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! 

Sunday, 26 August 2018

#MySundayPhoto: Week 9

Every picture tells a story! So here is my favourite photo from our week.

"Poppies"



Summer Holiday Diaries: Week 4 - Wellies, Wildlife and Walking

Well that's another week of  summer holidays done and dusted! Now if time could just slow down a little...! We are trying our best to have a "summer on a shoestring!" I'm saving money where ever I can by making full use of all the free events in and around Stoke-on-Trent this summer, with picnics becoming our new best friend!



So here's what we got up to in week 4 of the summer holidays, and how we tried to keep spending to a minimum. 

Monday 13th August

Today was a much needed day at home. The weather wasn't fab either so we didn't venture out at all. The highlight of R's day though was realising it had rained so she could don her wellies and go and jump in puddles in the back garden. Poor kid - she was so excited, but only found this measly puddle to splash about in! You don't have to spend money or even leave the house to make memories!

Friday, 17 August 2018

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: C

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!



If you follow our blog posts, you may already know that I am documenting our German language learning journey. You can find quick links to our previous posts and the reasons behind them on our Language Learning Adventure page. 

C is for...

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Summer Holiday Diaries: Week 3 - Paint, Plasters and Pirates!

So here we are, at the end of Week 3 of the summer holidays! I know I said it last week but they really are flying by! We are trying our best to have a "summer on a shoestring!" I'm saving money where ever I can by making full use of all the free events in and around Stoke-On-Trent this summer. 


So here's what we got up to in the third week of the summer holidays, and how we tried to keep costs down.

Monday 6th August

R loves her Messy Monday group during term time, and during the holidays they put on a couple of sessions that older siblings can join in with too. So today we went along to their jungle themed session, and as always, it was fabulously resourced with plenty for kids of all ages to do. 

Monday, 13 August 2018

Summer Holiday Diaries: Week 2 - Coffee Mornings, Cooking and Cake!

The summer holidays are in full swing and we are trying our best to have a "summer on a shoestring!" I'm saving money where ever I can, as these 6 weeks can end up being bank-breaking if you're not careful! And looking at the state of my bank balance, we need to watch every penny! Haha! 


So here's what we got up to in the second week of the summer holidays, and how we tried to keep costs down.

Monday 30th July

My Hubby was off work today but after such a busy weekend we just pottered around! We treated ourselves to breakfast at the supermarket before doing the much needed weekly shop! Well, when I say weekly, I can't actually remember the last time we did a proper shop! S took some of his birthday money and bought some more Lego - a monster truck set! 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

10 child-inflicted injuries every parent will (probably) experience!

Hands up who has been hurt by their own child?! Parenting is tough at the best of times, but not just emotionally! Physically we take knocks too...quite literally! Last weekend was no exception.... 



I was soundly sleeping on the very edge of the bed, with a space-stealing 2 year old beside me. Then without warning, she sat bolt upright, so I just guided her back down again. Like a yo-yo, she shot up again! This time, before I could lie her down, she threw herself backwards in a fit of annoyance, smacking her (very hard!) head against my lip! OUCH! As I writhed around in agony, she quietly settled herself back to sleep again - it didn't bother her one bit! It wasn't til the morning that I saw what a swollen mess my lip was! Thanks for that one little girl! 

Friday, 3 August 2018

8 months and still no diagnosis. Have we failed our son?

I've just got back from an appointment with a dermatologist. My son was finally referred to one a few weeks ago. You see, he's been suffering with a strange rash since early December 2017. Well, I say suffering - he's not actually complained about it, it doesn't hurt or itch, but it has slowly grown and is now very widespread. I'll explain a bit more about that in a moment, but right now these are the thoughts spinning around my head...




  • Have I failed my son? Why did I not demand to see a specialist sooner?
  • What if it's actually really serious and our lack of pushing for an appointment has harmed him further?
  • Why did I just google it when the dermatologist told me not to?
  • Can my son afford to wait 3 months for the next appointment to come through? Shall I just find a private paediatrician? How do I even do that?
  • What if I don't go private and this is serious? Have we waited too long?
  • We've seen a doctor 4 times, was that enough?
  • Have I failed my son? Why did I not demand to see a specialist sooner? And so it continues...

Somebody slap me. I need to get a grip.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Our Visit to The Little School of Improbable Cooking

The summer holidays can be an expensive time, full of day trips and activities to keep the kids entertained and the adults sane. This summer however, I'm determined to keep costs low but still have an amazing time with my two children. So, I jumped at the chance to join in with The Little School of Improbable Cooking, hosted by B-Arts (a group of artists and producers based in North Staffordshire), and supported by National Lottery Funding.



From 26th July to 18th August, The Little School of Improbable Cooking is offering free cooking and creative activities for children aged 2 - 12 at libraries across Stoke-on-Trent. We arrived with plenty of time, which is recommended as these are mostly drop in sessions with limited places. Some people took the opportunity to sign up for the free Summer Reading Challenge but we've already signed up so the children browsed the books while we waited.
Looking at books together.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Summer Holiday Diaries: Week 1 - Birthdays, Bowling and Building Lego!

I've been really looking forward to the end of term and the summer holidays this year. I think it's because this is the first year I haven't had my son as my sidekick in the week because he started school last September. So July signaled the end of his year in Reception, and a much needed recharge for him (and me!).



As I am a teacher, I too am lucky to be able to spend the whole 6 weeks with my kids. I am hoping to enjoy a summer on a shoestring, spending as little money as possible but still having fun together.

Here's how our first week went!

Saturday 21st July

I took the kids to the library today to enroll my son in the free Summer Reading Challenge. He was excited to get his starter pack and was proud to write his name on the challenge wall himself. I must remember to take a photo next time we go! We chose 6 or 7 books, including one on Lego and Firefighters which he could read by himself.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: B

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!



If you follow our blog posts, you may already know that I am documenting our German language learning journey. You can find quick links to our previous posts and the reasons behind them on our Language Learning Adventure page. 

B is for...

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: A

If you follow our blog posts, you may already know that I am documenting our German language learning journey. You can find quick links to our previous posts and the reasons behind them on our Language Learning Adventure page.



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!

A is for...

AQUABEADS

Aquabeads or water beads are a cheap and easy way to add a simple sensory element to your learning. Children love the feel of them and they are quite therapeutic to play with! 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

#MySundayPhoto: Week 6


Every picture tells a story! So here are my favourite photos from our week.

"Butterfly Hunting"





This week, I couldn't just pick one photo! We went for a lovely little walk through Ford Green Hall yesterday. This kids loved going off the beaten track a bit, chasing butterflies though the long grass, and searching for them amongst the bright purple flowers! I managed to snap a rare photo of us three, and everyone is looking at the camera too! The third photo is of the kids chatting to the geese! 




I'm linking up this post with these fabulous blogs:

Living Arrows