Halloween books!

It’s that time of year where I get out the Halloween book basket. I love themed book baskets and this one has lots of greats! We actually enjoy these books all year round but they have a link to Halloween so we’ve been reading them alot more lately.

These are the books my girls are loving for Halloween. Some of these have been enjoyed for a few years and are firm favourites…

1.Ten little monsters

This is a fun book about different monsters and Halloween characters. It begins with ten little monsters and each page looses a monster. Great for learning to count downwards from ten. We love the illustrations in his picture book. There is lots going on in the picture and Evie likes to take her time and see what she can spot in the picture. 

2.Meg and Mog

This was one of my favourite books when I was little and one of the first books I bought for Evie. Bold, bright illustrations and simple, snappy text. It’s great for young childrens attention span.

3.Funnybones

This is a new one for us this year but I can remember it from my childhood. It follows two skeletons and their skeleton dog on a midnight adventure to try and scare some people but they can’t find anyone to scare! 

4.Thats not my witch

Again, this is new to our collection. Rosie is the perfect age for the ‘thats not my…’ series. She loves discovering the textures and the bold illustrations. 

5.Room on the broom

This is one of the first books Evie fell in love with. She was given a sound book version when she was one, we now have a regular edition. She’s also been eyeing up the new book staring the witch ‘whoosh went the witch’. A great rhyming tale about a witch and the friends she picks up along the way. Evie loves it when the dragon starts to chase the witch and her new friends save her! 

6. Peppa’s Pumpkin Party

Not exactly a literary great but if your little one loves Peppa like my girls do, it’s bound to be a hit. Peppa and her chums dress up for Halloween, carve a pumpkin and have a party! 

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Moon by Patricia Hegarty

We recently received this gorgeous book, Moon by Patricia Hegarty and Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup  and I wanted to share our thoughts about it with you.

I was a bit cheeky and opened up our parcel when E was at my Mum’s, I just couldn’t wait! And I wasnt disappointed! 

We read it for our bedtime story that night… Each page depicts a nightime scene from somewhere around  the world, showing different animals that would be awake during the nightime in that part of the world. Alongside this, each page has a glistening moon and shows a different phase. As you turn the pages you can see the phases of the moon , from crescent to full moon and back again. The shiny moon was a real draw for E. She wanted to touch it on each page and at the end she was keen to spot the real moon out of her window! The illustrations are just beautiful, they captivated me as an adult and Evie was just as captured by them. The gentle text is short and rhymes which is great to maintain a little ones attention.  

Evie has asked to share this book with me many times since we received it on Friday and she was excited to show her Daddy. I can see it becoming a firm favourite here. 

As a parent I love the knowledge of the world aspect -the phases of the moon, how the moon effects things on earth, nocturnal animals. A great way to teach the wonders of our world to little people. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Thanks for reading

Amy xox

P.S this is not an ad or sponsored in anyway. 

Favourite children’s books-September

I asked Evie what books she was enjoying at the moment and I observed what Rosie has been going to. Here are the books the girls are loving in September…

Rosie loves…

Rosie is obsessed with the book ‘Birds’ by Marion Billet. It’s a simple book but lovely for her age. Each page displays a different bird and you can press a button to hear the sound the bird makes. R absolutely loves to point to the bird and then press the button. She claps when the sound comes on. She can often be found looking at this book!

Rosie’s other favourite at the moment is ‘Wheres Mr Lion?’ by Ingela Arrhenius. Again a simple book aimed at under twos. Each page asks “Where is…?” And each page has a felt flap that needs to be lifted to find the animal. Mr Lion is based on safari animals but there are other books in the series that focuses on different groups of animals.  The felt flaps are a great added texture, fab for little hands to grab and they’re attatched well. R loves lifting the flap books but she has ripped a few off before. These seem pretty tough though! 

Evie loves…

Whatever Next by Jill Murphy. I’m so glad she loves this book, it was one of my favourites as a child. Evie is really interested in space and in particular the moon, so this was always going to be up her street. The little bear sets out on an adventure just before his bath. His imagination takes him to the moon in his little cardboard box! It’s inspired E to turn her own cardboard box into a rocket! 

Another one of Evie’s favorites at the moment is Here comes the sun by Karl Newson and Muggy Blanco. This was gifted to us in a book swap and we’ve really been enjoying it. A sweet little tale about an owl who stays up all night to see what happens during the day. Great for helping little ones understanding the difference between night and day and explaining nocturnal animals. 

Finally we have a non-fiction book- The book of shapes by Sarah Dyer. We also have The book of colours and The book of opposites. All three have been a big hit but in particular the shapes. I don’t know if it’s a phase toddlers go through but E is really interested in shapes at the moment and this book has wonderful illustrations to help spot shapes in our environment and to name shapes. This book is from a wonderful online bookshop called Small Print Books. As the name suggests, they specialise in children’s books that are not widely available. Such great service and choice of books. Great if you’re looking for something a bit different!

What books are your little ones enjoying at the moment?

Thanks for reading

Amy xxx

Toddler speech delay, an update.

If you follow me then you will know that my eldest, Evie is now 2 and half and has a speech delay. I have been aware that her speech wasn’t developing as it should at her 1 year check and after 18 months of asking for support and getting fobbed off, a HV has finally agreed that she has a speech delay and we MAY get some help. 

Here is my previous post about Evie’s speech if you want to catch up. 

So here we are, Evie two and a half. Up until her second birthday she didn’t have any words, just babble. Around her second birthday she started saying Mum and that was it for a while. Her speech has really taken off since around March time with new words coming daily now. However she is still behind where she should be for her age. 

We recently had her 30 month check and it was finally acknowledged by a HV that she does have a delay. She currently has around 100 words and only speaks in singular words. She should have around 250 and be putting 2-3 words together E.G “Daddy work, drink please” . 

As she is making progress we are giving her two months to hopefully gain a wider vocabulary and start putting two words together. If she isn’t doing this by July then she will be referred to Speech and Language Therapy (SALT). Since her 30 month check she has on occassion’ put two words together, she has said “Pooh Bear, Bear Hunt’, mummy please, daddy please, oh no, help please, spider man” and as I’ve mentioned new words are coming daily. 

So that’s where we are. I’m starting to feel quite sorry for her now, although she’s so happy in her little world. But I notice when we go to toddler group or other places where there are children near to her age, they engage and want to play with Evie as does Evie but the language is quite a barrier. E looks more like 3 and a half and so people talk to her and ask her questions expecting a response, as you would but it’s a bit awkward when she answers back in gobbledygook and I explain that she has a speech delay. It’s also frustrating with people we do know because they assume that as she can’t verbally express herself them she doesn’t understand or doesn’t know things. She’s actually quite switched in all other areas and has great understanding. This is part of the reason she’s never been given any professional support. 

It’s also becoming increasingly frustrating sometimes to meet Evie’s needs. She’s so keen now to say things which is great but sometimes I can’t understand what she says at all. When she had no words she would point and make gestures. She does this less now she has more words but it can be a struggle to know what she’s asking for or pointing out. We’ve tried using pictures which is helping. 

Going forward we’re just supporting E as best we can, encouraging her to develop new words, reading books with her, singing songs, asking her questions, talking to her, praising her when she does use her words. I repeat things back to her that are not 100% clear to model the word to her and get clarification that that’s what she means. We focus on the things she can do not the things she can’t. She’s a happy little soul (tantrums aside!) and we just continue to enjoy her and her happy little world. 

Thanks for reading 

Amy xx

N.B I wrote this back in May and forgot tho hit the publish button. Evie speech has come a long way since then and I’ll write another update soon! X

Summer Bucket List 2017

It’s probably a very unpopular opinion but Summer is my least favourite of the seasons. I know, I know but I’m not a fan of the heat. I love that the sun is shining but I’m always counting down to autumn when the air is less heavy. Nonetheless we want to have as much fun as we can so here is our summer Bucket list! 

1.Visit the Beach

2.Eat ice Creams at the Rowdey Cow. 

3.Visit the splash pad at the park. 

4.Go on a Picnic to Bowood. 

5.Get the paddling pool out. 

6.Make fruit kebabs.

7.Ice sensory tub. 

8.Pick our own strawberries 

9.Visit Avon Valley Park

10.Go on a minibeast hunt

11.Go on a nature walk.

12. Visit Bourton on the water. 

13. Make an obstacle course in the garden

14. Build a sand castle

15. Roast Marshnallows on there BBQ. 

16. Make a jellyfish window catcher

17. Make ladybird stones.

18. Eat fish and chips at the seaside. 

19. Go on a trip on a bus. 

20.  Visit Farleigh Hungerford castle

What are your plans for the summer? What fun things are you hoping to get up to? 

Amy xx

Once Upon a Time -book bundle review

If you know us you know we love a book! It’s one thing I don’t mind spending money on for the girls and I love to watch their engagement and enjoyment that a good book brings. 

We recently discovered a lovely little business called ‘once upon a time book bundles’. I was quick to follow them on social media and when they contacted us to see if the girls would like to receive a bundle, we were super excited! 

Their bundles of books are tailored to your child’s age and matched as closely as they can with their interests. 

We  received a baby bundle, Rosie was thrilled and  although Evie is two, she  was just as keen to read all of the books! 

Rosie has been enjoying this lovely cloth books called ‘Whos in the garden?’. The pages make a scrunchy sound and one page even squeaks! Perfect for little hands and little minds to explore. 

The Rainbow fairy series has been great to pop in my handbag. I find it handy to take little things like this in my bag to entertain the girls when we’re out for lunch or having a coffee.

Evies favourite book has been ‘No matter what’ such a beautiful picture book with lovely words telling the little fox that no matter what, his Mummy will love him.

All in all we have been really impressed with ‘once upon a time book bundle’ The books are great quality, just as you would get in a bookshop. It’s a great way to start or build on your child’s book collection without spending a ridiculous amount of money. The delivery was quick from dispatch and they arrived in perfect condition. The books have been well matched to my children’s age/stage and Evie loved the little extras-stickers/canvas bag. It’s little touches like this that makes me love buying from small businesses. 

Thank you Once Upon a Time Book Bundles! 

Amy xx

Easter Basket 2017

You know me, I love a themed basket for special occasions and it’s that time of year to put an Easter basket together for the girls! This year the girls are almost two and a half and 7 months. 

The first thing I always add to our baskets is a book. This year Rosie has ‘Spots first Easter ‘ I thought it was appropriate seeing as it’s Rosie’s first Easter! Evie has ‘ We’re going on and egg Hunt’ a take on one of Evie’s favourite books- ‘we’re going on a bear Hunt’ it’s such a nice book with beautiful illustrations and lots of flaps to lift which E will love. 

Then they both have a little Easter themed gift. Evie has a tube of bubbles with an Easter rabbit face on the top. These were from  Matalan for about £2 and Rosie has a bunny face that lights up and changes colour. This was from poundland for £1 surprisingly. We had a similar one at Halloween in the shape of a ghost and Rosie still loves playing with it now so I’m sure she will love the bunny. Evie also has an Easter make and do book. This was 69p from home bargains. Some of the activities are a bit tricky for her but lots of them she can do with me and it’ll be a nice little activity to do while R naps. 

No Easter hamper would be complete without bunny ears! The big white ones are from poundland but E has had them in every hamper since she was born, gotta get your money’s worth! The floral pair are from Waitrose, they were £3. 
I don’t give Evie too much chocolate. It’s usually a real treat or my last resort bribery tactic. You know things have got desperate if that happens! Anyway, as it’s Easter I couldn’t let her go without a little choccie treat. She has a kinder bunny. Kinder is her favourite chocolate. This was about £2 from the supermarket. Rosie will only be 7 months old so no chocolate for her (mean old Mum) but more importantly she’s dairy free so definitely no choccie. As she’s so young Im sure she won’t mind but next year I will find her an alternative or some dairy free chocolate (ooo that sounds nice!). 

So that’s our Easter basket for this year! Do you make an Easter basket or something similar? What do you put in yours?
Amy xxx

Peppa Pig World March 2017

So this week Evie and I went on a mini break to Peppa Pig World with our favourite friend, Zoe! 

What a wonderful two days we had. Firstly Evie was a total gem! I don’t know what happened but there was no whinging, no tantrums, she happily waited in the ques and she loved hotel life! I was a bit worried it may be a bit too much for her and she would be too scared for any of the rides but she flippin loved it! 
We arrived on Friday, it was a bit grey and chilly but thankfully no rain. E was a bit overwhelmed at first and taking it all in. We managed to bribe her onto a tractor ride which is on the edge of Peppa World and she thought it was great fun. She then made a beeline to the gift shop (which I was hoping to leave until the end but hey ho!). She thought she was on super market sweep and grabbed everything she could find! With a bit of coaxing and explaining she settled on a Peppa Bear( like the one Peppa has) and a tub of Peppa playdough. She chose a mini bear for R. In a twist of fate the early shopping trip was actually a blessing because E then wanted to take Ted on EVERY ride and we did EVERY ride! We drove Peppas car, rode Grandpa Pigs boat, went to windy castle, rose Grandpa pigs miniature locamotive, the list goes on. The ques were small as it was a week day and E was so happy and had so much fun and so did the adults. 
After a successful day we made our way to our hotel. We stayed at the holiday Inn in Eastleigh near Southampton. I was really impressed. Obviously booking online we took a punt and hoped the reviews were accurate. It had a real family feel with Evie getting  an activity pack and helium balloon on arrival. Amazing  how happy a balloon can make someone! Children were also allowed to claim milk and cookies before bedtime which is sweet. Shame E spilled all her milk! 

The room was clean and had everything we needed. It wasn’t the comfiest of beds but I survived. The hotel restaurant was pleasant and E had a free children’s buffet, not gonna lie, might have nabbed a couple of her chicken nuggets hehe! 

We also had access to the hotels spa facilities and went for an evening dip in the pool which was great fun! 
Saturday arrived and we made our way back to Peppa World. The weather was beautiful but gosh, it was definitely a lot busier! Saturday certainly brings all the families to the yard. I would definitely recommend a weekday trip if you can. We hopped on a few rides and explored the soft play then made our way into Paultons Park. It was slightly quieter there and had some nice rides for the littles ones- we lived the tea cup dream!

All in all everyone had fun, we had an adventure and made memories and will definitely be going back!

Weaning Essentials

Rosie is now approaching 6 months old and I’m starting to get my head around weaning her soon. I’ve been on a little course led by my HV and have started getting everything prepared. So here are my top weaning essentials from my experience with Evie and things I think will be really handy this time around. I will be doing a mixture of spoon and baby led weaning as I did with Evie.

So here they are…

1.Sippy cup free flow. 

I know it can be messy to have a free flow cup but I’m told it is better for little ones as they are encouraged to lose the sucking reflex. Rose will only be drinking water from her sippy cup so I’m not too worried about mess. We found these tommee tippee ones great with Evie and have stocked up on some for Rosie. They are really reasonably priced, only about £1.50 in sainsburys.
2.Ice cube tray with lid

This is really useful if you’re making your own purees. Evie would eat about 1 ice cube size puree to begin with. It’s handy to pop one out, warm up and give to them. The lid helps keep it all in there when it’s still a liquid.

3. Masher and bowl.

I didn’t use one of these for Evie but I was recommended one and think it’ll be really handy. Great for mashing up food and giving it a bit of consistency rather than completely pureed.

4.Bibs- apron and neck.

As I will also be doing BLW I like to put an apron bib on the little one so all of their clothes are protected, it’s a messy business! I put a normal bib on aswell as I find food can still make its way under the apron. Sounds a bit OTT but I hate it when clothes get stained!

5.Bowls

We use basic Tommee Tippee bowls for spoon fed meals. They’re cheap and durable and do the job!

6. Spoons

These Munchkin spoons are great for the start of weaning as they have a soft tip so it’s gentle on babies mouth. They’re also BPA free.

7 . Microwave steamer

I find this so useful to quickly steam up some vegetables. Saves the faff of getting my electric steamer out and is much quicker.

8. Ella’s Kitchen pouches 

I do prefer to make my own purees/meals but for when you’re out and about or in a rush I do find pouches really useful. I like to use Ella’s Kitchen as there is no rubbish added and they are organic.

9.Weaning Books

When I weaned Evie I felt a bit lost. You’re just left to it and it seems such an important stage that I wanted to get right. I invested in a couple of books, I found ‘Ella’s Kitchen First Foods’really good for meal ideas for purees and finger food. I also used Annabel Karmels book. Again it had some good meal ideas in it. The main draw for me was the weekly timetable at the beginning. It highlights when the baby should have milk and food. I found it really useful so I knew Evie was still getting the right amount of milk.


 10.Travel bowl and spoon.

If you’re anything like me you’re out and about a lot. I picked up a fab bowl with lid on in boots. The spoon attaches to the lid and has a cover so when you’re on the go and have to put the equipment back in your bag , the mess is protected!

 

Baby Blues

Day three postpartum and boom. The baby blues have arrived. 

Forgot how much I hate this part. I had them with Evie and didn’t realise they would pass. I didn’t really know what the baby blues were then. I remember feeling tearful and anxious and did not like it one bit! 
Thankfully I can reassure you they do pass and knowing this second time around has helped me cope.

The NHS says ” baby blues are probably due to sudden hormonal and chemical changes taking place within your body after childbirth. Symptoms include…Feeling emotional and irrational. Bursting into tears for no apparent reason. Feeling irritable and touchy. Feeling depressed and anxious.” 

I was actually feeling like I wouldn’t get them this time. Rosie’s Birth was different and I was still on cloud 9. That was until a community midwife visited my house to check Rosie said that she looked slightly jaundice. I burst into tears! I knew there was nothing to worry about, lots of babies get a bit of jaundice. It was just something to keep an eye on. But I suddenly felt so anxious for her health.

I had a cry about the jaundice, then calmed down as The Mr reassured me. But the waterworks kept flowing that day…

When Evie fell over

When Rosie made a cute face

The thought of nighttime and a night of little sleep

Feeling bad for making the Mr do most things as I’m too sore post csection

Feeling like I just want to be with the Mr all the time and him not to go back to work the next day (he went back to work when Rosie was four days old)

Feeling like I should constantly hold Rosie otherwise she’ll be lonely in the Moses basket where she is quite happy. 

And because I’m so sore from surgery and just want to feel normal.

What a rollercoaster. One minute I feel like I’ve got this and the next I’m breaking out in tears. 

(I wrote this when it actually happened and I remember feeling so upset and anxious about the things in the above list. I read it now and it seems strange that those things caused me so much emotion. Those hormones are strong!)

I’m on a birth board and was surprised by how many women had not heard of the baby blues and we’re worrying about the way they were feeling and thinking about it, it’s something I’ve never spoken to my ‘Mummy’ friends about.I really think it is something the midwife should warn you about. To reassure you that it’s normal. And also make you aware of the difference between baby blues and PND and who to talk to if you think you may have PND.(please see the NHS website or talk to a health professional for more help and guidance on this.)

I wish I knew when I had Evie what they were and how I would feel. For me it’s a horrible feeling of anxiety, worry and stressing over the smallest of things. 

N.B Rosie is now 4 months old and I’m happy to report that the baby blues only stuck around for about three days! 

If you are experiencing the baby blues and are feeling worried or unsure, please talk to your HV. This is just my experience, yours may be different.