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 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…

 

 

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”

Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne

Since Lucy’s gone back to work, I’ve been responsible for getting our meals on the table when Bea and I get home. We’ve started planning our meals of a weekend so that we’re sorted for the week ahead. It’s really tricky planning any regular kind of variety, but we’re getting there. You can see our current week’s food here… Continue reading “Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne”

Cheffy Daddy: Lemon Chicken and Noodles

If you’ve been following on Instagram, you may have seen the photo already. This is my second #CheffyDaddy post, and since the last one(which was aaaages ago) Beatrice is very much into her solid food. We took the baby-led weaning approach based on talking to other parents, and we are really glad we did. It means that now, we can cook for the three of us and eat together. In terms of cooking, it means no salt, which is where you need other flavours to come in. Continue reading “Cheffy Daddy: Lemon Chicken and Noodles”

#ParentingIsAwesome

Ok, in my last post I mentioned that I would explain the meaning behind the hashtag that sits under the title of my blog page. Originally, the strapline was ‘a (relatively) positive look at parenting’ as I felt a lot of what I’d heard about parenting was pretty negative – focused heavily on logistics, lack of sleep and how your life isn’t your own any more. Continue reading “#ParentingIsAwesome”

Babyproofing the house: Round 1

So you may have caught our last Milestone Moment. Bea has been threatening to move under her own steam for some time now; it’s finally happened.

Time to delve into the world of babyproofing. Here are the results of my initial foray into Google:

Mother And Baby Reviews : I’m still none the wiser after reading these.

Parent Guide : The Holy Grail of all babyproofing knowledge. Seriously, well played Google. A friendly, well-written and more importantly, really clear set of comparisons.

Childproofing on Pinterest : As with anything on Pinterest, far too easy to get lost in something completely irrelevant but some nice infographics to get the point across.

Baby Centre UK : A very, very thorough list of some fairly obvious things. Perfect for the overly anxious.

Mothercare : Not a very well laid-out page, but lots of everyday things mentioned if you can pick them out.

Parents.com : One of those annoying slideshows with adverts everywhere. Didn’t get past the snazzy whale-shaped bath seat on page 1.

After flicking through those, we’ve decided to go with these.

I’ll let you know how they go…

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Milestone Moment: She’s crawling!

I’m going to be honest. The last couple of months have been full of ‘Milestone moments‘ in our family life so far. I’ll see if I can retrospectively remember them all in other posts, but the idea of these posts is to mark the occasions I know I’d otherwise forget!

Bea has always been pretty headstrong when it comes to getting about. She has been attempting to walk for what feels like a couple of months now, and gets incredibly frustrated if our backs are caving in and we take a break to stop holding her hands whilst she legs it round the house, giggling maniacally. However, rolling and crawling haven’t really been part of her agenda till recently.

It was a bit of a surprise to get a message of ‘So, she’s crawling’ on Thursday lunchtime (day #303 by the way)!

More importantly, Beatrice was very happy to show off her skills when I got home!

#gamechanger

She’s not quite going at the pace I read recently (a quarter of a mile in the time it takes to make a cup of tea…really?!), so we’ve got a bit of time to adjust to her newly-discovered talent! More on that later…

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Happy Mother’s Day!

March has been a slow blogging month. Sorry if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new post! I think I can look back on it in terms of content, if not quantity. I finally got around to writing a feature that is about something I am passionate about – children’s reading, and then wrote a very personal but heartfelt message to Beatrice. This post is probably going to be the last one of the month, so it makes me proud that the content for this one is just as important to me as the other two!

If I’m honest, this month has also been a blur of amazing awesomeness and it’s been hard keeping up with all of Bea’s new skills – this has definitely been one of my favourite months of being a parent yet. More on that in the future… Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”