Funky Poppy – A Winning Name

What an exciting moment for Button-Flies, last week we had the privilege of winning a beautiful necklace from the talented Lizzy at Funky Poppy in Plymouth.

Lizzy names her necklaces after friends and was looking for a name for her newest creation. As I am button obsessed mummy, I submitted my newest edition ‘Ophelia Rose’ name for the competition and we WON.

I was so excited!

My grandma even went and bought one knowing it was named after her great-granddaughter.

So that of course meant I needed to take a visit to Funky Poppy (oh no a shop full of buttons….) and say thank you in person with Ophelia, and of course take some pictures of Lizzy’s beautiful shop.

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Lizzy creates all sorts of wonderful pieces with buttons, including necklaces, earrings and rings.

While I was in the shop she had a regular customer come in with an outfit and asked Lizzy to create a piece to match; this is an amazing personal service and I am looking through my wardrobe now to find an outfit that needs ‘buttoning up’.

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ATTENTION BRIDES!

Lizzy also creates the most beautiful button bouquets for you and your bridesmaids. These can be built to match and compliment your colour scheme and are an amazing keepsake after your special day.

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I could look at the thousands of unique buttons Lizzy stocks to personalise any clothing or to build your personal jewellery.


The pictures say it all!

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Rainy Day Sanity Savers!

FullGrid

When you suddenly find yourself indoors because of the weather does you otherwise angelic cherub turn into a Tasmanian Devil that has eaten a truck load of skittles?

That was me this morning…luckily I have some ‘sanity saviours’ ready to rock pretty much all the time to entertain my little ‘taz’.

I have small activity boxes such as:

 – Crayons and a small pad

– Playdoh and shape cutters

– Bubbles/Balloons and Stickers

Today I decided it was painting time. I keep all of the paint equipment easy to hand, including a sheet, scrap paper and aprons. I want it to take less than 10 minutes to set up an activity and to be able to do it without leaving my crazy toddler on his own for too long.

Today I decided to combine some Alphabet learning with the messy play, so took an extra 5 minutes to print a free alphabet colouring book that I downloaded.

Source: http://www.tlsbooks.com/preschoolalphabetcoloringbook.html.

What did I use:

– Surface/table (we have a painting table but I use the kitchen side as well)

– Some card

– Spray Adhesive

– Aprons

– Printable Colouring book

– Paper to print on and messy paper to lay over your surface

– Masking tape (to tape the messy paper to the surface)

– Paint

– Recyclables to use for paint (I don’t use my dishes or pots so I can just throw the paint containers away. Yoghurt pots are great or a used a muffin case today)

– Small Paint Brushes

What did I do?

Preparation

  1. Printed the downloaded document
  2. Cover the table/surface using thin paper and masking tape
  3. Chose 4 colours to place in the pot
  4. Use the spray adhesive to stick the alphabet sheets to card to make them more sturdy
  5. PUT AN APRON ON ME AND OLLIE

Set up time: 5-10 minutes (Only 5 minutes if alphabet letters have been prepped beforehand)

Activity

  1. I asked Ollie to choose a letter he would like to paint, we also sang the Alphabet song whilst painting which was really fun.

Activity Time: 15-20 minutes

Clean Up

  1. Throw the plastic pot/container with paint away
  2. Let Ollie wash his hands and the brushes
  3. Put the painting somewhere safe to dry
  4. Saved any other scraps of painting i.e. hand prints on the table paper (I like to keep everything)

Clean up time: 5 minutes

Once all of the letters we had painted were dry I cut them into squares and I am now looking forward to the next session so we can complete the alphabet.

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What rainy day activities do you like to do?

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My how you have grown!

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Where did the time go?

I have spent some time working on a project photographing Ollie and how he is developing using his senses.

He has such a beautiful face that I can not help but photograph it all the time. But I have been focused recently on his hands, his feet and his exploration of the world around him.

I just wanted to share these pictures with you!

What was it like when we were learning about the world?

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Review from Oliver Drake Jutson

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Article by Oliver Drake Jutson

Chaos writer and philosopher of all things fun

When my mummy told me how much my water wipes were, I was shocked (picture 2). i couldn’t believe she was spending £30 a month on wipes, that was easily an extra box of Lego!!!! I was very shocked. I had to do something.

So while mum was folding my clothes, I sneaked onto her computer and went to ‘The Amazon’ I didn’t know what to expect but it didn’t seem as scary as books seem to say. Anyway in ‘The Amazon’ they have boxes of the wipes my mummy buys for me for £16.00!! YES £16.00. A box of 12 packs of water wipes (usually £2.50 a pack) for nearly half the price of what mum buys and CAN BE DELIVERED FOR FREE as well.

Well I am sure you can understand my excitement, so I left ‘The Amazon’ on her screen for her to see!

She noticed my genius and ordered them. (mummy paid to get them here quicker which was still less than £30).

They arrived the next day, and I tell you, I know was excited about a new toy BUT this was AMAZING. The box was me size 🙂

It is very important ladies, that you know you can save money (to buy those extra toys for your little ones) by shopping online.

Have a wonderful day, I will…I have a box to sit in to watch tv and eat my snack in.

Over and out from Ollie!

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Really? Christmas Shopping in August?

Shopping

I used to think people were insane to start Christmas shopping in the summer or even in January…then I became a mum and NOW I GET IT!

Today I went out for a very practical reason of getting a tea set for Ollie. This was an extension of letting him help me bake; he has become very interested in helping me do anything in the kitchen now, dishes, cooking, making cups of tea. I did even let him play with my tea pot, but as all of these things are a bit dangerous for his age to ACTUALLY take part in the real activity I thought it was time for a tea set of his own.

This moved into researching good tea sets and also a trip to Mothercare to see what it was like. Within my researching mission, I found a wood kitchen, wooden food and many more items that would make up a full kitchen for Ollie. BRAINWAVE!

This would be what I would get him…

I then thought about the fact that he has so many toys at the moment and he doesn’t play with them all. I didn’t need to buy all of these sets now…LIGHTBULB! CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!

The kitchen was on offer at Mothercare and I knew it wouldn’t be nearer to Christmas so I did it, I bought his first Christmas present for this year IN AUGUST! I know, I know I have become one of those sickening people that are far too organised. However I have come to realise that actually this is a GENIUS way to deal with Christmas.

Why start Christmas Shopping early?

1. Money – this has a few reasons behind it, not only can you spread the cost of Christmas over a few months you can also purchase things that are in sales and on offer.

2. Change – Children at toddler age (in my experience) aren’t likely to dislike things in a few months time as they are still happy to explore everything they find and see.

3. Stress – NO RUSHING! You can experience Christmas shopping evenings for the fun of it because you will have most of your presents already. You can use the time to let your toddler experience the sounds, smells and sights of late night shopping/Christmas events instead of worrying about finding last minute gifts.

4 Money (I say it again because it is the one thing that Christmas can cause stress over) To reduce the stress in your family life you can spread the cost of Christmas. You can purchase all of your gifts over the months before Christmas then just need to buy the food nearer to Christmas.

5. Birthdays – Some children (like Ollie) have birthdays very close to Christmas and it can be costly to have two lots of pressies, and as I do not believe it is fair to join them together spreading purchasing of presents over a few months can allow you flexibility to ensure you can create two special days for your little one.

So today I bought Ollie one of the sets, that I had originally decided to go out for. I have ordered the kitchen (which was on offer) and spoken to some family who are keen to help get the whole set for him. How organised.

We have spent time this afternoon playing with his new tea set, talking about the different parts and where they go. He sat focused and LOVED his tea pot.

Success

Christmas Planned and started – DONE

Achieved initial goal – DONE

Helped family with Christmas present ideas – DONE

Reduced Stress – DONE

Had fun – DONE

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What a great day!

What are your views on Christmas shopping early?

 

PS This doesn’t mean the tree is coming out or the songs are entitled to be played yet!!!!!!!!!!

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Getting from A-B is a bumpy route sometimes!

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‘Straight roads do not make for skilful drivers’ Paulo Coelho

‘Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road…but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.’ Kara Goucher

‘The growth of understanding follows as ascending spiral rather than a straight line.’ Marion Milner

Do you put pressure on yourself to get everything done perfectly and in a linier fashion? Do you get annoyed when your journey isn’t smooth sailing? Hello and welcome to my world.

I have spent copious amounts  of time planning, preparing and controlling every situation in my life, from getting the house work done, to my business, to walking to the shops with Ollie. I plan, I plan and I plan again. Yet it would seem that the world is against me because it never works out that way. Now I can tell you why… LIFE ISN’T MEANT TO. It is ok, life is meant to teach, coach and help you develop. If you are set on things being perfect then how can you improve?

So this was my thinking when I walk taking Ollie to the library last week, I decided to document the journey because I had decided to ‘let go’ and not take his pram or changing bag OR REINS. I thought it was a good time for a lovely stroll with no fuss.

I know, I know it is slight insanity on my part but I felt the urge to go nuts!

Ollie has a new fascination with drain covers and on any walk lately we have to jump on or run over every one we see (yes I have tried to distract him at times so I can move a bit faster). On this walk however I decided to just stay calm and relaxed and see how long the 5-6 min journey would take us.

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9:46am – We leave the house, happy and ready for the sunny walk

9:47am – We have a great start and get up the stairs and to the gate ignoring the first LOUD drain in our garden. This is going to be smooth! We start running down our street holding hands and jumping on drains.

9:49am – We end up in the doctors surgery.

9:50am – We leave the doctors surgery to jump on the same drains we just jumped on.

9:52am – We jump on 3 consecutive drains 3/4 times before spot another one at the end of the road and Ollie runs for it.

(To give some perspective our house is only about 100 yards from the main road we need to reach)

9:57am – We cross the road and find our first of many drains. We walk in a ‘straight line’ towards the library.

We stop, we jump on a drain, we go back to 1st one because it has a louder sound, then we run forward again. Then we stop and I have to carry Ollie across the road and he finds some more drains. We run, we jump, we go back over the same drain. I ask him to move forward, he gets stroppy, sits on the floor and screams. I lift him up, he calms down, we move on…and repeat another time.

9:59am – We are back to walking smoothly and we are about 100 yards from the library.

We jump on another 11 drains before reaching our destination where Ollie runs straight into the adult section shouting JUMP as they have grates inside the library that rattle!

We arrived at 10:04am!

Yes so what is the moral of the story you ask?

WE ARRIVED!

We made it, yes the 3-4 minute walk that it would take me took 18 minutes.

Did I plan for that? NO!

Did it ruin my day to not have control over that small instance? NO! Actually it was a lovely walk, even the 2 second tantrums were over before it even mattered.

The walk back was much the same, we found some new drains, crossed with the green man and laughed at pebbles stuck in a wall. It was a great walk.

Now with anything, when starting to let go of control and relaxing, it can seem daunting and it should be done in baby steps (no pun intended!). If you can let go in small situations such as these it gives you confidence that you can let go in bigger situations. The one thing that will help you do this is support, from whoever you are working with, living with and who the situation involves.

Over the last 18 months I have learnt to relax more and Ollie and Dan have been my biggest control situations, but I can whole heartedly say that I LOVE being able to enjoy a moment, to allow things to just happen and be!

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I hope today you can let go in a situation that gives you the power to know you can achieve anything!

Much love and light this Bank Holiday!

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I am Grateful!

Today has been a quiet reflective day and today my gratitude goes to the following:

1- My business partners for being supportive and understanding with clear advice and a smile.

2- My health visitor spending a bit if extra time playing with Ollie to give me a few minutes break.

3- Tesco, for having everything I needed and not being too far from my house. Allowing me and ollie to get out even for a short walk.

4- Technology, although I am a huge fan of a physical book I love that I can download one on impulse.

5- Technology, for giving me access to some interesting food ideas to stop me being bored.

6- Dan!! Enough said!

7- My loving family who support all of my creative ventures.

8- Pants, I love how pants can be so comfortable. I used to always be wearing uncomfortable pants.

9- Feta Cheese for being so awesome!

10- The dark, I love how peaceful it can be and how comforting the quiet is after a long day.

I hope you had a wonderful day.

Thank you for taking the time to read this today.

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I am GRATEFUL for you!

‘You will have heard sayings like, “whatever goes around comes around,” “You reap what you sow,” and “You get what you give.” Well all of those sayings are describing the same law, and they’re also describing a principle of the Universe that the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered. Newton’s scientific discoveries included the fundamental laws of motion in the Universe, one of which says:

“Every action always has an opposite and equal reaction”

(Rhonda Byrne: The Magic)

It seems so simple that we take time to be grateful for the things and people in our lives. Yet I know I wasn’t always making that a daily habit. In the stress and business of life we take more for granted. We can take our jobs for granted, our family, our partners, our children, people who help us daily and of course ourselves.

I know that for me, when I realised the power of positive thought and the huge power of gratitude I put it into action quickly. I have posted before about the difference saying the simple words Thank You had on mine and my husbands relationship; it has also helped in many other areas of my life.

I now do this exercise daily and it brings positivity and excitement to my day. The sun is always shining when I start the day being grateful for all that I have and all that is happening for me and my family (I do this before I even leave my bed).

So each day I am going to share with you my gratitude list, some days there will be repeats and others it will be future gratitude. It will be exciting to move these thoughts from the notebook that hides in my bag to my online space.

List for 19/08/2014

1 – Family – I am grateful for my family who support me and love me everyday. I love the phone calls and text messages from my beautiful parents that let me know they are thinking about me.

2 – Ollie – I am grateful that he is healthy, beautiful, funny and smart. I am grateful that I have never had to have the worries that others that I have met and know have had.

3 – Dan – I am grateful for all of the love and support that Dan gives me. He is a wonderful husband and my best friend. He is my constant, my rock and he knows how to make me laugh!

4 – Brighton and Hove – I am grateful for the experiences we are having here in Brighton allowing me, Ollie and Dan to explore new things, spend time on the beach and meet such a variety of people.

5 – Resources – I am grateful for the local resources we have including all of the shops, libraries and parks in walking distance allowing me the freedom of NO PRAM nonsense.

6 – Food – I am grateful for all of the new foods I learnt to make and enjoy making. I am grateful for all of the amazing foods we have access to.

7 – Business and Work – I am grateful to such a great part time job that allows me to meet like minded people and express my creativity. I am grateful to have a business I can run from my home whilst with Ollie that I can decide when and where to work it. I am grateful for technology that allows me to do all of these things.

8 – Sleep – I am grateful for a great night sleep from which I have woken a much more positive person this morning.

9 – Deliveries – I am grateful for our replacement bed that arrived so quickly.

10 – You – I am grateful for all of you lovely people that take the time in your day to read my posts.

If you would like to start seeing more positivity in your life this is a great way to start. I would highly recommend ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne as it helps you with daily gratitude exercises.

Have a WONDERFUL DAY!

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Boy’s in the Kitchen

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The last few weeks I have been making my through a fantastic book recommended by a number of mum friends called ‘Raising Boys – Steve Biddulph’. I must say I have had my eyes opened to being a mum to a boy now and I am going to share some of the fantastic lightbulb moments I have had with Ollie.

Since Ollie was around 8 months old we have had troubles with his eating, after a great start to weaning and drinking less milk, he went back onto having 4 bottles of milk a day and refused of the foods we put in front of him.

Now at 19 months old we may have finally moved back onto more food and less milk! HUGE JUMPING UP AND DOWN MOMENT!

and calm……..

This has been through the patience of the health professionals in Hove and also this book.

‘It’s easy to kick-start in your kids a lifetime interest in food preparation, because nature is on your side. Kids love to eat. They love the smells, colour, tastes and even the mess of food’

On reading this and talking to my health visitor it was evident that Ollie was not experiencing food as something fun and interesting, hence not wanting to ‘waste his time’ on it.

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Alongside giving him new foods that we would eat, letting him try anything we had I also decided to start showing him how fun food could be. I started this week with BAKING MUFFINS!

‘Toddlers can help you to make play dough (not to eat!), stirring and kneading the mixture, adding bright colouring.’

You may be thinking ‘oh no, you’re mad for letting Ollie lose in the kitchen’ and yes I would say you need to have a spark of ‘insanity’ to attempt this, but take my word for it IT WAS INCREDIBLE FUN!

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The How!

Step 1 – To make things easier, while Ollie was napping I measured all of the ingredients that I would need into little boys that he would be able to hold or lift himself. I also prepared warm soapy water in the sink so that an any point I could wash his hands.

Step 2 – Work slowly through the recipe. I showed Ollie what each ingredient was and asked him to help put it into the mixing bowl. All the time I was asking him what it felt like, tasted like, smelt like (when he touched the flour he said ‘soft, fuffy’).

He really enjoyed cracking the eggs and counting how many I was putting into the mix (this is a great number exercise for a a toddler). He also took great pleasure in using his fingers to add the butter to the mix, he liked the feel of the warm butter on his fingers. He used his hands to carefully put the flour into the bowl, however he then thought it would be fun to see how it fell on the side, chair and floor.

After putting the mixture into the muffin cases we tried the mixture as well as another new texture.

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Step 3 – Washing up!

Ollie is a huge fan of water so I knew that I could encourage him to help me clean up. I gave him different cloths/sponges to see the differences and helped him clean some dishes (this will lead me onto another blog post about toddlers helping out around the house). He was more interested in throwing water everywhere shouting ”SPLASH’ really loudly but he enjoyed the warm water on his hands.

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Step 4 – THE YUMMY TEST!

This was of course the much waited end result. Whilst the muffins were cooking I kept asking Ollie to safely check their progress through the oven glass, he kept saying ‘cakes wow’.

I really enjoyed watching him touch new foods and taste new things. It has encouraged Ollie to see that there is a fun side to cooking and I have continued to ask for his help everyday whilst making meals and snacks. He is really enjoying being a helper and with this new revelation and the addition of being open to letting him try anything with no force Ollie’s eating has increased so much.

I have had some great success with encouraging to eat and I enjoy meal times again!

RESULT!

BUILDING EATING TIPS!

The health visitor also gave me some tips that have really worked with encouraging Ollie to eat more that I felt you would find interesting too.

  • Don’t stress! When giving your little one new foods, do not use phrases like ‘eat you going to eat some more’ or ‘try this’ as it is not giving them the choice to try something new, which was as adults have. It is key to encourage their own food exploration. When sitting with them make food fun.
  • Use new pots/bowls and cutlery so that it is more interesting.
  • Give something new in a separate bowl alongside what they normally eat, this allows them to try something new but not have the worry that the ‘new’ food is mixed in with the foods they know already.
  • Allow 20 minutes for each part of the meal (i.e main and dessert).
  • Exchange tv for music if your child is becoming mesmerised by the box!
  • See everything as a step forward, even touching a new food, or smelling deserves praise. Allow your little one to make mess and explore the textures of food it gives them confidence.
  • It can take between 15-20 times of seeing/tasting a food for a baby to ‘like it’.
  • DON”T STRESS!

Have you had any difficulties with your children eating?

I hope you enjoy the images and I look forward to hearing your results.

signaturesm

Pregnancy Hobby – My hidden talent!

Crochet

 

Pregnancy – a period of time that passes super slow but does not last long enough!

My pregnancy was a great one in comparison to others who I have know and heard of. It was pretty straight forward but at 33 weeks I was HEAVY and still working full time in a physical administration job. I loved my job and loved helping people but I was slowing down. My colleagues were incredible and although offered me so much help I was very reluctant to let anyone else do my job!

Are you about to go on maternity leave? Has the question crossed your mind of ‘what will I do if I am not working’. Believe me there is only so many times that you can rearrange your new arrivals wardrobe.

I was advised to take up a ‘hobby’. However my passion and other freelance business was photography based and that again was physical.

At 33 weeks, I was forced to make the decision to do something relaxing. I experienced 24 hours of no movement from my little boy and I was terrified. I sat in the hospital and of course (as they do) he started moving again within 20 minutes of being hooked up to the machines.

The midwife was lovely but stern and informed me in no uncertain terms that it was not acceptable for me to be working full time at this stage of my pregnancy and to medically seek to go part-time.

Oh no, I thought, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

The universe answered when my lovely mother-in-law took me on a day trip to Tavistock, one of my favourite places to go. We ventured into the shops and had a lovely cake and tea (or at least I am sure we did, if we didn’t then we should have). She took me to a craft shop and there I found a book on crochet flowers, well I was excited and I KNEW it would be EASY!

I became addicted to the thought…then I opened the book, needles and wool ready…

I had NO CLUE what the pattern abbreviations meant! I had never seen a crochet stitch in my life.

Well my saviour became YouTube tutorials. They are amazing and I literally did not stop. Each day after work I would go home, feet up and make little items for friends, family and my soon to be new bundle.

The items above are just some of the things I made:

Baby Hats (middle one was for Ollie when he was born but his head was too big)

Headbands

Blankets

Bags

Phone Cases

Ipad cases

Scarves and Flowers

It was an amazing skill to learn and very rewarding. I now use this skill every time a friend has a baby, as the baby blankets are so lovely to make. I kept meaning to make some for the baby unit at my local hospital too, that is something I am planning to do very soon.

So mum’s to be, take advice from a mum who just wouldn’t slow down, CROCHET ROCKS (and your family will think you are crazy but love all of their wonky gifts)

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