autumn-tree-pipe-cleaner-printing

Autumn tree printing with pipe cleaners #BostikBloggers

I love autumn.  And judging by the posts filling up my timelines on various social media channels, I’m not the only one!  There are a lot of people out there who are very happy that autumn has arrived, bringing with it cosy clothing, pumpkin spice everything and of course the beautiful changing colours of the leaves on the trees.

So when I realised the theme for this month’s bostik bloggers craft activity was ‘autumn’ I was thrilled!

I decided to get creative with Nerys and so we did some painting/printing with pipe cleaners to make this wonderfully colourful autumn tree.

Autumn tree printing with pipe cleaners

 

If you’d like to have a go yourself, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paint – red, green and yellow
  • A sheet of paper
  • Paintbrush
  • Pipe cleaners

autumn tree painting pipe cleaners

 

The first thing you need to do is paint your tree trunk and a few branches.

I drew the tree outline first with pencil, rather than letting Nerys paint a tree freehand.  And we made some brown paint by mixing the red, green and yellow paints together.

Autumn tree printing with pipe cleaners

Once the tree was painted it was time to have some fun with the pipe cleaners!

I twisted the pipe cleaners in the middle to make a little loop, and then wrapped the ends around each other to make a handle of sorts to hold on to.

pipe cleaners autumn trees

Then we dipped the pipe cleaner loops in the paint and then used them to print leaves on to the tree.

We did green first, then red, orange and yellow.

Autumn tree printing with pipe cleaners

This is a really simple craft activity, but one that is so much fun and that sparks creativity with using things other than paintbrushes for mark making.  Nerys really enjoyed herself with this, and we both really love the end result!

autumn-colours-tree-printing-pipe-cleaners

I was sent a box of craft materials to create this post, but all words, opinions and creations are my own.

irish-fairy-door-worry-plaque

Let the fairies take your worries away – Irish fairy door company worry plaque review

I’ve written a few times on this blog about how Rhys is a sensitive child, who quite often feels anxious and worried about different things.  The other day I was watching Bake Off, and he got really upset when he realised that it was a competition and that someone had to leave each week.  I had to reassure him that it was ok, that they were happy to go back and see their families and that they all got to come back at the end to see who won.

That gives you a sense of how sensitive he is though.  He really takes things to heart, and I think all sorts of things play on his mind that might not bother other people in the slightest.

I’ve mentioned before that we try to encourage him to talk to us about his worries, and this does help him to work things through.  I’m always looking for different things that might also help though, so was really pleased when I was asked if we would like to review a worry plaque from the Irish fairy door company.

Let the fairies take your worries away

The worry plaque is a really wonderful idea, from a company that specialises is bringing fairy magic to the lives of children.

It is designed as a way to help children to let go of their worries, rather than holding on to them.  The way it works is lovely and simple.  Your child places their hand on the plaque and thinks of the thing they are worried about.

The hand imprint glows red as the fairies listen to the worries, and then glows green to let your child know that the fairies have heard the worry and taken it away.

 

worry-plaque-irish-fairy-door-company-review

As soon as the plaque arrived I was impressed.

The packaging is bright and colourful; I really love the rainbow design that gives that impression that this is something a bit magical from the start.

Inside the box is the plaque, along with screws to fix it to the wall and a nice little information booklet.

What’s worth noting is that the 3 AA batteries that you need are not included, so make sure you have some at home if you want to be able to use the plaque straight away.

One thing I did think was really useful though, is that the information booklet can be used to help you if you want to hang the plaque on the wall as it has guide holes marked on it at exactly the right distance apart for where you want the screws to go in the wall.

 

After I’d taken the plaque out of the box I was able to take a good look at it.

worry-plaque

The plaque is made of plastic, but it’s designed to look like a piece of wood cut from a tree trunk, which I think works really well.  In the middle of the plaque is the hand imprint, which is the perfect size for children (it’s just a teeny bit too small for me to comfortably fit my hand in).

There is also a little rhyme written around the plaque that I really love:

“A fairy’s magic, changes red to green, gone are your worries, never to be seen”

It’s a nice little reminder for Rhys that when the light changes from red to green it means his worries have been heard and taken away.

As soon as we had put the batteries in Rhys was keen to give the plaque a try.

irish-fairy-door-company-worry-plaque

Rhys seems really taken with the idea behind the worry plaque.  Although he’s a bit confused about the fact that it lights up, and the light changes colour, even if he’s not thinking of a worry at that time.  So I think we’ll keep the plaque somewhere out of reach and get it out for him when he actually has something he is anxious about.  Hopefully that way he’ll keep his faith in it, and it’ll work its magic to help take his worries away.

I think the worry plaque is such a lovely idea.

For younger children who still believe in fairies and all things magical, it’s a wonderful idea for helping them to let their worries and anxieties out.

And in case you’re wondering, the fairies use the energy from the worries they take to grant wishes for children around the world!

 

You can find out more about the worry plaque and the Irish fairy door company on their website – www.theirishfairydoorcompany.com

Also over on the website is a whole host of videos for your children to watch, to help reassure them even more after they’ve used the plaque and given their worries to the fairies.  The videos cover a wide range of common worries, from spiders and insects to worries about friendships at school.  So whatever your child is worried about there should be a quick video for them to watch to help them feel a bit better.

Disclaimer – we were sent the worry plaque for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.

ecover-washing-liquid

Tackling the washing with Ecover – #EcoverLaundry challenge

For the last few weeks I’ve been doing something a bit different with my laundry.  I’ve been testing out the gorgeously scented lavender and sandalwood non-bio washing liquid from Ecover, as part of the #EcoverLaundry challenge for Britmums.

Tackling the washing with Ecover

As a family of four, we create a seemingly endless pile of laundry.   Every once in a while I get to the bottom of the pile, and have a gloriously empty washing basket.  And for a precious few minutes I feel a strange sense of calm, before someone spills something down their top or I find a rogue pair of dirty socks that someone had hidden in the lounge.

I know that some people like to tackle their laundry by letting it build up over the course of the week and then washing it all in one day, in a big washingathon.

This just doesn’t really work well for me though, so I tend to do a load of washing most days of the week to try and feel on top of it.  With the washing machine running pretty much every day I am aware of the impact it might have on both the environment and my bills, so I generally will run the machine on a cool wash.

Which means I need a washing detergent that will clean really well, on a cool wash.

Rhys generally comes home from school each day grubby.  Or filthy, depending on how much he’s played outside in the woods that day.  He wears white polo shirts to school that end up covered in mud and sometimes grass stains.  So they were perfect to put Ecover to the test.

I have to say, I was really impressed with the results.  Even on a cool wash the tops came out stain-free after a wash with Ecover.

See the thing is, it’s not just at school that Rhys and Nerys get grubby.  After school and at the weekends they get up to various things that often result in mucky clothes.

We go to the beach and they get covered in sand and splash in the salty sea water.

washing-with-ecover

 

We bake together, and as good as they are at it, they often still end up with cake mixture on their sleeves and cocoa powder down their fronts.

 

They help their Daddy in the garden, and end up with mud all over them.  Normally because they wipe their muddy hands on their clothes; why do children do this?!

So some weekdays I’ll have a dirty set of school uniform to wash for each of them, and then they’ll get the clothes they change into grubby too.  Lots of grubby clothes means that I really do need a detergent that lives up to the claims it makes about how well it works.

We’ve been using Ecover for a couple of weeks now and I have to say that I have been really impressed with it.

Here’s what I love about it:

  • The smell is really lovely.  I have always loved the smell of lavender and the addition of sandalwood to this washing liquid just adds a little extra something to it.
  • It is lasting ages.  The bottle is really quite small, which is useful if you don’t have a lot of storage space for huge boxes of washing powder, but it claims to have enough liquid in it for 25 washes which I think is great.
  • It is effective.  It has tackled every stain we’ve thrown at it so far, so I’m really pleased.
  • It’s designed for sensitive skin.  Now, we don’t really have any issues with sensitive skin in our family luckily, but I really like that Ecover has been developed with sensitive skin in mind.  It means that I know it will be gentle and safe for my whole family.

ecover-washing-liquid-lavender

I honestly haven’t really noticed any big negatives about the Ecover washing liquid I’ve been testing.  Although, I would love to have tried it alongside an Ecover fabric conditioner to really test out the product line, because I’ve been adding a conditioner from a different brand to my wash to get the real softness that I like in my clothes.  I found that just using the Ecover detergent didn’t leave my clothes as soft as I would like.

I can definitely see us using Ecover in the future though, as I really like the ethos of the brand and have been really impressed with how well the detergent has worked on our tough mountain of washing.  And I’m not the only one who has been impressed by it.  Back in May Mumsnet asked over 200 people to try it out, and 85% said they would buy it again and 89% would recommend it to a friend.  Pretty impressive!

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go and put another load of washing on before the clothing mountain starts to take over the house!

 

This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover.

busy-bag-craft-felt-make-a-monster

Make a monster – felt busy bag activity #BostikBloggers

Every month we look forward to a lovely box of craft materials arriving at the house for us to get creative with as part of our roles as Bostik Bloggers.

The theme for September is ‘monsters’ which is perfect for this time of year with Halloween just around the corner.

I had a good look through the bits and pieces that we were sent and decided to create a ‘make a monster’ busy bag activity.

make-a-monster-felt-busy-bag-activity

When Rhys was a toddler I made him a whole pile of busy bags that we would take out and about with us.

They were perfect for keeping him occupied any time we had to sit and wait anywhere.  We took them with us on a trip to the Isle of Man when he was 2 and they kept him quiet for a good part of the long boat ride over.

I’ve not felt the need to use them so much with Nerys, but with 2 meetings at school this week that both children will have to sit through it seemed like a perfect time to create a new busy bag to try and keep them quiet.

 

If you fancy making this ‘make a monster’ busy bag for your children, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Card, cut to A5 size
  • Felt in assorted colours
  • Scissors
  • Glue

felt-monster-busy-bag

The first thing you need to do is cut a piece of felt to the same size as your card and then glue the two pieces together.

This will give you a nice sturdy felt ‘board’ for your children to assemble their monsters on.

Next, cut out a few monster body shapes.

I kept my monster bodies quite simple, but you can be as creative as you like with the shapes you cut out.  Just make sure they fit on the board you just made, with room around for arms and legs.

felt-monster-shapes-busy-bag

Once you’ve got a few bodies cut out, you can get really creative with cutting out features for your monsters.

Use whatever colour felt you like, to cut out shapes to be used for eyes, noses, mouths, teeth, arms, legs, and antennae.

felt-monster-craft-busy-bags

Now all that’s left to do is let your children start making monsters!

This is such a great activity for getting them using their imaginations.  If you cut up enough different pieces then there are so many potential monsters they could create!

felt-monsters-craft-busy-bags

 

This is a really great activity to pop in a little ziplock bag inside your handbag when you’re headed out somewhere with your children and you know you’ll need to keep them entertained for a while.

So if you know you’ll be sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s or the dentist, then put this in your bag to give your children something to do while you all wait.

Do you use busy bags with your little ones?  If you do what is their favourite?

If you’ve not come across them before, then head over to Pinterest and search for busy bags, there are 100s of ideas on there to inspire you to get busy making some of your own!

 

I was sent a box of craft materials to create this post, but all words, opinions and creations are my own.

Kids yoga book review

Kids yoga – book review

For months now I’ve been thinking that we should introduce some yoga into our weekly, if not daily, routine.  Rhys is a high energy child who struggles sometimes to sit calmly and to focus.  He is also a very sensitive child, still working out how to cope with the big emotions that he experiences.  I really have a feeling that regular yoga practice will help him with both of these things.

I think it will help me too if I’m honest.

I have a fair bit of anxiety myself, and think that taking time out of my daily routine to do some yoga will really help me to feel calmer and possibly more in control.

During the summer holidays Rhys and I went along to a family yoga session in Cwmdonkin Park which we both really enjoyed.  That experience has made me even more keen to find a way to get some regular yoga in, either by going to a class or by learning to do it ourselves at home.

So when I was asked if I would like to review a copy of a new book written especially to introduce children to yoga, I jumped at the chance.

Kids yoga - book review

“Kids yoga” is written by Karin Eklund, who is an experienced yoga teacher, as well as an author.

She has explained that she wrote the book after finding that most other guides to yoga that are out there are written more as guides for parents to read, to learn how to introduce yoga to their children.  Karin felt that there was a need for a book that was written for the children themselves.

She says.

“‘Kids yoga’ is a picture book, which allows very young children to jump straight in and begin copying the poses illustrated.  As they get older, they can read the text to more precisely move into the pose”

I absolutely love that she took this approach to writing the book, and think that it definitely works the way she intended.

I took the book to the beach with us recently, and both Rhys who is 6 and Nerys who is 3 loved looking through it with me.

kids yoga book review Karin Eklund

A huge part of the appeal of the book for me is the illustrations, which are beautiful and really quite clever.

Each page has an illustration of a child demonstrating the pose that is being explained, but with a fun little twist each time.

So the tree pose, for example, shows a child holding the pose but with leaves growing from their outstretched arms.  I know, that sounds a little bit strange when it’s put like that, so here’s a photo to show you what I mean.

childrens yoga book review tree pose

I just think it’s a really beautiful way of showing young children what the pose is about, and goes perfectly with the explanation of the pose:

“stretch your arms high above your head, like the branches of a tree”.

And it works too, after looking at the picture in the book with me Nerys was able to have a go at tree pose herself.

tree pose kids yoga book review

With Rhys’ help we had a good look through all the poses together on our little trip to the beach, to see what other ones she wanted to try.

childrens yoga book review sun salute

We all liked the look of the sun salute, but decided that might be one for another day when we more prepared and had a mat with us so we wouldn’t get absolutely covered in wet sand trying it!

Nerys did try out a couple of other poses though that she particularly liked the look of.

Down dog childrens yoga

This was downward facing dog which she had a lot of fun with.

I really love the description of this pose in the book:

“Dogs walk on all fours, so place your four paws on your mat.  Lift your tail high while you straighten your arms and legs”

This just seems so much more fun for little ones, getting them to pretty much just pretend to be dogs, instead of trying to get them to take part in a more serious yoga practice.  It’s putting things in a way that they understand, tapping into their natural desires to play make-believe.

 

warrior pose childrens yoga

Nerys also had a go at one of the three warrior poses that are in the book.

These are illustrated with a fierce looking child in chainmail and armed with a sword and a shield.  I absolutely love these pictures, because they help get the point across that yoga is for everyone.  Yoga isn’t just soft and gentle, you can be fierce and strong and still do yoga.

What I really love is that this book provides a gentle introduction to yoga for Nerys and Rhys as well as a whole routine that would be perfect for me to do as well.

The book is set out so that you can work your way through it and do a complete routine.  It starts with active, standing poses like warrior and half moon, then moves on to more gentle sitting poses.  You then finish up with some lovely relaxation poses, so that your child finishes the routine feeling calm and grounded.

At the same time though, each individual pose can be done on its own.  So if you don’t have the time or the inclination to go through the whole routine you can let your child flick through the book and choose a couple of poses to do that they feel drawn to.

There are so many benefits to doing yoga, that I think it’s a fantastic thing to introduce our children to.  In fact, I’m pretty sure they do some at school as part of their PE lessons which I think is amazing.

If you want to start getting your children doing some yoga at home, I would highly recommend this book.

It’s beautifully illustrated, the poses are explained in terms that make it perfect for children to explore for themselves, and the author has been teaching yoga for over 10 years so clearly knows her stuff!  I have a feeling our copy will be dog-eared before long (it already has some rogue grains of sand hiding in it), and it feels like that’s the way it should be.  This is a book that should be read and used and loved by children.

 

kids yoga book review

I’m hoping that with this book’s help we can slot some yoga into our routine, because I really do think it will have a positive impact on all of us.

 

Disclaimer – I was sent a copy of ‘Kids yoga’ for the purposes of this review but, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

molly-brown-jewellery-review

Molly Brown London jewellery review

Ever since she was a toddler Nerys has been drawn to sparkly things.  She’s always loved looking through her Nana’s jewellery and putting glittery clips in her hair.  So when the lovely people at Molly Brown got in touch to ask if we would like to take a look at their jewellery and choose something for Nerys I immediately said yes.

Molly Brown is a jewellery company based in London who make beautiful pieces of jewellery for children.  I spent what felt like hours browsing the website, because I just couldn’t decide which of the gorgeous pieces I thought Nerys would like the most.

In the end though, with Steve’s help, I settled on the pearl station necklace.

molly-brown-childrens-jewellery

As soon as we opened the box that arrived from Molly Brown I was smiling.

Out came a simple yet pretty pink gift bag, tied up with a lovely chocolate brown bow.

Molly Brown have actually had their gift wrapping be described as the best in the industry, and honestly I can see why.  It just looks and feels beautiful and high end.

molly-brown-london-jewellery

Inside the bag was the presentation box, in the same pretty pink as the bag and tied up with the same chocolate brown ribbon.

I love the sense of ceremony you get from untying all the ribbons, it just adds a little special something to the whole process!

molly-brown-london-jewellery

As soon as we opened the box I knew we had made the right choice by picking the pearl station necklace.

It is just beautiful.

And Nerys couldn’t wait to get her hands on it!

molly-brown-pearl-station-necklace

The necklace chain is made of sterling silver, and you can adjust it to 12″, 14″ and 16″ so it really can grow with Nerys.

Dotted along with necklace are freshwater pearls that are as pretty as they are classic.

I really love how this necklace seems so timeless, by which I mean that I think it looks lovely as a necklace for a child or a teenager to wear, but I would also quite happily wear it myself now!

molly-brown-child-necklace-pearl-station

And that is essence behind all the Molly Brown collections.

They are all designed to be simple yet sophisticated, so that they will last a lifetime.

childs-necklace-molly-brown-london

Nerys absolutely loves her necklace, and was so excited when we let her wear it out to Singleton park for our little photo session in the botanical gardens.

I think she feels really quite grown up having a necklace of her very own, and she’s been loving taking it out of its box and admiring it and then carefully putting it away again.  And while this is a piece of children’s jewellery, it is very grown up in my opinion.  It’s definitely not play jewellery, it is a beautiful necklace, made with high quality materials, including a small and ever so slightly fiddly clasp.

So while Nerys is still so little I think we’ll keep it for special occasions, or for when we’re playing at home and she can put it on while I am around to keep an eye on her.

As she gets older though I’m sure she will love to wear it was much as she can, because it is so classic I think it would go with pretty much any outfit.

molly-brown-jewellery-pearl-station-necklace

The pearl station necklace is so well made, the quality is lovely, and the little finishing touch of the Molly Brown tag adds just a little bit of fun and personality to it which I love.

molly-brown-jewellery-pearl-necklace-review

We have all been really impressed with the necklace, and with Molly Brown in general.

The attention to detail is very impressive, from the beautiful packaging to the lovely handwritten note tucked inside.  Any child with an interest in jewellery would be absolutely thrilled to receive a parcel from Molly Brown.

If you’re ever looking for a special gift for a child, perhaps for their birthday or for a christening, then Molly Brown is a great place to start.  They offer necklaces, bracelets and earrings in several different styles, so no matter who you’re buying for you’re bound to find something suitable.

And whatever you decide to choose, it’s bound to be a gift they treasure forever.

Molly Brown pearl station necklace

Disclosure:  We were sent the pearl station necklace from Molly Brown for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.

gifts-person-has-everything

Gift ideas for the person who has everything

It was my birthday last week, and honestly I struggled a bit to think of things I wanted when my husband asked me.

I’m not saying I have everything I could possibly want, far from it, it was just that I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head that I really fancied.

The thing is, I know how frustrating it can be to ask someone what they would like for their birthday and have them reply that they don’t know!

So, I’ve put together this little guide with the help of the lovely people at GiftsOnline4U to hopefully give us all some inspiration for the person who has everything.

gift-ideas-person-has-everything

Gift ideas for women

Something bubbly

A lovely way to really make a fuss of the birthday girl is with a personalised bottle of Moet.  After all, everyone enjoys celebrating with a glass of champagne don’t they!

The personalised Moet is a really lovely gift as you can have the bottle engraved with a special message, and you can even add on a special wooden gift box to add a little extra touch to the present.

If your budget is on the smaller side you can still treat her and make her feel special with a mini bottle of champagne and a crystal cut champagne glass.

gift-idea-moet-wtih-elm-wood-box

 

A place for all her photos

If the person you’re buying for takes a lot of photos then this collage photo frame is a great idea for a present.

Photo frames are a classic gift idea, but I love the style of this particular one with the way the individual frames are all off-set.  There is space for 6 photos in the frame, and you can have it engraved with a message to make it even more special.

Whatever the occasion I think this would make a really lovely gift.

gift-idea-white-friends-multi-frame

 

Something to make tea and cake time a bit special

For the lady who loves to bake, this personalised two tier cake stand would make a lovely gift.  I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of sitting down for a spot of afternoon tea!

This cake stand is made from slate which I really love, and can be engraved with any message you choose.

gift-idea-round-cake-stand-slate

 

Gift ideas for men

A classic accessory

We all need to know what the time is throughout the day, and a personalised pocket watch is a really unique way of doing just that.

This is quite a classic item, but I love the modern twist of this particular one pictured below, with it being made with on-trend rose gold!

You can also choose to personalise it, by having it engraved with a message so he can be reminded of a special occasion every time he looks at it.

present-idea-men-rose-gold-pocket-watch

 

Something practical

I know, it’s such a cliche to suggest getting something practical for the man in your life, but this is another classic gift for the person who has everything!

This multi tool with compass is a smart and useful tool to keep handy so he can be prepared for every eventuality.

present-idea-multi-tool-compass

 

For the foodie

This slate cheese board would be the perfect gift for the foodie who has everything.

It can be personalised with any message, and would look great on the dining table full of cheeses or cold meats.  And if the man you’re buying for likes to feel like the king of his castle, you can also have a family crest put on it!

gift-idea-personalised-rectangle-cheeseboard

Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration for the next time someone tells you they don’t know what they want for their birthday!

All of these items are available from GiftsOnline4U, and they all include free standard delivery which is a real plus in my book.  The website is designed to make finding the perfect gift easy, and everything is broken down into useful categories.  So whether you prefer to search by person or by occasion, you’ll easily be able to narrow down your options to find a present for the person who has everything.

 

Disclosure – this is a sponsored post.