Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Our Autumn Sensory Box

The weather this week is just amazing! So warm and sunny and such a great excuse to get outside and make the most of what's probably the last of the 'Indian Summer' weather that we're having.

At the bottom of our road there's 4 or 5 large conker trees (I know they have a proper name, I just had to google it and they are in fact horse chestnut trees - I should know that really - I blame my pregnancy brain).

Yesterday Eden and I took a stroll down to fill a lidded box with lots of leaves, seeds, twigs and conkers for an autumn-themed sensory box. We took it home and had a good explore of all the textures and colours. I have a few autumn crafts planned that we'll be using some of the things in the box for, but will be saving those for a rainy day, in the meantime let's enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Advent Calendar Bunting

I'm not very talented when it comes to 'crafty' things - I just don't have the patience for perfection. The pragmatist in me just likes to get on with it and give it a go, and hope for the best when it comes to the results. I really do like attempting to make things for Eden though, and I hope in years to come when she's older she can look back at all the things I 'made with love' for, despite them being far from perfect.

My latest make for Eden is an advent calendar in the form of bunting. I did a google search typing in 'DIY Advent Calendar' to get ideas, and I based my bunting on a similiar idea from Pickles

I'm really chuffed with the results! The fabric cones aren't too difficult to make for a complete novice like me. I picked up my sewing machine a month ago from a car boot sale for £4 - it's very basic and only just coped with some of the thinner materials that I used. Thankfully, because the cones are all lined inside, all of the stitching and hems are on the inside too so it's a very forgiving pattern for mistakes!  I didn't fancy attempting to stitch numbers onto each cone, so instead hung some number beads off the bottom of each one.

Here's some photos of the finished bunting - shame it's another 2 months before we'll be using it. I plan to put a chocolate coin and a Christmas activity/preparation for the day inside each cone.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hanging out with Eden

I'm loving Eden's age at the moment! She's just such a fun little person to be around and I feel very privileged to be in the position that I'm in, where I spend pretty much 24/7 with her, bar the odd day here and there when I take off my Mummy hat and put on my Dietitian hat.

Eden's 21 months old now, she's always been a social little person, but as she grows up and her language develops I'm so enjoying the new interactive conversations and experiences that we have. Yesterday is a good example. After the usual morning wake-up routine and breakfast, Eden pulled out her music box and we had a fun half an hour singing songs and banging drums. Eden now 'marches' to the Grand Old Duke of York (the cutest thing ever), does a lot of the actions (with an abundance of enthusiasm) to many nursery rhymes and songs, and fills in the last word of each line in our fave drumming book 'Skunka Tanka'.

We popped to the shops yesterday morning, not a tear or tantrum in sight. We chatted away about what we were buying - a few last minute things for Daddy's birthday, and shared a lovely girlie shopping trip together.

After her lunch and nap, we got the paints out. Eden helped with the preparation, insisting on carrying the paintbrushes and painting shower curtain/floor covering into the lounge. We had such a fun time painting together, with no frustrations from the little person arising - something I've learnt through practice. Filling a small trug with warm soapy water was a great way to draw the activity to a close - Eden washed the paintbrushes, while I washed her legs and hands, and then we both carried the trug into the kitchen to empty. Allowing Eden to help with preparations and clearing up really helps avoid her getting frustrated and upset.

The funniest moment of the day was when Daddy arrived home from work. We'd bought a chocolate cake earlier in the day to celebrate, and as it was only little I though Eden would love to be the one to carry it in to him (candle unlit of course). She proudly and carefully carried it with 2 hands the short walk from the kitchen to lounge. Unfortunately, she tripped just in the doorway, and cake, candle and 'Happy Birthday' decoration ended up on the floor. It was so difficult to keep a straight face, especially as Eden very seriously and unfazed tried to stick the candle back onto the cake before continuing her walk, bless her. 2 minutes later we were all tucking into a slice each, and with me sitting on the floor, Eden was giving me a side hug, hand on my shoulder, so grown-up!

Throw in a few proud mummy moments yesterday too - Eden through her colouring and toy kitchen play now knows the colours orange, green, pink, red and (nearly) blue. She also told us on 3 occasions that she needed to use her potty. Up until now we've been sitting her on regularly which has been working fine, but we've been looking forward to this next step.

As always with little ones, every day brings new developments, and I love hanging out with my own little lady.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

5 A Day Books - Holidays

We were away camping last week, so I took along 5 holiday-themed books for the 5 A Day challenge. Eden loved the beach-related books, and brought them over to us several times a day to read in the tent with her. It was great to have themed books to tie in with our own trips to the beach, and to observe Eden linking what was in the books to her own experiences at the sea side, for example placing stones and shells on the side of the sandcastles, just like Wendy does in one of the books.

Usborne Look and Say 'Beach'
A simple picture book showing various items you find at the beach. No 'story' to read, so I enjoyed talking through what the people figures on each page were doing.

Maisy Goes on Holiday by Lucy Cousins

Eden's favourite book of the week. Bright colourful pictures on each page telling the story of Maisy's first day on holiday.

Cheeky Monkey on Holiday by Anne Cassidy and Lisa Smith

A playful enthusiastic monkey ends up spoiling little girl Wendy's activities on the beach, but Wendy has the last laugh...  

Kipper's Sunny Day by Mick Inkpen

Lift the flap books are always a winner with Eden. Another book focussing on the sea side, with a question at the end of each page it encourages conversation and memory skills. 

Boris Goes Camping by Carrie Weston and Tim Warnes

A loveable bear and his classmates go camping, and find themselves in  trouble. This book was a bit too long for our 21-month old's attention span but Luke (my husband) informed me he enjoyed it!

Read more 5 A Day Challenges this week here

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Camping Fun

We like to go camping at least a couple of times every year. Usually we have our annual long weekend 'Strickland Camping Trip' with the wider family at the start of the summer, and then take a week off at the end of the summer holidays.

Last week we camped in Dawlish Warren, South Devon. We found a lovely uncommercialised traditional campsite, 10 minutes walk from the beach, with clean facilities and a play area for Eden. 

We first took Eden camping in June 2010, when she was 6 months old. We had a fair few 'you're brave' comments at the time, but apart from upgrading our small 2-person tent, to a much more comfortable 6-person tent, we didn't have to make many adjustments. We bought a small travel steriliser for her bottles, switched to organic baby food jars for the week, took along her bumbo, and bought her a toasty warm long-sleeved fleece sleeping bag and we were pretty much sorted. Needless to say with all the fresh air, she slept really well once it got dark (she's always been a light sleeper needing quiet and darkness to sleep). 

This year as Eden's reached toddler-hood, she's loved the freedom that camping offers her! She can toddle about inside and out of the tent until her heart's content, and she spent many mornings on the camp site doing just that while Luke and I were able to relax and even do some reading!

Eden was happy with the slower pace of lazy days while we were away and we stuck to a loose routine where we could, so just like at home, after lunch she went straight down in her travel cot for a nap. Afternoons were spent on the beach, building sandcastles and paddling in the sea. And eating lots of ice cream as a special treat! 

We took a couple of trips out to some local attractions. Typically, on the one day we forgot to put the toddler carrier in the car we went to the highest waterfall in England (Canonteign Falls). Eden was a little precarious on Daddy's shoulders up the 90 victorian steps, but the hike to the top viewpoint was worth it. 

We found a 'hidden gem' in nearby Shaldon, a small village next to the sea, buying lunch from a local bakery and eating it watching the boats. 

The village of Shaldon is a bit off the beaten track, not particularly advertised to tourists, with no tacky gift shops and amusements. We visited Shaldon Zoo, with a wonderful collection of monkeys and other animals - all of them were very active at 10 in the morning (even the tortoises), and looked very happy in their enclosures. We also walked through Shaldon's smugglers' tunnel finding a sheltered beach on the other side. 

Many of my early memories as a child are of being outdoors; playing football on the campsite, making friends with a fellow camper's pet dog, visiting pony centres, playing on the beach. Eden's 21 months now, maybe still a bit young for first memories, but nevertheless I want to provide her with lots of experiences of being outdoors. Even last week, with all the stimulation she was getting, her language and communication with us really developed, she said her first 3-word sentences (in the bed, on the chair), and she did brilliantly keeping up with her potty training despite the extra potential distractions that camping and days out could have been.  

Above all, watching Eden have such a fabulous time was a real joy, just what memories are made of. 

Friday, 2 September 2011

Dino Daisy Amber Teething Necklace: Review and Giveaway

I'm a HUGE fan of amber teething necklaces! My daughter Eden started teething at around 2 months old - her cheeks turned bright red and she had a constant dribble. She was 8 months old when I discovered amber teething necklaces and I only wish I'd found out about them sooner. 

With her teething necklace on, Eden's dribbling improved immensely and her bright red cheeks completely disappeared within a day of her wearing it. On the rare occasions that we've forgotten to put it on in the morning, by late afternoon her red cheeks are back, and that's when we realise we've forgotten to put her necklace on that day – I know this may sound unbelievable, but it's happened a few times and hand on heart it's true!

I think Eden has been a 'constant' teether, rather than an intermittent one. When her teeth are actually cutting through she still requires pain relief from medicine and still gets a sore bottom, but for the daily effects of teething (her red cheeks and dribble) I can say from first-hand experience that the amber teething necklace has worked wonders.

How does it work?

I'd always thought that amber was a semi-precious stone, but it's actually a resin that comes from tree sap. It contains 8% succinic acid, and has been used in traditional medicine around the world for it's healing properties, helping to treat aches and pains. The amber teething necklace when worn next to the skin is a natural analgesic, providing pain relief for teething babies.

Dino Daisy Amber Teething Necklaces

Dino Daisy is a fantastic UK-based site, with a huge selection of necklaces and anklets, something to suit everyone's taste, and with custom designs available. The main focus is on teething necklaces and anklets for your little one, but there's also a Dino-Mumma section, with gorgeous amber jewellery for us Mummies too!

The jewellery from Dino-Daisy makes for a very special RUP (Really Useful Present) for a new baby, a christening gift, or a special first birthday or first christmas.

Safety issues have been considered – each bead on the necklace is individually hand-knotted either side, so in the unlikely event of breakage there won't be any scattering of the beads, which could be a choking hazard. Strong cord and clasps are used for safety.

Important: Baltic Amber teething necklaces are not designed for chewing and parent supervision is recommended at all times when your baby is wearing the teething necklace.

Dino-Mumma Necklaces

I was sent a Dino-Mumma large bean necklace to review. The website describes it perfectly – 'A really pretty necklace, which is simple but elegant'. The beads are beautiful, I've been wearing it every day as it goes with everything thanks to its fashionably classy look, without looking pretentious.

The Dino-Mumma necklaces are a stylish accessory for every Mum. They have the same safety standards as the teething necklaces with knotting between each bead, for extra peace of mind.

Additionally, the Dino-Mumma necklaces have all the benefits associated with the healing properties of amber – they're perfect for post-birthing aches and breastfeeding, as well as helping with that general 'run-down' feeling. Also part of the Dino-Mumma range are nursing reminder bracelets that can be easily switched over between wrists to help remind you which side you last fed from.

Dino-Daisy have kindly offered a rainbow teething necklace to one of my readers. It's really gorgeous, made up of a combination of cherry, cognac and dark cognac amber beads.

To be in with a chance of winning, you need to do the following 2 things: 

  1. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect - the link is on the right hand side at the top of the page (under the tea cup) and 
  2. Visit Dino-Daisy's website then pop back here to tell me what your favourite product is on there.

For additional entries you can do the following (leave a separate comment below for each)

Winner will be picked randomly using
Remember to include a way for me to contact you if you're the winner - either an email address or twitter ID.
Closing date:  Sunday 11th September, 8pm.
UK entrants only please. No cash alternative.

Thanks for all the entries to win this fabulous teething necklace from Dino-Daisy. The winner selected using is comment number 11:

@Clairew137! - Well done!

Please get in touch with me to claim your prize!

Find more competitions here:
ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
Loquax Competitions