (last Thursday technically!). We were away for the weekend so this is the first chance I’ve had to reflect on it (in writing).

So which way to look at it? There’s the numbers approach (which I will summarise later), the photo approach (again, keep scrolling…) and a selection of my favourite posts so far.I reckon that’ll do…

What of the blogging experience so far then? I’ve really enjoyed putting our time with Bea into words so far. I’m not always as up to date as I’d like, I’m also not often confident to voice my opinion too much on here like a lot of other bloggers are (credit to them by the way!) and I still have no idea what shape this blog will take in the longer run. It’s hard finding the time outside of work, and in the last few months in particular, there has just been too much to comment on so I’ve been sat back and just enjoying the experiences in real life, sorry!

The blogging world has been an interesting world to enter too – there’s a wealth of information, opinion and bloggers out there, and there’s a lot to learn should I wish. I can say fairly confidently that I won’t be quitting the day job any time soon though!

So, the blog by numbers (sorry, can’t help it, I know Lucy will be tutting as she reads this…):

62 posts

3544 views (which is bonkers!)

1,779 visitors (not sure how this one works!)

29 WordPress followers

5 Email followers

There’s also a smattering of Instagram and Facebook likes/follows too, which I’m very gratfeul for! I’m glad people like to come and read, it’s a real sense of achievement when people actually do!

That’s the numbers out of the way.

Favourite posts? Not entirely sure, but I’ve picked some of these out to reminisce.

Here’s where it all began

This one brings back some strong memories of starting out as parents: LINK

This one was the first post that resonated with a friend: LINK

We’re still hooked on this particular series: LINK

The start of a manic December: LINK

We all make mistakes: LINK

And finally, time for some of my favourite photos. We’ve taken soooo many, and I made the decision early on not to share any photos of Bea’s full face – this has been a challenge, but one I’m glad I did. She might want to be involved in the future, but I want that to be her decision! Anyway, I’ve selected (and added) my favourites from the blog so far!

Just looking through all these makes me excited for the year ahead!

Real Mum Reviews

5 Tips For Your Baby Photo Shoot

Today, we went for a baby photo shoot with Barrett and Coe photography in Norwich. I’d love to claim that this is down to the glowing success of the blog, with offers coming in from everywhere for this, that and the other, but I’m going to honest with you- we won a raffle prize for a free portrait session. Here are some of the things that might be worth considering when taking your baby along to one of these (hindsight is a wonderful thing…): Continue reading “5 Tips For Your Baby Photo Shoot”

A Belated Birthday Post

I’m sure every blogger can relate to what I’m going to call ‘Blogger’s Regret Syndrome’ – you have a great idea for a post, you might have even taken some really good photos and even written a few lines in your head. Then, for me at least, life/work commitments take over (obviously, including lots of time with Bea and Lucy!) and the moment passes, but the blog remains and lingers. This is one of those posts! Continue reading “A Belated Birthday Post”

Day 359: 1 week till she’s 1!

My target, months ago, was to try and keep track of the days, rather than just let it all roll into weeks and months. I’ve been pretty terrible at this to be fair – I’m sure I’m not alone in attempting to set bold parenting targets and not quite meet them! Beatrice has just been surprising us day after day, and it’s impossible to keep up!

Anyway, we’re approaching Bea’s first (and my…ahem…we won’t count mine) birthday. A pretty significant event for any parent (obviously, I mean your child’s own first birthday- my child’s first birthday is probably only signficant to a select few!). The next week is set to be pretty frantic, so I’m squeezing in a quick post now, and will probably do another birthday-related post afterwards!

This time last year, Lucy was still working, just about to wrap up for the summer holidays. We were cautiously ready for any sign of her arrival, excited, bags ready, and birth plan all sorted. Both of us were certain she’d be late, and keeping fingers crossed so that I would also be on holiday! It seems strange now to think how far we’ve come in that short space of time. In a lot of ways, I feel it’s been the making of me too – it’s made me more switched-on and I’ve enjoyed (almost) every minute of it so far. Maybe I’m just more confident now, but having a ‘little me’ around definitely makes you walk that little bit taller!

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She’s standing pretty tall now too…

First Party Pressures

So what are we going to do to celebrate? Dipping your toe into the Pinterest World of Parenting (PWOP actually has a nice ring to it!) is usually a bad place to start (feel free to follow me here by the way if you do the Pinterest thing!). Self-doubt creeps in from the off. Thankfully, Lucy is brilliantly practical and keen to shoot down any ridiculous notions I might have.

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Look at all the tabs at the top- it’s like the ‘Inception’ of birthdays! You’ll never escape…
We’ve got a couple of ideas for some traditions, I’ve spent countless hours minutes looking up possible ones, and as far as her party goes, I’m sure that we’ll do what we always do and just spend a lot of time chasing her around the garden with good food, family and friends!

Sunday is going to be a busy day…and we can’t wait!

You can find out why I’m going to be a terrible parent on her actual first birthday in a future blog…