Frankie’s Sustainable First Birthday Presents

Birthday’s are my chance to spoil my kids with their favourite toys! I rarely buy them toys through out the year as I tend to take them out to places…

Birthday’s are my chance to spoil my kids with their favourite toys! I rarely buy them toys through out the year as I tend to take them out to places instead. So when Birthdays and Christmas comes along, I get stuck into gift hunting.

What is different this year?

In the past, when it has come to searching for presents, I have never given a second thought into what harm the gifts I am buying are doing to the planet.

Now my eyes are open to the damage plastic is doing to our planet, I can’t buy it.

It’s crazy because I remember seeing an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, when Kourtney was talking about how she only buys wooden toys and all I could think was “that’s snobby!”. At that time, wooden toys were expensive compared to the plastic ones I would tend to buy. I would have never seen myself a year on making a conscious decision like her, not to buy plastic.

Yes, the prices of wooden toys do tend to be higher. But the bigger cost is the damage we are doing not buying them.

Anyway, enough of my preaching, here are his toys:

Kids Concept Wooden Xylophone

Kids Concept - Xylophone - Multi Blue (1000430)

Anything that gives Frankie the option to make loud noise, he is instantly in love with! My sister got Mole a keyboard for her Birthday and Frankie always tries to take over and play his tunes.

This Xylophone is about the length on my laptop. For me, that is perfect as it is not too big to tidy away after it has been used but, I am aware that some reviews said they would have rather it been a lot bigger.

Little Dutch Toaster

Little Dutch Wooden Toaster

This brand is incredible. In terms of quality and price, I’d say they are very fair.

Frankie plays with Mole’s kitchen endlessly. This toaster set will be the perfect addition to their kitchen playroom. Imaginative play is something I love to encourage with my children.

Stacking Ring  Kids Concept: Neo Wooden Stacking Rings for kids to learn size & colour!

A mistake I made with Mole’s First Birthday presents was I thought too much into toys that she could grow into. I bought her too many that were a little old for her and she couldn’t understand how to play with them straight away.

A stacking ring is a perfect Birthday present for a 1st Birthday. I know Frankie will love the puzzle of the stacking ring or simply banging the rings together to make a loud noise.

Dinkum Doll

Dinkum Doll - Poppet

Frankie does pick up Mole’s dolls. It’s only fair he has his own too. The Dinkum dolls can be boys or girls. They are soft and cuddly too. You can stand them up or sit them down. I like how you can choose a doll that your little one can relate to.

Dinkum Doll Feeding Set

Dinkum Doll Feeding Set

I had to get Frankie accessories for his doll. The feeding set is just adorable! Again, I love the natural colour so it is suitable for boys or girls, meaning Frankie and Mole can play together.

Dinkum Doll BottleDinkum Doll Bottle

Another accessory for Frankie’s doll is this natural wood dolls bottle. This paired with the feeding set makes a lovely combination.

Dinkum Doll Changing Basket

Doll Nyla Basket

We don’t have a pram for the doll, I thought i’d see if he takes to the doll before I buy a pram. The changing basket can be for changing or a bed.

I purchased the sage mattress for a more masculine look.

 

VertiPlay Tree Top Adventure 

Oribel Vertplay Tree Top Adventure Wood Wall Toys

The best part about this toy is it sticks to the wall! Perfect toy to practice fine motor skills and the cars can be used alone too.

I’ve seen a few of these types of toys and I loved the different features of this one like the swinging squirrel.

Wooden Car Transporter

TOP BRIGHT Wooden Truck Toys for 2 Year Old Boys Gifts, Wooden Car Toy for Two Year Old Present, Childrens Transport Toy for Boys Age 2

To further Frankie’s love for cars, this car transporter will start off his car collection. The car transporter is great to help him practice his pushing technique too.

Does your little one love cars like Frankie?

 

 

 

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5 fun activities to do with Toddlers

Over the past years, screen time for children has increased massively. I’m sure during lockdown we all have been guilty of allowing our children to have more screen time too….

fun toddler activities

Over the past years, screen time for children has increased massively. I’m sure during lockdown we all have been guilty of allowing our children to have more screen time too. I know I have.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a massive advocate for children and screen time. Tech has saved many tantrums for me and my career background is all based around tech. It is a part of me. And I want technology to be a huge part of Mole and Frankie too.

However, giving our children a creative outlet or an educational project is extremely important for not only their mental health, but their overall wellness. Our children are still developing. Activities like the ones i’m about to share, will help to give them skills that can’t just be gained from watching tv.

Sometimes, when it comes to activities with Mole and Frankie, I get stuck in a rut on what to do. When I find myself researching fun activities for toddlers, many of them seem complicated or time consuming even costly!

I’m going to share 5 of our regular activities for you to do too!

1.Postcardsfun toddler activities

Whenever we visit a place together as a family I always check the gift shop to see if they sell postcards. I buy quite a few and when we get home, Mole and Frankie go wild with crayons all over them. It’s a lovely activity to end the whole day on a positive note and keeps them busy when you’re getting the evening meal prepared. You could add stickers, make your own, go as creative as you want!

Even if your children are old enough to write, this is a great activity to practice their writing skills.

Mole loves sticking on the stamps and then we all take a trip to the postbox the next day. It’s such a simple activity that they love to do.

I send the postcards out to family members and long distance family friends as a nice way to keep in touch. I know that they enjoy receiving them too.

2. Gardeningfun toddler activities

Toddlers love getting messy. We took a trip to Homebase or B&Q and went just to look at the flowers. I call it the flower shop. Mole (Frankie is still a little too young) picks the flowers and head back home. Mole is bossy, so having her in control of the decision making makes the process very fun for her.

In the garden, I have pots where Mole loves to clean with the hosepipe, adds the compost in and then helps with the flowers or seeds.

The whole activity took as all morning the other day. We all had the best time and the biggest bonus is that the garden looks pretty!

3. Bakingfun toddler activities

I’m sure this is already an activity you have tried with your toddler. So for this point, I making it a reminder to bake again!

Toddlers love it. You could switch it up and do cupcake decorating, have them choose items out of your fridge and see if you can challenge yourself with them to create something or even make something like bird feed or a potion.

Invest in a step up stool and encourage them to clean the pots afterwards. Add lot’s of fairy liquid and your toddler will think washing up is fun!

4. Throw a party

This activity really gets Mole excited. Whilst your doing your food shop buy a packet of balloons and some simple party food. You can even create party invitations with your little ones. Get some music on, let them wear party clothes and have fun in your living room! Toddlers love a party. Mole invites all of her teddies too.

5. Picnicfun toddler activities

Whenever I feel like dinners and tea’s are struggling to go down well with my kids, I plan for a picnic. For some reason, whenever we go on a picnic they eat ANYTHING.

Even if we just go down the road to our local park, it is refreshing to get outdoors and feel the wind on our skin. Picnics have helped to make what turns into a stressful time of day for me (when they refuse to eat) into an enjoyable couple of hours. They are always shattered when we come back too, so I even get a coffee in peace.

fun toddler activities

Not necessary but I purchased a toy wooden camera, Mole loves to take it along with us and take photos of the picnic.

Please share your favourite activity to do with your toddler!

 

Zoe xx

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Transitioning a toddler from cot to bed

Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers…

Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers dream.

You are not the only parent that has probably tried to put off transitioning your toddler from a cot to a toddler bed for as long as possible. Now that time has come, I have a few helpful tips that will make the transition easier.

Mole was in her cot whilst Frankie was under 6 months old sleeping in the Snuz Pod next to me in our room. It suited us just fine as we were managing to get sleep and stick to the working bedtime routine. Our plan was to transition Mole when I felt like she was ready however, Frankie had other plans.

Frankie, as you know, is such a big boy. He out grew the Snuz Pod quickly. Our only realistic option was to move Frankie into the cot Mole was currently in, and invest in a toddler bed for Mole. (Rather than buying another cot, that would not be needed in a years time.)

Ideally it is best to transition your toddler from around 18months of age up to around 3 1/2 years old. The timing is different for every child. If your toddler is trying to climb out of their cot or asking for a big bed then its probably time to make the change.

A big move

Transitioning your toddler from a cot into a toddler bed is a big move for them. We were currently potty training Mole at the time and doing both of these milestones together was wrong as it would have been too much for her. Not forgetting that she was also adjusting to life as a big sister.

As the bed transition was our main priority, we put potty training on hold for a couple of months. I can now tell you, that break from potty training, to focus on her new sleeping routine, was the best decision ever. We started potty training again and made faster progress than before and Mole is now nappy free.

Change their roomtransitioning a toddler from cot to bed

I truly believe that changing their room from baby to toddler decor helps. We were lucky enough to be in a position to give the room a full make over from scratch, as her room was a spare (dumping) room.

I got her some fun artwork with big bright animals above the bed that she instantly got excited about. The walls were painted in bright colours opposite to neutral walls Mole had before. The reason was to make the room look noticeably different to her. All decorations were a mix between adult decor and children’s.

The bed we picked was perfect for her height to hop on and off with ease.

transitioning a toddler from cot to bedThe duvet set was purposely chosen as a bold Peppa Pig print that caught her eye immediately and was inviting for her to sleep in the bed rather than having an insta-perfect bedding set.

All of this added together built up Mole’s excitement and made the change positive for her. Once she saw the complete room, Mole started asking to sleep in the “big girl bed”.

I have seen parents simply change their toddlers cot into a cot bed and begin the transition, however, I would really recommend adding a few new touches to their “big girl/boy” room to make it feel more grown up to them.

Reference big girl/boy

Every now and again, I’d use the term big girl when describing something to her. This could be drinking from a big girl cup or sleeping in the big girl bed. It helped because Mole started to understand that the cot was now for babies and she wanted to sleep in the big girl bed.

Routinetransitioning a toddler from cot to bed

Stick to the same routine that worked for you before. The same bath time and bedtime story to bring familiarity to them in a big change.

Don’t be alarmed when your toddler decides to wonder around after 10 minutes of putting them to bed. That is normal and can be stopped with other methods that I will discuss later on, rather than changing their bedtime routine around.

Give them credit

I can guarantee your toddler will adapt to change.  We should have given Mole a little bit more credit for how well she took on the transition. I can’t believe I doubted doing it for so long. We started putting Mole down for a nap in her big girl bed first. She looked so grown up, it didn’t feel right when I saw her back in her cot for bedtime. Mole looked older (or more her age) and everything felt right to move her into the bed full time during the night.

Jumping out of bed

Mole was an angel for the first few weeks in her toddler bed then something changed. As soon as I put her to bed and started walking down stairs, I would see her bedroom door handle move and next minute she was running around the landing.

Do not give into giving them attention for doing this. We would say one word. “BED”. Take Mole back to bed, give her a kiss and then leave the room.

Some night I would be doing this till 11:00pm.

We even tried a stair gate on her bedroom door but that made her very upset and she was screaming “Molly stuck”.

If the one word “bed” would not work. I’d take Mole back to bed and tell her, “Molly stay in bed now, no open door.” and usually her reply would be that she isn’t tired. Which would be a lie as the time would be 9:00pm. Id simply then tell her that all of the animals, are in bed now, sun in bed, Frankie in bed and she would get the idea and stay in bed.

Early Birdtransitioning a toddler from cot to bed

Wow. 5:00am mornings are not for me. We are still working on this. My current alarm clock is Mole running in asking to watch Hey Duggee as 5:00am. i’ll keep you updated if I find a working miracle.

All I can say is, be prepared for the early starts.

Transition them at a weekend when you don’t have to be getting up early for work after getting a stressful night of keeping them in bed.

 

I hope you found this blog post useful.

Please share below any advice you have for other parents.

 

Lot’s of love

Zoe

xx

 

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Pedagogy| The Montessori Method

My time in lockdown had me exploring for new ideas on how I can educate Mole and Frankie at home. As a former teacher with background research in pedagogy, i’m…

My time in lockdown had me exploring for new ideas on how I can educate Mole and Frankie at home. As a former teacher with background research in pedagogy, i’m aware that different teaching practices work great for different personalities and activities. So there was no harm in stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new for my own children.

Pedagogy is theoretical part of education which helps teachers to know the objective, process, outcomes of the reaching process. Teaching is the practical part of education

One teaching method I found myself drawn to frequently: The Montessori Method.

Let’s explore it.

Where did Montessori come from?maria montessori

The Montessori Method was based on the observations and discoveries of Maria Montessori. An Italian doctor, who was the first woman to graduate from Rome University medical school. Montessori had a passion for treating children that needed extra care and assistance in the classroom. Later Montessori went on to establish schools for students with working parents. Montessori looked at the schools with a scientific approach, compared to your traditional education setting. She spent time observing the students behaviour then began to implement ways to help the students progress. To put it simply; the classroom was her laboratory.

What I like about her experiment was that she spent hours simply observing the children in a number of different activities. That line spoke to me that, for once, everything is paused, analysed and an approach is made. Compared to going with the norm of society when it might not be as effective.

What did Maria Montessori find?

The Italian educator and doctor, Maria Montessori, found that if children work carefully in a prepared environment, they are more focused and controlled.

Montessori’s work began to spread all over the world and influence many teachers. She wrote numerous articles and showed success in the children she taught.

This had me thinking about the numerous activities, I had previously planned for Mole that had gone wrong. From what I assumed was due to her lack of concentration. Not the environment she was in or me interfering. I was keen to learn more.

The Montessori Approach

The Montessori approach believes that children have the best capacity to learn from birth to 6 years of age. You will find that most of the Montessori tasks have this age range in mind.

Montessori offers a more holistic approach to learning. Where everything is real play (no pretend play with Ikea kitchens, fantasy – reading books with princesses and dragons in is a no go and as for plastic toys – that is a big no). But, the good thing about today’s  world, is that you can take what you want from Montessori without judgement.

Here are the principles of Montessori:

The Principles of Montessorimontessori activity

Principle 1: Respect

Respecting the child is the most important principle of Montessori. You wouldn’t actually think you wouldn’t have an issue with  not respecting children but, in many teaching cases you will find this can be common. Ways to respect children whilst learning are: do not interrupt a child’s concentration whilst on a task, give children the freedom to do something for themselves and learn for themselves. The teacher must have peaceful conflict resolution and to not be judgemental.

How I have applied principle 1: Respect the child, to my parenting

  •  Mole’s toys (educational & fun) are at her level. She can grab any she pleases.
  • I’m simply a guide. Before, if Mole was to make a mistake on a task, i’d immediately jump into help her. Now, I give her time to figure it out.
  • Clothes. I let Mole choose her own outfits to wear now (as long as they are weather appropriate). This was quite hard for me to do as I love styling her, but, she wanted to get involved one day and I couldn’t refuse.

Principle 2: Learning through livingmontessori

Montessori believe that children have an absorbent mind. They are constantly learning through just simply, living. Everything they see, touch, hear, taste, they are learning from.

How I have applied principle 2: Learning through living, to my parenting

  • I know make a conscious effort to involve Mole in everyday tasks. Tasks that you would not necessarily think a toddler would enjoy or a toddler can do.
  • Washing: Mole takes her dirty clothes to the washing basket, helps me colour sort items of clothing, fills the washing machine up and now that we are using natural soap, Mole adds the soap nuts.
  • Cooking: Mole will help wash fruit and vegetables, pour pasta or rice into a pan. Chop up fruits. Her favourite is whisking with a hand held electric whisk. I’m careful to observe her in the kitchen and guide her. It is amazing what they can do if you give them the independence.
  • Getting ready: Mole chooses her own outfit daytime and pyjamas. Again, if it is not weather appropriate or the outfit just looks absolutely crazy, I will guide her with different options.
  • Cleaning: Using natural products, we take it in turns to either spray or do the polishing. Sometimes, I do have to go back over and do it again but she has so much fun doing it, its worth while.

Principle 3: Sensitive Periods

The Montessori pedagogy believes that children are ready to learn certain skills at different times. They call this sensitive periods.

Each sensitive period is a specific kind of inner compulsion. They motivate children to seek objects and relationships in the environment. Children use these to develop themselves. A young child, however, is neither consciously aware of, nor capable of directly communicating, his or her potentials.

The sensitive periods only last for as long as the child is ready to learn the certain skill. The skill could be reading or writing. It is important for the teacher to observe when the student is in their sensitive period for a skill to then prepare resources for the child to help them learn.

What happens in a Sensitive Period?

Montessori believes that during a sensitive period the child will behave differently towards a certain task. Here are the different behaviours.

  • Behaving more sensible towards a task
  • An overpowering force and interest in wanting to learn the skill.
  • A commitment to learning the skill
  • Instead of showing signs of boredom, the child shows persistent energy
  • Never regained
  • Wanting to do more creative activities
  • When noticed by the child, the sensitive period ends.

What are the “Sensitive Periods?”

Montessori claim there are eleven sensitive periods in total. They occur from birth to to the age of six. They are:

  • Order (Ages 2-4, developing a passionate love for routines)
  • Movement (Ages 0-1, controlling random movements e.g. grasping or crawling)
  • Small Objects (Ages 1-4, Interest in small objects and tiny details)
  • Courtesy (Ages 2-6, Imitating polite behaviours to then make the polite behaviour part of their personality)
  • Writing  (Ages 3-4, children become passionate about letters and numbers and want to put pen to paper)
  • Reading (Ages 3-4, children begin an interest in the symbolic representation of a sound)
  • Senses (Ages 2-6, children become fascinated with their senses: touch, taste, smell, sound and weigh. They are eager to do sensory activities)
  • Expressive languages (Ages 0-6, begin to use babble sounds to communicate then develop their sounds to meaningful words to communicate)
  • Spatial Relationships (Ages 4-6, An understanding of common places and expanding this from their home to their wider surroundings)
  • Mathematics (Ages 0-6, formation of the concept of quantity and operations)
  • Music (Ages 2-6, an increased interest in rhythm, pitch and melody)

How I have applied principle 3: Sensitive Periods, to my parenting

  • Honestly, this one I struggle to agree with. My personal opinion is that, if you make a task fun and engaging, then children will love to learn.
  • But, I have noticed when Mole suddenly has an increased interest in things and I do follow her lead with thing. e.g. wanting to read more books.

Principle 4: The Prepared Environmentmontessori playroom

The environment has to be child focused. Children should be able to move freely and explore. Children must be able to reach for activities they want to do and teachers should prepare the environment in the best way for the child.

How I have applied principle 4: The Prepared Environment, to my parenting

  • Mole’s toys are all within her reach. Nothing on high shelving.
  • Puzzles are deconstructed with all the parts together on a wooden tray.
  • Snacks are kept at her level for her to help herself (I choose what snacks are available and guide her on timings for eating them e.g. if she gets one too close to lunch then I guide her to choose differently)
  • A footstep for her to reach onto high countertops.
  • Aiming for as many real life items for her to use as possible. Real kitchen appliances, real tableware.

Principle 5: Self Education

Montessori believe children should be educating themselves. The role of the teacher is to provide the environment and encouragement to help the child self educate and develop.

How I have applied principle 5: Self Education, to my parenting

  • Stepping back. Giving Mole the freedom to choose what she wants to do and letting her go about it in her own way.
  • Mistakes. I’ve noticed how often I use to step in before a mistake would have been made or how quick I would help to make something right for her. I now let Mole make plenty of mistakes where she can learn from until I guide her.
  • Trying something new. Your toddler will surprise you.They are so clever and independent. I let her do tasks that I never thought she could do, such as, using a blunt knife to chop vegetables or helping put clothes away.

The Montessori Classroommontessori classroom

The way a classroom is set up is very important for the Montessori method. They believe that the classroom has to be a specific way to encourage learning.

  • Real plants (great activity for children to water them too)
  • Minimising over stimulating toys or art work (neutral wall colours)
  • Plenty of storage (everything should have a place where children can store items neatly e.g. coat peg at their level, toy storage is accessible)
  • Peaceful, quite classroom with no clutter
  • Plenty of open space for children to move freely
  • No fantasy for children under 6 years old
  • Sensory resources
  • Natural and real life materials (wooden toys over plastic, playing in a real kitchen not a pretend one)
  • Separated areas for different tasks.

I love the idea of increasing the amount of natural toys. This benefits the environment too. The toys Montessori recommends are like wooden blocks and puzzles. We have some wooden shapes where Mole loves to use her imagination and they can be anything from a person to a tree.

Personally, although Montessori recommends to use real experiences. Having Mole play in our real kitchen all day is not practical for us. Using her pretend kitchen, we have still been able to make it as real as possible for her and she has enjoyed it.

I want to explore the reason for no fantasy under the age of 6 too. To take on this method, it would have a huge impact on my parenting. We have so many books with fantasy characters, wooden fruit and princess dress up costumes.

Why no fantasy in Montessori?

Fantasy Vs Imagination

Montessori wants to encourage children to use their imagination over fantasy. Many people often get fantasy and imagination mistaken for one another.

Fantasy is the stories and ideas drawn from a world which does not exist (fairies, dragons, talking horses, etc.). Where as, imagination is the ability to conjure images or scenarios in one’s own mind, separate from present sensorial input.

An example of fantasy would be, giving a child a book to read with a talking cat. Rather than an informative book about cats.

Or

giving a child wooden food to make a sandwich, rather than giving a child the real ingredients to make an edible sandwich.

An example of a child using their imagination would be, a child crawling on the floor barking pretending to be a dog, after seeing a real life dog.

Or

A child pretending to be a mum, as they want to practice a role model they have seen in their family.

Montessori believes that imagination is where are creativity comes from. It is important to focus and develop children’s imagination to help with their creativity.

The reason for no fantasy is that Montessori believe children have a difficult time understanding what is real and what is fantasy whilst growing up. Thinking about it, Mole probably does think unicorns are real.

Not only is it confusing for children, Montessori conducted an experiment where she found children preferred to play with real life items and do real life experiences over pretend play. e.g. Children wanted to play with real food rather than toy food.

Having the science explained to me, it all makes sense.

Ways to to develop imagination in children

  • Water real plants
  • Make meals with real food
  • Clean up real dirt
  • Help to wash real clothes
  • Read more non-fiction books
  • Feed real animals (make bird food or feed your dog)

Whilst writing this blog post, I can say I have learned a lot. I’m still not complete with my understanding of Montessori as i’m sure there is still so much to explore. I may not agree with everything Montessori but, I will be taking aspects of the Montessori pedagogy into consideration with my parenting at home.

*images sourced

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CMPA Recipe| Banana Pancakes

Vegan Banana Pancakes are a great food to give to your little one with cows milk protein allergy. Why? Not to state the obvious but, there is no egg, cows…

Vegan Banana Pancakes are a great food to give to your little one with cows milk protein allergy. Why?

Not to state the obvious but, there is no egg, cows milk and you can substitute the flour for gluten free.

They are fool proof to make! Serve them up as a breakfast for you little one or a dessert. You can even keep a few for snacks.

Add any fruit of your choice or even make them savoury!cmpa banana pancakes weaning

Nutritional Information

  • Egg Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • kcal 94
  • fat 4g
  • saturates 0g
  • carbs 14g
  • sugars 6g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 1g
  • salt 0.2g

Prep Time 10 minutes | Cook Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  •  1 Banana
  • 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 120g Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 150ml Soya /Almond /Oat Milk
  • Your choice of fruit to serve with

Method

  1. Heat a little oil in the frying pan over a medium heat (I do this first so the pan is hot enough for when the mixture is ready).
  2. Mash the banana in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add in the sugar and oil.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder. Stir.
  5. Add milk and stir again.
  6. I transfer the mixture to a blender now, rather than whisking to save time.
  7. The batter should look like a yoghurt consistency.
  8. Pour a little of the mixture in the centre of the pan, till it forms a small circle about the size of the palm of your hand.
  9. When bubbles pop and the surface of the mixture turns matte. Flip.
  10. Wait another two minutes for the side to cook.
  11. Serve the pancake with a topping of your choice.

 

 

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Time To Change

Over the past week, I have felt completely let down and heartbroken at some of the actions that continue to go on in the world. Honestly, I am also feeling…

Over the past week, I have felt completely let down and heartbroken at some of the actions that continue to go on in the world.

Honestly, I am also feeling guilty.

Having children has opened my eyes and heart so much more. Mole, is now two and Frankie is nearly one. Yet, I still didn’t address the issue of racism with myself because, I’ve always known my heart is in the right place. But now I can do better. And i’m sure i’m not the only one.

So where do we start?

It starts with self-examination

What did I find? Ignorance.

I question and wonder what was my plan? I obviously wanted Mole and Frankie to grow up with love to share for EVERYONE but, my way in thinking they would do this was to completely not pay attention to the matter and just go on about our daily lives?

Silence is not the way forward here

What am I now doing?race equality

I spent the yesterday educating myself. I realised that saying you are not a racist is not enough. You have to be active. You have to speak up.

A few articles I read spoke about how we can help our children to grow up with better intentions.

There were two ways that really stood out to me that will make a difference that I can implement right now!

Books

I went straight to Mole and Frankie’s bookshelf and took a look. This time not searching for a cute story to read to them both or to give Frankie sensory time with a touch and feel book. I studied their books. I looked at how many books had people in them. Then the books that did have people in them, did I buy books that honour and represent the lives of all people?

The answer is that their around 98% of their books had animal character.

But, the small percentage of books that did have people as characters (excluding her personalised ones) did have a range of diversity.

This left me in two minds.

One, relieved that Mole and Frankie were exposed to books where the main characters were all skin tones or religious beliefs of characters were clearly visible.

Two. Annoyed that I should have been more confident that the books they had did were diverse without me needed to check. Meaning that when I am purchasing a book. I am making a conscious effort for it to be equal.

Here is a set of books I recommend .

Dolls

Recently, I made Mole a basket in her room full of her dollies. I was very proud of this basket and how “cute” it looked. Now, I look at the basket and all I see are white dolls. Where is the equality in that? How am I setting her a good example if this is what I’m giving her to play with?

To move forward and do better, I purchased the most beautiful black doll for her to play with.

it’s important for white children to have dolls that represent different ethnicities, “to promote cultural diversity and an awareness that we are all one race: human.

Dolls have always been a good way to teach Mole to be kind, gentle and caring. This is how we helped her to love Frankie.

I know I’m not changing the world with just these two actions. But, I do feel like we are making a step forward in the right direction and I encourage you to do the same.

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

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My Current Favourite: TV Series

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well in lockdown right now. It is a hard time for us all and i’m sure everything will be back to normal…

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all doing well in lockdown right now. It is a hard time for us all and i’m sure everything will be back to normal soon.current favourite tv series

I understand it can be difficult to have your you time whilst caring for children, but, if you do get a moment one evening to yourself, here are some of my favourite series recommendations:

Sex Education (Netflix)

A group of high school teens giving advice on sex education. This had me belly laughing numerous of times. I can not wait for the next season! Every single actor plays their role so well. Honestly, for something light hearted, fun and easy to watch, this is your go to!

The Witcher (Netflix)

A similar vibe to Game of Thrones. A fantasy where you can switch off from the real world. Did I mention the eye candy?

Mind Hunter (Netflix)

Two guys interview famous serial killers in the hope to find psychological evidence to aid new murder cases. Very interesting as they are all based on true events.

Love Is Blind (Netflix)current favourite tv series

Ok, so I first put this one and within ten minutes I was questioning my decision. Twenty minutes later I was still questioning myself but for some reason I just could not turn the program off. Before I knew it, I had completed the whole season. Crazy people decide to get engaged without even seeing each other. It is full of drama that leaves you wanting more.

Tiger King (Netflix)

Pure entertainment. Everyone has been talking about this. The life of an eccentric man caring for tigers. Watch his plot thicken to become the Tiger King and then come crashing down on him.

Fleabag (BBC iPlayer)

10/10. My favourite. I LOVED this! Super clever, witty with an abundance of adult humour. I had tears with laughter (which if you know me, is so hard to achieve with comedy programs). And then it was paired with the emotion of feeling so attached with the characters and their story. Oh, I just loved this. I don’t even need to tell you what it is about. Just go and watch it!

Good Morning America (Apple TV)

Good Morning America was a recent watch for me. I’m not the biggest Jenifer Aniston fan so I was a little hesitant to watch it. Anyway, she completely changed my opinion on her. The series took a while to get going but when it did, it really got going!

Little America (Apple TV)

Short and sweet. The most beautiful and simple life stories of people who immigrated to America. Very heartwarming before bed.

Normal People (BBC iPlayer)

ok, so you know before when I said Fleabag was my favourite? Well I may have lied. Normal People is. Oh my word. I read the book last year in record time. I could not put the book down. My dread was for this to become a TV Series and it came true.

I was very skeptical watching this. After being a huge fan of the book, I was concerned aspects of the book wouldn’t be shown in the same way. The program was very true to the book. Almost word for word.

I don’t want to spoil this for you. Just trust me, it starts of slow and quiet but, I can assure you, you will be in love.

Caliphate (Netflix)

A Swedish Thriller Drama about a terrorist plot. If you’re into Homeland, this may be a good program for you. My heart was in my throat a few times and the ending was not what I had expected at all. Definitely give this one a go.

I hope you found this useful and there were some series you have not come across before. Please comment below and tell me your favourite series right now!

Love, Zoe

xx

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Spring Cleaning: How to organise your wardrobe

Every single morning, without fail, I would open up my wardrobe to get dressed and mutter  “I have nothing to wear” to an abundance of clothing staring back at me….

Every single morning, without fail, I would open up my wardrobe to get dressed and mutter  “I have nothing to wear” to an abundance of clothing staring back at me.

After being pregnant for what felt like two years back to back, I needed to be honest with myself. The maternity jeans needed to go and the low cut, crop tops needed to be slung.

It was time to have a spring clean and organise my wardrobe

organising wardrobe tips

Cleaning and organising my wardrobe left my head feeling on cloud 9. As daft as this might sound, I became excited to get up and get dressed, online shopping was no longer a chore and I started to feel more “me”.

Here is how I organised my wardrobe:

The Purge

Go in with a bin bag and be completely ruthless. ANY clothing that makes you feel uncomfortable, does not fit well, is out of your style needs to go. For years, I would save items of clothing in the hope that one day they would fit me. The truth is, every time I saw them, I would just feel low of myself. It is much better to treat yourself to something after you reach your goal than have a dress, two sizes too small, stare at you every morning.

Even that top you have worn 20+ times needs to go. It is time for a new one.

Now that you have your huge pile of unwanted clothing, go through and donate good quality items to charity, recycle old clothing or even sell pieces for an extra bit of money.

I sell tonnes of Mole and Frankie’s clothing. It is so rewarding knowing they are washed, ironed, packaged away, off to another baby in need.

Fresh Pair Of Eyes

As soon as you have done your massive closet clear out, stop.

Why?

Look at your wardrobe the next day with a fresh pair of eyes. Go through it again. You may find that there are more clothes to be cleared out. It may feel like you are ending up with no clothing left but, I can assure you having less is more.

Hangers

The first thing I do now is change all the hangers to the same kind. I absolutely despise plastic supermarket hangers. They make clothing look cheap and your wardrobe messy.

Having the same hangers helps you to focus more on the clothing.

Invest in wooden hangers for a chic, expensive look. Shop my favourite wooden hangers

For my daughter’s room, I prefer her to have fun, non slip hangers. Shop Mole’s hangers

Frankie has wooden hangers to match the neutral colour palette in his room. Shop Frankie’s hangers

Bye Bye Shoe Boxes

Have all of your beautiful shoes on show. Then you can see which shoes you have and get inspired for outfits. Use the heel to toe method of pairing shoes next to one another to save space.

Groupies

Grouping your clothing into product type will help you to:

  • Visually see how much you have.
  • Find the clothing you are looking for easier.
  • Become inspired for outfit choices.

I start off by grouping all of my jackets, then jumpers, long sleeve tops, t-shirts, vests, dresses, skirts, shorts, jeans and trousers.

Colourwardrobe organisation tips

Once all of your clothing has been grouped, go in and colour group those items.

For example, all black jackets first, then nude then white and keep going down all of your wardrobe.

You may notice that you have way too many black t-shirts. Get rid of anymore clothing you feel like you have too much of.

Ready To Go Style

Whilst you have been on your closet clear out mission, you may have felt inspired for an outfit. I love to put this outfit together on the hanger and place it at the end of my wardrobe. That way, if i’m in a rush, tired, not feeling inspired, there is a full outfit ready for me.

This method has been a huge help when getting two children ready. For Mole, I get all of her nursery outfits for the month ready (with spares). She can then get ready super quick in the morning.

I hope my top tips have helped you. Now have fun organising that wardrobe!

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5 Baby Boy Spring Outfits |The White Company

The warmer weather is finally creeping in! The past few days I have found myself choosing T-shirts for Frankie over his knitted long sleeve tops and we are only in…

The warmer weather is finally creeping in! The past few days I have found myself choosing T-shirts for Frankie over his knitted long sleeve tops and we are only in April.The little white company spring

When I first found out I was having a baby boy, I did wonder to myself if I would still have the same interest in choosing his clothes as I do for my baby girl. Truth is…

I do! Even more so.

Frankie’s style is muted. I like to think I let his little features on his face do the talking rather than dressing him in overly loud clothes.

The White Company are perfect for simple yet classic pieces. From newborn to now (nearly 7 months old).

Here are my 5 top favourite baby boy outfits for Spring:

Piqué Dungarees & T-Shirt Set

Piqué Dungarees & T-Shirt SetThe T-shirt is class and super soft against their skin white the dungarees give the look some texture.

The straps are adjustable and the wooden fastenings give the set a natural vibe. A beautiful set for dressing smart but still cool.

If the weather was a little chilly, I would pair this with a chunky knit jacket for him and some longer socks.

Crab Sweatshirt

Crab Sweatshirt

What I love about this blue sweatshirt is that it screams Summer. The crabs symbolise what we sea during the summer time, at the beach by the sea yet, the jumper is perfect for Spring weather.

This jumper really gets me in the mood for when the weather here will be warm enough for little swim shorts.

Again, the muted baby blue is a beautiful colour and the pop of red from the crabs makes this jumper playful and fun.

The style is will still make Frankie look like a baby and not too grown up. I would pair this jumper with some knit leggings on a cooler day or chino shorts on a warmer day.

Zebra Embroidered Pyjamas

Zebra Pjs

Yes, this set is described as a set of pyjamas but I LOVE this for everyday wear. I can just imagine how comfy Frankie will feel wearing this.

Seen as most of our days are now spent lounging around the house, it is only appropriate Frankie has his loungewear set too.

If the weather was warmer, I wouldn’t put a body suit underneath for him and go sock free.

Hippo Embroidered Pyjamas

Hippo Pjs The Little White Company

As we are indoors now, this set is another one of my comfy favourites. A simple top and trousers made out of the most purest cotton.

I’m a huge fan of the harem trousers for Frankie. I can imagine how they are loose and comfortable to wear around the house compared to a chino style trouser or fitted legging.

The embroidered hippo is a cute feature and looks lovely on photographs!

Lama Print Jersey Romper

llama the little white company

The Lama Print Jersey Romper is a wardrobe must have!

A romper is so easy to pull out in the mornings when you are busy. A full outfit done in a second. The popper leg opening makes it easy to change the nappy too.

An effortless outfit that had added detail with the mock wooden buttons and the fun lama print makes it look smart.

The short sleeve and leg make it appropriate for the warmer weather approaching and will last through till summer.

On a cooler day, I would pair this with a thick jacket and thick terry cloth socks.

I hope you enjoyed my 5 Spring favourites from The White Company! Let me know which one is your favourite. 

Please note: Links are affiliate links. You do not have to use them although, I will earn a small commission and would be extremely grateful. Thank you.

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Two Year Old Girl Birthday Present Ideas

Mole’s second Birthday is approaching. Time flies so fast! I feel like it only yesterday when I held her in my arms for the very first time. I didn’t want…

Mole’s second Birthday is approaching. Time flies so fast! I feel like it only yesterday when I held her in my arms for the very first time.

I didn’t want to feel like I was buying her toys for the sake of it. It is easy to get sucked into buying toys that they don’t necessarily need.  This time, I was focused in finding items that she genuinely needed or toys that will help with her imaginary play or educate her.

All the rest can be left up to friends and family to spoil her with!

One decision I made was to save a budget for a birthday party. Unfortunately, i’m still unsure if this can still go ahead with the advice people should be isolating. The idea behind it was that she would have an experience to remember and a day full of fun that can be shared with the whole family.

The gifts

Liewood Dante Beach set – Sea Creature Mix

Liewood Dante Beach set - Sea Creature Mix

This bucket and spade set was going to be for our holiday. It rolls up and will fit easily into out suitcase. The design is beautiful and Mole loves sea animals. I thought she could also use it out in the garden with her water table or we could invest in a play sand pit. Failing that i’m sure she can have lot’s of fun with this in the bath!

Le Toy Van Honeybake Tea Set

Le Toy Van Honeybake Tea Set

Mole has been into her play kitchen more than ever. I figured seen as we will be spending more time indoors to make use of this with a new tea set.

In the past we have had tea sets that she has loved but i’m hoping this wooden set will last her longer. I can’t wait to show her how to play teddy bears picnics with this in the garden.

Olli Ella Play & Pack City Bag

Olli Ella Play & Pack City Bag

The Play’n Pack is a backpack filled with imaginative play. Whether we may be flying or not this year, this bag will come in handy at some point. It is packed full of games and puzzles for Mole to do.

Inside your City Play’n Pack Drawstring Backpack you’ll find:

    • 1  Mini Playpa Colouring Roll (2m)
    • 103 Stickers
    • 6 Non-toxic Crayons
    • 2  Wooden Toy Cars
    • 52 Play’n Colour Alphabet Cards

The excitement that it all comes in a bag as a surprise will be perfect for a rainy day. There are other versions too!

Liewood Vita Lunch Box in Panda Mustard

Liewood Vita Lunch Box in Panda Mustard

liewood lunchbox

An item Mole needed! This may sound silly but searching for the perfect lunch box took me the longest time. I needed to make sure that it was suitable for holding snacks as well as her lunch.

The silicone is free from BPA and safe to use for food. It has two big sections inside at the head and 2 small sections inside the ears.

Liewood Tobi Rain boot – Dino Mix

liewood rainboot

These short rain boots are perfect for playing in the garden or out and about on muddy walks. I love the unisex design. Another item Mole needed as her other shoes are canvas and not ideal in the mud!

Franck & Fischer Aske Backpack

Franck & Fischer Aske Backpack

Mole needed a new bag for nursery and her trips out. I love how this one is a little grown up but the bug design keeps in fun. It is large enough to fit all her items like a change of clothes or a lunch box.

The muted tones will match most of her outfits too, so there will be no colour clashing.

Plan Toys Water Way Play Set

plan toys water play set

This fun, natural rubber water play set looked perfect for creative play. Mole currently plays with a small boat and a baking pan that I fill with water so this will be an amazing upgrade for her!

Petit Collage Magnetic Play Scenes

petit college magnetic play scene

Another game that will use Mole’s creativity and imagination. I thought this toy will be nice for her to sit and play independently with. She really has taken a liking to figures and fiddly bits at the moment so this will be perfect!

 

I hope this have given you some new ideas for gifts. Remember, there are always cheaper alternatives for products out there and never feel any pressure into buying hundreds of presents.

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