2013, the year I became a mummy

2013 has been a good year for me. It was the year my life changed the most significantly. I became a mummy. My beautiful daughter was born late April and is now a happy 8 month old baby who is growing so fast.

nursery so far

My first post of the year was an update on my pregnancy that far (26 weeks). January and February were quiet months on the blog with just the occasional friday finds post and another pregnancy update at 30 weeks. In March I started creating things for my baby such as a blanket and a crochet giraffe. In April I shared a few pictures of my baby’s nursery that was still a work in progress. This reminds me that I still haven’t blogged the completed room as since then I have added quite a few bits. I also shared with you the contents of my hospital bag and a couple more pregnancy updates. I also created a new series of posts on the blog – The great outdoors where I have been sharing with you organisations, resources and great days out for the family. I kicked off with a feature on The National Trust.

feetUnderstandably, May was a very quiet month, after the birth of my daughter in late April. June so my second wedding anniversary and our first family trip away (5 days in Anglesey). I restarted my regular feature of UK handmade artists with Nell Smith who creates beautiful modern, hand printed baby wear. I also took part in keep Britain breastfeed scavenger hunt by posting a series of posts on breastfeeding.

IMG_5256In July, my blog turned one and I contemplated the future of this blog. I also shared one of my favorite items I created for my baby, a hot air balloon mobile and one of my favorite buggy friendly walks. I also joined in with one of my favorite linkys, what we’re reading for the first time (with a lovely personalised children’s book, lost my name).

IMG_6072I wrote my first letter to my baby, at 14 weeks old, in August (which reminds me I haven’t published her 6 & 7th month update and she’s just turned 8 months!). I also shared with you a great family day out at The Hepworth gallery in Wakefield. I started sharing ideas for baby play with you in September with a post about my daughters current favorite toys. I posted about one of my absolute favorite places in the UK, Newborough & llanddwyn island.

IMG_6496IMG_7010October started with another letter to my baby at 5 months old. I started weaning her and we had a lovely few days in The Lake District. In November, I started a new series on the blog where I will share with you what happens in my kitchen. December was full of Christmas posts about books we were reading and Christmas sensory play.

IMG_7465Christmas 2013 was a good one. Both myself and my husband got stomach bugs the weekend before but thankfully we were better in time for Christmas and some how our baby avoid it all together. We spent a few days before Christmas and Christmas day itself with my family in Yorkshire and then on boxing day we travelled to my husbands parents where we spent a few days with them.

So that was 2013. Here’s hoping 2014 is another good one. Happy new year everyone. x

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Christmas magic – what we’re reading

IMG_6782I couldn’t resist buying this book for my daughter when I spotted it. It is an adorable book with lots of pretty illustrations, in which a little girl is telling us all about Christmas and why she loves it. If I’m honest I suspect this is more a book for me than my daughter at present. Just picking the book up in the book store made me think about all the Christmases I have to look forward to with her, enjoying many of the activities in the book. It’s short and there is a nice rhythm to the words though so it does maintain her attention but I look forward to reading this book again as she gets older. This book really captures the excitement and magic of the build up to Christmas with children in my opinion.

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Joining in withwhat we’re reading over on space for the butterflies.

I hope you all have a merry Christmas.

Christmas sensory basket

IMG_7399Inspired by The imagination tree’s Christmas Sensory tub, I decided to put together something similar for my baby. My baby is 7 months old and is able to sit up and grab things, however everything goes in the mouth so I avoided small items such as rice.  I wanted to include a variety of textures, Christmas colours and items that made a noise or lit up.

IMG_7390Here’s what I included:

* Tinsel

* shiny baubles

* Bells

* Christmas sensory LED/snow globe ball (read more about this in yesterday’s post, here)

* Red and gold ribbon

* silver gift bow

* crochet star

* Zip along robin (pull a cord and he moves around on a flat surface)

* Christmas board book – Snowtime fun (read more about this book, here)

IMG_7107 IMG_7260 We’ve spent a significant amount of time this month sat examining the contents of the basket. She really seems to enjoy exploring the contents and it keeps her attention well. Sometimes I sing Christmas songs whilst we are exploring this basket, such as jingle bells (she’s very good at shaking these bells). I also tell her about the item she is examining such as what colour it is, the texture etc. I’m really happy with this as a first sensory basket and I look forward to creating more of them for her.IMG_7274

You can find more ideas for Christmas activities for all ages on my Christmas pinterest board or for more sensory play ideas suitable for all year round have a look at my sensory play board where I have been pinning my favorite ideas from around the web.

Please note, I am not trained in child development or early years education. I am just an enthusiastic parent who has picked up a thing or two from other blogs, books and various baby classes. Since none of these items are intended as toys for babies, they are stored out of her reach (i.e. not in her toy box) and only played with under adult supervision. I also spend 80% of the time preventing her from putting inappropriate bits in her mouth e.g. the tinsel which sheds easily.

Christmas sensory play – emergency blanket and sensory ball

IMG_6864This is a really simple and inexpensive activity that anyone can put together for their baby. All you need is an emergency blanket and a sensory LED ball of some sort. I got 2 emergency blankets from a £1 shop some time ago and my baby has enjoyed playing with one for some months now. She loves to sit and crinkle the shiny blanket for ages and I’ve also started using it as part of sensory play more now she is getting older and more interested/developing.

Back in November I spotted this ball in a £1 shop again (a great place for picking up inexpensive bits for sensory play). I knew that my baby would love the ball as she is mesmerised by similar LED things that are used in baby classes I take her to. Basically the ball is full of fake snow (so it is like a snow globe when shaken) and it has a little father Christmas inside that wobbles around as the ball moves, as well as an LED light that flashes red, blue and green (for a short time after being bounced firmly).

IMG_6845 IMG_6836I spread an emergency blanket out and sit my baby in the middle of it. Then I bounce the ball to start the LED lights and roll the ball along the blanket to her. I also put the ball within her reach so she can reach for it. She loves tracking the ball and watching the lights, as well as reaching for the ball herself. The ball is light enough for her to be able to lift it with both hands. Sometimes when there is another adult around, we have held the blanket above her so the lights reflect on the blanket above her head which she seems to love.

IMG_7293 IMG_7295Please note, I am not trained in child development or early years education. I am just an enthusiastic parent who has picked up a thing or two from other blogs, books and various baby classes. Since neither of these items are intended as toys for babies, they are stored out of her reach (i.e. not in her toy box) and only played with under adult supervision.

If you are looking for more Christmas sensory play ideas please pop back later in the week for another post from me and have a look on my Christmas pinterest board where I am pining Christmas ideas for future years. My favorites so far for when my daughter is older are Christmas sensory play, snow dough and orange and spice Christmas play dough.

Snowtime fun – What we’re reading

IMG_7255This is a cute little board book for babies and toddlers. It is the perfect size for tiny hands (although for a board book the pages are quiet thin but they are sturdy all the same). It’s a fairly short book that although it says it is a Christmas book, I feel is more of a general winter book (as there is no mention of Christmas). Instead of focusing on Christmas, this little book describes nine fun winter activities such as sledging, building a snowman and drinking hot cocoa. Each activity has a page to itself with a fun and colourful illustration and a couple of rhyming sentence to describe the activity. This year my baby seems to enjoy looking at the colourful pictures and listening to the rhymes but I can imagine reading this to her in future years and her getting more out of it. For example you could read it to a toddler experiencing the first snow day that they really understand, before building a snowman or going for a winter walk.

IMG_6765 IMG_6771Linking up with What we’re reading over at Space for the butterflies.

I have one more Christmas book that I want to share with you, so come back next Tuesday (Christmas eve) for Christmas magic. I have a couple of posts on Christmas sensory play for babies that I hope to get up this week too.

Christmas portrait outtakes

It had to be done. I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Miss Christmas dress and tights set from M&S (currently £11.20). We have several baby Christmas parties to attend so I justified it that way plus she ill most likely wear this for at least some of Christmas day. The tights are beautiful and I know I will dress her in them after Christmas too.

We put our tree up on Sunday so on monday I spent a bit of time trying to capture the perfect Christmas portrait of my baby girl. I took something like 150 photos (thank heavens we have digital cameras). There are many that I love for different reasons including some of these below as they just capture her personality as she is now. I did manage to get a few shots that I adore of her smiling and looking right at the camera and I know I will love looking back at them and remembering her first Christmas.

IMG_6926 IMG_7010 IMG_7025 IMG_7026 IMG_7027 IMG_7028 IMG_7049Badge for TTT, Badge

Twas the night before Christmas – What we’re reading

IMG_6773As I’ve mentioned previously I bought my baby a few Christmas books instead of an advent calendar this year. I look forward to bringing out these seasonal books each December and enjoying them all over again with her (and of course adding new ones to the collection). Over the next week or so I plan to share the 4 books that we have started with and perhaps some ideas on ones I would like to add in future years.

Although my daughter is only 7 months old, she is happy to sit and have books read to her. I have discovered that she enjoys most ones that rhyme and have a rhythm to them. Noisy books are good at keeping her attention too and when she is excited she will hit the book (so board books are good). This first book fits these criteria perfectly and its one I remember well from my own childhood. Continue reading