Monday, 30 April 2018

Mummy and Me April

This month with the weather changing we have managed to get out and about more and so had a few more opportunities to get some pictures taken. 

So here are 3 for you from this month. One is when we had a great day out at the beech one sunny monday. Though it was still a little draughty so we were in our warm clothing still.
The second was from our walk to Gawthope Hall last week. Lily still has to be in the right mood to capture a picture with her and for the one at Gawthope she was being fussy but we still managed to sneak this one where we are looking at each other.

The last, is because Lily has had a real energy for climbing and jumping on me this month and so fun selfies have had to be taken! I think the quote for this is "ouch" 


Hope you managed to get some nice photographs out and about this month, and I look forward to the warmer weather bringing me more photograph opportunities. 




Saturday, 28 April 2018

10 Amazing Flap Books by Walker Books plus Giveaway

Who doesn't love flap books?
Flap books have always been one of my favourite types of children's books and something that I have always introduced Lily to since she was a baby. She now has a really good collection of flap books and they are some of her favourite books.

There is something really exciting about flap books and I love the element of surprise about them. They are also a perfect way to get your child involved in interacting with the story. 


So here are 10 brilliant flap books all from Walker Picture Books


1. Caterpillar to Butterfly by Francis Barry £7.99

What an amazing flap book with a difference. This book goes along the story of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and as it does you unfold a flap. Eventually as it is all unfolded, it has turned into a big flower shape with a beautiful butterfly in the middle. It is such a lovely book with the cutest illustrations and also a lovely rhyming storyline. The book is a hardback and is recommended for ages 2+. 



2. No Nancy No by Alice Tait £7.99

Have an adventure in London, all while lifting up the flaps and causing a little bit of mischief. Nancy is having a day out in London and seeing the sights. But she can't help but cause mischief. Each page has part of the story and then you lift the large flaps to see exactly what mischief she has got up to.
I do love how large the flaps are and its so exciting wondering what she could have possibly done to cause trouble. The illustrations are great and after spending lots of time in London I can say that they are drawn to perfect detail. you almost feel like you are in London! It's recommended for children aged 3+ and available in paperback or hardback. 



3. Are you My Mummy? By Mary Murphy £5.99

This is such a cute little flap book that is perfect as for a child's first flap book collection. A cute little puppy is running along looking for its mummy. It keeps meeting animals and asking "Are you my mummy" the animal replies with "No" and then you have to lift the flap to see who is the baby of that animal. Until the last page, where the Puppy asks "Are you my Mummy?" and the reply is "Yes, your my lovely puppy". This book is recommended for ages 0+ and is a hardboard book. 

4. Peepo Baby By Sebastien Braun £5.99

This is such a good book for babies because which babies don't love playing peepo. The babies are all hiding behind something and the writing asks "Who is hiding behind the?" Then you lift the flap and "Peepo!" There is the baby. It is super colourful and also a hardboard book. Perfect for babies and recommended for 0+.



5. Kiki and Bobo's Birthday Surprise By Yasmeen Ismail £7.99
6. Kiki and Bobo's Sunny Day By Yasmeen Ismail £7.99

Introducing the lovely characters of Kiki the Cat and Bobo the dog who are the best of friends. Both books involve a wonderful story about them spending time toggether and along the way you lift many flaps to find surprises and lovely illustrations to aid the story.
In the story Birthday Surprise. Kiki is planning a lovely surprise for Bobo's Birthday, she plans a party and cake, but in the end the actual surprise is that its actually her Birthday. The story has lots of flaps that are all relating to birthdays.
In the story Sunny Day, Kiki and Bobo both go to the beach and have lots of fun building sandcastles, collecting shells and swimming in the sea. Lots of the flaps are all beach related and its the perfect summer story.
I was really impressed with the amount of flaps in these stories. Sometimes you would open a flap and then there would be another flap underneath to open. I highly recommend these books. They are recommended for children aged 3+.



7. Who is the Biggest? by Petr Horacek £5.99

Although the title suggests that the books are all about things that are big and small, thats not the only thing included with this book. It's all about opposites and so we have things like slow and fast and noisy and quiet and short and tall. It will have one word with a picture of an animal on one page and then under the flap it will have the opposite with a picture of a different animal. As always the illustrations from Petr Horacek are brilliant and really make this book lovely. It is recommended for children aged 2+.

8. Who is sleeping? by Petr Horacek £5.99

Another lovely illustrated book by Horacek. This book asks who is sleeping and you lift the flap to find out who. The animals are all peeping out from the flap so this gives the children the opportunity to guess. This is another hardboard book so perfect for little hands and I think parents and children will both enjoy the pictures. Again this is recommended for children aged 2+. 



9. Surprising Birds by Elo £8.99

There isn't much words inside this book so it is more about the pictures. Each page shows an interesting looking bird. It is interesting because of its shape, pattern and colour. Each flap you lift, will have the word of the colour underneath and somewhere under the flap will be that colour. For example under one birds wing is a chick that is yellow. It is a lovely book to learn all about colours and children will love lifting the flaps to reveal which colour is underneath. This book is a hardboard book and recommended for children aged 3+.

10. Big Dog, Little Dog by Elo £8.99

This book is another book all about opposites and you lift the flaps to see the opposite. For example we have a short dog, and then you pull out the flap to make a long dog. The dogs are all really interesting colours and patterns which make the book really nice to read and will encourage your children to want to take a look inside. It is also a hardboard book and is recommended for children aged 3+.  



Lily and I have really enjoyed all of these books but I think her favourite have been the Kiki and Bobo Books. Lily is 3 and so all the above books are appropriate for her age but the books aged 0+ she has also really enjoyed reading independently. 

From a mums perspective, I really love the No Nancy No Book because of all the lovely illustrations of London. 

This is such a lovely selection of flap books and I hope that you find one that you like. Head to the Walker Picture Books Website now to buy your favourites.

Walker Picture Books would love to give one lucky person the chance to win 2 of the books from above. The choice will be yours to which books you would like. To enter for the chance to win some beautiful books enter on the Gleam App below.

Win 2 Flap Books from Walker Picture Books

Thursday, 26 April 2018

When to Introduce Where Meat Comes From to our Children

When should we introduce the concept of where meat comes from to our children? 
And how should we do that? 

Unless a child is brought up to be a vegetarian, then like Lily your child has probably been eating meat for a while now. Lily has eaten plenty of meats, chicken, beef, lamb, pork and she enjoys them all. But one thing I haven't yet taught Lily about is where that meat comes from. 

Myself, I obviously know that meat comes from an animal. I can't remember what age I learnt this, and i'm not even sure who taught it me, or if it was something I just came to realise over time. But I have grown up knowing that beef is from a cow, lamb from a sheep and pork from a pig. For me when I eat these meats, I must admit, I never actually relate the food I am eating to the animal. I don't eat beef thinking oooh this is a lovely bit of cow, and so somehow there has been a disconnection between the eating of it and the knowing of what it is. I think it is because of this disconnection that I actually manage to eat meat, because knowing me, If I thought about it too much I would end up becoming a vegetarian. 
This does make me wonder though that if I taught Lily about it now, would she end up making too much of a connection. She loves her animals, and telling her that her beef comes from a cow might cause questions with answers she could not understand. But there is also the other side of it all where I wonder should I tell her so then she can make her own decisions about meat. 

Then there is the question of how would I teach her about it and this is where I move onto the brilliant Taste N Tell Discovering Food books. 



Taste N Tell currently have 2 books out which are both about discovering foods. Inside they talk about the food and where it comes from. So for example we have the Discovering Fruit book which would show you an apple and that the apple has come from an apple tree. There is also a Discovering Vegatables book which would show you a carrot and that the carrot has grown in the ground. The books both have characters that you discover with and have fun illustrations and rhymes to support the learning about the food. Then the books all have a special pot included which you can place a piece of that food inside for your child to get out and discover.




The idea behind the books is that your children get to try the food whilst learning all about it at the same time. Which I think is a brilliant concept and works really well. 

But after making the fruit and vegetable book, the next type of food that Taste N Tell are looking to teach about, is Protein, and so they are looking to produce a book called Discovering Protein with Beefy Bear. 

But of course this book would be talking about meats, and if they were to be set out like the other discovering food books then it would show an image of the animal that the meat came from though taste and tell have decided to use a silhouette of the animal rather than a photograph. With the book being for ages 1-5 years, it then asks the question what would be an appropriate age for a child to learn about where meat comes from and would a book like this be the best way for them to learn about it. 

This is where I ask you my readers to fill in a very short survey that Taste n Tell are conducting which asks about these questions. We would really love to know your view on introducing the concept of where meat comes from to your children. 

As a thank you, at the end of the survey you will have the option to be entered into a giveaway to win the Book 'Discovering Vegatables with Veggie Vole'. 

Please Click the following Link to begin filling out the survey. 
Click here to Begin


Also feel free to leave your comments below with your opinion on the subject. 

*Competition Terms and Conditions*
- Entrants must reside in the United Kingdom.- There are three individual prizes available for this prize draw. 
- Three winners will be chosen at Random and contacted by email. Each winner will receive one Taste 'n' Tell 'Discovering Vegetables with Veggie vole' Starter Pack.
- Competition and Survey closes on the 31st of May.

- Personal details will only be used for this prize draw, and will not be used for any other purpose.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

13 Reasons Why You Should Take up Pole Fitness!

If you have been following my mid month more about me posts, you would have seen that I have now taken up pole fitness. I must admit, apart from the odd bruise here and there, I am loving doing pole fitness. Its fun, and it is doing a great job for my body and strength. So I though I would list for you 13 reasons why I think you should take up Pole fitness. 



1. Increase your Self Esteem - 
As soon as you start pulling out the moves, the first thing you will do is feel great about yourself. You have totally made an achievement and not to mention you will start to feel better about your body. 

2. Increase Strength - 
You would be surprised how fast your strength builds up with doing pole. That first week you may not feel like you have the power but each week you will notice yourself getting stronger and stronger. 

3. Willingness to Take Chances - 
Pole fitness is all about pushing yourself to do something ( a move perhaps ) that you don't think you would be able to do. But as soon as you do push yourself and take that chance, and then realise that you can do it. Your whole outlook changes and you will start to believe that you can start to take more chances in life. 

4. Making New friends and Becoming Part of a Group -  
One of the things I have found from taking up pole fitness is that I have a whole new bunch of friends and we all have one thing in common, the love the pole! It is really nice to be a part of a group and have somewhere that you belong. We have group sessions at times called a "jam" and this is a great opportunity to socialise, help each other, support each other and have fun working together to get fit. 

5. It Builds Muscle -
Of corse with increased strength comes the increased muscle. I am often pleased to come home from pole and notice I have some little muscles showing on my arms, and that all my other muscles are starting to be firmer and stronger. 

6. It Tones your Abs - Oh yes it sure does! I have noticed a huge difference in my abs compared to week 1 of doing Pole Fitness. I am really looking forward to keeping it up and having them look even more toned. Lots of moves on the pole work on the abs, even simple pull ups can help. 

7. Increases Flexibility -
 
I have always been quite a flexible person, but I have definetly noticed the more I am pulling moves out on the pole, the easier flexing is getting. I can now touch my toes no problems and I find that I ache less when doing so. I can also straighten my legs more on split moves (although I am miles away from doing the actual splits.) The more you work at it, the more your body will be flexible.

8. Improves Co-ordination - This is one that I do struggle with myself, but pole does take a lot of co-ordination and moving your body in certain ways to be able to pull out the tricks. I can definetly notice a difference to week one when I started and so I can safely say it does improve over time. 

9. Freedom of Self Expression - Pole fitness can also be seen a performance and I think that if it is something you want to do then you can do it. I think it is a great way to show off something that you can do and also something to call your own. It is great to be able to impress yourself as well as impress the others around you. 

10. Redefine how you see Yourself - This is such a great workout for things such as self belief. I love to look at the photographs of myself after and think. I did that! If I can do that then I can do anything. It is super empowering and I believe you do come away looking at yourself in a more positive light. It is a great way to hold your head up high and feel good about yourself. 

11. Burns Fat - 
I sometimes think that burning fat can be related to things such as running around. It is surprising but pole fitness is actually a great way to burn fat. It is a full body work out and you are using every part of your body. It takes a lot of energy, effort and there have definetly times when I have felt out of puff from doing some moves. Can I see a difference in my weight? YES I CAN! I am not actually watching my actual weight as I am slim anyway, but I have definetly shifted some fat in some of the areas that I didn't like seeing it. 

12. Releases Endorphins - 
Endorphins, the happy hormone! After a really good work out on the pole. I feel great! It has been brilliant for my moods and I totally see a shift in them after I have done a work out. Thats why for me when ever I get the chance to do it, I do and feel much happier for doing so. 

13. Its FUN!! - 
Last but not least! Its fun!! I have never really been interested in fitness up until I took up Pole and now I can't get enough of it. Spinning around a pole and pulling out some cool moves is super fun and I also have a real good laugh at myself for sometimes not pulling out a move too. You really can't beat it!

So, Do you think you will be giving Pole fitness a try?  

  

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Top Tips for Getting Outdoors with Emma Kenny and Little Tikes

Engrossing videogames, wet weather and even fear of getting muddy are all excuses British kids use to get out of playing outdoors, according to peeved parents.
When parents ask their kids why they don’t want to go outside and play, 42 per cent have heard the excuse that it’s too cold to go out, and one in four say their little ones have been too tired to leave the house according to research by Little Tikes, which surveyed 2,000 parents with children, aged two to 16.
Psychologist and spokesperson for Little Tikes Emma Kenny said: “Outdoor play is a great way to bond with your child while allowing them to experience the fresh air and freedom outdoor activities can provide."


EMMA KENNY’S TOP TIPS FOR GETTING KIDS OUTDOORS

1. Have fun with them! Kids absolutely love to spend time with their parents. Whether you create an obstacle course in the garden up and over the slide and around the sandpit, or a simple game of hide and seek, playing together is fantastic for bonding and ensures lots of healthy activity.
 
2. Get kids growing! Connecting children with nature is a sure fire way to spark their interest in and connection with the outdoors. Planting sunflower seeds and having a ‘whose grows tallest’ competition is a simple way to get things growing!
 
3. Get creative with the outdoors, messy play becomes a lot more fun when it doesn't matter how messy you get. The sandpit and water table are great places to start making memories, and why not take the paints, paper and brushes outdoors and help your kids with their messy masterpieces.
 
4. Go on a nature treasure trail. Grab some bags and go out on a nature walk, take their scooter or trike making sure you gather interesting pebbles, and leaves along the way. When you get home you can make creative collages that you can keep as souvenirs.
 
5. Get them den building! You’re never too old or too young for den building. Aside from building imagination, dexterity and divergent play skills, there is nothing more exciting than having a secret den to play in
 
6. Go moon watching as a family. From counting stars, to learning all the shapes of the moon. Getting outside at night can help relax children before bed and help with a restful sleep
7. Play bug detectives! Get muddy looking under rocks and digging in the soil to see how many bugs and worms you can spot. This activity brings nature to life and helps kids feel a sense of excitement in the outside world


We try and get outdoors when we can and one thing Lily and I love to do is play with our Little Tikes Sand and Water Tray.



This sand and water tray has provided us with hours of fun so far and the great thing about it is that even on a wet day it can be played with. What better fun to be had than playing with the water section in the rain. There is never an excuse to get out and play with this Little Tikes Sand and Water tray.
It has 2 sides to it. One for water play and one for sand play. The sand play section comes with a lid. In the middle there is 2 water slides and at the water side there is a diving board and a dump bucket to pour and dump water into. Then at the sand side there is a sand spinner that you pour the sand onto. 

It also comes with a 2 in one rake and shovel and a little cup for pouring.

It is quite large at 82cm by 76cm but when put together it offers so much for play.
Another added bonus to this water park is that it comes with 2 characters for play. The characters also have a dingy to float around the water in and can slide down the slides by pressing a button at the back.


All the items are so colourful and so child friendly and made with a real sturdy plastic. The side with the water also has a plug so you can drain away the water when you have finished.

You can read a full review of the Sandy Lagoon Waterpark here.

Or head to the Little Tikes Website to buy it now at £49.99



What do you love to get up to with your kids outdoors? 

*Disclaimer - We were sent a Sandy Lagoon Waterpark for this post*


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Books About Kindness

One thing that I always want Lily to learn about is acts of kindness. 

Over time we have been collecting books and I thought I would share with you which books all about acts of kindness that I would recommend to you. 

First up we have The Last Chip by Duncan Beedie


The last chip is a story all about a very hungry pigeon. He is trying to find a meal but everywhere he goes he struggles to find one as there are bigger pigeons or seagulls that won't share their food. Eventually he decides he is going to give up on the thought of eating and settles down for the night. Just as he does, somebody offers him their last chip. It ends up that its a homeless person and they become friends and sleep on the streets together. 

I think the story of this book is lovely. It really sends a nice message to always be kind and share and give to others that also may be struggling. Also gives a message that no matter your situation you should always be kind and always think of others. By the homeless person giving the pigeon a chip, she then gained a friend. 

I really loved the way it was written and it had some great characters in it and the illustrations went along side it really nicely. I would really recommend this story and it can be bought from Amazon or Waterstones. 

Next we have A Gold Star for George by Alice Hemming


Gold stars are being given out to the animals around the wildlife park and George really wanted to get one. George was quite good at a lot, keeping his paddock clean, dressing well, but instead of focusing on just himself, he decided to help out all of his friends and ended up doing things like helping the lamas clean their pen. But because he helped out his friends, they ended up winning the stars instead of him. This made him really sad, but his friends all decided to make and give him stars to show him how good and deserving he really was of a gold star. 

This story is a great story all about friends being kind to each other and also being thankful of the friends we have that help us out. It is also great that it shows that no matter how much George wanted a gold star, he would happily still help his friends out who also wanted one. It is a great story about being selfless. 

The story has bright illustrations and great characters. We really enjoyed the story line. You can buy this book from Amazon. 

Last but not least we have Roo the Roaring Dinosaur by David Bedford


Roo loved his Moomie, which was his little blankie that he cuddled and snuggled. He used to take it everywhere with him and one day he was out with his moomie and a mammoth in a hot air balloon came crashing down. Roo and the mammoth played and soon became the best of friends. But soon it was time for the mammoth to go. But there was one problem, there was a hole in his balloon. This is when Roo had to made a hard decision and decided that he would give up his moomie which would fill the hole in the balloon. This act of kindness didn't go un noticed though and in return the mammoth sent down his blue scarf which became Roo's new and even better moomie. 

This is such a lovely story about kindness and giving. It really shows putting others before your self and is a real good tale of friendship. The illustrations are great and Roo is adorable. 

I have really enjoyed reading this book to Lily and may also be a great book to read to your child if they have something that they are going to need to give away. 

You can buy this book from the Books and Pieces Website.

Which book do you like the sound of? 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Mid Month More About Me - April

So I have some more update about my fitness for you. 

My fitness is something that I have been working hard on lately and I have taken it to the next level by doing even more classes and also working out at home. 

I am also starting to think about the foods I eat too. 

Here is a little more about my month of fitness. 

Areal Hoop 

After doing so well on the pole, I have now taken up Areal Hoop. I must admit, it has been something I have fancied as soon as I found out that the Cloud Areal Arts group does it , but I thought to myself I shall wait until I have got myself a little more strength before I start.

I am glad I did because wow, it takes a ton of strength to get up there and pull out some of the moves. I was quite able to pull out some moves on the hoop the first week I tried, though I did end up coming away with some bruises. Today was week 3 of hoop and managed to see how much my strength had increased from the first week. I am also bruising less which is good. 

Week 1


Week 2


Week 3 


Working Out 

Working out at home is something I have now started doing and I have noticed such a difference in how toned by body is since I started. I also have noticed I have lost weight which wasn't planned as I mostly wanted to tone, but looking at myself I have lost weight from my stomach and hips.
I am doing things like Squats, Sit ups, Leg raises, and the plank and these are all starting to tone me up really well. I get such a buzz after doing these exercises and it really does give me a boost of energy.

As well as this I have been doing a lot more stretching and started to build strength in my arms with push ups and handstands.  



Eating Healthy 

I am definitely not on a diet. But I have started to think a little more about the foods I am eating. Which ones give me energy and also protein to build my muscle. I have started to try and eat more chicken, beetroot, and also fruit. I also want to build up my iron as I know that will help my energy so eating green veg and salad like spinach and rocket. Luckily I do love eating those and could actually happily sit and eat them like a bag of sweets.

I am really happy with how my body is shaping up so far, I am definitely seeing more definition on my body and seeing some muscle develop. But I have a way to go yet when it comes to full strength and muscle tone.

But I am keeping going and for now, I am pretty pleased with myself.

If working out isn't something you do, you should think about giving it a go. I never though I would enjoy it as much as I am, but its doing my moods, energy and body a power of good. 


Do you work out? 
What kind of exercise do you like to do? 




 



Friday, 13 April 2018

Orchard Toys Pizza Pizza Game Review

You just can't beat Orchard Toys Games! Fun, Educational and so far our favourite ones to play.

And we have a new one to tell you all about. It's called Pizza Pizza and Orchard Toys were kind enough to send us one to review. 




On the box, the game looks like its going to be so much fun. Every child loves pizza and so Lily was super excited to be playing a game. 

The game comes with - 
  • 4 pizza bases
  • a spinner
  • pizza pieces
  • chef with a dustbin board


Each pizza board has 5 colours on it and 5 different shapes on top. All the pizza slices are also a colour and have a shape on them. You get given a pizza board each and then the slices are layed down coloured side up. On the other side, there are lots of different toppings and some of them have bugs on top! 


The idea of the game is that you spin the 2 spinners, the spinners may land on EG - red and a triangle. Then you can choose wether you want to choose a piece of pizza with a colour on or a shape. As the game progresses, you may only have the option of choosing the colour or shape.

You then turn the piece of pizza over and if it doesn't have a bug on it. Then you can place it on your pizza board. 



If you do land on a pizza with bugs on them you have to shout IN THE BIN, and put the piece of pizza on the card with the chef and bin. Lily always screamed so loud when she got a bug and threw the piece down like they were real. This added such an element of fun to the game. 


The spinner also has a little pizza symbol on it. if your spinner lands on this, then that means you get to steal one of your opponents pieces. Lily didn't really understand this part of the game and didn't want to give up her pieces most of the time.

The winner of the game is the one who fills up their Pizza board first. Lily usually ended up winning but then at times she did cheat by not wanting to give me any of her pieces.


I think this game is really good for learning how to take turns, follow instructions, learn to match colours, and match shapes. The game is also brilliant for learning about foods as each pizza piece has a different topping. I found it great talking about what was on each peace and Lily loved to tell me which foods she liked.

As always with Orchard Toys Games, they are super colourful, super child friendly and also made from such good quality card that isn't easy to bend or ruin. Orchard Toys games are made to last and I love that fact about them.

I would really recommend this game as its such a good concept and also so much fun to play. I even enjoy playing this game as an adult and it is one of my favourites so far.

The game is for 1-4 players and is recommended for children aged 3 to 7 years old. You can buy it on the Orchard Toys website for £10.00. 


Do you think your child would enjoy this game? 


Thursday, 12 April 2018

My Photography Post - April

Well this month has seen another month where I have not had the time to go out and do some photography. But that said, I have felt very inspired and I have decided to start a new project.

One thing that made me inspired was a recent Tv show that I watched. It's called Flesh and Bone and is on Amazon Prime. It is quite a dark show and is all about a girls uprise as a ballerina. Watching the final episode and seeing such beauty in the dancing, I was totally inspired to go and see a ballet for myself. What luck would have it, the local play house had swan lake on and I just managed to get myself a seat. It was an amazing show and I left even more inspired.

As some of you may know, I have started Pole and Areal Hoop Fitness recently and so this is another thing that has inspired me to take up my new photographic project. I have decided that I am going to be doing a project on Performance. Starting with dance, areal hoop, pole fitness and also acrobatics. 


I haven't started shooting it yet, but I have sourced my first dancer and my first location idea for a shoot. I have a friend who is currently training in contemporary dance and also does ballet. It was only while I was photographing the amazing location of St Annes Beach when I decided that it would make an amazing location for a dance shoot. 

So, the only photography I have for you this month is some images of St Annes, taken on my iphone. But just know that there are some interested photography posts coming up. 







What kind of Performance would you like to see me photograph?