Tuesday, 31 January 2017

School Life!

My little boy is growing up. School is changing him. I've been noticing over the last couple of months that no longer before me is a small, needy child but a young, independent lad, growing up fast, developing and finding his way in the world. He's becoming more his own person, gaining a new found confidence which he struggled to find previously and he's really starting to . He's got an attitude to match mind. This attitude is like a teenage mind-set in a nearly five year olds body. He's shot up in height, his legs, bless him are like little twiglets but he's suddenly gained an extra foot in height since starting school, I'm certain.



On Friday he received a head teacher award for good hand writing and phonics. I was absolutely gutted that I wasn't at celebration assembly to see him receive it but when I heard I was so proud I could have popped. We've been working with him fairly hard on his writing and ready so for his hard work to pay off I was so pleased. We'd had a rocky few weeks with a variety of issues, not so much with learning but with his attitude and learned behaviour from another child that I was seriously beginning to doubt whether he was going to achieve at school. I think him receiving this award has given him a bit of a spring in his step and boosted both our morale and his and I think he now realises that if he strives to succeed and do well, good things happen (i.e a trip to Toys R Us!).









He has a better social life than us, invites for parties are coming in thick and fast now and it was apparent at the latest party that he attended last weekend that his new found confidence is evident. Rather than the clinging, shy limpet that we usually have, he was off running about with his friends and not paying much attention to us. It was refreshing to see and I was relieved to see that actually ,perhaps he's not the social outcast that I was worrying he might have been.

We've had a handful of incidences where he seems to like playing with one particular child. This child he is friends with seems to have some social issues and is allowed to watch things that we wouldn't generally allow Alfie to at home (such as computer games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo), this has meant that there has been some bad language learnt, lots of gun play (much to my dismay) and an interest in being violent (like in GTA we are told by Alfie). We've had to have a chat to the teacher a couple of times to try and get them to encourage Alfie to integrate and bit more and play with other children which thankfully he is doing. We have had less of the wanting to play pretend gun games and have him back to enjoying more suitable playing shall we say, like with his trains and animals.





It's been as much of a learning curve for us aswell as for him. We've had to get used to phonics and blending and a different way of  handwriting in preparation to join up. It is incredible to see how far he's come in a such a short space of time. Before starting school he had no interest in writing and he couldn't really read at all. Now he's getting rewarded for his hand writing and starting to make simple sentences and his letter and word recognition is fab. He loves role playing school and we often have to get involved (he's usually the teacher and we are the pupils haha), he knows more about space and the universe than I ever could and he generally has a big smile on his face at the end of the day.




It's hard to believe that it's nearly February half term and Alfie is nearly 5 months into school, he really is a different boy to what he was last year, I know they say school changes them but I wasn't expecting it to be quite so dramatic. At the beginning of the school year I always though the EYFS lot looked so teeny tiny compared to the rest of the school but now they all seem to have grown a foot and are an integral part of the school. I'm really loving watching him develop and learn lots of new skills and making a little friendship group. I'm not so much enjoying the tiredness and grumps that come after school but I guess being nearly 5 and learning lots is tiring business, good job he's enjoying it because he's got a fair few school years ahead of him eh!


Best of Worst

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Preparing your Home for Spring!

Although it might not feel like it sometimes, spring really is just around the corner, and before we know it we’ll be enjoying longer days and lighter mornings. Looking forward to this time of new beginnings and warmer weather can really take the edge off of the winter chill, which can all too easily put a dampener on the start of the new year. By brightening up your home and making preparations for the coming spring, you really can change the mood of the entire family - especially little ones who can’t wait to play outside again! So shake off those cobwebs and get your home ready for some sunshine.

Bring in the Light

Much Spring’s appeal comes from its brightness in contrast to the dark winter. After spending months getting up in the darkness, we appreciate a little sunshine so much more. Although you might not be able to bring the sun into your home, you can certainly add a little light to your decor. For rooms that are particularly dark, try draping strings of fairy lights around to instantly brighten the entire room. If you want to give the illusion of natural light, you could invest in a light box, which mimics the effect of natural light and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).



If you’re looking to redecorate any of the rooms in your home, choose lighter colours that will reflect light instead of absorbing it. Also keeping this in mind will help when buying any new furniture or prominent accessories, as a brighter colour scheme will bring a sense of cheerfulness to your home and reflect that spring feel that you are trying to channel.

Open It Up

When it’s dark and chilly, it’s natural to want to huddle up and close all the doors to keep as much heat in as possible. Although this might feel intuitive, it will only reinforce that dark winter feeling and prevent any brightness from coming into your home. When we think of spring, we think of big, open spaces with plenty of room to relax in. Bring this idea into your home by creating a more open plan space and embracing larger rooms and less closed doors. Some internal bifold doors will really help to open up these spaces, while also giving you flexibility in how you arrange your home. It’s no accident that Scandinavian countries are among some of the happiest in the world, and are also known for their open plan living spaces.

Get the Kids Involved

There are plenty of pre-spring activities you can do with children to get them excited about spring and many of these involve making crafts that you can then display at home, reminding everyone of the brighter months to come. Creating vibrant, colourful flower garlands from tissue paper is a simple activity that children of all ages can enjoy, and when they’re done you can hang them around the house to add a splash of spring colour.

Asking children to imagine what spring will look like and then to paint or draw it will also provide you with plenty of delightful spring decorations, and is an excellent activity to do on a cold winter day. Make sure that you and other adults join in these activities as well, and you’ll be surprised at just how uplifting they can be!

Spring Clean with a Difference

Not many of us look forward to the old spring clean, but it doesn’t have to be such an ordeal if you can put a different spin on it. One idea is to ask each member of your family to clean a different room, which will certainly take the sting out of cleaning the whole house yourself. Another way to do it is to focus not on cleaning, but on giving as much away to charity as possible. You could even make a competition out of it. Ask children to give away all the toys and clothes they don’t need to charity, and do the same with your own clothes and knick knacks. You’ll end up with far less clutter and a much happier conscience!

Bring the Outside In


For many of us, the essence of spring is rooted in nature; it’s about the first flowers blooming and the buds appearing on the trees. You can replicate this feeling indoors by planting some seeds in a pot and watching them sprout. Alternatively, you can buy some flowers each week and place them in a prominent place to ensure they will really brighten up your home. Bringing plants and flowers into the home is an excellent way to reconnect with nature and to teach children about the natural world.

* Collaborative Post.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Target Dry Coats - Review

Brrrrr it's been flipping cold lately hasn't it! Although we've barely seen a whisper of snow we've certainly seen some hard frosts and very chilly days. I'm always on the look out for weather appropriate coats that are warm, waterproof, comfortable as well as looking nice on. We seem to have hundreds of coats and yet only a handful are worn. Alfie is also a bit stubborn and is sometimes very picky about what he wears and it can be sometimes a battle to get him to wear some of the coats he has. When I was asked if I would like to review a couple of coats from Target Dry for the kids I could hardly say no when coats seem to be one of our favourite collecting items!

When I was browsing which coats to choose it was a no brainer. The shark pattern I knew that Alfie would love and the pink bird print was so pretty for Elarna. 

When they arrived I absolutely loved them. On initial impressions there was nothing to dislike. The colours on both were bright and striking, the quality of the coats were amazing, they feel so soft to touch and when I tried them on the kids the fit was great. 



So what's to like about them?

  • They are waterproof which is a huge priority when we're out and about. 
  • They are made of breathable fabric so adaptable to the ever changing UK weather. 
  • They are windproof to keep that chilly air out. 
  • Soft fleece lining, they are so soft and snuggly inside it's no wonder they're warm, they also have an insulated padding to make sure that they are really cosy.
  • They come with an integral, insulated hood which fits snugly around the head when put up.
  • They both have contrasting zips and 2 zipped pockets which are very handy for tissues, dummies etc. 
  • They are also machine washable........a huge bonus and they was brilliantly as I've already had to test it out.



I like that they are slightly longer at the back meaning they don't ride up, I also love that the wrist cuffs are elasticated to keep the chill from getting up the sleeves because that really is an annoying part of wearing a coat that has gappy sleeves........cold arms! 

There is nothing I dislike about these coats. They are fantastic and both look great on, there is plenty of growing room in them and I'm fairly sure that these will see us through Spring because they could easily be worn over a t shirt for added warmth, I expect we'll be making alot of use for them in April with all those showers that we usually get. 



Both are on sale for £23.95 (down from £29.95) at the moment and I think this truly is an excellent price for them. I write honest reviews and if there's something I'm not keen on, or I don't like I will write it but in this instance I can honestly say that there is nothing to dislike or even be remotely negative about. 


So as I mentioned above, Alfie can be very funny about articles of clothing he wears, he is a creature of habit and doesn't take well to change. The fact that he willingly wears this coat is a huge milestone and clearly means he favours it so another tick for his shark coat as it's now known. 


If you're looking for a new coat for the kids or even for an adult please do head over to Target Dry for a nose, not only do they have an ace range for the children but there are lots in the adult ranges too that are worth checking out. 

What do you think of the Target Dry range? 

* Please not I was very kindly sent the coats free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, all thoughts and opinions are that of my own.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Best and Worst Linky #81

Beautiful Things


Run, Jump, Scrap!

Hello and a big welcome to this weeks best and worst linky. I hope you've all had a good week, me not so much. Both myself and my husband have been totally taken over by this nasty virus so it has been pretty tough even mustering up the energy to attempt any blogging so  much much from me this week.

With it being a new year Sarah and I hope that the linky continues to go from strength to strength and perhaps 0ver the next few months we might implement some small changes but these are still being discussed. In the meantime let me welcome you, as always to the best and worst linky run by my lovely friend Sarah who blogs over at Run Jump Scrap and co-hosted by myself. If you're new to the linky we're delighted for you to join in, please do have a read of the rules. If you're a regular then thanks as always for the support. Sarah and I split the commenting now, it is working well doing it like that. You should have received a comment from one of us so if you are missing one please do drop us a tweet or email. We've had some great posts over the last few months and we're looking forward to reading some more fabulous posts!

So what is best and worst all about? This is the linky where you can tell us about the best or worst things that have happened in the last week or even the last year, this could in the form of a blog post, a photo or even a video. It can be an old post or a new post, we don't mind we just want you to share it with us. We want you to share your babies firsts, the crappy day at work you've had or a makeup disaster basically the good, the bad or the downright ugly! We want to share your excitement and tears, highs and lows no matter what it is.

What we are going to introduce is more of an emphasis on our #bestandworst hashtag. We would love to see more of you over on Instagram and Twitter sharing your pictures and posts with myself @helsy_1983 and Sarah @runjumpscrap this can be throughout the whole week not just when our linky runs and we will then aim to feature some depending on who uses the hashtag. As this is still a fairly new thing for us it might take a few weeks before people start using the hashtag more.

So as always, on with the linky........please have a little read of the rules and we look forward to reading this weeks posts.

We are going to be keeping a close eye on the commenting in the coming weeks, it's not fair to link and run so please take some time to visit some other blogs and comment, linkys  only work if people spend time to read other blogs and comment on them.

So on with this weeks featured posts. We had a great week with 63 link ups and had some really lovely posts to read it was a pleasure to read them all. 

My featured post comes from Every Cloud Mummy with her post 'Not just a Healthcare Assistant'. I work with some fab HCA's and they really are the backbone to our surgery and I also know how bloody hard they work in the hospital as I did a few HCA shifts while I was doing my nurse training.  I really did love this post as it sums up what they have to deal with on a day to day basis.


Rules
  • The linky will open at 5.30am on a Wednesday and close at 23.55pm on a Friday
  • You can link up one or two posts each week
  • Please comment on the 2 posts before yours and have a nosey at the host's too. We've noticed that some people have just been link dropping and not commenting on the 2 in front, please do return the favour so everyone gets some comments and linky love, thankyou.
  • ***Please add the badge to the bottom of your page so everyone knows where you have linked up***
  • Tweet your hosts @helsy_1983 and @RunJumpScrap once linked up so we can retweet you. When tweeting and commenting use the hashtag #bestandworst so everyone knows where you have come from and remember to hashtag us over on Instagram too.
Best of Worst





    

Monday, 23 January 2017

Elarna at Nearly 2!

Who knew that the last few months would pass us by so quickly. It's such a cliché to say that time flies but that it does. We are fast approaching Elarna's 2nd birthday. It's insane. It's been a little while since I've done an update, with everything been a bit manic recently I've really found it hard to sit down and fully focus. Juggling school runs, work, housework and blogging, time soon runs away. So anyway, here we are with my darling little poppets 20 month (ish) update. 


Elarna is a little madam. This little pocket rocket knows what she wants and certainly know how to throw a princess/diva strop if she doesn't get her own way, I mention this further on, the princess/diva strop is really quite something to behold!. Truth be told she's a right feisty little diva. She's quickly learning her way in the world and at times it can be hard to keep up with her and especially frustrating for Alfie who finds her quite irritating at times. I guess she's just learning the ways of being a little sister, ha!



She is the smiliest and happiest little girly, she giggles all the time and it's so gorgeous. I love her happy little face and most of the time she's a joy to be around. She spends a lot of her time chatting and she's starting to pick up a variety of words and learning very quickly. Every day at the moment is a learning experience and she comes out with a new word or action. Her favourite words at the moment (other than Mummyyyy and Daddyyyy) are brobro, bubbles, bubble POP, here you are, poop and byeeee oh and no, that is a one of her most used words!





She adores her big brother. She follows him around, watches what he does and pretty much copies him (uh oh). At times, Alfie can be very sweet and caring towards her, he loves to give her a hug on a morning, gets her breakfast stuff out and if she's upset brings her dummy and snuggy to her, it can be very lovely to see. However, that niceness is not all the time. There are the frustrating times, the times that he just finds her hard to deal with, mostly when he's playing or he's made something and she wants to play too but she doesn't understand to leave his track as it is for example, or not knock his Lego tower over. Obviously, Elarna doesn't get what she is doing wrong most of the time and Alfie can't quite get to grips with that!



Her giggle is utterly infectious and she can easily get anyone out of a grump or a mood with one of her grins or a cheeky giggle. She is very snuggly and at the moment doesn't like me or Daddy to be out of sight. She likes to be around someone all the time and hates being alone, even for just a minute or so if I nip to the loo. She also has mastered the art of anchoring herself to our legs when we're doing things around the house so jobs seem to take double the length of time that they should do! 





As with all children her age she knows no fear. I spend my life constantly wondering when the next bump or scrape is going to be and I turn my back for seconds and she's climbing on chairs, the table, she's into cupboards and unscrewing lids and then pouring things all over the floor, flipping nightmare. She legs it around the house on her little legs and tries to keep up with Alfie and this is usually the cause of most of her faceplants and bumps. 




Animals......oh animals she adores!! This again so different from Alfie who is always so cautious of animals and it's taken us so long for us to get him to feel happy to hold his hamster and gain confidence around Lenny. Elarna is poles apart and wants to stroke everything and touch them. We took her to a farm recently and she was quite happy to stroke the goats, she absolutely adores Lenny and the cats every day are treated to a stroke behind the ear or a pat on the head, it's very sweet but we do have to watch her to make sure she doesn't get carried away.......





She has absolutely, hands down perfected the diva/princess strop. She'll throw herself down on the floor (well really she checks what floor it is first!), she then sobs and screams, rolls around a bit, sobs some more before standing up and getting herself out of it. Alot of the time I can't help but laugh behind my hand, she is on feisty little lady! 




She eats fantastically and is generally not fussy other than potato and cucumber. 

Sleep......hmmmmm this is not such a great area. She wakes up alot, I would say that I/we are up with her a good 50% of the week, and it's generally a couple of wake ups in the night. I never really know what's wrong with her but she screams the house down, usually a quick cuddle and her dummy sort the issue but oh my god it is tiring. I would love my sleeping child back! She still has 1 nap a day, a good 90 minutes usually, I wouldn't say this has any effect on her sleeping at night because she is always exhausted she just likes to wake up in the middle of the night! I'm hoping that she'll keep napping for a little while longer while she's happy to. 



I am so besotted with my little firecracker, I simply wouldn't have her any other way. I think we're going to have our hands full in the next few months but I'm ready for the terrible two's......bring it on! 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

My Sunday Photo - 22/01/17


Have to share this as my Sunday photo. Yesterday Alfie declared that he wasn't Alfie anymore and that he was Batman. I do love the mind of a small child!! HA.

Photalife

Friday, 20 January 2017

Surviving Illness as a Parent.

It is so unbelievably sucky being ill and having to go about usual activities and be Mummy. What makes it worse is having a husband being ill at the same time meaning there is absolutely no relief for either or us. I am solely blaming my husband for the way I've been feeling in the last few days, he's happily been spreading his man flu to me and it got me hook, line and sinker. 


I'd started to feel a bit icky at work last Friday, by Saturday I'd developed a cold and by Sunday I felt utterly disgusting. I was asleep by 9pm and had no option but to take the Monday off work to which I slept for most of the day and Tuesday I was still not much better. We both seem to have contracted this nasty virus that's doing the rounds with no real end in sight, although we're starting to make slight improvements. On Tuesday I had a shower and put makeup on which is always a good start but I still felt fairly grotty! If you've followed me over on Instagram you might have seen my SOS insta stories and give me sympathy posts. 


With both myself and hubby poorly it really brought to light just how hard it is to be a parent and function and look after the kids. Usually if one of us is ill we could grab a nap or have some quiet time but with both us feeling like shite and the kids not really getting that  we just kind of had to grin and bare it. 



We did the usual rescue attempts like putting the TV on with films on loop, the tablet, toys out and where as Alfie will sit and watch for a while or play on his own Elarna just constantly craves attention at the moment so she ended up climbing all over us. I even tried a bit of crafty activity which kept them entertained for a little while but I sadly didn't take into account the mess that was created after..... all this while my head was banging, my ears were fuzzy, I was snotting, shivering as well as sweating and really just wanting to shut my eyes.




So while I've been suffering and feeling oh so sorry for myself I thought I'd put a shout out to some fellow bloggers to see just how they cope with the kids when feeling poorly sick. I got some great responses so please continue reading for some tips and ideas on surviving illness as a parent.......

My lovely friend Sarah from Run Jump Scrap says TV all the way!

Alex from Better Together Home suggests to ask for help if you're able from family or friends.She had help from her Dad with her daughter when they had flu which was a godsend.  Laura from Five Little Doves also says to ask for help and to take accept help when it's offered. In actual fact on Tuesday my parents did help out and it really was super useful.

I loved this idea from Talya who blogs at Motherhood the Real Deal she suggests making it a bit more like quality time, snuggling up on the sofa and having a real family day. Gemma from Somewhere after the Rainbow suggests similar, films, popcorn and a snuggly blanket.




Hannah from The Amphletts says to take a walk in the fresh air with a hot drink. I did this on Wednesday and it really did help blow the cobwebs away and make my head feel alot clearer. Kelly who blogs at Nature Mum Blog also says to get some fresh air too.

I really liked the tip from Deborah from Country Heart and Home to keep a stash of tissues around the house for all the runny noses! Also from Alex from Lamb and Bear who declares a PJ day, filling the living room with toys and snacks on hand nearby.

The cat kept me company ha!

The general consensus it would appear is to forget about everything else, park yourself on the sofa, arm yourself with tissues and snacks and get a ton of toys out haha. The most important thing is to listen to your body and try and get rest when you can. I have had some seriously early nights and was able to sleep during the day on Monday when I felt at my worst. Noone tells you when you become a parent about these sort of days eh!! 

So these are few tips and pointers on how to survive illness as a parent. If you can think of anymore please do let me know!! 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Best and Worst Linky #80

Beautiful Things


Run, Jump, Scrap!

Hello and a big welcome to this weeks best and worst linky. I hope you've all had a good week, me not so much. Both myself and my husband have been totally taken over by this nasty virus so it has been pretty tough even mustering up the energy to attempt any blogging so  much much from me this week.

With it being a new year Sarah and I hope that the linky continues to go from strength to strength and perhaps 0ver the next few months we might implement some small changes but these are still being discussed. In the meantime let me welcome you, as always to the best and worst linky run by my lovely friend Sarah who blogs over at Run Jump Scrap and co-hosted by myself. If you're new to the linky we're delighted for you to join in, please do have a read of the rules. If you're a regular then thanks as always for the support. Sarah and I split the commenting now, it is working well doing it like that. You should have received a comment from one of us so if you are missing one please do drop us a tweet or email. We've had some great posts over the last few months and we're looking forward to reading some more fabulous posts!

So what is best and worst all about? This is the linky where you can tell us about the best or worst things that have happened in the last week or even the last year, this could in the form of a blog post, a photo or even a video. It can be an old post or a new post, we don't mind we just want you to share it with us. We want you to share your babies firsts, the crappy day at work you've had or a makeup disaster basically the good, the bad or the downright ugly! We want to share your excitement and tears, highs and lows no matter what it is.

What we are going to introduce is more of an emphasis on our #bestandworst hashtag. We would love to see more of you over on Instagram and Twitter sharing your pictures and posts with myself @helsy_1983 and Sarah @runjumpscrap this can be throughout the whole week not just when our linky runs and we will then aim to feature some depending on who uses the hashtag. As this is still a fairly new thing for us it might take a few weeks before people start using the hashtag more.

So as always, on with the linky........please have a little read of the rules and we look forward to reading this weeks posts.

We are going to be keeping a close eye on the commenting in the coming weeks, it's not fair to link and run so please take some time to visit some other blogs and comment, linkys  only work if people spend time to read other blogs and comment on them.

So on with this weeks featured posts. We had some really lovely link ups last week, it was a pleasure to read them all. 

My featured post comes from Caroline who blogs at Becoming Stay at Home Mum this is possibly one of my favourite posts I've read from Caroline. No truer word spoken and I am totally taking a leaf out of her book and learning just to love myself a little more. It's a refreshing read and an absolute must read. 


Sarah's featured blogger from last week is actually one of my old bump buddies from back in 2012. Gemma has not long been blogging but she's writing some fab posts and one of her most recent about what being a Mum of 3 has taught her is no exception, check out her blog over at Somewhere after the Rainbow.

Somewhere After The Rainbow


Rules
  • The linky will open at 5.30am on a Wednesday and close at 23.55pm on a Friday
  • You can link up one or two posts each week
  • Please comment on the 2 posts before yours and have a nosey at the host's too. We've noticed that some people have just been link dropping and not commenting on the 2 in front, please do return the favour so everyone gets some comments and linky love, thankyou.
  • ***Please add the badge to the bottom of your page so everyone knows where you have linked up***
  • Tweet your hosts @helsy_1983 and @RunJumpScrap once linked up so we can retweet you. When tweeting and commenting use the hashtag #bestandworst so everyone knows where you have come from and remember to hashtag us over on Instagram too.

Best of Worst




    

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My Sunday Photo - 15/01/17


There is really nothing overly special about this photo, it's simply appreciation of the British countryside. More and more as I'm driving through the more rural areas near where we life I am so grateful to be able to escape to these views. Stunning and so serene. I love stopping and seeing this open expanse of greenery and fields as far as the eye can see with the sky like a watercolour painting, it's so unspoiled and natural.

Photalife