Monday, 28 October 2013

Activity Toys Direct (with tots100)…my dream garden!

This is a tots100 competition for Activity Toys Direct.  I love a competition, and this one - to design your dream kids garden - really got my imagination fired up!

“This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition”

Squiblet loves books, she loves imaginary play and she gets lost in her own little world of everything she reads.  A dream garden for us would be a space where she can explore and create and imagine!

At present we have a tower with a climbing wall and slide...

This could be enhanced to encourage imaginative play…
(Charlie Cook's Favourite Book, Swallows and Amazons, The Famous Five)

Telescope and steering wheel:

A hammock or a cosy nook to read and play...

Fairy doors...
(Brambly Hedge, Postman Bear)

A huge sandpit with buried treasure, dinosaurs and footprint stilts...
(How to Grow a Dinosaur)

A broom...
(Room on the Broom)

A child safe pond...
(Room on the Broom, pond dipping, science play!)

A hazelnut tree...
(The Gruffalo)

Three Bears...

A "river" of blue rubber chips with stepping stones and some "swishy swashy grass"
(We're going on a bear hunt)

And lastly, on the Activity Toys Direct website I noticed these trampolines.

Squiblet loves to bounce but I've always felt like our garden wasn't really big enough for one of those giant trampolines...until now!  The way they are sunk into the ground is so clever and makes them seem like they take up less space.

My literary link...Dear Zoo..."so they sent me a...frog...but he was too bouncy so I sent him back!"

Hope you like my ideas!


Friday, 18 October 2013



Firstly, apologies for my lack of blogtendance.  Things have been a bit mad lately what with one thing and another so I've either not been home at nap time, or I've been crazily doing things at nap time or I've been collapsing in a heap at nap time.  Today however I have made a jumbalaya (love that word), cleaned up and got into bed with surprisingly just enough energy to blog!  So here I am.

The second thing I want to do is share this wonderful picture.  It was Squiblet's first paddle in the sea.  Trip number 3 to the beach, and the first time she mustered up the courage to go in the sea.  She *loved* it!  I think a big part of her joy was that she had overcome her fear and she knew it.  She just ran back and forth splashing and shrieking and saying "it's good FUN!" it was so cute, and such a milestone, and just such a special occasion.  It's making me well up a little bit just to remember it.  But I'll stop jabbering, here's the really speaks for itself:

Squiblet's new birth certificate arrived yesterday which made me feel pretty emotional. It's all done!  Her party is next Saturday and we look to have over 100 people coming.  I created an online gift list where people signed up for plates of ham etc so I don't have to worry about catering, and also we couldn't really afford to spend that much on food right now (one salary!) but no-one seems to mind.  Hopefully it should be a really good event.  I'll let you know!  Everyone has to come dressed as something beginning with the first letter of Squiblet's name!  I have a slightly nutty animal onesie.  There's going to be a donut tower....the signs are there that it should be a good day!  And not really having to cater it is making it much less stressful.

I titled this blog post "friends" and haven't really got to that bit yet.  I think Squiblet's getting to an age where she really does have little friends; children she likes to play and share with and chat to and it's so nice!  I feel like I'm finally breaking in to the tight knit Mum crowd where we live...I thought I never would!  From the outside it feels very cliquey.  I think I was trying to break into the wrong clique!  Anyhow, there seem to be some jolly nice Mums out there who don't mind a bit of me and Squiblet in their lives...phew!

I'm still worrying about going back to work.  Yes, it's 11 months away!  If anyone knows how I can crack into the consultant science/medical educational resource market then do let me know!

Bye for now.

Will try not to leave it so long next time!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Growing up so fast!


Apologies. It's been a while.  It's all go here.  Squiblet has made the transition to her big girl bed, we've taken down the massive green room divider which was cutting our open plan living place into two so now our house looks like our house again and I don't know...things just feel different now it's all done!

My friend dropped us off from a trip to the beach and Squiblet had fallen asleep in the car.  Usually she will never transition from car to cot without screaming and crying and having a horrendous tantrum so I popped her on the bed while I went to get her car seat.  When I got back she was so close to sleep that I just stroked her head and left her there.  I then sat there for the next 1 1/2 hours (only leaving for a moment to get my Kindle) as I was worried she might fall out.  She looked like a beautiful peaceful angel with the sunlight falling on her hair from under the curtains.  I took a photo and showed it to Mama when she got home.  And that was it...Squiblet saw the photo and never looked back.  Cue a long bath time with Mama while I frantically hoovered, took down the cot and rearranged the furniture!

Squiblet seeing photos or videos of herself seems to be incredibly powerful.  There is a video of her on her trampoline where she says "more strawberries!" and for at least a month she couldn't go on her trampoline without stopping and saying "more strawberries!"  She is a most excellent mimic which most of the time is funny, but I wasn't quite sure the other day when we walked past our local tramp eating a sandwich and she sat down a few metres on and started tucking into her own pretend sandwich!  All I need to do now is somehow get a video of her using the potty and then maybe she will use the potty.  The tricky part there is getting her to use it in the first place!

The celebration day was magical.  Squiblet was in her element being the centre of attention.  She sat in the Judge's chair and when we said could everyone come up for pictures she shouted "come on everybody!" with an alarming air of authority.  We were so lucky that lots of the special people in her life could be there with us.  There were a few missing but they were there in spirit!  I don't think it would have been nearly such a celebration without our nearest and dearest sharing the day.  The Judge was so kind and so good with her.  Squiblet got to stamp the court crest onto a sticker and then put it on her certificate.  She loves a sticker!  And then she got to roll it up!  And put a ribbon on!  And be given a bear!  It doesn't get much better than that.  Although she was pretty clear that she was "not really sure" about the Judge's wig!

We are back in our routine now and one thing I've noticed is that the gap between Squiblet's public and home behaviour is widening.  Her confidence at home is growing and growing.  She will sing the whole of Baa Baa Black Sheep or Dingle Dangle Scarecrow and dance and giggle if she's around her family and friends, but take her to play group or music class and she sits and clings on and barely participates.  It does make me worry because I don't think she's being true to herself and what she can do and consequently she doesn't enjoy things as much as she could.  I know she's only 2.  I know it's only been 8 months.  I just want to help.  I'm a teacher and I know how those children get lost when they are at school because our education system is so pro extrovert.  But that's my issue.  There's nothing about her which is introverted when she's at home, or even if she's out with friends.  I don't know.  I probably worry too much.  I just want her to be happy and true to herself.  At her music class it's weird though because she will sit and cling on for most of it, but the second the teacher brings out something interesting she's up and shouting "I want it!" or "Mummy stand up!" So it's a curious mixture of completely disengaged or horribly bossy.  For the first time I was actually slightly embarrassed by her behaviour.  I don't think it would embarrass me if she was consistent!  But the mixture of shy and dictatorial was curious and tricky to manage.  I should stop worrying.  I know.

So it's all go!  It's all change.  Our baby is growing up.  My proud parent moment of the week is when she walked up to a lamp post and said "that is 's', that is 'o', that is 'l'" and pointed at the letters of the brand which were written on the lamp post.  I thought she only knew one and that was the first letter of her name.  I was so impressed!  And I am by no means a "Flashcard Mom" she just has a few books with the alphabet in or alphabet themes and alphabet decorations in her room.  It's mad what they learn when you aren't paying attention.  We were in the garden the other day and I overheard Squiblet say "oop...there's a bumbly old bee" and it made me smile because she is getting more and more like her Mummy (and Mama) each day.

I am mostly getting very excited about Christmas, my 30th birthday and Squiblet's big party but not necessarily in that order.

Much excitement to come.

Love to you all.