Thursday, December 29, 2011

Relaxed Christmas

Christmas did not turn out exactly how I wanted it to which is normally the way. This year is my first year in England with all my family and got to see so many people, some of which I have not seen in years - a delight. It was however relaxed and the build-up to it was fun. The week before the big day, my parents stayed over and we had a pre-Christmas meal and a present each was opened. A few friends came by dropping off gifts and well wishes. On the day itself, stocking were opened first then we had brunch and the remaining presents opened and before we knew it, time had caught up and it was dinner with the in-laws and another gift opening session. One thing I did notice this year, perhaps because Christmas day landed on a weekend, there was not much joy in the air, a lot of people worked up until the last minute including my husband and had little time to enjoy the festivities. All in all it was low key, oh! I noticed a lot of people were ill too.

We have received a number of invites for New Years parties, most of which did not invite children (the invites are by those without kids). For us as a family it is important that we spend it together, besides, I am not a New Years party lover, I prefer to spend it in the comfort of my own home with my family, watching DVD's, cooking food I like with champagne in hand in time for the fireworks and party goers cheers.

So however you spent your Christmas and prepare for your New Years party, I hope it is a good one.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Fair.

The village that we live in had a Christmas fair last night, there was a choir, music, fair rides, raffles, lucky dips even a Darlic which was awesome and he was very funny too. 

Typical for this time of year it was cold but a little windy but it had a great atmosphere and was very, very busy. Lucky for me we live one minute walk away so we did not have to worry about parking like most visitors.

We had a walk around to find homemade mince pies, mulled wine, light up butterflies (as pictured), raffles for cuddly toys and many more exciting things.

Well organised and received.

Thank you!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday night, movie night and decorations.

Yes it is Friday, it's officially the weekend and for us it is movie night. Instead of pizza we had homemade lasagna, homemade truffles and the advent calendar chocolate treat but before dinner we decorated the house. I say the house mostly the living room and some of upstairs. I was a bit mystified to find that half of my decorations had disappeared but when we did the big move I threw a lot out, simply we needed less 'stuff' to bring back. Anyway, our feature film guessed it...Santa Clause.

My parents had stored for 9 years my fiber-optic Christmas tree and they gave it to me upon my return and to my surprise it works and it looks better than I remember. The only downsize is there is no room for my decorations so we had to do some improvising and put the fabric ones around the tree.
It is a particularly frugal Christmas this year for most families but instead of buying loads of new decorations, make your own with paper, glitter and glue. This year we have made paper chains, used coloured paper to make Santa and Reindeer pictures and we will also be making cut out snow flakes. So once I get my aweful camera working again, I will post some photos. 

Websites are great resources for arts and crafts so use them and get creating with the family, not only is it cheaper, it will also be personalised and beautiful.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winter wonderland

Yesterday we went to a local garden centre in Hordean and they had the most amazing Christmas displays. I loved it, the kids loved it.  We saw lovely decorations and some beautifully decorated Christmas trees, I could not resist I bought the kids a sparkly red decoration each. 

They had donkeys, goats and pigs, the goats were surprisingly soft and gentle. The donkeys were eating and the pigs had their heads stuck in their trough. It is great when companies make an effort with their displays. 

If you in the Hampshire area it is well worth a visit. 

Baking Christmas Truffles with kids

This is a great recipe for kids 3 years and up, I saw this in a Christmas book and had to give it a try and they look great. They taste just fine but do remember they are not real truffels!

250g Digestive biscuits
125g butter (go for unsalted, the biscuits have enough salt in them)
4 tablespoons of honey
4 tablespoons of cocoa
4 tablespoons of coconut (more for texture than flavour)

Melt the butter in a pan (do it slowly as not to burn it)
Get the kids to crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs and help them to count the amount of tablespoons for each ingredient and let then mix it up.
Once the butter has melted add it to the mixture (that is mums or dads job).

Place the lot of it to a flat pan and let it cool.

This is the fun bit, the kids love it too ;)
Cut a small square (adult job)  (but you may find it crumbles) and squish it into a ball, any size you like then roll it in a topping of your choice. We used chocolate sprinkles, cocoa (but get decent cocoa the cheaper stuff is not nice as I discovered), crushed hazelnuts and coconut.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nearly December

I love Christmas and getting the Christmas decorations out of storage and ready to put up. I also enjoy adding new ones to the collection and making shiny new decorations at home with the kids. 

Since the unions in the UK have decided to strike on Wednesday we are going to stay in the comfort of our home and prep some newly created decorations and add some more, come the weekend our Christmas tree will be put up and twinkling Christmas lights. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Books by Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes books are wonderfully illustrated and are lovely to read. Just innocent child's play with a little reality thrown in.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


As a kid I enjoyed my Sunday's I made a point of doing something that day, I either went swimming, horse riding at my local riding school (when riding was cheap) or take the dog for a long walk, help to cook the Sunday roast and make some sort of dessert, arts and crafts, I always did something. On most Sunday we would have a fried breakfast to start the day with Staffordshire oatcakes yum!

My husband on the other hand loathes Sundays he remembers it was a homework day or a chores day. Nonetheless I am aiming for my kids to enjoy Sundays, where we go for walks, cook and do some form of activity but also make it a relaxing day to recover and regenerate after a busy week.



My eldest daughter is in a great infant school. She is doing well there and I am pleased with her progress. However, we are not too thrilled about the primary school she would end up in.

Prior to her being enrolled in her current school we were applying to schools when we were still in Canada and in the middle of our move. I had to go by what family told us who were based in the area we were moving to and by the ofsted reports online, sad to say she ended up in none of the schools we had chosen for her (humph!).

As it happens my little girl started nursery school a few weeks after school term time started and I spoke to the owner who mentioned a great local school that was not as well know but was up and coming and had an outstanding reputation. I left it for a month or so before visiting but when both my husband and I had time to go, we were greeted by this lovely old school with loads of grounds in the middle of the countryside in a tiny village. To add it takes kids from Yr R to Yr 6 so we only have to worry about what secondary school she ends up in, and our little one will end up going there too and they will both be in the same school at the same time (Hooray!).  Needless to say we were impressed but we were informed to apply quick because word was out and places were filling up fast. So we did and we got  a letter a week later to find she had not been accepted (humph!). We decided that we would appeal, it took us a week to do it even though it was a one page form, because with these things if you do not word it right you are out.

Luck would have it she got in so now we have to decide when she should start. I think the new year would be a good starting place.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A day out in London

Today is the first time we have taken the kids into London for a day trip. We were going to take them to Hamleys, the huge London toy store but instead someone suggested Harrods would be a great place because there is a good selection but not 5 floors worth plus we have the food store to visit. I would love to wander through to look at the clothes but no one other than me would enjoy it and besides I have no justification in paying some of the Harrods prices. Anyway, the girls got a cuddly toy each and we got ourselves some yummy chocolates.

The kids were great on the train into London. We packed some drinks, fruit colouring book and pens and they were happy campers. We got a taxi cab to Harrods but the traffic was horrid and the cost was a bit shocking to say the least. We eventually got to Harrods and it was busy. It is ALWAYS busy. It was a little bit of a challenge to find the toy section, there was no signage and we had to go up 4 floors but we got there. I think the kids were a little overwhelmed, my youngest was just so happy to be there, my eldest went into a strop, we then realised that she had seen something she liked then we went back to look for it and could not find it. Eventually she found it - phew! Lucky for us all it was not an expensive toy (there would have been tears if it had been) and little miss (my youngest) could not decide what she wanted then we found this really cool puppy.

We then went onwards to Piccadilly Circus to the Rain Forest Cafe only to find there was a 20mins wait and  the kids were not going to wait that long so we ventured on until we could find somewhere that did not have a waiting time. It would have been fun going to the Rain Forest Cafe :(.

We came back home before it was dark, it would have been nice to have stayed so they could see the Christmas lights but they were getting tired and they were ready to come home and so were we.

It was a great day out.

Game night

Game night is something we have been doing on and off for a while but trying to get the kids to play nicely and finding games that we can all enjoy is a bit of a challenge at times. However, this ones seems to be a winner. Leaping frogs, now, the rules of the game have had to be adapted somewhat for our kids but when they get older we can change the rules to the original one but for now we have great fun laughing, giggling and shouting with glee.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday night is movie night

As a household we seem to lack those family memories that we aspire to build for our children. So now we have a family ritual, it happened out of desperation.

I was at home alone with the kids for a few days and to get them to cooperate and also to add a distraction (really its a bribe to get them to behave), I told them that if they were good on Friday after school we would have pizza, popcorn and movie night. It was a huge hit and the ritual lives on, (I have only been doing it since they started school). It seems to be working and they really enjoy the evening. They choose whatever movie they want to watch (it was the Incredibles for several weeks) and we all watch the film with all the trimmings. It means we get an easy, relaxed night once a week. 

This week we are watching the Fox and the Hound (we have 1 and 2), it has been an age since I watched it and I have never seen the second one so it will be exciting for us all to watch. No doubt  I will get the inevitable, "I AM HUNGRY MUMMY" or "I AM THIRSTY", half way through the film which means I will watch it piecemeal. Over the next several weeks when we watch the film over and over again, I will realise that I have missed big chunks of the movie and notice the little things that are really important, or funny or just awesome. 

The wonders of parenting, I would not have it any other way!!!

NOTE: Did you notice that I used film and movie, the North American and English language differentiation. I also use ladybug instead of ladybird I prefer ladybug to ladybird but I should confirm that I am English.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Part one of the wish list - Fun Box

The girls and I have started to work on the wish list. The first item we put together was the fun box. They can choose what they want to put into it, (it can be anything that they like e.g. a coloured button to something they want to do, picking leaves for example). The intention is, each week we add, take out something or both. I am hoping it will be a success but I have to follow it through for it to work. So another flag for my calendar to ensure we do or add something each week!

I have used a shoe box and wrapped it with girly pink wrapping paper, their favourite.   

I would love to see if you have created a fun box. How it has been decorated and what you have added to it.

Christmas Crafts

Got this book from the library. It has some great ideas for kids, like how to make a snow globe, decorations and advent calendar. It takes me back to when I was a kid and I made Christmas decorations for the tree and cards. Great childhood memories I hope to recreate with my two girls. Pictures of our creations will follow later.
Christmas Kids Crafts

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I love kids books

I do, I love kids books they are amazing, colourful, imaginative stories you can't find in adult books. I am loving Lauren Child, author and illustrator of Charlie and Lola. Fun to watch on TV, to read and I love her art work too and to top it off the kids think its great. 

One note I should add, Clarice Bean is not really a book for 3-5 year old's, better for kids who have been in school longer, perhaps pre-teens. Anyway, I found it funny but my girls found it hard to understand.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art Center

Here is the start of the art center but I think I will call it the art station, it is coming along nicely. Basically it has all the kids things in there. It includes, paper, paint, pens, brushes, glue, gluing sticks, books and so on. 

In my perfect world I would paint the bookcase white but it would be a shame to change it because it is lovely as is. In the perfect world my photos would be staged, looking just so and the display would stay untarnished but as we know, in the real world we make a mess so here it is raw as can be and it will only get worse. Enjoy!

Paint, paint pots, brushes etc. 
Area for creations big and small.

Christmas Decorations

I know, I know, but Christmas is in the air and the chill is setting in and today was a day for us all to have hot chocolate and making decorations in preparation.

There was glue, paint, cardboard cereal box and lots and lots and lots of GLITTER! Girls love glitter and I am sure little boys do too and it is perfect for making Christmas inspired decorations. I cut out the shapes from the cereal box, any shape it does not matter because it will be covered in glitter and sparkle, besides at my kids age being perfect and pristine is not what it is all about, it is about fun, getting glue and glitter everywhere and learning to be creative. Before the glitter I added glue to red paint, (choose your paint colour all personal preference) then add as much glitter as one can take. Hey presto!

I am having problems with my camera so I will post the decorations when I get it working but for now, imagine, create and have fun.

Camera is working, kind of but here is what I have got...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest we Forget

I will be taking my children to the service this coming Sunday. We should never forget what our grandparents and great-grandparents and so many others went through to save our country.

Cardboard castle

On a cold, sunny, November Sunday, daddy and mummy went for coffee and took a look at the monthly farmers market. Prior to their coffee indulgence,  the kids were dropped off at grandmas' and their great aunts' house, mawahaha!

OK, so whilst I was having a coffee I was half listening to my husband and half thinking about what I could do with two bored kids on a Sunday afternoon. Other than the usual Sunday walk in the woods I thought it was time to use the recycled items I had accumulated over the past week or so. I dared to ask what the girls would like to build and the inevitable answer spurted out, "A Princess Castle".

Bare in mind I am not really an arts and crafts person I am more into my painting so I had to delve deep into my childhood memories to when I built my own things out of household items, Blue Peter style, (except when I used to watch the show I never had the items required to build a magnificent masterpiece).

So here is what I and the girls built together.

I should add a disclaimer of sorts - yet again it ended in tears (I think this should be the name of my blog) because they did not want to stop playing with it but the 'pools' became a bit of a water hazard when the girls sneakily took water from the sink and added it to form rain which was poured over the top of the'castle' and the overflowing pool then became a scientific project!!!

Once the tears had subsided the 'castle' was used for its intended purpose, to play house with their mini dolls and pretend there is water. :) Phew!

(Instructions will follow later).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cleaning Mad.

I do obsess about the house cleaning and making sure it is organised and clean but really do I need to really go mad over it? Does a little dirt and mess hurt really? Well no but we are brainwashed by TV that mess and dirt is bad for you, sure in excess it is but like most mothers, I make sure the house is tidy before I have visitors, the kids get shouted at if they make a mess while I am in the process of tidying up or I have just finished the clean-up. I need to step back and forget about it all, forget that I have no dishes to eat off, that the muddy boots have been trampled through the house leaving stains on the carpet or rug, that the table is covered in arts and crafts so there is no table to eat off. 

At the end of the day all the above does not matter because it is not going to last long. Eventually they will grow up and not want the hugs and kisses I offer or the activities I spend time researching for them or infact they will not want to spend time with me at all at, unless they want to spend my money. Caring about what others think about my house should be of no concern (unless I want them to return again). 

So my daily mantra and please join in if you feel the need.

 Leave the cleaning alone until the kids have gone to bed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Art Center

I am in the middle of designing an arts, crafts, writing, homework area for my little ones. It will involve: using a recycled bookcase, glass jars, keeping household items, paint, glue, glitter, pens and so on. It is going to be a long process as I gather items from within the home. 

Progress will be posted as it unfolds. Cheap is the name of the game, nothing fancy and something the kids can help me with. It will teach them (I hope), to recycle, to  use their imagination and create, it does not have to be expensive to be fun and it will be an interactive family project.

Currently I am inbetween home ownership so renting limits me with how much I can do. I will, however, not let this stop me from creating a space that suit our immediate needs and wants.

If you have done anything similar, let me know I would love to see your project. 

Recycling for later creations
Organising with glass jars

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"...finger-paint more, and point the finger less."

What an amazing quote below, I have to remind myself to take things slower and get at my children's level while I still have time to do so. I am sure I am not alone.

“If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging.“ -Diane Loomans

I found this quote here:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Have a safe bonfire night


Remember, remember the 5th of November...

We had a great evening at the local bonfire and fireworks display. We were lucky enough for us to walk to it and be home in a few minutes. My eldest daughter thought it was great, my little girl liked it but she thought it was a bit loud. All in all it was a safe night and mild with no rain! Lucky us.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Science Projects for 3-6 year olds

I saw this book by Muriel Mandell and thought it would be great to do some very simple science experiments in the home using items you can normally find around the house, e.., straws, bottles, lemons etc.

The first experiment I tested with the girls, was to see if you can bend a straw without touching it. They seemed quite excited about it all, but the task I had was trying to explain where the bend was, then one of the kids accidently trod on the toe of the other one then there was pushing and shoving and there the experiment ended for another day. 

What did I do wrong? I have no idea, maybe I got them at the wrong time of the day, maybe they had no clue what was meant by a bend (when actually it appears broken). So I was somewhat disappointed that the 2 minute session ended on a low note. 

Am I the only one who deals with this? I read other blogs and they seem idyllic, well organised and well received. I think someone somewhere is trying to paint the perfect picture that does not exist or maybe I am  being honest. It would be great to hear that I am not alone in this huge world of parenthood.

UK Library

So the library I used prior to this blog was based in Vancouver but I have moved back to the UK, living the village life and it is not cheap!

I have signed up the girls to the library and they have their own dinosaur library cards. Today I went on the mobile library bus that sits in the car park across the road of my house every Friday morning. I chose not to have TV or Sky/Cable therefore DVD's are our source of entertainment, therefore since Friday night is pizza, popcorn and movie night I would get a few kids DVD's, which include, Cinderella, FiFi, Rupert the Bear and Angelina Ballerina. As I went to check them out to my horror and amazement you actually have to pay to take out DVD's. I could say a few profanities but after all this blog is for kids and parents. Of course I did not have money, just library cards so I was informed I could pay next time I drop them off.

Hmmm! Sure, it is cheaper than renting from the video store but I thought I was going to a library that had free resources.

Oh well! Village life will continue forth.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wish list

Things mummy will do with us:
  1. Tissue paper candle holders
  2. Start a nature journal
  3. Cook more
  4. Pack a field bag
  5. Collect and decorate pebbles
  6. Make clay
  7. Create a creative space in our new home
  8. Germinate plants
  9. Make a fun box
  10. Natural stamping
  11. Do science projects
  12. Go to the library often
  13. Marbalized paper
  14. Make a tub tunnel
  15. Make a picture journal (mummy needs a new camera)
Now that it is written down, mummy needs to stick to it!

Great websites to get more info:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer in the UK

After a very busy first half of the year, house renos then house selling and organising our move back to the UK we are finally back with family. The kids of course do not view the UK as home since they were born in Canada. However, they are settling in and having their ups and downs with the move but schools are being organised and uniforms are being put together. Lots of visits with cousins, grandparent, plus being spoiled rotten by many. 

It is a pleasure to be back and I am looking forward to us all being in the UK for Christmas with all our relatives out here. 


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fashion book for kids

I am not convinced that my eldest daughter liked this but she enjoyed the illustrations maybe in a few years time, as for me, I thought this was awesome!! There is a child in us all.

A wonderfully illustrated book about fashion
The change from large dresses to bloomers.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Books - Bunny School

Remarkable illustrations and the story is lovely. This is the second book I have read to the kids of this series and they adore the literature and amazing art work. Highly recommended.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beautiful books for beautiful kids

I love taking the kids to the library and they get a kick out of getting books and DVD's every week we visit. I have to say, it is saving me a lot of money because once upon a time I would go to the local book store and buy it all. Not these days, it is time to keep the purse strings tight. Here are a few of our faves this week.

A wonderful story about a little girl who wants a pony, beautiful illustrations.
A fun book about a tiger, elephant and a hippo, they all want to catch the fly!
Wonderful, fun story about Marley going to school. Up to no good as usual but harmless fun. I love the colours and illustrations in this book.
I thought this might be fun way for the girls to learn table manners, as it was once taught but the old english language was hard for them to follow, nevertheless it was good to introduce them to something different. 
They both loved this one. The bear wakes from hibernation and he is simply hungry and my oh my he is bigger!
A nice take on this classic story. Simply FUN!