Reblog: How to get the kids to sleep: A Father’s Guide

The phrase “I slept like a baby” is thrown around way too casually by people that people that, I have noticed, usually don’t have a baby of their own. If they did, I think they’d be a bit more careful with what they say. In reality, babies don’t sleep all that well, in fact, they’re…

via How To Get The Kids To Sleep: A Father’s Guide — My Parenting Journey

This week, I’m reblogging a post from My Parenting Journey, which is run by Veronica Mitchell. I’ve picked a post from the ‘For Dad’ section, written by Johnny B Thomas because there are so many mummy bloggers, it’s nice to get a male perspective from time to time.

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Roll up, Roll up, the Christmas Circus is Here!

Squires Garden Centre in Washington is hosting a Christmas Circus, and they kindly invited Worthing Mums to a special preview. My daughter got to see her first ever circus, and she went to Father Christmas’s grotto afterwards. The Christmas Circus runs until Christmas Eve, then there’s a Traditional Circus from 27th December until New……

via Roll up, Roll up, the Christmas Circus is Here! —

Last week, I visited Squires Christmas Circus on behalf of Worthing Mums. Open the link above to read my review. It was the first time I’d been to a circus since I was a child, and I’m so glad that times have changed and circuses in the UK no longer have performing animals. I was rather shocked when I went to France in the summer, to find that the ban on animals doesn’t extend to mainland Europe. Needless to say, we wouldn’t have visited the circus in France, even if Munchkin had begged us to go there.

The circus that we went to was run by John Lawson’s Circus and the acts were mainly acrobatic or comedy. Munchkin and I really enjoyed it. We’d happily go again.

#FlashbackFriday: Waitomo to Rotorua

I didn’t have time for a Throwback Thursday, so I’m writing a Flashback Friday instead. This post sees a return to New Zealand after what seems like a long break.

I was rather glad to be checking out of Fawlty Towers.  Its worst feature probably wasn’t the faded grandeur, it was the fact that there were loads of stairs with fire doors next to them, no lifts and no sign of any porters.  We made our way to Aranui Caves.  There were no glow worms this time, just really impressive stalagmites and stalagtites.  We went back to the back packers’ for breakfast, then made a quick stop at the Shearing Shed on the way out of Waitomo.  This is where they keep angora rabbits who are sheared to make knit wear.  We had our photo taken with one of these giant bunnies but I was a bit underwhelmed by the fact that the woman didn’t know her name.

aranui cave waitomo, new zealand,

Aranui Cave Waitomo

We drove to the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park (eventually… I pointed it out to my boyfriend and he said, “Don’t be silly, that’s a cricket ground,” so we had to go round the block and come back!).  Unfortunately it was a really wet afternoon.  We saw lots of birds (the ducks loved it!) but the weather spoiled it a bit.  We saw our first live kiwis.  This is one of a number of places with a kiwi house where lighting is reversed so that you can see kiwis in the dark during the day.  The kiwis then sleep in the “daylight” after the visitors have gone home.

Once we’d finished in Otorohanga, we drove to Rotorua.  This was via the imaginatively named village of Dam, so named after the hydro electric dam located there, where we stopped for a drink.  We checked into our bed and breakfast (Innes Cottage) in Rotorua and I was pleased to note it was much better than Fawlty Towers.  The owners gave us lots of information on where to visit.  We went to the museum, which I found really interesting.  Although it has some traditional museum exhibits, such as static exhibitions and an art exhibition, there is an excellent film about the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886.  The seats in the cinema shook to simulate the force of the explosion.  The museum is an old bath house, and much of it is dedicated to the history of the building.  We didn’t have time to see everything, and the viewing area at the top of the building was closed; this wasn’t a problem as we were given free tickets to come back the next day.

We arranged to meet my step-dad and his friend for dinner as they were also staying in Rotorua.  Dinner was to be at the Skyline restaurant, so we picked them up at their motel and drove to the gondola.  Unfortunately we’d picked an evening when it was foggy, so there wasn’t much to see from the Skyline.  This meant more free tickets for the gondola the next day!  The buffet style restaurant was good, and there was something for everyone, including my step-dad, who only eats English food.

flowers, trees, lake

View from Rotorua Gondola – without the fog!

Reblog: I am incapable of getting an early night (and four other mum truths)

Here are some facts about me. 1) I am always tired Nowadays, we are fortunate that on at least some nights we have the luxury of the kids sleeping through. Not last night, or the night before that, or in fact the night before that… but when both children are feeling well then 4 or…

via I am incapable of getting an early night (and four other mum truths) — Whinge Whinge Wine

This week, I’m reblogging Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine. In this post, she talks about universal mum truths. I’ve definitely experienced all of these. Just to prove a point, I’m reblogging a day late again.

According to Fran’s bio, she is the creator/owner of two small people; a Freelance Writer; sleep deprived; a wine enthusiast; drinker of tea; a biscuit fan; winner of the Mumsnet Best Comic Writer award in 2016; and loser of other stuff, too numerous to list! I really like her writing style and recommend checking out her blog.

#Reblog: Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr

Read More The post ** Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr Review ** appeared first on Our Fairytale Adventure.

via ** Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr Review ** — Our Fairytale Adventure

I picked this post to reblog because I like Judith Kerr’s writing but haven’t read this particular story to Munchkin. We’re fans of Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea – which we saw on stage last summer. When I read on, I realised that this post on Our Fairytale Adventure is actually a competition. So if you like Judith Kerr as much as we do, enter their competition via Rafflecopter.

Our Fairytale Adventure is a parenting, lifestyle and travel blog written by Emma. It’s a good read, so do take a look.

Mog cat, bookcase, Judith Kerr books

Not quite Katinka, but we love Mog!

Photo by WAVE:Galleries, Museums, Archives of Wolverhampton on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Turning into Your Mother

I’ve thought I’ve been turning into my mother for some time. By the same token, my daughter is following in my footsteps. She enjoys doing the things that I did at her age, particularly art.

When I was five, my class entered a painting competition, which I believe was run by the Brighton Book Fayre. We had to paint pictures of space creatures. I painted K9 from Doctor Who, and was then informed that we weren’t allowed to paint existing characters so I renamed him Cane Chops.

Cane Chops won the Age 5 category. The Age 6 category was also won by a girl at my school – who later became a close friend. We had to go to the book fayre at The Corn Exchange to receive our prizes. The prizes were due to be presented by a celebrity artist and we were rather disappointed to hear that he was running late and would only have a photo taken with us after someone else had presented the prizes. I think I have the photo somewhere but I won’t post it since it was the 1970s and he was subsequently jailed for indecent assault!

A year later, I won another painting competition. This one was to paint an Alice in Wonderland picture, in connection with our school fayre. My mum was on the PTA and involved with judging, though she refused to judge my age group.

I’m following in my mum’s footsteps by being involved with the Parents Association at Munchkin’s school, and Munchkin has started following in mine by winning her first drawing competition. Writer Jennifer Acton recently published her first children’s book, The Giant Kangaroo in the Colourful Hat. She ran a competition for children to draw pictures of the giant kangaroo to appear in her book. Munchkin was one of the winners. She went along to Jennifer’s book launch, where the winners were presented with a signed copy.

girl in cat costume, woman, book, balloons

Meeting Jennifer Acton

Munchkin now has a taste for winning competitions and wants to enter everything. She intends to design a snowman Christmas card, write a Christmas poem and design a new logo for the school Parents Association. The thing is, she’ll be a little disappointed if she doesn’t win.

kangaroo, child's drawing

The Giant Kangaroo in the Colourful Hat

#ThrowbackThursday: Letters to Father Christmas

I’m trying to get back into my regular blogging schedule. It’s getting to the time of year when small people write to Father Christmas, so here is a throwback to Munchkin’s first letter to him.

For the first time ever, we’ve written to Santa on Munchkin’s behalf.  It’s her third Christmas and she understands what’s going on now.  I wrote a letter, asking her what she wanted to say.  Having already decided to send a reply via santa.co.uk, I included things in her letter that I knew would be reflected in Santa’s reply.

letter, christmas scene

Letter to Father Christmas

There were five letters aimed at Munchkin’s age group, so I chose one with the story that I liked best.  The only thing that could have been better is the way the best friend’s name is used.  In some letters, the friend is referred to as “they”.  Surely it wouldn’t have been difficult to add one extra field to indicate if the friend is a boy or a girl?  The best friend thing was difficult for us in any case.  Munchkin’s closest friends are twins so it was tricky choosing which one to name.

letter, santa, rudolf

Letter from Father Christmas

We really liked the letter from Santa.  I’m not sure Munchkin was quite as impressed as the grown ups in the family, but she did like it.  Perhaps she’ll be more interested next year.

Halloween Fortnight! 🎃 👻

This post is a little late as I’ve been writing it on and off for a week. My daughter seemed to spend two whole weeks doing things with a Halloween theme. The days when All Hallows’ Eve was a religious festival celebrated on 31st October are long gone. To all the children that I know, Halloween is a time for partying and chocolate. Munchkin asked me to buy her a cat costume and it’s had a lot of use.

Our Halloween started on Friday 13th October with a Halloween fancy dress party at school. This was my first experience of helping with a children’s event there. I feel as if I’m turning into my mother, who was an active member of the PTA when I was little. The children partook in party games, dancing and biscuit decorating. I think a good time was had by all.

The cat costume came out again for the launch of The Giant Kangaroo in the Colourful Hat by Jennifer Acton. Children were invited to wear Halloween fancy dress. I was at work that day and haven’t got round to reading the book yet, but Munchkin enjoyed it. She entered a competition for drawings of the kangaroo to appear in the book and was one of the lucky winners. I won a painting competition when I was her age – though that’s a whole other story – so it feels as if she’s following in my footsteps.

Halloween celebrations continued the weekend before 31st October. We went to Warwickshire to spend the weekend with my husband’s family. Munchkin and her cousin did a Halloween Hunt and decorated spooky cupcakes. The Halloween Hunt has evolved from Easter Egg Hunts. The girls enjoyed hunting for eggs so much that they now do two hunts a year. Treats are left by the Halloween Fairy because Munchkin found the idea of a witch too scary when we first started doing this a year or two ago.

On the Saturday evening, they went to a fancy dress roller disco. Munchkin’s cousin is a much better skater than her so they spent quite a lot of doing their own things.

Finally, 31st October arrived. Last year, my husband promised Munchkin she could go trick or treating. He seemed to have forgotten but she hadn’t. Up until this year, we’ve tried to avoid trick or treaters. This year, I decided, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. We put a pumpkin out and I bought two buckets of sweets.

At this point, I should mention that trick or treating is massive where we live. I’ve never experienced an American Halloween but I imagine it would be fairly similar. Our housing estate becomes overrun with families from the surrounding area. It gets a little manic and someone has suggested that we set up a means of making charity donations next year, to make up for all the people who are getting sweets from local residents but not providing sweets for children on the estate.

The Rotary gives a cup to the best decorated house. My favourite was the Harry Potter house with the Hogwarts Express next to it but the judges had other ideas.

Next year, we’ll be buying more sweets and going out earlier. Our 2kg of sweets lasted about an hour, and several people had run out of goodies by the time we went out at about 5:15pm.

#ThrowbackThursday: Bargain Birthing and Baptism

This week’s throwback is to my pregnancy blog. I love the title, even if I say so myself! Some things never change, I’m still blogging late and having trouble finding the time for writing.

I was right about one thing, my daughter did become a gymnast. My thoughts about active birth went out the window when I was in labour. I just wanted to lie there, and the midwives told me to try and move. I also pushed like mad, despite what the ladies at yoga told me. I did tell my friend Michelle that I was expecting, though sadly we seem to have lost touch now.

I’m blogging a bit late this week because I’ve been so tired.  The so called “honeymoon period” of pregnancy, when energy levels are meant to be highest is coming to an end.  Last week I had trouble sleeping and had to leave work early one day as I was no use to anyone!  My daughter is kicking like mad as I write this – I still think she’ll be a gymnast.

When I haven’t been catching up on sleep, I’ve been trying to get baby and pregnancy bargains.  We got a lovely cot mobile half price in the Mamas and Papas sale and some bargains in Boots.  On Saturday, we went to a NCT Nearly New Sale.  I’d assumed it would be a table top sale and my husband thought it would be a sale of quality seconds!  We were both wrong (not surprising in his case), the clothes, baby equipment, toys and books were arranged according to item type and size, and you had to queue at the tills once you’d finished.  When we joined the queue, it went half way round the hall.  By the time we’d got to the front, it was snaking out of sight.  So Baby now has some cute clothes to go with the sack of stuff she got from her baby cousin.

We went to our first ante natal class last night.  It was an Active Birth Workshop followed by a tour of the maternity unit.  Active Birth is about moving around during labour, which is meant to be better for mother and baby, and encourages a speedier delivery.  It goes hand in hand with yoga (which I’m already doing) and hypnobirth (which I have mixed feelings about).  I’ve just ordered a book by Michel Odent, who advocates that kind of birth.  The ladies at yoga tell me it’s possible to give birth without pushing…I had no idea!  I always thought the baby needed a push to get things moving!  Daddy now understands how he can help during labour, rather than just offering words of “encouragement”.  The maternity unit tour was useful.  At least I know what “Triage” is now!  I didn’t have a clue, I thought you just turned up on the ward when you were in labour, but no, you phone Triage for advice on whether to come in straight away.  The labour rooms are really nice, but the post natal ward is rather clinical and unpleasant – I hope I’m not there for too long.

In a couple of weeks, we become parents of the God variety; a new experience for both of us and something I’m not entirely comfortable about.  We don’t go to church, so it doesn’t seem quite right somehow.  On the other hand, the baby’s parents know this, and they still want us to do the job.  I’m more than happy to care for her and offer moral guidance, but I’m not so sure about the religion thing, even less so because it’s at a Methodist church and my only exposure to religion has been C of E.  I’m just hoping no-one at the church asks when we’re having our baby christened.  Or worse still, they might find out I was never christened and decide I’m not allowed in the church!  Perhaps I’ll have to be christened at the same time as my God Child!

We’ve actually got a weekend with no social commitments coming up, so I’ll see if I can blog on time this coming week.  I might even manage to do some creative writing for my course and catch up with those poor friends that I’ve inadvertently forgotten since I’ve been pregnant.  I’m not even sure my friend Michelle knows I’m expecting!

#Reblog: Which Teacher Would You Thank?

A few weeks ago I was marking a set of essays and feeling a bit sorry for myself with the amount of work I was doing for what seemed like,… The post Which Teacher Would You Thank? appeared first on Mission: Mindfulness – the blog.

via Which Teacher Would You Thank? — Mission: Mindfulness – the blog

This is the post that inspired my blog post about Miss Vain. Hayley from Mission: Mindfulness has put together a crowd sourced post where a selection of parent bloggers say which teacher from their childhood they’d most like to thank.

Do check out the rest of Hayley’s blog. She is a teacher, parent and blogger, and describes herself as a busy person trying to embrace mindful living, and also someone who is qualified to help others to embrace mindfulness.