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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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”