Monday, 31 August 2009

I love this .....

I love this. Karen O is the lead singer with The Yeah Yeah Yeah's.

And the film looks amazing - I can't wait!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I am a sucker for wooden toys. I just love the feel (and smell - we have a toychest of mainly wooden toys in our dining room and when you lift the lid you get a waft of the most amazing woody smell) of them and love the fact that they will last and last. I envisage my kids being able to hand them down to their children at some point in the future. They can be more expensive than the average plastic toy but definitely worth the investment in my book.

My boys each received one of these from Granny and Grandad last Christmas and they have to be the best quality toy I have ever seen. Extremely well made and also educational. They break apart into three pieces and can only be put back together by slotting the correct shaped pegs into the correct shaped holes. The passengers, wheels and windscreens can also be removed and all the parts can be mixed and matched with other models

The website (click link above) is great - really informative plus you can register your car (they all have unique registration numbers), print off colouring pages and read about the learning benefits.

They are available from several online independent toyshops in the UK - just do a search.
I know a certain small boy who has got his eye on this one.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Geometric designs

Being a maths teacher I am always drawn towards geometric patterns.
I've used this idea with some classes at school for different purposes, but I thought I would try it out with the boys and see what they could come up with.

I gave them an A5 piece of white paper with a border already drawn in. They then had to draw several straight lines (with a ruler) joining any two sides together. My 3 year old needed quite a lot of help with drawing his lines, but the almost 5 year old just needed me to hold the ruler steady for him.

Once the lines were drawn in with black felt pen, they then had to colour in the shapes created in anyway they wanted to. I encouraged them to use different colours and different types of colouring equipment (pencil crayons, wax crayons, oil pastels etc) but they generally made their own decisions, and this is what they did.

The one at the bottom is by my 3 year old - he always has a very clear idea about what he wants to do and there is no swaying him (not necessarily a bad thing - but he can be so stubborn). He loves to cut, stick, tear, smudge, layer colours on top of each other, scratch at surfaces and basically experiment in whatever way occurs to him at the time. I love this about him and hope he always has this side to his personality.

By the way, we have a set of these pencils and they are absolutely fab - gorgeous vibrant colours and shaped to make it easier for small hands. Expensive but worth it.

A proper cup of tea

My Mum bought me this lovely teaset for my birthday last year (thanks Mum!). Its by Whittards and I love it.

However, I realised today how rarely I actually use it.

When you've got two energetic boys vying for your attention it seems such an effort to heat the pot, spoon out the tea leaves, leave to brew, move the cup, saucer and teapot to the table, pour milk into a the milk jug etc.

But when I actually make the effort to do it (when 3 year old is napping and F is happily engrossed in film/book/game) it is so worth it, and I actually enjoy the process of making it properly. And best of all, it tastes (and smells) heavenly!

I had a conversation with my husband recently (prompted by an article in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago) about how happy you can feel when you sit back and really savour and enjoy an experience. By experience I mean everyday, routine rituals like preparing and eating your favourite sandwich, folding up freshly washed clothes, getting into a clean warm bed after a tiring day - you get the idea.

For me making and drinking a proper cup of tea is definitely a ritual that I am going to do more often, I've always believed that its the simple things in life that make you happy.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Meet Dylan

So we have decided to get a rabbit.

Our boys have been desperate for a pet for a while now, so we have decided to get one for our eldest for his upcoming birthday (he will be 5). We would love a dog, but its just not practical at the moment, can't have a cat because G is allergic to them, I'm not a fan of hamsters/gerbils etc, fish can't be cuddled and I definitely don't want anything coldblooded!

I have done a lot of research and although there is some work involved with a rabbit (although not as much as a dog), I think its a great idea.

We have found a lovely baby rabbit from a very helpful breeder (thanks Janette-if you ever read this). He is a mini-rex which means he has a velvety coat rather than a fluffy one and is cute as a button. Here's a pic:

He is only 4 weeks old and has to stay with his mother until at least 8 weeks, so we have a month or so to get ready for him. He is going to be an indoor bunny. They can be litter trained like cats and if handled well from early on will be friendly and sociable. Watch this space for more updates on Dylan Rex.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems

These books are great. Mo Willems is a genius in our house! They are funny, just the right length and great for learning readers. My 4 year old can 'read' them all the way through. I say read - it's more like memorise, but thats how they learn isn't it? The illustrations are also hilarious. There is a whole series of them available and new volumes are being released all the time - they don't seem to have caught on in the UK as yet (although you can buy them here), but they are huge in the US.

Mo Willems also writes the Pigeon books - another favourite character in our house. I wasn't impressed when we first borrowed this one from the library but when you've read it a few times it really grows on you, plus the fact that my kids find it side-splittingly funny.

If you like the look of these, check out Mo Willem's website - lots of games, colouring pages and info.

After a summer shower .....

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Spot It by Delphine Chedru

My 3 year old got this book for his birthday recently and we adore it.

Each page consists of a stunning pattern and there is a small animal (think foxes, owls and sea urchins) to find somewhere within it. The patterns really are amazing - I could gaze at them all day!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Summer holidays

Being a teacher we have these amazing summer holidays - 7 weeks this year (we really do deserve them, honestly!). Being so busy during the year, it is just so nice to be able to wind down and actually enjoy some free time. I always make a huge list of all the things I want/need to do during that time and usually get very few of them of done but I'm never disappointed.

This year has been particularly special because my eldest son starts school in September, so we took him out of preschool when I broke up and we've been spending some 'quality time' together. We've had the luxury of having two days a week to ourselves, with G at work and my 3 year old at nursery and its been lovely.

Just some of the things we've done in that time so far:
Swimming (we've almost cracked it!)
Visiting a museum
Making party decorations
Walking in the rain
Going to the library (without the added stress of a rambunctious 3 year old zooming round the bookshelves)
Visiting friends/family and having them visit us
Paddling in outdoor pool at the local park
Adopting a baby snail (and then frantically searching for him when he disappeared 2 hours later)

He seems to be growing in front of my very eyes and I know I will remember and savour these moments in a few years when he no longer wants to cuddle and give me sloppy kisses.

I know he will love and embrace school, will relish the learning, the making of new friends and all the new experiences, but there is still a small part of me that feels sad at the end of this era.

Mostly, I am excited - I loved school and I hope he will be the same, and I am looking forward to how he will grow and develop away from me. Plus, we also have 2 and a half more weeks to fit in some more adventures!

By the way we did find the snail eventually - under the bookcase 2 weeks later!

And I can't take any credit for these gorgeous photographs - my husband took them.

The Haunted House by Kazuno Kohara

We all love books in our house.

I readily admit that I am obsessed with them , particularly children's books - and we have a huge collection. I will be sharing some of our favourite ones regularly.

We got this one out of the library last week - both my boys love ghosts and scary stories.
We loved the simplicity of the story, and the illustrations are amazing. Only three colours used throughout but so effectively.

The author has a new book Jack Frost out in September - we will definitely be checking it out.

First ever post .....

Well, here it is. My very own blog.

I've been following several wonderful blogs for the last year or so (http://// and are just two of my favs) and I've been itching to start my own for a while.

My aim is for it to be a mixture of photographs, links, things that I love and general musings, but we'll see how it unfolds.

I'm excited.