30 June 2014

Moondough madness

One sunny afternoon last week we made moondough, I have seen a few posts about it and thought the Little ones would like to play with it as they both love playdough. We made our own using flour and baby oil adding a bit of each and mixing it until it formed a ball that stuck together, it is not like playdough it forms a ball when you squash it together but crumbles up easily and falls apart. It did make our hands really soft though.

We added red food colouring to try and make it go pink, the first attempt I didn't add enough and it went kind of an orangy flour colour, to this one we added some tiny beads I had to give it a bit of texture. The second one we added more colour and it just went bright red instead of pink, to this one we added sequins.

The Little ones couldn't wait to get stuck in, we did this activity in the garden as I know playdough and carpets do not mix, let alone crumbly moondough and I am SO glad I did!
The Little ones got their play crockery and attempted to make some dinner with it.

There was lots of dainty scooping and filling, patting and tipping, something that both the Little ones love to do at the moment as they made their creations, it wasn't long before the moondough got crumbly and made a bit of a mess.

It was a good job this blanket was washable!! The moondough was quite easy to shake off in the bin and it came out in the wash no problem off their clothes as well as the rug. When the Little ones started adding grass to the crumbs I decided that it was probably time to stop!

We had only played with the moondough for about 20 minutes and there was still plenty of time until teatime so as we had lots of oily and floury utensils I suggested the Little ones washed up, they thought it was a great idea.

There was plenty of washing, sloshing and cleaning going on and they were having a good time albeit getting a tad soggy which no one minded. 

We enjoyed making and playing with the moondough but I wasn't so sure on the mess it made, perhaps we'll have another go and use a recipe this time either that or it can be bought quite cheapy in multiple colours that might be a better idea!

Have you played with moondough, did it make as much mess as ours?

28 June 2014

Fort Victoria -Isle of wight

While we were away recently we had such a brilliant family holiday, probably our best yet! In the morning before we had to catch our ferry to head home we pulled in at Fort Victoria (Isle of Wight)  just a couple of minutes from the ferry port and had a look around.

We had parked there earlier in the week to go for a walk along the coast as it is in the country park area and free to park, but the fort had been closed then.

There are several things to do in the old fort building that is remaining, an aquarium, a planetarium, model railway and a cafe, there are also lots of walks and woodland areas to explore as well as the pebble beach there. We only had a couple of hours before we had to leave to catch our ferry but you could spend quite a bit of time there!

Pebble throwing is one of the Little ones pastimes, they love spending time on a pebble beach looking at the stones and throwing them into the water, there is something therapeutic about it isn't there. We walked along the pebble beach outside the fort and meandered along towards Yarmouth, the Little ones throwing stones into the sea and walking along the walls.

Yarmouth from Fort Victoria
We decided to have a look around the aquarium built into the concrete arched building, it was really cheap to get in just a few pounds each for us and Little 1, the girls were given a badge which they liked. All the tanks were filled with sea life from around the island and a few tropical fish as well.

A cuttlefish

These fish had eggs (B-R)

There are steps up the side of the fort so that you can have a look from the roof, the view is beautiful. The day we went the sea was calm and really blue, you could see for miles, all the boats.

Little 1 wanted to pose for a few pictures, I did take some lovely ones. Little 2 was more interested in picking the weeds but offered me a cheeky smile!

Me and my girls
A lovely place to spend the last few hours of our holiday, we definitely want to go back to the Isle of Wight as we had a fantastic time and didn't really get so see all that much of the island during our busy week, there is so much more to explore, we will be back one day.

26 June 2014

Red arrows on the beach

I am a bit behind with my holiday posts as we have now been back 2 weeks but in my defence I have been busy there have been meetings, story sessions for Little 1 starting school and of course Britmums so here goes.

In the middle of our holiday while much of the UK was being drenched by thunder storms we  on the Isle of Wight woke up to this, not a cloud in the sky, it was a day for the beach.

We headed over to Ryde to spend the day on the beach, heaven for the Little ones. They immedietely began to collect shells, dig and build sand castles a mere metre onto the beach, they reluctantly followed us a bit further to a spot by the wall sheltered from the wind and got stuck in.

They were in their element digging holes, burying and building castles and going down to the sea to paddle.

We had a little picnic complete with sandy sausage rolls and began to wonder why lots of people had turned up and were standing all along the wall behind us and coming onto the beach in their dozens, it was after lunch on a very sunny Wednesday what was going on?

Just a few minutes later we found out as the Red Arrows flew past, they were doing a display at Southampton for the D-day weekend. We sat and watched them flying through the air making patterns and pictures in the sky. My pictures were not that great as I was zoomed in on maximum and they were so fast! The Little Ones were oblivious to what was going on in the sky and despite attempts to tell them to look up, the sand won all their attention.

Once the display was over and all the people had gone we realised we had been on the beach for 4 hours and it was time for an ice-cream. We have a rule in our family that everyone gets some sort of ice cream or lolly every day on holiday unless they have been a bit naughty! Today it was cornets...

After our ice cream we went for a walk along the promenade and came across a boating lake glistening in the sun, there were hundreds of birds on it and lots of ducklings and goslings. We ambled around it taking in the views and cooing over the cute babies.

The goslings were particularly friendly and wouldn't leave us alone...

This fellow wouldn't stop following me!

A lovely day in the sun on the beach with my family.... perfect. What is your perfect holiday day out?

24 June 2014

Black cab drivers do not accept tampons!

So everyone has been writing about it on their blogs this week, all across the country and further afield too, last weekend was #Britmumslive 2014 and I was one of the 700 bloggers that attended.

I have only been blogging for 5 months and after being asked if I wanted to go by my lovely friend Karen over at Would like to be I went, a chance to be child free for a couple of days, a trip with a friend, an uninterrupted nights sleep and more importantly chance to meet people who's blogs I read, talk with brands and learn lots to make my blog bigger and better, to right I was going to go.

I left the children in Daddy's capable hands but only after being asked to get them some old clothes out ready for a weekend of play in the garden and walking in the forest he had lined up with some company from Nanny, so they weren't going to miss me then!

It was my first trip to London (yes really...I know...I'm not that travelled!) and I was excited and nervous too, what if no one had heard of my blog! I needn't have worried, I had a blast and there were lots of people who said they had read my blog (phew and whoop)!

I sat and listened to some seriously talented people reading funny, heartbreaking and inspiring words, that made me laugh, gave me goosebumps and a lump in my throat along with prickly teary eyes too.

I watched successful bloggers receiving awards, I went to talks and came away feeling inspired, I learnt some tips about photography, blog design and thought about a few things I need to tweak on my blog to make it look even better.

I met lots of people, some that I knew and some that I didn't, a few of them had even heard of my blog! (considering my short time blogging, I was pretty chuffed I can tell you). I handed out my cards and some of those people have even followed me, So Thank you.

I had a great time at Britmums and my children were happy that I brought them home lots of chocolate and trinkets from my goodie bag as well as that bucket and spade set we were all lugging around! My husband was rather pleased with his bottle of wine and personalised Coca Cola bottle too.

I can now say I have been to London, albiet a rather small section that I didn't really see much of, I have ridden on the tube and been in a black cab too. Now I may not be a seasoned London visitor but Karen, really, even I know that tampons are not legal tender in London, I don't think the cab driver was all that happy to almost be offered one in that handful of coins!! I am sure he thought we were mad as we spilled out into the pavement struggling and tripping over our many heavy bags giggling, he didn't hang about did he! (I am still chuckling about that!!)

I had a fantastic weekend away at Britmums and can't wait for my next blogging conference.....I just need to save up for the ticket.

23 June 2014

The skeleton cupboard- book review

When Mumsnet emailed asking for bloggers to read and review 'The Skeleton Cupboard' by Dr Tanya Byron, I replied straight away. I have always had an interest in psychology and development and I had followed several of Dr Byron's television programmes in the past and liked her style! I was thrilled when I was selected and started reading as soon as the book arrived.

It opens with a pretty graphic description of her grandmothers murder when Byron was just a teen and how as a result she became interested in the subject of brain matter and just what leads people to behave and do things in the way they do.

The book then follows her through her years of psychiatry training, Byron talks about six placements- a hospital outpatient department, an inpatient unit, eating disorder clinic, GP practice, geriatric unit and a Drug dependency unit and her complicated relationship with her mentor throughout. The book is both fact as well as fiction, all the case studies are fictitious, Byron writes,

"...because confidentially is a core principle of my profession, while all I describe is drawn from real clinical practice, the characters I write about are not modelled on real individuals. They are constructs, influenced by the many incredible people I had the privilage of meeting during my training. (Tanya Byron 2014)" 

I enjoyed reading about the case studies and imagined them as real, wanting to know what happened next and how it would...if it could all work out.

Byron writes this book brilliantly, it is impossible to put down and each section leaves you wanting to find out more about the case studies, her relationship with her mentor, and her thoughts of her inner self, maybe as a psychiatrist she knows what we want to read to keep us engaged either that or she is a very talented writer!

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about mental health as throughout the book it provides the reader with many opportunities to question the sanity of our own thoughts, our practices and challenges our preconceptions towards others, especially those with mental health problems. The book also encourages us to look beyond the problem to discover what it is really all about.

N.B I received this book from Mumsnet in return for this review. All thoughts and opinions written within this post are my own honest thoughts.

18 June 2014

The one with the Lemurs!

While visiting the Isle of Wight we decided to go to the Amazon World Zoo, the Little ones both like animals and we knew we would have a fab day out. We quadrupled our Tesco vouchers for days out deals before we went and so only had to pay a few pounds to get in, bargain.

Amazon world is mostly birds, exotics and monkeys, there was a red panda, an anteater and an ocelot as well as a few other species too but you won't find the big animals like tigers, elephants, giraffes etc.

We arrived mid morning and followed the route around looking at the birds and monkeys. The little ones liked watching the monkeys for ages and going through all the plastic strips in the doorways but Little 1 wasn't so keen on the animal sound effects playing in the background in one part, she kept wanting a cuddle thinking there were animals all around her! We didn't tell her that there were free flying birds above us as we went through quickly!

At lunchtime we went back to the car for our picnic, there was a huge grass area with plenty of picnic tables by the car park and a huge adventure play area with a dinosaur theme. There was also a bit for the younger ones too. We ate and played there for an hour before the girls had had enough and were ready to see some more animals.

I'm the king of the castle!

Don't help me, I can do it myself.

We continued to look around and had some fun chasing and hiding from each other in the tropical house areas. The girls liked spotting the animals in the plants around the sides and looking at the fish in the ponds as we passed. Little 1 seemed to have got used to the idea that the animals were around her.

We ventured into the Lemur enclosure, it is one of those walk through ones where you are actually in with them. You are not allowed to touch them but they were happy to sit on the path and fence as people walked around. Little 1 wanted her picture taken with them and got quite close for her as she can be quite nervous.

As we came around towards the exit there was a group of lemurs sat on the path in our way, Little 2 being nearest them and quite close to the floor got a bit scared. Daddy knelt down next to her to say that she didn't need to be scared and that they wouldn't hurt her. Then one of the lemurs climbed onto his knee! The keeper told him just to sit still and not touch them and he would get down, but he was obviously comfortable and didn't want to move (the lemur that is not Daddy). Another climbed on and a third climbed the fence and leapt onto his shoulder. They stayed there for a good few minutes until Daddy was told by the keeper to stand up slowly so they would get off. That was an experience he wasn't expecting. Daddy said they tickled his neck as the fur was really soft.

We had a good day at Amazon world looking at all the animals and certainly give the play area a big thumbs up too. The Little ones had some spending money left from their grandparents and so each chose a small cuddly animal from the shop. Little 1 chose a pink flamingo who she named Rosie after her friend at pre-school and Little 2 opted for a crocodile she called Crocky. Little 2 seems to have a thing for crocodiles, I have noticed that in shops like that she always makes a bee line for the crocodile toys.

Two happy girls slept in the car on the way back to our cottage and then straight off to sleep that night too, they must have been tired!