Scrunchies, Tinkerbell peel-off nail varnish, Clark's Magic Steps shoes, traffic light lollies, Care Bears, Family Ness, bum bags, Duck Tales, Keypers, friendship bracelets, Kangaroo shoes, Cupcake Dolls, Chewits, scratch and sniff stickers, Forever Friends or yin yang 'best friends' necklaces, Keds, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bucky O'Hare, My Little Ponies, 'Waterfalls' by TLC, Hypercolour T shirts that used to change colour (Global Technacolour), Shaggy 'Mr Boombastic', Roller Discos, mood rings, 'Saturday Night' by Whigfield, Pogs, cycle shorts, bouncy balls, Rednex 'Cotton Eye Joe', Tammy Girl t shirts, 2 Unlimited 'No Limit', Strawberry Shortcake, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Ace Of Base 'All That She Wants', playing 'it' (tag), Roald Dahl books, Scatman John 'I'm a Scatman', Clarissa Explains It All, Get Your Own Back, Milkybars, 5ive, Girl Talk, Gladiators, Trio biscuits, Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, Sleepover Club books, Noel's House Party, The Queen's Nose, Koosh balls, Mrs Doubtfire, hair mascara, The Animals of Farthing Wood, shag bands, Hanson, puffa jackets, snap bracelets, Art Attack, jelly shoes, All Saints, recording cassette tapes from the radio, school discos, The Outhere Brothers 'Boom Boom Boom', Disney VHSs, Girls World, Dream Phone game, Pinky & The Brain, Right Said Fred 'I'm Too Sexy', Push Pops, N-Trance 'Set You Free', Fun House, Polly Pocket, Wuzzles, floral leggings, Silly Putty, Furby, Super Soakers, A1, Skip It, Etch-A-Sketch, ALF, playing 'stuck in the mud', Backstreet Boys, body glitter, Matilda, playing 'kiss chase', Kappa trousers, Club biscuits, playing British Bulldog, Blackjacks and Fruit Salad sweets, girls doing handstands up against the fence, Take That, Flumps, making grass nests and houses when the school field had been mown, Teeny Terrapins and Happy Hippos in Kinder Eggs, Biff & Chip books, Round The Twist, Keenan & Kel, stretchy tattoo chokers, Sharky & George, making daisy chains, Spirograph, Dinosaurs on TV, Home Alone, Talkboy, Rescue Rangers, Tazos, The Secret World of Alex Mack, E.T., Rainbow Brite, View Master, shellsuits, Trolls, Haddaway 'What Is Love?', candy necklaces, The Demon Headmaster, Biker Grove, Talkback Dear Diary, Grange Hill, The Babysitter Club books, Sweet Valley High, Saved By The Bell, Sister Sister, B*Witched, Cleopatra, playing cat's cradle, clapping rhymes, Barbie, Sylvanian Families, Animal Ark books, Gina G 'Just a Little Bit More', Knightmare, He-Man, The Neverending Story, Impulse, Sun In, N Sync, Boglins, Ghostbusters, Raggy Dolls, Transformers, Captain Planet, Tamagotchi, Chumbawamba 'Tubthumping', Wagon Wheels, Saddle Club books, Potsworth & Co.
One of Eric's favourite games with Alex is to look at the world map and point to the different countries, and Alex will say the places in lots of funny voices. He's started to understand that when Alex works he goes to different countries and that his Grandma has just got back from travelling around America.
Eric's been unwell for the last few days with a virus that's also given him conjunctivitis, so he has been tired and miserable. To cheer us up today I decided to get out The Travel Book so we could look at all the countries, and it has been a surprise hit!
The book has a page per country, with lots of information for would-be-travellers (I bought it before my gap year that never was) and the pictures are amazing. As well as a 'top things to do' and 'top things to see' for each country, there is also a 'getting under the skin' section, with ideas of what to read, listen to, watch, eat and drink.
Eric and I talked about the different countries we would like to go to, how you get to different places, and what it might be like there. We made up stories about the people and the locations in the pictures.
One of Eric's favourite countries to look at was Finland and he said he'd like to go to the United States. I still dream of going to French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and the Galapagos islands (I'll get there one day!)
I'd definitely recommend this book to those planning a trip. It's not as in depth as the individual Lonely Planet or Rough Guides, but it's brilliant for inspiration and fantasy. And great for learning about travel and different places with your kiddos, or as the backdrop for making up stories. Have you got this book? Let me know what you think!
Hopefully he'll feel better soon!
Mothering Sunday is on the 30th of March this year, the perfect day to show your love and appreciation for your mum or the mother of your children! If you've got a child under five then they probably haven't got a present or card (after age five they might have made them at school, but check!) so that falls to you partners. You might also be thinking of getting a gift or card for your friend or relative who has a new baby but be stuck for ideas. Every mum is different and the best gift is always the most thoughtful, not the most expensive, so here are some ideas to get you started for every budget.
Budget £0 - £5
- Framed 'number of days you have been my mum' card
- Vintage vase
These pretty vintage milk bottle vases are from Made With Love Designs, and cost £3.95, but you could also pick up vintage milk bottles or vases in charity shops. Just add a single bloom like the photo = perfect present!
- Mother's Day Tokens
Why not make some Mother's Day tokens for your Mum or with your children for your partner...you could personalise them to be all her favourite things, e.g. 1 cuddle, 1 cup of tea, 1 trip to her favourite place, 1 home-cooked meal plus the washing up done etc.!
Best of all you can be as creative as you like and they are free!
- Card and cake!
I think this Belle & Boo card, £2.50, from Etsy would be really sweet along with a homemade cake!
- Something Homemade
If you have young children why not make something together? Homemade gifts are the best and most special. There are tonnes of ideas on Pinterest!
Budget £5 - £10
- Recycled Notebook
- Framed tea towel or fabric
I absolutely adore this, but given framed as a lovely piece of artwork not as a tea towel! Please don't give her a tea towel or anything reminiscent of domestic chores and drudgery (unless you're also promising to wash up!) This beaut is from Lilac Coast and costs £8.95.
- Picture book
If you're buying a present as the partner of a mother of young children, how about a book for them to read together? One of our favourites is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (this edition costs £6.99 from Waterstones), which has a lovely message for Mother's Day.
- Handmade Jewellery
Budget £10 - £20
- Collection of charity shop books.
- Fancy gardening bits
- Filled photo album
- Book Journal
- Box of yummy things
Budget £20 - £30
- Bunch of flowers
- Something from Lush!
- Screen printed sweatshirt
The T shirts and sweatshirts from Lost Shapes are the best presents for any occasion at all! They're hand screen-printed on 100% organic, environmentally-friendly, fairly-traded cotton, so are a guilt-free buy. They feel so soft and I love the designs. I have this 'Another Nice Day' sweatshirt, which was £26 and I love it.
- A Framed Papercut
How lovely is this handmade, framed papercut, (£40 from Etsy)?! It is just perfect. No more words!
- Spa day with a massage (including babysitting!)
One thing everyone needs but mothers don't always have the time for is relaxation, so a spa day is a really lovely present. If you're a daughter buying a present for your own mother maybe you could go together for a bonding day? Or if you're a partner buying a present for a new mummy, make sure you arrange babysitting and bear in mind that if she's breastfeeding she might not be able to leave the baby for more than a few hours, so plan around this! If you're in the south west of England I'd highly recommend the Relaxation Centre in Clifton, it is a really peaceful little oasis in the middle of the city. There are two hot tubs, two saunas, a steam room, a plunge pool and a relaxation room where you can have a cup of tea and a teacake! I'd also really recommend the Lush Spas. There are 6 around the UK, and they are English-themed, so feel really cosy and homely, and the treatments are completely amazing.
- Fingerprint Jewellery
I hope this gives you some ideas! Do you have any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments...
As a way to quantify the amount he was watching and so he would understand this boundary we made Technology Tickets: 10 tickets, given every week on Monday, each ticket worth 30 minutes of screen time. We decided that 5 hours over the course of the week would be a good amount to still allow Eric to enjoy watching films which he loves, would fit into our family life, and would be within the recommended guidelines. Eric has autonomy over when to use them, and understands that he gets 10 which have to be swapped in.
When they are spent we hang them up on a hook in the kitchen. We don't take them away as a punishment or add any as a reward. We really enjoyed designing and making them together and Eric and I each have our favourite ones! So far they're working really well for us and have created a much better balance.
We took advantage of the amazing weather today and headed out to explore an area we haven't been to before called Cothelstone, in the Quantock hills. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day and there were lots of other families, couples and dogs out walking, so there was a nice, friendly atmosphere. Firstly we played a bit of rugby as we were walking along, and then we found some big sticks to use for walking sticks. This soon descended into a game of 'lightsaber fighting'.
The path forked and Eric decided he wanted to go left rather than follow the main path, and we found a path through the woods. Alex received a phone call so Eric wanted to play hide and seek with me for a while.
We were looking for signs of spring, and found some gorse flowering. It smells beautiful - like coconut!
Our path turned really muddy which made Eric happy. Then we went through the woods to rejoin the main path and admired the amazing view over the hills.
Eric insisted on a carry from Alex, but it was just a ruse to steal Alex's sunglasses and he immediately got down and ran off with them! He loves playing tricks at the moment.
The path forked again and Eric was really excited to find the arrows pointing which way you can go. He chose to go left again, which would take us up to the top of the hill. The surroundings got more rugged and Eric decided to fill his pockets with a 'collection of special stones'. We sat and had a little rest to enjoy the sunshine and Eric counted and arranged his stones.
We also lay on our backs and saw that the moon was in the sky as well as the sun!
We decided to carry on up to the top of the hill and were really, really excited to see a herd of wild ponies. They stayed near us for a while, galloping around, and came really close to us. It was amazing.
We found a pool of water which Eric wanted to paddle in, but as it was quite deep we asked him to check the depth with one of the walking sticks. He found that really fun and that became the game.
We were nearly at the top, but Eric was getting a bit tired so we decided to save something for next time and we came back down the hill.
On the way down we climbed some trees.
We went home and had tea and cinnamon doughnuts in the garden, then a hot, bubbly bath and our favourite dinner (which Eric ate all of - a first!) It was such a perfect day.