Embracing the rain

This time of year can be rather awful weather wise can’t it? Come rain or shine I was brought up on going hiking every weekend, whether that was in the Lake District when I was tiny or through the Tamar Valley where we lived when we moved to Cornwall. Since becoming a ‘grown up’ it’s not a habit I’ve carried on with really, and I must admit when the weekend rolls around all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with a duvet and have a movie marathon. Sadly my children aren’t always on board with this plan and end up bouncing off the walls. Rain is no deterrent to their plans of going to the park or on a bike ride. As much as I groan when I look at their pleading faces and the rain lashing against the window, I know that I probably will enjoy it and feel much better for getting out of the house and being in the fresh air.

Last Sunday I could take the pleading no longer and we grabbed our coats and the girls bikes and headed out to our local park, ready to embrace the rain.

Both girls got new bikes for Christmas and after a little wobble the six year old is away. I think the time has come for us to go on whole family bike rides really, but I think we might wait until brighter weather for that!

I love how stylish this Lighthouse ‘Lana’ coat is, of course the colour is one of my favourites too! It’s such a perfect coat for days like this, and even to throw on for the school run. I get so fed up of seeing shapeless rainproof coats and am always on the look out for one that is practical for being a mum as well as stylish and this one definitely fits the bill. I’m wearing a big thick jumper underneath for winter warmth, but the great thing about this coat is that I can wear it all year round for any season’s rainy day.

Whether styled with ankle boats and ‘mom’ jeans for a winter walk or slim fit jeans and trainers I think the jacket can work in various ways.

I choose two rain coats in the same size for my girls. E is six but in aged 7-8 clothes and N is 9 and in 8-9 clothes so in getting two in 8-10 they can mix and match and E won’t grow out of hers quickly. I must admit it was handy having them in such bright colours, they cycle away so fast it was helpful to keep an eye on them! Another good thing about these coats is that they are ‘mac in a sac’ packaway coats so they fold up into little pouches.

As much as I’m loathed to admit it I did feel so refreshed from our walk and bike ride in the rain that Sunday afternoon. The lovely think about that kind of activity is that you get to have hot chocolate and a flop on the sofa and not feel guilty at all!

The coats featured in this post are from Target Dry, we were kindly sent them for this feature.

morganaEmbracing the rain
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Very best things about being a child

If someone asked you what the very best things about being a child were, what would you say? I was a child over 20 years ago and I wonder how my answers would differ from the ones my children would give today. A survey carried out by McCarthy and Stone shares what people over 60 thought were the best things about being a child 50 years ago, and I was keen to see if any of it still stands now when we compare it to childhood today. It’s easy to be dismissive and think that all children today want is a screen and junk food compared to the more resourceful and outdoorsy previous generations. In fact I’m pretty fed up of that generalisation and was pleased to see many activities on the list that my children enjoy now.

 

A few activities particularly stood out to me, like read Enid Blyton books. I loved her books as a child and have fond memories of lying on my bed with my head in a Famous Five story, it didn’t matter that the books were from a previous generation, they were fun and full of adventure. My girls in turn have been reading Enid Blyton books too. What’s interesting I guess is that my dad has bought sets for both my girls, and my dad fits into the over 60 category that was polled (sorry Dad!). I’ve been reading all about the Faraway Tree adventures to a rapt six year old at bed time and N has been enjoying following the Famous Fives adventures herself too.

Another set of activities that are particularly timeless are outdoor pursuits like climbing trees, building dens and collecting conkers. I may not have been brave enough to climb many trees as a child but dens were a big deal in the summer holidays with many hours, and even days spent perfecting them and playing in them. My children love climbing trees a tend opportunity and like me they do love a good den.

 

I think a lot of what are children do depend on us and on their environment. I love that my girls enjoy a lot of the things I enjoyed as a child but I think me introducing them to things like Enid Blyton books, baking and making dens means that these things are passed along. Spending time with older generations is something that I think is important too, so that skills and memories are passed along. My girls love baking with their grandma, especially if the recipe has a story behind it and they enjoy finding out about the ‘olden days’ from my dad. The childhood I had and my parents had may be very different to the ones my girls have but it’s comforting to see that some things haven’t changed.

What did you enjoy as a child?

Is it something that your children now do?

This is a collaborative post

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If you had a superpower what would it be? And other questions to ask your kids

My youngest girl, the one who will always be my baby has just turned six. On a side note this also means I’ll have been blogging for 6 years in June of this year, mind boggling! At each birthday I try and film her answering set questions, though I fear I may have neglected to do it last year, oops. You can see her ever so cute 3rd birthday one on my old channel here, I really must move it over to my new one.

When Shepherds Friendly got in touch asking if I’d like to share the 20 questions they’d come up with to ask children, it gave me the nudge to get my act together and film E answering them. You can download the 20 questions to ask your children work sheet here. As you can see there’s a really good mix of silly and fun along with some more serious ones.

As well as having fun colouring in and writing her answers I obviously filmed her answers, carrying on with our tradition. Take a look..

I love her answers, I knew a unicorn would feature in there somewhere! I must say the magic opera singing powers were unexpected though! It’s funny the things they come out with isn’t it? I’m so pleased I have these videos to look back on.

Why not have a go with your kids, I’d love to know what answers they come out with.

This is a collaborative post

morganaIf you had a superpower what would it be? And other questions to ask your kids
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The kind of Christmas present that’s always a hit

I can remember many of my most favourite Christmas presents from my childhood – a Keeper (remember them?); a doll that when you moved its arm up and down its hair grew; a Post Office and of course a bike. My first bike was  BMX that my mum bought second hand, I got it for Christmas 1990(ish). I adored it and cycled up and down on our street and to the park around the corner. Just to be clear I was 6 years old and it had stabilisers so don’t be thinking I was cool or anything! I’ve even managed to dig out some photos of said bike, 

I wasn’t alone in my love of the BMX, it was an iconic bike for the ’90s. Granted most kids that had bmxs were much, much cooler than me!

Oh man, I love a bit of nostalgia, don’t you? Though, I swear the 90s were not that long ago, they certainly don’t feel it. I have a horrible feeling that this makes me sound rather old..!

My girls have had bikes for Christmas a couple of times now and this year is no exception. With our eldest getting into triathlons we’re getting her a more serious bike, ‘more serious bike’ – that’s a technical term you know? You might have guessed that I’m not the one buying it. Despite my BMX I no longer know what’s cool or needed in the world of bikes, that’s where my bike and exercise mad husband comes in! He’s much better at looking at the range of kids bikes and knowing what to get. My input is which colour they’d like! I think that in a world where so much is changing, a new bike for Christmas is something that will always be exciting.

Do you remember your very first bike?

Will your kids be getting bikes this year?

 

 

This is a collaborative post

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Homemade Advent Calendar – fun and bright and packed with Christmas activities

For the past four years, ever since I started blogging, I’ve put together a Homemade Advent Calendar for my girls. I’m not a fan of chocolate ones and having been brought up with ones that depict only the Christmas Story, I wanted to find something that shares the meaning of Christmas while also being lots of fun.

These are a few I’ve made over the years

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This year I wanted to bring in lots of colour and make it look much more fun rather than traditional. Of course I scrolled through Pinterest for ideas and came up with this..

homemade advent calendar

I ordered these colourful pillow boxes online, and the washi tape is from IKEA and Tiger. I’ve filled them with chocolate coins and each box has an activity to do that day.

homemade advent calendar

homemade advent calendar

These are the activities that I include in the Homemade Advent Calendar,

  • Put up the Christmas tree
  • Go to a Christmas fair
  • Buy your sister a Christmas present
  • Write Christmas cards
  • Meet Father Christmas
  • Watch a Christmas film
  • Make the whole house Christmassy!
  • Bundle into the car and drive around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights
  • Make a list of what you are you are thankful for
  • Have a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows
  • Pray for some one that you know
  • Sing Christmas songs
  • Read the Nativity story
  • Pray for each other
  • Make snowflake decorations
  • Donate toys to charity
  • Bake some mince pies
  • Pray for people who have little or are alone at Christmas
  • Write your letter to Father Christmas
  • Go to a Christmas market
  • Think of something you can do for someone today
  • Draw a Christmas picture
  • Bake gingerbread
  • Open your Christmas Eve pajamas

When I put them to a specific date I check the calendar to make sure that the activity fits into our plans for that day, for example something little like drawing a Christmas picture is good for a school day whereas a day trip to the Christmas market is a weekend one. Obviously these ideas can be used as a starting point each year and adapted as the girls get older. On Christmas Eve the girls get new pajamas and I like to put together a little hamper of treats for the evening too, like the book we read that night, hot chocolate, marshmallows, that kind of thing. Anything that adds to the excitement!

 

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Here are some more Homemade Advent Calendar ideas if you’re feeling creative..

You can even pin this post for later 😉

homemade advent calendar

I’d love to know what you do to celebrate Advent, let me know in a comment or come chat with me on social media.

 

morganaHomemade Advent Calendar – fun and bright and packed with Christmas activities
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The Star Wars toys at the top of my daughter’s wish list

I don’t know about you but I love it when my kids go against the grain, when they like things simply because they like them, not because everyone else does. My eldest girl LOVES superhero films and Star Wars (especially Star Wars), only one other girl in her friendship group vaguely likes Star Wars, the rest aren’t bothered at all. My nine year old couldn’t care less that she’s different to her friends, to be honest, I think it makes her like it even more! I love that about her and think it’s a great quality to have even if it’s just in something small like this. 

When we went to Disneyland Paris at half term she couldn’t wait to get in line for Jedi Warrior training, and honestly you should have seen her face when Darth Vader came on stage and she realised she’d get the chance to fight him! It was priceless. 

star wars jedi training

Of course with obsessions like this come the toys to match, like her sister she loves collecting things, though it’s not shopkins and tiny toys for her, she’s just started with Funko Pop (Harry Potter) and for Star Wars it’s Tsum Tsums.

Though if she got her way then the following toys would be her ultimate dream!

Remote control R2D2 

This Star Wars™ interactive R2-D2™ Command R2-D2 responds to pre-programmed instructions via the remote control, moving in all directions as it makes original movie sound effects and moves its head.

Cool, huh?!

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And look there’s a BB8 one as well!

You can bring the adoroble astromech droid from Star Wars™ Episode VII – The Force Awakens to life with the U-Command Interactive BB-8. Use the dual-joystick infrared remote control to command BB-8 to move in all directions – forward, reverse, turn left or turn right, plus rolling and spinning action. BB-8 has over 20 original droid-speak phrases, plus special preprogrammed actions with different moods – happy, sad, excited, worried, scared and frustrated. What’s more, BB-8 makes different sound effects while has head moves, and a voice activated feature allows you to interact with him via a built-in microphone.

The U-Command Interactive BB-8 measures approximately 16-inches tall and comes with an instruction manual to help you get started on your Star Wars™ adventure.

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You can see them in action here,

My daughter has watched this ad countless times!

I can definitely see why she wants one (well, both of them really!) I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Father Christmas brings her.. 😉

I’m co-hosting a Twitter party alongside Thinkway Toys on November 30th between 1pm and 2.30pm when we’ll be chatting about these fab toys. You can even win prizes if you join in with us – perfect for this (expensive) time of year! The hashtag will be #ImaThinkingToy and my Twitter is @coffeeworksleep and for Thinkway it’s @MTWtoys

AND

You can be in with a chance of winning one of the R2D2 toys!!

Just enter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

What’s on the top of your kids’ dream Christmas list?

Would they love a BB8 or R2D2 of their very own?

 

 

This is a commissioned post BUT all opinions are our own and the toys are definitely at the top of my eldest daughter’s wishlist. You know me, I wouldn’t say it or promote it if it wasn’t true.

morganaThe Star Wars toys at the top of my daughter’s wish list
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Being Wild Explorers with Persil

Are you an outdoorsy family? Do you pull on your wellies or walking boots and head out on weekend adventures? I’m rather ashamed to admit that we’re not. My girls are much more likely to want to go to the cinema or play inside with their toys. It’s a far cry from my childhood where most weekends were spent in walking boots and waterproofs hiking up mountains. Don’t get me wrong we do go out on day trips and walk around our local nature reserve, it’s just those kind of days don’t happen as often as we’d like.

When we were approached by Persil to try out their Wild Explorers app I was keen to put it to the test and see if my indoorsy girls would be inspired to embrace the mud and mess of outdoor fun.

The app is really user friendly and my girls got the hang of it straight away. You select where, how long for, and the age group then you can either pick from a list or an activity can be chosen at random for you. What I like about this is that you don’t need to plan a big day out it can be a 10 minute activity on the way home from school or something to bring out when the inevitable ‘I’m bored’s come out during the holidays.

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We had a free Sunday with no plans, something that never seems to happen these days, so we jumped at the chance to get out for the day. While we were in the car the girls explored the app for ideas of what we could do while exploring in the forest. My youngest girl has never climbed a tree before so she was desperate to give it a go. Of course she was supervised the whole time and we made sure we picked a suitable tree.

 

As you can see she was very proud for herself! I love how simple activities like these give such a boost in confidence to children. Even her sister gave it a little go, though wellies weren’t the best foot wear for climbing!

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Another idea was trying to make a birds nest..

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It wasn’t 100% successful when you consider whether a bird would make it’s home there (!) but if you’re measuring success on a fun scale then it was a huge hit. N loved collecting things from the forest floor and chatted about the things she was choosing and why.

We had such a wonderful and simple family day out  so much so that we all made the decision to get out in the countryside and explore more at the weekends.

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If you want to try out the Persil Wild Explorers app you can download it for free from the Google Play store, or from the iTunes app store.

 

This post is written in collaboration with Persil, as always all the views our own. We wouldn’t recommend something we didn’t enjoy using.

morganaBeing Wild Explorers with Persil
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Our family day out at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon

Last Saturday we camped in the grounds of Hever Castle, Kent, all ready for the Castle Triathlon taking place there the very next day. The mister had entered The Gauntlet (half iron man distance) and we were there to cheer him on and enjoy a day exploring the castle and its grounds.

An early start to see daddy begin the first leg of his triathlon, the swim. I can tell you I was rather glad to not be joining in. It looked freezing!

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After watching the start we embraced the day and began exploring. The mister wasn’t expecting to finish until after 3pm so we had loads of time to wander round and find fun things to do.

Hever Castle itself is beautiful and my eldest enjoyed learning about it’s history. Her favourite facts include..

It was Anne Boleyn’s family home. When Anne Boleyn’s father died (some time after Henry the Eighth beheaded his daughter) the King took the castle and gave it to his then wife Anne of Cleves.

We spent about just under an hour exploring the inside of the Castle, it isn’t huge and when you have two eager children that keep wanting to move to the next room and then the next it doesn’t take long to look around. 

 

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We actually spent most of the day exploring the gardens and the grounds of the Castle which are beautiful.

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Thankfully there was a lovely coffee shop that we just had to try out, the cakes where crying out to be eaten and they were yummy! I was thankful for the take away coffee I picked up soon after seeing the race start and it helped with being up so early on a Sunday morning with two vert excited girls who were eager to run around and explore!

We spent the later part of the day in the Events field going on fair ground rides, listening to the bands and eating street food. This was all part of the Castle Triathlon event.

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Waiting for Daddy at the finish is pretty tiring…!!

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This pretty much sums up how we all felt at the end of the day. Tired out!

For those that are interested the mister completed The Gauntlet in under eight hours, it took him longer than he hoped, but as this was his first one I think he’s pleased really. We were obviously very proud and relieved to see him finish in one piece!!

 

morganaOur family day out at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon
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Kittie Lacey, the best Fairytale Hairdresser in all the land

My girls and I have a thing about books, whether it’s trips to the library, the bookshop or sitting at home and scrolling through online bookstores, we just love discovering new books. It’s such a great feeling when you find a book you love and discover that it’s part of a set. That’s just what we did a few years ago when we bought our first book from The Fairytale Hairdresser series, back when my eldest girl was only three and my youngest was a newborn. They follow Kittie Lacey, the go-to hairdresser for all fairytale characters, and in each book she meets one of the well known fairytale princesses. If you’re expecting to read the traditional versions of the princess stories then think again, these are much more fun and have a modern twist to them. Your little reader (or captive audience) will be relieved to know that there are still happy endings in all of them.

The newest book in the series is…

The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea

We were sent over a few review copies and lots of Fairytale Hairdresser activities so E invited some friends over and they had loads of fun with them.

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As you can see they had lots of fun and even had a go at reading the book themselves. All of the girls got to keep a copy and I’ve heard from their mums how much they are enjoying it. One was surprised how much she loved it as she’s not a fan of fairytales usually and the other loves the fact she can read it independently and enjoys spotting the other princesses in the illustrations.

Like the rest of the Fairytale Hairdresser books we follow Kittie Lacey as she helps out her friends in the land of the fairytales. In this one she’s helping the Queen by styling all the princesses that will be coming to her party, however, while Kittie is doing their hair they are sat on a chair piled high with cushions and under the last cushion it, yep, you guessed it, the pea! Yet it’s not a princess that passes the Queen’s test in the end, but don’t worry there is still a ‘happily ever after’.

I must mention the illustrations by Lauren Beard, they are colourful, cute and full of detail. We spend ages just looking at each page and spotting other fairytale characters and seeing what they’re up to. Both the story and the illustrations make these books really special.

kittie lacey princess pea fairytale hairdresser book review

We’re really happy to add the newest Kittie Lacey adventure to our collection of The Fairytale Hairdresser books. 

You can win a copy of the newly released Princess and the Pea, we have three copies so there will be three winners!

 kittie lacey princess pea fairytale hairdresser book review

Just enter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

 

A big thanks to Ladybird and The Fairytale Hairdresser team for working with us on this.

morganaKittie Lacey, the best Fairytale Hairdresser in all the land
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Being friends with my daughters

First off I feel like I have to say, I’m not a parent that has a deep desperate need to be liked and accepted by my children. I’m their mum and they’re not always going to agree with me or like the decisions I make but that comes with the territory in parenting and I totally get that. With all that said, I think being friends with my daughters is a relationship that I’d love to grow into as they get older.

By the time I was 17 my mum and I were living this kind of friendship dynamic. My dad worked abroad and we ran things together, I helped out around the house where I could, we spent evenings choosing dvds to rent and then sat watching them while eating copious amounts of chocolate and I felt able to talk to her about most things. I know, all very Gilmore Girls. I must add that we didn’t always have this kind of relationship, most of my younger teen years were spent shouting and screaming at each other, me slamming doors and her walking away. I think the mother – daughter relationship is such a tricky one to navigate for both parties and those poor bystanders! Those early teen years are certainly a stage of life that I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to, it’s hard enough now.

Those of you that read my former blog But Why Mummy Why will be aware of the difficulties I’ve had with one of my girls and the anger issues she’s had since being very small. We’ve each worked so very hard over the years to navigate this in the best way, doing work on identifying and naming emotions, learning cool down techniques, spotting triggers, you name it we probably tried it! For the most part it’s really paying off. She is a wonderful girl to be around and spend time with, and she’s really working on expressing her frustration in a more productive way. She doesn’t always manage it and we don’t always handle it the best way but we’re all trying our best. This is definitely something I want to continue with, to have that door open where we can communicate and figure out a plan together. I really want both my girls to feel like they can talk to me about anything, at anytime without fear of judgement.

After school yesterday we sat around together and made friendship bracelets. N tried her hand at a trickier macrame style bracelet while both of us tried to teach E how to do a plait.

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Friendship bracelets –  made using Deramores wool

While we made them we thought about who the girls could give the bracelets too. They have tumultuous friendship as most girls do, lots of up and downs and that fierce kind of best friends as well as big friendship groups. They both soon realised that they couldn’t choose just one friend to give a bracelet to, or even limit it to five, they didn’t want to leave anyone out! That’s when we came up with making them for each other. I don’t know, it’s probably really cheesey, but I love that we can recognise that mother-daughter bond, even when it’s fraught with difficulties at times.

Do you have daughters? Sons?

Maybe you are a daughter yourself, what are your thoughts on this?

 

This is a collaborative post

morganaBeing friends with my daughters
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