Video Advent Day 8!

Another day passes, how is that possible?!  In today’s video I’m making some super simple paper chains, there is a new jumper and lots of hellos. I’ve also had pictures of Christmas trees, a lovely drawing and even a video! So huge thank yous, I’m really enjoying these and knowing your children are too  means the world, especially when I’m frantically colouring at 8pm! 😀

As always. get in touch for any hellos, send me pictures, anything you, (or they!), like.

Facebook or Twitter if you want to direct message me or you can comment below or under the video. 😀 Hope to hear from you soon.

Advertisement

Advent Video Day 7

Wow, day 7 already!! The days are flying. I have exciting news in this one, we bumped into someone pretty special…..any guesses who it might have been???? I’m also talking about my Christmas tree. Photos below if they ask to see!

As always, a hello, let me know if I can say hello to your little one by messaging me on facebook or twitter and if there are any photos, pictures they would like to show me, please scan or photograph, then send them over and I will make sure I mention them and thank your child on the next video I film.

 

Advent Video Day 6!

It’s day 6! I’m still battling through the lurgy but I think I’m winning! Woo! If any of your children would like to show me their pictures or have a special mention, you can contact me on facebook or twitter and I will do my best to say hello to everyone. 😀

I’m having so much fun, having to rattle off pictures everywhere I go though, been sat at friend’s houses on play dates colouring frantically!

Please do share and spread the word about these, I would love for it to be successful so I can make lots and lots more story videos for everyone…and start preparing now so I can make this an annual event!!

Advent Calendar Day 4!

Ok, so I am absolutely full of a cold and not looking too polished buuuuut I have done some more videos tonight. I’m going to post them early as I know I have some kiddies watching in beautiful sunny Australia plus my gorgeous boy was up before six so I know for a fact we have some early risers out there!

There are some mentions too!  Thank you everyone that has been in touch already and I will work my way through slowly but steadily. It is so lovely to hear how much your kiddies are enjoying these. I am too! It’s so nice to have something to help get me feeling all festive.

Despite the fact that our tree is nowhere near up and my Christmas spirit is still firmly at the back of the cupboard, coming up with new pictures every day is starting to work it’s magic!

I’m so looking forward to the next weeks.

If you want a mention for your child, links are in the video comments or find me on facebook here and twitter here, I really love interacting with you all!

My brand new, super exciting story venture!

I won’t say much, as it’s very late, but I was too excited not to share straight away!

I’ve been working on a little story book idea for small people, with accompanying videos. Designed to keep little ones engaged for 5 minutes while you can send an email, phone someone important, or just drink a cup of tea before it goes cold!

Klara and fred title page

I do hope you enjoy.

(Well, mainly your children actually!!!) 🙂

If they like this, please do head over to our website to subscribe to our mailing list and I can tell you first when the new one is out! (There are lots more in the pipeline, this picture might give you a hint to what is coming next!)

IMG_5896

You can also follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for fun, chatter, photos and the latest Klara and Fred news, hot off the press…..or the sketchbook!!

 

 

 

fartglitter

babybrain

dragon

2d204-bestandworstlinky

We just found The Best Place Ever. Officially!

**Scroll down to the bottom for our updated view after a few months of visiting!**

I’m so excited, my friend invited small boy and I to try out a brand new play group in….wait for it….a trampoline park in Gloucester. Oh yes, it really is as amazing as it sounds. On the website they describe ’90 trampolines in 10,000 square feet of bouncing fun’ but we weren’t totally sure what to expect. They have so many different events for all ages, (including a fitness session!), and it is only £5.00 for an hour in there for the toddler session.

When we arrived, we were slightly daunted by the unfinished exterior, there wasn’t that much signage on the building itself to let you know they were open and the board outside still states it’s ‘coming soon’ as it is only two weeks old, but then we saw people inside, lucky really as we’d hyped the boys up so much about it that I can’t think of anything else that would have been an acceptable alternative!!

The unfinished feel does continue inside, with lots of un-plastered walls around the reception area, it feels as if they opened rather in a rush to catch half term, however, look past all that, because once you go through, it’s obvious that the priority went into making the trampoline area absolutely amazing, which they certainly managed!

When we signed in, we were asked some further questions to complete the waiver form that you begin online, then you buy some special ‘grippy’ socks, which are £1.50 a pair, but yours to keep and use for future sessions. We were a bit early, but there is a large spacious area to wait, (and a cafe upstairs), and just before the session starts there is a safety briefing to make sure you know all the rules for keeping safe.

Then you are allowed in and it is so exciting! I’ve never been anywhere like it, there are bouncy surfaces everywhere, it’s hard to describe but there are trampolines set into every surface, including around the walls and every section that isn’t bouncy is padded, which is a relief if you have a fearless small boy like I do, who will quite cheerfully launch himself off anything. There is also a massive foam pit at the end of three long trampolines which is perfect for long running jumps.

Small boy spent quite a while just running around everywhere and collecting up all the balls scattered about, and then graduated to giant jumps into the foam pit, including some ‘walk the planks’ which involved me pushing him in, (or vice versa!), after chanting walk the plank for a bit first.

Then, as he tired, he moved on to playing with the staff are all lovely, I mean really lovely, they were genuinely enjoying playing with the children and a couple of them sat and played with my friends’ baby so she could bounce with her older boy. Then a bit later on, the girls on the reception desk offered to look after him so she could go back in.

It’s really rare to find places where all the staff are so happy to play with the children and seem to genuinely enjoy it and were coming up with games for the children. Normally at places like soft play, it is a bored looking person in the corner doing there best to ignore all the noise!

There are several staff in there at all times, playing with all the children and making sure that everyone is following the guidelines. It all felt very safe and secure, even with small boy demonstrating some flips and giant jumps off some of the platforms. I would actually really like to watch one of the teenage groups because it looks like you can do some seriously amazing stunts in there.

After the session, (an hour flew by but it was definitely enough, small was so sweaty by the end and exhausted!), we went up to the cafe, unfortunately the lift is currently out of order, but one of the ‘green daddies’, (as they have been christened by small thanks to their green t-shirts and easy way with the kids!), offered to carry my friend’s buggy up and we went for a cuppa and a drink for the boys. Pretty basic, a sea of green and purple tables, but with a great view over the whole trampoline park, they serve hot drinks, slushies, a selection of toasties and paninis and cakes. I’m not sure if they did hot food as I wasn’t looking, (rubbish sorry!), but I’m sure there are further details on their website.

All in all, I can easily say that we LOVED it here, and will definitely be back next week! There is nowhere like this that I know of, and for me, the staff made it even better, having a super active little boy, it can be such a relief when you find somewhere where other people are really happy to pretend to fall over dramatically 50 times after small has hit them with a ball! 😀

This is a really photo-less post I’m afraid, we were far too busy to even think about photos, plus all that bouncing wasn’t conductive to keeping a phone on you, but I got just a couple, look at his beaming face after!

014533c720337b94a67e92bd767246d7f2cfa709e0 01892446e76a407bfdf3916a73e56621be565358be

**Update! We have been going almost every week since this post was written and I’m really pleased to be able to say that they have been working really hard  to make real improvements to the look of the place.

The downstairs is totally finished with new coin operated lockers, (bring a £1 coin), the painting has all been done and it all looks fresh and bright.

The toilets, (the womens’ anyway, I can’t speak for the mens’!), are finished now.

The cafe has extended their range of drinks to include joosed fruit juices, capri sun, lots of different cakes, paninis and sandwiches and all the coffees you could ask for, (except decaff-maybe next week! 😉 ) and the party area looks great with screens up to separate it from the main body of the cafe.

The staff have lost none of their enthusiasm for the job and have just as much fun playing with the children as the first time we went, the trampoline area has more soft play pieces and balls and the foam pit has had a major refill, much to the kid’s delight today.

There are lots of plans for new sessions and classes which all sound very exciting, weekend toddler sessions are coming soon and there is talk of classes for the little ones in trampolining and as they get a little bit older, free running. Which I would so love to do but think I’m going to have to live through my son on this one!! 😀

Our experience is only of the toddler sessions so far but there are loads of other sessions on offer, including Fit-tastic which I would so love to try but has been fully booked unsurprisingly! I would also really love to watch some of the free running sessions as I imagine there are some super talented people out there who would be a lot of fun to watch. I’m just scared about small boy getting too many ideas!! 😀

Check out their facebook page for all the up to date news about session times etc and some amazing videos of what you can do if you’re a lot braver then me!!

Go and try it, I’m almost certain you won’t be disappointed! 😀

IMG_6603
Always desperate for the session to start!!

‘You can’t sit with us!’ (A post trying very hard not to compare 5 year olds to Regina George!)

So my little baby has now been in school for 4 weeks & she seems to be settling in fairly well, apart from some night wakings & subsequent appearings in our bed in the early hours. The thing that breaks my heart into itty bitty pieces is that she  has been saying that some girls in the playground have been telling her she can’t play with them. WAH!

The look on her face when she tells me is a mixture of confusion and sadness. I am under no illusions that she herself is a little angel all the time, and I know she can cause arguments with her friends sometimes as children all do, but the thought of her in the big playground being rejected makes me want to swoop down and rescue her. Not that I will because I realise it’s a part of growing up, but isn’t it just the worst part? I’m sure that that moment was just one in her day, maybe the friend changed her mind straight after and they went on to play nicely but it stuck with her enough for her to come home and seek reassurance from me.

I’m so scared for her as she grows up as I believe it is so tough to be a girl. Things seemed a lot more straightforward being a male teenager when I was younger, (from my limited point of view anyway). You have a problem with someone, you tell them, maybe you have a scuffle in the playground and then it’s over. It’s not like that with girls, well, not in my experience anyway. You could be best of friends one day, and then bam, seemingly out of nowhere it would be over and you could be persona non grata in your social circle.

Things can drag on for months, years even. There might be a gathering of ‘sides’ , it can be vicious, usually sly. Looks and smirks across the classroom. nudges, whispering behind hands, conversation that stops dead when you enter the room, hysterical laughter that is so obviously at your expense.

I just want to protect her from all this. But I know that I can’t.

I can’t imagine it nowadays, when all of this can follow you home. When I was young, you could leave school and, if not forget about it all, at least have some time away from dealing with it. The idea that people can use the many many platforms of social media to torment you at all hours of the day and night makes me shudder. I know I sound dramatic, my little girl is only weeks into reception, and I know that the other little girls at school really aren’t unkind, all of them battling with huge emotions about missing their families and struggling with all the new rules, and I’m sure she has said things that have upset others in her time, but it makes me think about the future for her and it worries me because girls can be mean! Let’s face it, they made a whole film about it!

Which leads me neatly on to the t-shirt in the photo below. We saw it in a shop today and I probably would only have photographed it as it linked in so well with this post, but big girl spotted it and begged me to buy it. I explained why I wasn’t keen and read her the words on it and she said, ‘Oh it’s ok Mummy, they are talking to the witch, the witch wants to sit with them but because she isn’t kind they don’t want her to.’ I almost melted!! Oh, and of course I bought the t-shirt! (I’m pretty sure the fact that her main woman Aurora features on it meant that she would have pulled out all the strops 😉 to get it home! Unless she pulls out some serious puppy eyes, I’ll only be wearing it around the house though, as I really don’t like the sentiment.) IMG_3664 Reading back, it sounds like I had a terrible time as a teenager but actually, I had loads of wonderful girl friends and still do, I just found it a lot easier to understand boys and how they worked. I’m pretty sure there are people who remember me as a mean girl, (and I genuinely am sorry to anyone I upset in my maelstrom of hormones and emotion), because we all have times when we haven’t been as nice as we could have been, but hopefully now I’m making amends!

That is a lot of the reason why I blog. I think there can be an element of mean girl-ness, (new term alert!), that never leaves some women. The whole competitive motherhood thing for a start. As you get older, you realise that usually this sort of barbed comment is a front for insecurity of some sort, the whole ‘really, your child is not walking yet?’ thing, is actually a manifestation of something they feel worried about, but if you are not self confident and can’t see that objectively, that can really affect you.

I want to always try to be authentic. online and in real life, I don’t want to be fake and big myself and my children up to be amazing caricatures of brilliance, (although I will use filters in photos for evermore!!!), of course I want to celebrate their achievements and document the highs but I also include the low points, and of course the tantrums!

There are a few ways I try to be the antithesis to a mean girl, when we go out to playgroups or to school events, if I see someone looking hovering on the edges, looking unsure, I’ll approach them, a friendly face and a smile can make all the difference to your nerves in a new situation.  I try my hardest not to be unkind about other people. And I’ll always offer help to strangers if they look like they may need it.

Earlier I saw someone trying to get out of their car with crutches and asked if they needed help. Afterwards, big girl was asking me why I’d offered help and I tried to explain karma to her. I really do believe that you get back what you put out into the world. I try to do a random act of kindness wherever I can, and to do them when I’m with the children so they can learn by example.

So with regards to the school playground issues, I’ve just told her that if she is told that she can’t play with someone, and it makes her sad, to just say, ‘that’s a shame, I am a lot of fun to play with, maybe another time’, and then to go and look for someone on their own or looking a little unhappy and ask them to play.

I really hope that is the right advice to give her. I just don’t ever want her to doubt herself. She approaches groups of children everywhere we go to ask them if they would like to play with her, and I hope beyond anything that she doesn’t have that crushed out of her.

Anyone reading that has experienced this with their children, how did you tackle it? How do you teach your children to be strong and get through times when their confidence in themselves is shaken?

(I realise I’ve aimed this post more at girls as that is what I know, and what I’m dealing with at the moment but I am sure that boys can have similar issues so please don’t feel you can’t comment if you have experience and advice and you have a son, in fact, the more views across the spectrum the better please. 🙂 )

dragon

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Dear neighbours.

Dear neighbour,

You’re new and we don’t know you all that well so I couldn’t pop round and explain but I really really want to reassure you that Friday evening truly isn’t our weekly ‘torture the daughter’ event. All the screaming, wailing, begging, splashing and thrashing around, it genuinely wasn’t me trying to drown her.

Truth be told, I am awful, and mean, and so so unfair. I’m ashamed to tell you, this is very difficult to say, I feel like a monster but here goes……I washed her hair. Oh, and conditioned it too.

There you have it, I understand that you might feel you need to look the other way when we pass in the street, maybe we won’t get an invite back for coffee, but please just know that I’m not a a bad person, just a little clumsy, see the main cause of the particularly traumatic noise making was *takes a deep breath* some water went near her ear. It was emotional!!

Not to worry though, I am doing my penance and taking my crime very seriously indeed.

I am writing this from the naughty step.

Yours sincerely,

The Shouty One from next door.

2d204-bestandworstlinky

A day of firsts.

I had an exciting day yesterday with two new firsts. We were invited to the book launch of a children’s author who was celebrating publishing her 150th book. She had become a little disillusioned with the whole publishing process and this felt like her revival. She has never had a book launch and so decided she wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and to give herself a bit of a boost I think.

The children were so excited, they absolutely love books and to go to an event with a live reading was something that really appealed to them. When they arrived, they were offered a bag to get a lucky dip for a teddy with a number on the label. We went in and settled down on the rug. The children were even more buoyant when they realised there were biscuits and bowls of crisps everywhere, and usually they wouldn’t be allowed snacks so close to dinner time, but because we were out in public, they knew they could wear me down quicker with some extra energetic pleading, and so they got to snack, (in their minds), illicitly, which made it all the more pleasurable.

After a short while, the author, Sally Grindley was introduced and she began a very lively and energetic reading of one of her books, ‘Knock knock. Who’s there?’ involving lots of masks and jumping around. The children were totally enthralled and really enjoyed the story.

IMG_2657IMG_2659IMG_2668

I think you can see how much they enjoyed it from their transfixed little faces! There were even a few scary bits and there was a lot of audience participation required, and provided!

IMG_2697IMG_2692IMG_2658

I think these pictures show the range of emotions the children were experiencing, even the much older children seemed to be held in suspense, especially at the scary bits.

After the readings and a few short talks, there was an extra special presentation. A beautiful cake with one of the book characters sitting proudly on the top, all handcrafted by the very talented Heather from Cherry on The Top in Gloucester. They drew a number and one very lucky little girl matched it to her teddy tag and got to take the wonderful dragon home.

After everyone had had a chance to marvel at the fabulous detailing of the little figure, especially the perfect little cover on the book he was reading, the cake was taken away to cut up and distribute. I’m happy to report that I tried it, (all in the name of blogger duty of course!), and it was absolutely delicious. As a bit of a cake connoisseur, (I eat a lot!), I was very impressed.

IMG_2709 IMG_2732

After that fun filled afternoon, it was time for a quick dinner, and then I left our overtired, sugar hyped children to poor Mr PB to put to bed, (sorry again about that love!), and went to pick up my friend because we had very exciting plans. We were off to, wait for it, a WI meeting! Did you laugh? You did didn’t you?? Mr PB did a lot too. Imagining a group of very elderly ladies making jam, (which I actually would have really enjoyed too, truth be known), he teased me a fair bit beforehand, but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

I had heard rumour that the WI had had a sort of revamp, and was now a really energetic, vibrant group with a real mix of women and some wonderful, varied speakers, and it’s all true! The group we went to were chosing topics for next year, and a few that really caught my eye and surprised me were forensic psychology, the life of a spy and Tudor medicines, all of which I would really like to hear, I was pleased to see they were all getting lots of votes as ‘newbies’ weren’t allowed to vote. There was also tea, a lot of cake and so many other fun things planned outside the meetings. And not a Calendar Girls style crochted nipple tassel in sight!!

There was a talk, demonstration and taste test with recipe to make sloe gin, I must admit to not being a big fan of the end result but I don’t like gin, so that is probably not a very good start!!! 😀 It was a bit like cough medicine, but seemed to go down very well with all the gin aficionados there.

The evening was rounded off with a talk and demonstration by a raw food chef, vegan, vegetarian cafe owner and general all round super healthy person, Jay Halford, who owns The Core in Cheltenham. He made some courgette and cucumber ‘spaghetti’ with a spiralizer, (never thought I’d say this but I need one of these gadgets in my life!), and a sort of vegan pesto. It was seriously delicious and super healthy. Not two things that usually go together in my mind. It made me realise that I need to act on the random thoughts about getting healthy that flit through my mind about once a week. It’s going to be very hard for this die hard cake addict to change her ways, but I’m determined to give it a go. Baby steps though, today was a bad start with two chocolate biscuits for breakfast, baguette for lunch and vegeburger and chips for dinner. Oh well, with a diet this bad, it must be easy to make improvements right?!

All in all, I thought the whole night was really really good fun, and I’m so pleased to see a massive revival of what is, quite literally, an institution, and I can’t wait to sign up!

With regards to my new lifestyle change ideas, I promise not to become a diet bore. Mainly because I’m not convinced there will be a diet, but also because I have just got involved with a very awesome cause, the Bake and Brew in support of The Children’s Society, so I will need to get my cake bake on, in the name of charity of course. Maybe I can combine the two somehow, and make some healthy versions of the different monthly themes. Hopefully I can better my first raw ‘brownies’ effort when I didn’t de-stone the dates and almost broke Mr PB’s tooth!! 😀

Watch this space for more details, oh and any healthy but sweet treat recipes would be very much appreciated! This month’s theme is traybakes!

This is me doing my very best, 'serious WI member, I'm a grown up too' face!! :D
This is me doing my very best, ‘serious WI member, I’m a grown up too, trying not to laugh’ face!! 😀