Wednesday, 5 December 2018

How to Stay Positive During the Winter Months

The winter months are finally upon us! Yay, it's nearly Christmas! One of my favourite times of year! But sometimes the darkness seems to wrap around us like a cloak, from the minute we open our eyes to the crisp, cold mornings to the second we climb back into bed. Its easy for the positivity and joyful bounce to subside and for the pessimism and misery to set in during the winter months! 

For some, leaving the house for work or school and arriving back home in the pitch black can sometimes make you feel like you've missed a whole day! For others, the gloominess is overwhelming and claustrophobic and can make you feel like hibernating along with the animals! 

It's at this time of year that many people suffer with general "winter blues." Others may develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (or aptly named SAD for short), a "winter depression" that is usually more severe in the winter months. 

So how can we pull ourselves out of the winter blues and stay positive during the darker months? We can learn a lot about surviving and embracing the winter from the Scandinavians, many of whom spend up to 6 months of the year in twilight and never-ending darkness! 

Norwegians have this lovely word, "koselig." It's quite hard to define as it's more of feeling that is created! That cosy, warm feeling you might get when enjoying a traditional roast dinner by a country pub fire, or how you feel when wrapped up in blankets watching Christmas films with the kids on the sofa, complete with hot chocolate and marshmallows! 

Koselig embodies warmth, cosiness, happiness and content. So how can we make our lives more koselig and fight off those winter blues? Here are some simple ideas!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A letter to my daughter as she turns 3: The little things I love about you...

To my beautiful little girl,

I know it's a cliche, but the last three years with you really have gone past in the blink of an eye! The transition from 1 to 2 years old didn't seem as emotional, but going from 2 to 3 feels much more poignant.

Perhaps it's because my little girl no longer has her baby features; your face has changed shape from squidgy and round to slim an oval, you've gotten so tall and your hair is beautifully long.

Maybe it's because I can have a conversation with you as if you were an adult! You are wise beyond your years and you know so much - thanks in part to having an older brother to lead the way!

It could be that you will be starting nursery in January, and you're sooo excited about this! "I won't cry when I start nursery Mummy, I'm a big, brave girl now!" You certainly are my darling.

Whatever it is that makes me sad to see my baby growing up (and even more so as you will probably - or if you ask your Daddy - definitely - be my last), there are so many little things about you that I love right now, the things that bring me joy every day, even if I'm feeling a little blue. Every day you always make me smile!

So on the eve of your 3rd birthday, here is a snapshot of a moment in your life.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Craniosacral Therapy Awareness Week: What is CST and How Can it Help You?

October 15th 2018 marks the beginning of Craniosacral Therapy Awareness Week. I was fortunate enough to be invited along to Torus Wellbeing Clinic in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire to find out more about this complementary therapy, and to experience a Craniosacral Therapy (CST) taster session for myself.

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

The Craniosacral Therapy Association (CSTA) describes Craniosacral Therapy as "a gentle way of working with the body using light touch." It often focuses on the head and spine, however CST aims to work with the whole person in body, mind and spirit. 

In the 1900s, it was found that the fluid that surrounds our brain and central nervous system was essential for our health and full body functioning. Research showed that the cranial bones (in the head) and the sacrum (a big triangular bone in the base of the spine) were linked, and the ebb and flow of this fluid could be encouraged by slight movements of the cranium. 

The Craniosacral Therapist is trained to use their hands to "listen" to your body, and may use gentle adjustments to help to harmonise its natural body rhythms, encouraging the body to self-correct and heal itself. 

As CST is a non-invasive, gentle treatment, it is suitable for babies, children and adults. It can be used as a complementary therapy alongside traditional medicines or as a stand-alone alternative therapy. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

5 Fun, Easy Ways to Introduce Languages at Home

You don't have to come from a multilingual family to introduce foreign languages to your children at home! But why should you bother? And how can you introduce languages at home in fun, easy ways? 

The best time to learn a second language is during early childhood, when the brain is like a "sponge," and is more open to learning new words. Children are already used to imitating sounds with great pronunciation, so learning accents comes naturally at this stage. They have no inhibitions and are willing to try out new things too. Language is therefore acquired faster and remembered better at an early age. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Phonics: How to Teach your Child "Tricky Words" - A Multisensory Approach

If you have a child in Reception or Year 1, you may have been thrown into the world of Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) or Phonics for short. Not only are there 44 sounds (phonemes) to learn, there are also "tricky words" to get your head around too!

For first time parents, supporting your child on this learning journey may seem like a daunting prospect. So I'm hoping this post will explain things in an easy to digest way, and give you some ideas to help your child learn to spell tricky words in a multisensory way.

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a systematic approach to learning to read and spell. Children are taught approximately 5 sounds (phonemes) a week in an explicit, rapid way. Most schools will have a daily phonics lesson (approximately 20 minutes), and each day follows the same format - Introduce, Revisit, Teach, Practise, Apply, Assess. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: Letter D

In this new series, I'll be sharing some multisensory language learning ideas, which will help you to teach languages to your young children in a fun, engaging way. If you're not teaching languages however, most of these activities can be adapted to fit many themes in your own language too!
You can find quick links to our previous posts and the reasons behind them on our Language Learning Adventure page. 

D is for...

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Make Learning Fun with Mrs Mactivity and The Greatest Showman

To our delight, my two children (aged 5 and almost 3) and I discovered two new things this week - 
1 - The film The Greatest Showman, and 2 - Mrs Mactivity's boutique teaching and learning resources!

Both my son S and my daughter R love music and dancing so they we're absolutely enthralled with the film from start to finish! Although with such catchy songs, they couldn't sit still and danced around the living room singing and dancing!
My children dancing to The Greatest Showman!
It's such a heartwarming story about following your dreams, friendship and acceptance. I used the messages in the film to talk to my children about the importance of being kind to one another and how you shouldn't base your friendships on how another person looks

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Summer Holiday Diaries: Week 5 - Pocket Money, Playdates and Poppies

I can't believe we've just enjoyed week 5 of the summer holidays! I hear a lot of people saying they can't wait for the kids to go back to school, but it's not the case here (although a little 'me' time wouldn't go a miss!). Our "summer on a shoestring" has been great fun and we've been trying to save money wherever we can. 

So here's what we got up to in week 5 of our summer holiday.  

Monday 20th August

Today was a chilled out day. We met Hubby in Leek (a historical market town in the Staffordshire Moorlands) for lunch as he decided to work half a day. The kids had managed to diddle their dad out of £3 each so they were desperate to spend it! We hit Home Bargains, one of their favourite shops and let them loose!