I have fallen madly in love with this glow in the dark NYC skyline block set from Little Circus! As soon as I saw it I was smitten, what a cool toy! So the blocks can be built to show the iconic NYC skyline, but the fun won’t stop there because if you turn off the lights your little one can drive their taxi around New York at night!
How much fun is that? Both of my boys would love this, Toby would benefit from and enjoy the stacking of the blocks, while Reuben would understand the concept of a ‘daytime vs nighttime’ city.
To get one for your kids, visit the brilliant Little Circus here.
This topic is something I have read a lot about – and I do mean a lot.
Roo did it to an extent between the ages of about 11 months to about 20 months, although nothing in comparison to how Toby behaves. This child is officially the worst head banger I have ever seen, he will bang his head if he is told no, he will bang his head if you take something off him – on the floor, the wall, furniture – anything he can.
Head banging, if you didn’t know (if you have kids and still don’t know – How? HOW??!) is the term that doctors and child psychologists use to explain literal head banging. Its something that children, usually between the ages of 1 and 2 years of age, do to express their frustration and displeasure. Some children do it quite mildly, others go for the knock out – Toby is the latter. Apparently around 20% of all babies and toddlers do this, and you are up to 3 times more likely to suffer it with boys – doomed from the start really wasn’t I? And coping with it is hard.
There is so much advice out there but its all geared towards a child who is rational and prepared to listen (the non existent child basically) or parents who keep cool and collected during temper tantrums… I’m not that Mama! I’m the one with the bright red cheeks, erratic hair and manic laughter who you know is going to throttle her kids once she is round the corner and out of view – I’m that one.
So this ‘advice’ ranges from allowing your child to express their inner frustrations, finding a secure and well cushioned place where they can act out on their frustrations, such as a bed or sofa, encouraging them to release their anger while reminding them you are close by; to the other end of the spectrum and totally ignoring the behaviour and walking away.
Initially, I preferred the sound of the first option – I tried to lift Toby onto the sofa or the bed, sometimes even to just hold him and let him know it was ok to be frustrated, natural even. You know what he did? He tried to throw himself off the sofa… I only just caught him and ended up having to pin him down while he shrieked like something from The Exorcist. I used the reassurances, he screamed louder. I held him, he head butted me, which meant I had to set him down, walk into the kitchen and count to 10 before I head banged myself!
So onwards to option 2 (interestingly this is what the doctor suggested, although I was initially sceptical you really want me to leave my 16 month old to bash his head?!) and when he started to head bang I ignored him, walked into the kitchen and pushed the door to while enjoying a symphony of bang, scream, bang, scream – BANG BANG BANG! So after a few minutes I walked back into the living room to find him playing with the iPad and smiling through the tear tracks on his cheeks! What the hell?
Here’s a prime example when both of these approaches are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard:
I take Toby swimming on a saturday morning and this week he decided it would be a good idea to throw a full out temper tantrum because I needed to dress him. That’s right, dress him. I spoke to him soothingly (then through gritted teeth) but it was a futile effort and as I let go of his arm he rolled off the nice soft towel I had him on, sat bolt up and threw himself backwards – BANG! I swear every mother in the changing room turned to look with that ‘Ohhh’ face. How this child didn’t crack his skull or cut his head I will never know, but all I could do was stare in disbelief myself! Now I ask you, if I just walked away what would you think? Or if I gently cooed at him and placed him on a ‘soft space’ to outlet his frustrations complete with head stroking and kisses – you would think I was crazy. Totally and utterly crazy.
So I decided to try and mix option 1 and 2 together – I try to sooth him as best I can, and if that isn’t working I put him on something soft and allow him to work it out for himself while I walk into another room and try to keep my cool. Generally it culminates in him sat playing with toys or watching the tv, smiling and looking like butter wouldn’t melt, while I try to control my breathing and avoid a panic attack while envisioning my son with brain damage!
Does anyone know how to ‘beat’ this phase without one of us ending up with long term damage? If you do – it would be oh-so-very-lovely if you shared it with me!
How fab are these wall stickers from SnuggleDust Studios? I love the fact that they are not only really cute on in your playroom or children’s bedroom but they also have the added function of being a chalkboard – don’t have the space for a stand up chalkboard easel? No worries – stick it to your wall!
To browse the different styles the chalkboard wall stickers come in, click here.
P.s – My favourite is the dinosaur – isn’t it awesome?
Oh my gosh these are so cute!! I came across Opposite of Far on Etsy a few months back and immediately got in touch with Jessica who hand crafts all of the masks and tails herself.
Jessica kindly offered to send me a set for the boys to add to their role play box and thanks to our love of Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl it wasn’t a difficult choice to make – and he absolutely loves the mask and tail, calling himself ‘Fantastic Mr Reuben Fox’! Such a funny little man! Toby also loved getting involved with the mask, he didn’t like ‘wearing’ it in the conventional sense as he is still too young to understand why elastic is around his face, but he did play for ages with me holding up to his face and him giving me a big ‘Raaaa!’ which I of course reciprocated!!
The other thing that I think stands out about Opposite of Far (apart from the amazing quality of the mask sets) is the wonderful Mask of the month club that Jessica offers. Essentially you can choose from 3 different packages (or all 3) and your child will be sent one mask each month for either 6 or 12 months. It makes a wonderful little gift for any child, after all we all remember how much fun we had when we were little getting that post and its such a great way to encourage imaginative play – what can’t you do with a mask? You can make stories up, leaner about animals, play make believe … the possibilities are limited to the child’s imagination and that is limitless!
Check out the Opposite of Far website here to set yourself up for some serious fun!
P.s – Check out Jessica’s latest collaboration with Cordial Kitten here. You can have a bespoke child’s illustration style portrait done of your child and their new (or old) mask! Now that would be a lovely keepsake for anyone!
How cool are these veg table (do you get it? Veg table – vegetable … ha clever – small minds, small things I believe the saying goes…!!) cutting boards?
They are by a fab company called The little boys room and are just so cool. They come in different colours and are shaped as various fruits and vegetables. Perfect for adding a little bit of style and functionality to your kitchen!
To get hold of one you need to visit notonthehighstreet.com here.
You may remember I posted about the fabulous Frugi a few weeks ago (you can read the post here) and how truly lovely their organic clothing range is but Frugi don’t just offer baby and kids clothes, they have a fabulous line of cloth nappies and a beautiful selection of gifts and clothes for Mama too.
Well if you love the Frugi range as much as I do then I have good news!
I have teamed up with Frugi to offer you the chance to win a £25 voucher spend in their online shop! You enter by commenting below, or visit my Facebook or twitter page for more details. The competition will run as usual for 1 week , staring today until Monday 17th March, the winner will be announced the same evening.
To view the full range of clothing from Frugi or line up what you would like to buy if you win visit the webshop here.
At the baby show in February I came across some really cool things but one of the most useful things for Mamas everywhere was the self-warming feeding system from Yoomi. It is literally all you need for safe feeding, whether you are out and about during the day, or if you need to feed baby in the night. The bottles are suitable for breast-feeding and bottle feeding.
Yoomi very kindly sent me through one of the bottles for Toby who still has a night time bottle before he goes to sleep, and while he has been poorly he has a bottle in the night. I am so impressed with the Yoomi system!!
Essentially you charge up your warmer in the microwave (it take 2 mins!) or a saucepan of water, push the button and fit the system together and the bottle is ready within 60 seconds! How fast is that! I wish I had had one of these for trips out with Reuben as he was bottle fed and it was such a pain to have to carry around his bottles and heat them!
The bottles are BPA free and anti colic, what more could you need than that? So if you know someone who is expecting or you are expecting yourself and you want to bottle feed or have a bottle feeding system in your arsenal for when you are not with baby, this is a perfect one to go for!
You can find out all about yoomi here and when you do, just for Toby & Roo readers you can use the code BEINGAMUMMY to help yourself to a 15% discount!
I came across Tommy & Lottie baby clothes on twitter recently and I am absolutely in love with the designs and the message behind the clothes.
The clothes are totally ethically produced and the cotton is grown, produced, manufactured in one place and not all over the world, plus there are no harmful chemicals or dyes are used in any of the processes of production so you can guarantee that what you are putting on your little ones skin isn’t harmful in anyway.
What really stood out for me about Tommy & Lottie is the use of British Woodland animals for the graphics. Not only is it adorable but we all get reminded that we love these animals that we take for granted in our countryside and we want them to continue to flourish in our woods for the generations to come – that was the intention behind choosing these images for the designer Katie Carr, who has over 14 years experience in retail.
You can view the full range here.
I think this is a super cute idea for a Mama to be for Mother’s Day! It is just called ‘pregnancy chocolate’ with the tag line ‘this is for the bump’. Isn’t that sweet?
You can choose from 7 types of luxury chocolate; milk, dark, white with vanilla seeds, milk with coloured beans, milk with orange and pistachio, dark with peppermint essence or luxury fruit and nut milk.
Wonderful! Check out the full range here.
P.s – The chocolate library do all sorts of chocolates for all occasions, well worth looking if you want a delicious treat.
There is always something on the news about getting children back to being in the great outdoors, or reading or playing with toys, and keeping them away from the evil of modern technology. Half of the time I wonder if the people who write these posts even have children, or if they are just going of what the statistics say.
I whole heartedly agree that too much TV – too much computerised whatever – is bad for children, but is there really such a problem with children having some form of technology in their lives if it is a part of a variety of activities? I don’t think so – after all computers are a huge part of modern society, its a sad fact but a fact nonetheless that we could not survive easily without computers now.
Both of my boys watch TV, we love our disney films, we love our disney channel. We also have a massive climbing frame in our garden which we literally play on from dusk until dawn in the warmer weather, we have at least one family day a week where we go out, they both have swimming classes, we read books like they are going out of fashion and the boys have more toys than there playroom can physically hold… hence the reason they have invaded the living room!
Basically what I am saying is that we do a wide range of activities so surely that balances it out?
Now, Reuben has been using my iPad (which is pretty much referred to as his iPad now) since he was a tiny tot, we have plenty of games on there, most of which have some sort of benefit – from shape sorting to learning words. He loves to watch cartoons and movies on there and its a god send for when we go on a plane or long car journey. I did feel that the iPad did help to bring Roo on with his speech and with his co-ordination, he would listen and repeat the words, and he could shape sort most things from about 15 months (and with real shape sorters as well as on the iPad).
So how do you feel about technology for children? Do your kids use anything or watch TV, or do you ban it from your house altogether?
I would be really interested to know
I love this book! What a fantastic alternative Easter gift – after all there is only so much chocolate you can eat (I know, I didn’t believe it as I was typing it…). I have ordered one for Reuben, he’s at the age where he can recognise his name spelt out, but I am trying to teach him how to actually spell his name and about the alphabet so I thought this would be fun for him.
The book is personalised using your child’s name and tells the classic story of the Easter bunny. This would make a lovely keepsake for any child to enjoy and pass on!
You can get one of these great books by The Letteroom here.
When I decorated the boys rooms I struggled so much to find any art pieces that I thought were unique, attractive and not too ‘babyish’. This was still going to go on a wall within my home, just because it was in the nursery or playroom didn’t mean I was going to ditch my own love of art… so as of yet my boys walls remain pretty bland with a name print gift from their grandparents and some bunting.
Had I found the simply wonderful Little Carousel Gallery before I decorated the boys room I would have been in my element. As a lover of art this gallery just delights me – the art work is carefully selected by gallery founder Jennifer Smith who left a career in investment banking to study History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and, after graduating, became business development manager of a busy contemporary London gallery.
Jennifer focuses on artwork that is highly engaging for children and will encourage their imaginations but also grow with them and become treasured heirlooms for their collections when they grow up. Her inspiration for the collection comes from her daughter Sophie, and her desperation to get away from the ‘uninspiring’, ‘gender-stereotyped’ and ‘old-fashioned’ artwork that she was presented with when decorating her own nursery.
One of my favourite artists from Little Carousel Gallery is the wonderful Sarah Bellisario, who is a children’s illustrator. Her pieces are just so whimsical and quirky – I love her use of colours and it reminds me of my own childhood – so lovely.
I also adore the ceramic pieces from Emma Alington. These porcelain tableware gift sets and cups just strike me as the kind of thing that will be kept and treasured forever and when the time comes can be passed down to future generations. Theses pieces are Emma’s first bespoke collection exclusively for Little Carousel Gallery and they are hand-turned and hand-embellished with platinum lustre. The cups can even be personalised with baby’s name or initials and birth date. What a wonderful christening gift!
You can visit the fabulous site for Little Carousel Gallery here, and there are links within the sites to artist interviews and the artist’s own websites – another thing I love about the gallery as you get a real connection with the pieces and where they came from before you buy them!
This year for Reuben’s party I’ve gone with a construction vehicle theme, and I have tried to keep the party bags running with the same theme, after all there is nothing Roo loves more than trucks and cars, and they are so unisex!
I had some real help with the party bags from the wonderful Natalia over at Little Lulubel but I wanted to add some personal touches to the bags too and I really didn’t want to spend a fortune doing it! So I decided I would give making my own car shaped crayons a go… and surprisingly it was really easy!
Firstly, if you don’t have a silicone or over proof car mould then you need to order one – they are really widely available from ebay, I would recommend a silicone one as you can keep it and use it forever for chocolate, soap, biscuits, cakes – the options are limitless!
So what will you need:
- A car shaped silicone mould, or a set of moulds
- Various different wax crayons (the cheap non brand versions are the best as they melt well whereas better know brands are designed not to melt so easily!)
Separate your wax crayons into various colours, or if you intend to mix colours set them aside together.
Break up your crayons into small pieces, then melt them in the microwave for about 8 minutes. From there you will want to quickly pour the melted crayon into the mould until the mould is full – the more I did this the less mess I made! Put the crayons in the fridge for 2-3 minutes, they will set very quickly.
Pop the crayons out of the mould and voila!
You can literally get any kind of mould you can imagine, so if you are having a different kind of party then play about with it a bit and enjoy!
These paper balloons make wonderful decorations for your children’s room, they are just so lovely! I remember seeing them in a boutique in York once, purely as decoration and the lady who owned the shop eventually had to start stocking them because so many of her customers wanted them for their children’s room.
They aren’t just a wonderful decoration but they are also a fab toy. They can be blown up over and over again but they are a more environmentally friendly type of balloon!
To fin out more and see more of the lovely range, visit the Petra Boase site here.
I love watching the boys playing with their building blocks – there is something about watching them building towers and houses and pretty much anything their wonderful little minds can think up.
I have been looking for more toys for us to have in the garden this year since the weather is getting better and they are going outside to play more often, but I also wanted something that could be used inside during the winter months – something that is designed for both boys to enjoy and hopefully learn various skills with.
I found these fantastic Edublocks online and I love them – the boys have played with them before at a play centre not far from where we live and they absolutely love them! They are such a good product – big and durable enough for Toby to stack and knock down, and easily fitted together to allow Reuben to indulge his creativity.
These will be making a visit to our garden later on in the year! To get some for yourself visit amazon here.
I love little hand made crafts from kids, especially as a treat for Mother’s day or birthdays. Nowadays you can’t just go out and pick flowers for Mama to give that personal feel to the gift, they come from a flower shop (which is lovely, but not personal, your children haven’t individually picked the flowers usually!).
I love these paper flower crafts, they are so easy that children can do them and they take next to no time at all – perfect for Mother’s Day or any occasion where you want to give flowers – plus they last forever!
Firstly to make these Hyacinths (above) you will need:
- crepe paper
- wooden skewers
So, it is as easy as it looks in the picture. Fold up the crepe paper and snip all along one side to form ‘tassels’. Use your toothpick to roll up each tassel, then wrap the strip around the skewer working downwards until you get a hyacinth shape. You can then use your green crepe paper to make some leaves or cover the rest of the skewer for a ‘stem’.
Its that simple. You can also use card for these but it doesn’t have quite the same effect.
If you are wanting to present Mama with a full bouquet you could add some roses to the bunch! Make your hyacinths and then cut out some circles of coloured card. Stencil on a swirl like shape (see photo) and then roll the paper between your fingers to make a rose shape. From there you can stick the rose to a skewer and add to your hyacinth bunch!
There are 1000′s of paper flower tutorials online, but these two stood out for me because they are especially simple and easy for the whole family to have a go at – so have a go!
Its coming up to spring and I am starting to think about getting the boys into the garden and planting. We have so much fun in the garden over spring and summer that I am really looking forward to getting both of them out there and making our garden not only pretty but productive this year. We have set up like a little allotment down the side of our house so we can try our hand at growing fruit and veg this year.
I think its really good for kids to do planting and learn about growing fruit and veg, plus its great fun for them to see the fruits of their labour develop, plus we all know playing with mud is a win with kids!
I came across In the Koop last year but had missed the appropriate time for planting a lot of the fruit and veg, but it is officially the coolest garden shop for kids. Essentially they sell the seeds and tools to grow your own plants and flowers, but not just any plants and flowers, these ones are a little different. Their giggle garden boxes contain seeds and instructions on how to grow Green Zebra tomatoes, Dinosaur Kale and Dragon Carrots… all edible, all delicious but all a little bit more exciting and fun than your average veg. They also do a fantastic edible flower set.
I’m going to give these a go with my boys this year, I think they sound like so much fun, and hopefully I will be sharing my fruit and veg with you later on in the year!
To find out more about the fab products at In the Koop visit their site here.
Last week we took the boys out for a family day out to Tropical World and Round Hay park in Leeds, which is about 40 minutes from where we live. The park is so pretty and just the most wonderful place for the boys to charge about and be as free and noisy as they like. There is a great little play area at the top of the hill just opposite Tropical World, so once we had explored there we had a good play over in the play area and a walk around the park.
As for Tropical World it is just such a great place to take the kids. They have a lovely butterfly room that is like a walk way through the jungle with butterflies everywhere and big ponds full to the brim of koi carp that the kids can feed. Toby was absolutely captivated with the koi, as was Roo – it was lovely to see how excited they were.
Tropical World also has a fab selection of fish tanks, lizards and snakes. They have a great Meerkat enclosure that is walk round and head height for the kids, they loved it. Plus the keeps are really great at showing off the meercats, bird and other animals at feeding time.
I can’t recommend the place enough and just wanted to share with you some of the pictures and how much fun we had!
Cute Graffiti is a really cool clothing brand for kids that launched in 2013. The clothes all feature fun and funky slogans or designs and are made from organic cotton.
The lovely designer Jackie sent through two t-shirts for the boys and they are so cool, but totally versatile – they go with everything. That’s the beauty really, I know if I wanted to take a change of clothes anywhere then I wouldn’t end up with the kids looking mismatched like you can with other brands… something that used to make me cringe when they came back from nursery or preschool after getting messy with random tops and trousers… silly I know!
The clothes are so lovely and they wash extremely well – organic cotton has a tendency to shrink (or maybe thats my washing?!) but there was no shrinking here.
To view the full range visit the Cute Graffiti site here.
These are such a great idea for Mama’s who have a bag they adore and want to keep their style or just don’t want to buy a changing bag that is only going to be used for a year or two.
Essentially the Melobaby nappy wallets have everything you could possibly need to take out with you. They are quick and easy to get into, with space for a change of clothes, 4 nappies and a zipper pocket for all of the extra bits and bobs you would take with you.
Not only does it work as a full storage spot for all things baby, but it also folds out to make a wonderfully soft fleece lined changing mat – so not more tacky, cold vinyl plastic mats for your baba!
To find out more about these awesome nappy wallets (perfect for Mama’s who travel a lot and need room in their bags for more than one child) then visit here.