Tuesday 30 May 2017

10 Little Things That Make Me Happy

I was recently tagged in a post from Jenna at Chic Geek Diary to write 10 little things that make me happy. Just like she says in her post, most of the time the focus is all on our children and I don't often get much me time, or spend much on myself or write about myself. So I thought it was a lovely idea that she is spreading the happiness and getting us to focus on ourself for a change. So here are 10 little things (other than Lily and my partner and family) that make me happy. 

1. My Photography. You may have seen one or two posts on here about my photography but this is the thing that I can always reply on making me feel great. When ever I am out and about with my camera I am just at peace with myself. I don't need anyone around me and my camera is my company. I feel a sense of de-stress and creative release and it helps me notice how beautiful things around me are. My Camera is one of my best friends and i'm really happy that I now have a new smaller camera that I can take with me where ever I go. 

2. Getting to dress up nice. Wether its just putting a little bit of makeup on, or wearing a nice dress for a party or treating myself to a sexy bit of lingerie. I love to make myself feel pretty. I love the feeling of wearing something where I look at myself and feel good. Always makes me happy to do this and I need to do it more often. 

3. Getting my Hair done. I really need to make the effort to get it done more often because firstly I love sitting there relaxing as I have it done and then secondly I love looking at my hair finally done all nice and neat. I generally hate my hair so really makes me happy when I have made it nice. 

4. Sweeties and Chocolate. Im a huge sweetie and chocolate fan! A nice little treat of Jelly Beans, Jelly Tots, or any thing sour really puts a smile on my face. As does a nice Crunchie bar or a nice box of mint chocolates. My family knows how much I love mint chocolates as they are literally devoured as soon as I get my hands on them. 

5. A cheeky Take Away. I do love the treat of a nice takeaway. No cooking, No washing up and instead someone bringing it to your door while you have your feet up and watch a film. Hard to choose my favourite take away. But I would probably say Indian. I have had many nights alone in the past where this would make me sit there with a big smile on my face. Indian food and films are great company. 

6. Going to the Cinema/Film night. I love watching films and there is no better feeling than when you have watched a film that you have totally loved. One that kept your eyes glued to the TV or cinema screen and left you feeling so full of excitement as you finish watching it. I remember the smile on my face after seeing Beauty and the Beast and loving it and the amount I laughed and smiled watching Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 lately. Cinema night out on Friday and I can't wait for it. 

7. Weymouth. Okay so this is more a big thing than little thing. But even the littlest thought of being there makes me happy. There is never a moment in weymouth i'm not happy and so many of my happy memories are from when I was there. Bring on the 8th of July when I will be there again.

8. A cuddle. I have always been a big hugger person and will happily hug people I have never met before. I have been very tempted to be one of those people who stands there in the street with a sign saying "FREE HUGS". I almost crave hugs and cuddles and they are definetly something that when I get them they make me happy.

9. Going for a walk. I love to go off exploring. I am at my happiest when out and about walking. Wether it be new places i'm going or places i've walked many times. I have always felt very relaxed when walking. I do love going for walks with people as well as by myself. By myself its a great time for reflexion and thought but also with others its a great chance to have a really good conversation and chat. Also what better way to get to take photographs than out on a long walk. 

10. Tricky to put my final thing that makes me happy here. Still so many things I could write about. I could mention how I love to collect dolls or how I adore my pets. But instead i'm going to say Pyjamas! I love to snuggle into a pair of pyjamas and get so excited when I get a new pair of them. It is probably the reason I always buy Lily them as well. I did treat myself to a new pair this week. Beauty and the Beast ones which i'm super happy about. 

I struggled to write this list for 2 reasons. One because I don't often think about myself and my happiness needs. And two because when I got thinking about it. There are lots of little things that make me happy. 

Im now going to nominate Jenny from Midwife and Life to let us know what little things make her happy. 

What things make you happy? 

Monday 29 May 2017

Mummy and Me - May 2017

This month it hasn't been an exciting month photograph wise for me and Lily. Although we have done lots, I still haven't managed to get some photographs of me and her doing those things. But I did find 2 photographs from a day out I had at the start of the month. Lily was particularly cuddly this day and so I got some lovely cuddle photographs. In the second she has fallen asleep on me and these kind of cuddles are still one of my favourite cuddles. These type won't happen for much longer and so need to get as many photographs of it happening as possible. Next month I really must remember to make people take photographs of me and Lily. Hopefully the sun will be out more next month and will get lots of lovely days out. 

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

Saturday 27 May 2017

Celebrating STEM - Our Maths Activity

After hearing that Learning Resources was celebrating S.T.E.M this month, I thought that I would join in and celebrate it too. We love learning and S.T.E.M gives us great opportunities to do this. If you are unsure what S.T.E.M stands for it's Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Some of these areas of learning you may think are a little advanced for a young child but in fact they are all things that your child naturally has the ability to learn and will also pick up easily. 

This week is all about Maths. Maths is something that is so easy to involve in your child's lives every day. Ever since Lily was able to climb steps we have counted them. Not only is it a subject that is easy to do, its one that children really seem to enjoy. Lily started counting things even before she knew numbers and would just make a noise as she pointed to each thing. 

There are lots of different areas of maths that you could focus on. You have shapes, sizes, volume, counting, recognising numbers and many more.

For this weeks activity I decided I would just see what I could find around the house to make a quick but fun maths activity. Lily has plenty of toys that really help her with maths. Such as this Learning Resource Number Turtle Toy we reviewed. But I really do love to show that you can always teach maths by using things around the home. 

So for Lily I decided to firstly find some container type items. I found a small tub, a old bottle and a tin pan from her kitchen. These were perfect as they were in 3 different sizes and so I could ask Lily all about size. I then found conkers which we had collected months ago and thought that they would be perfect for this activity. 

I then asked Lily which was the smallest tub. She picked the smallest one up and was pleased when I told her she was correct. When I asked her which was the biggest she chose the bottle. The bottle isn't the biggest but the tallest and so I think this confused her a little. I feel I probably should of found something taller than the small tub, but not as tall as the metal tin.

After this I got Lily to count the conkers into the small tub. Lily can now easily count to 10. But we only managed to fit 8 conkers into the small tub. I then got her to count the conkers into the bottle. Lily counted up to 10 but forgot 11 and went onto 12. I corrected her and then we counted toggether all the way to 18. Which was the amount of conkers that would fit in and also the amount we had. 

At this point I was also teaching Lily about things being full and things being empty. This teaches her about volume. We counted the Conkers into the big tin and the whole 18 conkers we had filled the tin with more room to spare. 

I then did the activity all over again but I used some foam packaging that had come out of a parcel. Im always keeping little handy things like this around the house for arts and crafts.

In the small tub we managed to count and fit 13 of them. In the bottle we fit 22, and in the tin we managed to fit 40. During the Activity I asked Lily questions like "Do you think we can fit any more in?" "Is the tub full?" 

This is a really good activity to get your child thinking. 

Lily must have really enjoyed doing this activity as after I had finished it all. She sat and carried on playing with it. Filling up the tubs and counting. Lily starting counting teen numbers and also some numbers in the 20's but she didn't do these in order. This is the first time I have heard her say any numbers in the 20's and so I think she picked these up from when we were counting together.

Lily has accsess to these items when ever she likes so she can practice her counting. 

What sort of activities do you do to encourage leaning maths? Do you think you will be trying this activity out? 

Friday 26 May 2017

Our Summery Day out to Hebden Bridge

With knowing that today would be such a hot day, I decided I would take Lily somewhere new. We have been to the near by parks so many times now and I don't drive so i'm limited to some places I can take Lily for the day. But one place popped into my head that I used to always remember enjoying going to when I was a child. That place is a small village called Hebden Bridge. Its in yorkshire just outside of lancashire where I live and only takes 20 minutes by train. 

So I packed a small picnic and we headed off out to catch the train at 11am this morning. 

I told Lily that we were going to be having a picnic and so the entire way there she was excited about that and was super well behaved on the train.

We arrived at around 11.30 and the first thing we did was head to the park. Next to the park is this huge area of grass where we decided would be the perfect place for a picnic. The area was so quiet and peaceful and there was really nice views of the hills where walkers generally head for a challenging climb. Lily complained when we got there as silly mummy had forgot a blanket. Tut tut, not much of a picnic with out a blanket. But I let Lily sit on my bag so she had something to sit on. 

After Lily has eaten her lunch of cheese sandwiches, cheese crisps, and a cheesy babybel we headed to the playground. On the way Lily spotted the skate park. It was super colourful with graffiti all over it and Lily really wanted to go and see. This is where I have realised that my daughter can be a little poser at times. Look at her seeming like she is walking a catwalk haha.
The skate park is great and really big for if you have a little skater in the family. 

We did finally make it to the playground after here and Lily was really impressed with it. In fact so was I. It had so much. Firstly Lily had to try out the swings. Its her favourite thing to do at the park. Then after that she decided to walk around and see what else there was. Lately Lily has had a real big thing for wanting to do all the things she see's the older children do. She was really disappointed when I told her she couldn't go on the big climbing frame. I don't blame her. It does look amazing fun. But she is just too small yet. Luckily we found a smaller one behind it and she was quite happy to play on that. The smaller one was perfect for her age range and not something you often see at parks. She could easily climb up it herself and then go down the slide. 

There was lots of other cool things to see at the park. Including a water pump which lead water into different metal pools, and a very cool looking pirate ship that actually rocked. I swear i'm not only going to talk about how good the park was in this post and tell you about the rest of Hebden Bridge. But it was well worth the £8 train fair just to come to this park. Lily really enjoyed it. 

So now my only problem is that I need to get Lily to leave this amazing park. Asking wasn't working, telling wasn't working, and i'm not one for dragging my child away from the park. So looks like it will have to be bribery haha. The words "Lily would you like an Ice Cream" worked really well. As luck would have it, right next to the park is a lovely little cafe that sells ice cream. Also not just boring ice cream, but there was a choice of at least 15 flavours and they were massive! I got Lily a vanilla one with blueberry sauce and I had a forest fruits flavoured one. The ice cream was so big I ended up having to get a little tub for Lily's ice cream as it was dripping way to much. 

After Lily had finished this, we went for a walk to the shops. Hebden bridge has a really nice street of shops that I can only describe as Quirky and full of character. Its a really nice place to shop for something a little different. For example there is a really cool comic book store, lots of organic type food shops and a really cute toy shop which we happened to find Lottie Dolls inside. I also couldn't resist going into the soap shop which had a very enticing display of soap cakes in the window. One thing I have to say about this place also, is how friendly the people are. So many of the shop owners were really chatty and the soap lady gave Lily a balloon and the comic store gave her a free super hero comic. Lily at one point lost her balloon and a man actually jumped out of his car and ran and saved it for her. Today has left me feeling so happy with knowing that there are still many nice people in this world.

After shopping we headed to where we could see lots of ducks on a stream. To get there we had to go over a really old bridge. One thing that is lovely about Hebden is that is still has some old structures and buildings. Here is Lily posing with the sign that tells you about the bridge and then having a good run over it. She was also counting the cobbles as she walked on them.

Next to the bridge is the little steam with the ducks. First we fed the ducks, though mostly fed the geese as the ducks weren't very interested. After feeding the ducks some children started to come and dip there feet in the water. As I was saying earlier about Lily wanting to do what all the big kids do, she obviously wanted to give it a try. So off came the shoes and socks and she dangled her feet in the water. This is really not like Lily at all and usually she is hating being in water, but today was different and she wanted to copy the bigger girls and get in the water. So I decided to tuck her dress into her knickers and let her have a paddle. She loved it but wanted to walk in deeper to the other side where the pebbles were. I told her she couldn't as again, she was to small to go across on her own.

We decided that it was time to start walking back, but not before going to see the barges on the canal. There are so many of them along the canal and Lily had never seen one before. She thought they were great. We were lucky because the time we got to the locks, there was a barge coming and they opened up the gates to let it through. I have always enjoyed watching this happen and Lily did to. She was waving to the people in the barge as it passed. It was really great to teach Lily how the barge locks worked. Especially as we are having a STEM month this month and the locks are a great bit of engineering.

We had 10 minutes spare so I let Lily have one last go on the swings before we got on a train home. Before I left this morning I couldn't quite remember what was at Hebden Bridge. I wondered if there would be enough for Lily to do. Im so glad I took the risk as there was so much to do and Lily loved it. There was also lots we hadden't done today that we could of done. Like visit the lovely cafe's and eat in the nice restaurants. It is definetly somewhere we would visit for another day out.

Have you ever visited Hebden Bridge? If you are local do you think you would go? 

Country Kids

Thursday 25 May 2017

Celebrating STEM - Maths, Learning Resource Number Turtles Review

As you may know from reading my other posts. This month along side Learning Resources, I am celebrating all things STEM. If you are unsure what S.T.E.M stands for it's Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This week is Maths week and as well as carrying out our own activities for maths, I have a really great maths toy from Learning Resources to review for you. 

Learning Resources sent me their tub of Number Turtles to try out with Lily. Lily is getting really good with her numbers now and can count to 10. What i'm next wanting to focus on with her is counting how many there are of things, and recognising the numbers themselves. 

These Snap n Learn Number Turtles are perfect for just that. 

They come in a really handy tub, which means that they can be stored toggether. When I received them I loved the look of them and how cute and colourful they were. I knew Lily was going to really enjoy them. 

Inside the tub are 5 big turtles and 5 small turtles. They are all different colours and the colours of the big turtles match the little ones. They are incredibly cute. Lily has a hole thing of loving anything that is small and babylike at the moment and was loving how cute and small they were. They are also made from a really good quality plastic and are definetly a toy that is going to last and not break.

On each of the small turtles is a number from 1 to 5, and on the larger turtles there are shapes in different amounts. The colours match up to, So the red number 1 baby turtle matches the large number 1 turtle.

The numbers are shown really clearly on the little turtles and are easily readable. 

The next thing I learnt about these turtles is that the shells of the big ones comes off. The idea behind them is that you match the little turtles with the big one and put the little one inside its shell. Its such a cute idea. I love it. 

The shells are easy to pull off the turtles and easy to clip back on, they also stay on really well too. Lily found no difficulty with playing with them and could do it all by herself. 

I think the amount of maths learning that you can get with these turtles is brilliant. The obvious one you first think of is the counting, and matching the numbers to the correct marks on the large turtles and also recognising numbers. But they are also leaning shapes, and about big and small. Also volume because they are learning they can only fit 1 baby turtle in each shell.

Of corse your child can also learn colours and matching the colours toggether but this is something that I wish wasn't a big feature of the turtles. I do find that because the turtles are so colourful and Lily is so good with her colours that she may be focusing on that a little to much. I think I would of preferred them to be white and maybe only the markings and numbers in colour. So at times I wasn't sure she was matching them because of the numbers or because of the colours. I do believe thought that the more Lily matches the colours, the more she will recognise that the number on the baby turtle, is the same amount of markings. 

This is a great toy that your child can play with alone or you can support their learning by playing with them. For example I sat with Lily and got a baby turtle, I asked her what number was on the turtle. She got them all right apart from number 5 which she called 3. We then counted the markings on the turtles. Lily can count them really well and so when she had counted EG 3 marks on the green turtle, I would then get her to point out which baby turtle was number 3. She did really well with this and we placed all the baby turtles in the shells.

Lily so far only knows what a square and a circle is. So learning the rest of the shapes will be great with these toys. I only wish that maybe the baby turtles had small shapes on too so then we could match them up by shape.

Lily has been playing with these all week and I know she loves them. I think they are a really great toy for a fun introduction to maths.

You can buy Number Turtles from the Learning Resource website and they retail at £16.50. They are recommended for ages 2-6 years old.

What do you think about these Number Turtles? Is this something you would consider buying to help teach your child Maths?

Tuesday 23 May 2017

The Baby Show at NEC Birmingham 21/05/17

So Sunday was one of my highlights for last week. It was the day of The Baby Show. I always love attending The Baby Show and seeing some new brands and popping by to say hello to some of the brands I already love.

I usually head to the London shows but this time I decided I would check out the NEC. I have a pregnant friend who I knew would love to go so as soon as I made the suggestion, That was it, We were going!  

When we arrived I made my way to the press room to drop off out coats and then headed straight into the large room filled with pregnant women, babies and exciting stalls. 

The first thing me and my friend did was make our way around all the many stalls there. To make sure you see everything you really need to be organised and try to start at one end and work your way to the other. There is so much to see and so the earlier you can get there, the better. 

We first treated ourself to a Made for Mums Goodie Bag. It was only £5 and was filled with brilliant goodies such as Cbeebies Magazine, Infacare Bubble Bath, A Nuk First Stage Cup, a Bottle, Wetwipes and lots of other goodies. This is a must buy item at the Babyshow as in total the goodie bag is worth £35. 

As we were walking around, me and my friend spotted someone blue walking towards us. It was non other than Iggle Piggle. I wish I would of had Lily with me as she would have been made up to meet him, but as she wasn't we decided to grab a photograph with him instead.

I wasn't planning on buying too much this year. Last year I bought Pjs from Zippy Bib and some books from Campbell books for Lily. The year before that I went all out and bought a Cot Bed and sleeping bag for Lily.

I did end up looking at the Campbell books stall again, and again I went away with a book. This time the book was called Monkey music. I couldn't resist as it was only £4. Then I bought some Body wash and bubble bath from Childs Farm. Again I couldn't resist as they are one of my favourite brands and also had a deal of 2 bottles for £10. 

Thats another great thing about The Baby Show. The deals, the sales, the prices are just brilliant. If you are expecting then its the perfect place to grab all the essentials you need all at a bargain price. 

After lunch I headed to the stage to watch a talk. Talks are going on all day but there was one in particular I really wanted to go and see. That was the talk with Milli Hill who is the founder of The Positive Birth Movement and has recently written a book. Her talk was all about how to get positive about giving birth. 

If your pregnant and Milli Hill is a new name to you then you need to find out all about this lady. She is just wonderful! 

Not only will you be ready to push the baby out. But you will be ready to push all the negative thoughts about giving birth away and replace them with positive ones. 

The Positive Birth Movement is something that I have been passionate about since I found out about it in 2015 when Lily was only a few months old. I instantly became a fan of the facebook page and took upon it to post pictures of me and Lily when she was first born along side other happy positive mums. 

So to hear Milli speak up on stage was great. Her tips and advice for the pregnant women there were brilliant. If there was any fear about giving birth in that audience then at the end of the talk there wasn't. Im not pregnant but even I felt ready and prepared to have a positive birth.  

I got chance to meet Milli after her talk and i'm really looking forward to helping her and The Positive Birth Movement spread the positive word of birth. 

All there is left to do now is tell you about the wonderful brands I met that day. I always love to give a shout out to Nuby. Always great to see their stand and new products. Was nice to see Toffee Moon who I worked with around a year a go on the blog. Always love visiting Funky Giraffe and Zippy to see there wonderful rainbow coloured display of bibs and I just had to show my friend how soft the Cuddledry towels were. 

I also met Taste N Tell again who have given me a pack to review on the blog. So look out for that coming soon. Also Pourty kindly gave me a toilet seat and stool to review. Also Check out these Nom Nom Kids reusable snack bags that I got given! They are so cool! Can't wait to try them out and take photographs for you all to see. Also a big thank you to Funky Giraffe for my cover all bibs. They are brilliant. 

We headed out the venue at around 4.30pm, but before we left we got given amazing filled blogger goodie bag. It was full of amazing baby essentials and a book from Campbell books which Lily is going to love! I want to say a big thank you to all brands who popped a little something in there.

Over all it was such a great day. My pregnant friend was amazed at how much of a great day it was and loved how many little testers and freebies there are to pick up on the day.

I got home and photographed all I came home with. What an amazing haul. All of these brands were exhibiting at The baby Show, so you can see the wonderful range of products you can pick up there.

Im not sure when my next trip to The Baby Show will be. Lily is 2 and a half now so unless I find a pregnant friend to drag around with me then I may not be going for a while. Who knows, the next time I attend I may even have my own bump.

The next Baby Show is at Olympia London on the 20th to the 22nd of October. Head to The Baby Show website to find out more. 

Have you ever been to the Baby Show? Would you like to go? Is there a Baby Brand that you would love to see there? 

Monday 22 May 2017

Celebrating STEM - Engineering, Building Bridges

After hearing that Learning Resources was celebrating S.T.E.M this month, I thought that I would join in and celebrate it too. We love learning and S.T.E.M gives us great opportunities to do this. If you are unsure what S.T.E.M stands for it's Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Some of these areas of learning you may think are a little advanced for a young child but in fact they are all things that your child naturally has the ability to learn and will also pick up easily. 

This post is all about Engineering. Engineering is such a big word to use for a little child but there are so many simple and easy activities that can be done. Engineering is a really good thing for your child to be interested in as they learn so much by doing it. It is great for their hand and eye co-ordination, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, cognitive development, (which is information processing) and problem solving. 

Usually when people talk about engineering they think of trains, cars, things that move. But an Engineer is a much wider scale than that and is actually someone who designs and builds something such as machines or systems or structures that help solve a specific problem. 

The first steps of Engineering is probably something your child has been doing from a young age and you haven't realised it. Who's child has build something to help them climb up on top of it? For example the couch? That right there is engineering! They saw that there was a problem climbing up onto the couch and built something that solved the problem and helped them get up onto it. 

So I thought about what activity I would like to do with Lily to help her learn a little more about Engineering. It had to be something that was on a 2 years olds level of learning and so I decided that we would build different types of bridges. So I got out her bricks and bought some wide lolly pop sticks from the shops. For this activity you don't have to use these and could find something else you have at home that may be great to build bridges with. If your child is old enough a great start to engineering would be for them to find and figure out what they could use to make a bridge. 

So bridge number one. I helped Lily with the designing of the bridges. She has never made them before and so this was something new for her. I firstly decided to make a low down wide bridge. I chose two bricks that were long and didn't pile any more bricks on top. I showed Lily how to lay the sticks on top and let her do them herself so she was constructing the bridge.

This was really great for Lily to have to be very gentle with the sticks to lay them down. As this was a wide bridge she had to use quite a few sticks and found it easy to lay them on it. After building the bridge Lily was really pleased with herself. The next challenge was to see which of her cars would the bridge hold. We had 2 cars, one slightly smaller than the other and one small train. I let Lily place each one on to see if it would hold on the bridge. If your child is a little older, you could always ask them before you placed it on if they thought the bridge would take it. This means the child is having to look at size and solve the problem do they need to make a bigger bridge or smaller. 

If you were to do this activity with an older child and ask them questions and be getting them to solve weather they needed a smaller of bigger bridge then I would start with an impossibly small bridge and get them to build it bigger and bigger until it took the car just like the bridge above did. 

After trying all the cars on the bridge and them all staying on. I made it a little tricker for Lily by making a smaller higher bridge. This made it tricker for lily to balance the sticks on top but she still did a good job. We found that the train fit on it perfectly and the car did, but only just.

Our next bridge we did was the trickiest. I decided to make a really thin but high bridge with Lily to see if we could manage to get the train to stay on top. I helped Lily build 2 towers, and taught her that both sides had to be the same. After she build it really high we had to put the sticks on top. Lily found this so difficult and it did take many attempts but eventually we managed to balance 2 sticks on top of the towers. 

The next challenge was to see if the train would sit on top. And...

It didn't and the bridge came crumbling down. At this point I had to make Lily laugh about the bricks all falling down as she was a little bit disappointed to see it all go down after the effort of making it. So then I decided our final bridge would be perfect for the train. We figured that it needed to be higher so then maybe cars could go under the bridge, but also wider than the one brick tower. So Lily helped me one final time to build a bridge. 

Lily was really getting the hang of it by now and was understanding where the sticks needed to go and how they needed to go next to each other. She then placed the train on top and it sat there perfectly. I did one more thing to it and that was put bricks on top of the lolly pop sticks at each end just to add some more stability. Lily was super happy with the bridge and started to drive her cars through it. 

Now that we have done this activity I have left the sticks with her bricks incase she ever wants to build a bridge again. 

Have you ever build a bridge with your child? What other Engineering activities have you done with your children?