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Last year we got seriously into Chinese New Year. With it rolling around again, I thought I’d share the sensory box I put together for Talitha to enjoy when she was three-and-a-half. At going on one, this really wasn’t suitable for Ophelia at the time so I put it up on the table whenever Talitha wanted to play with it. I had some rice I’d bought cheaply from an Asian grocers, which I coloured with red and yellow ready mix paint by mixing the colours in separate bowls and laying

Argos has revealed their top toys for Christmas 2015 and we were one of their toy testing families. We chose to try out the Chad Valley 3 Storey Summer Winter Dolls House. Talitha immediately made the connection with Frozen and said it reminded her of Queen Elsa’s ice castle. In fact, her Elsa plush doll and Sylvanian family rabbits moved right in. This house is actually sized for Barbie-sized dolls, though, I’d say. We were toying with the idea of giving her a Lottie doll, which would work well in

We’ve just finished a happy romp through the wonderfully bizarre world of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Having realised from page one that this chapter book was going to be a hit, I gathered a few ideas for activities we could try alongside it. For my four-year-old, it was delightful to dig deeper into the experience of the story. For my 21-month-old, it meant she didn’t keep trying to pull the book out of my hand or take me some place else. Make a family tree The book

Talitha is recovering from a pretty nasty cold (that’s not her ill face above; she just likes pulling faces!) so although she was in good spirits today, we opted for a quiet one at home. The fact that she neither protested nor even asked about going out tells me she really needed it. We started off with a to-do list of things we needed to get done. She loves ticking things off a list. Just like her mama. “Bake bread, stew apples, carve pumpkin…” I realised this was starting to

The clocks go back tomorrow (I actually had to look that up because I keep getting confused which way it is) so, we’re headed back into the darker portion of the year. I used to really struggle with this. Growing up in the tropics, I mentally prepared myself for cold seasons when I moved here but nothing could have prepared me for the dark. After ten years of living here, though, I’ve realised that even the early nights have their own charm, especially when living with a four-year-old who’s intrigued

You can’t deny the aesthetic and sensory appeal of wooden toys. I’m no toy snob but I doubt we’ll be holding on to plastic toys for our potential future grandkids other than some Lego. So I was delighted when The Wooden Toy Shack, based in Brighton where we used to live, asked me to review one of their toys. Taltiha’s big on pirates at the moment so I chose this glorious Barbarosa pirate ship. Pros: It is absolutely beautiful, capturing the lost-at-sea imagination. We’ve been taken in by all it’s

Two revelations surprise me every time one of my children has a birthday. One, I actually do not care about my birthday anymore. Much. Two, every year the prospect of their birthdays gets more exciting. Talitha turned four on Thursday and I did the usual getting teary-eyed while wrapping her presents the night before. How could she be turning four already? I still so clearly remember giving birth to her. And now we’re having full-on conversations. My days are full of her chatter. She’s busy dancing, making up stories, singing

Our dressing up box

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time trying to organise our playroom. Talitha gets so much more out of it when she can see where things are, it’s easier for us to tidy when everything has it’s place and I don’t lose my mind looking for things. Since she’s heavily into dressing up, I dearly wanted to sort a dressing up box for her. We’ve repurposed a blue vintage suitcase, laying it on its side. It’s perfect as she can open it herself and fit quite a lot in

I do love a to-do list. Just not the chore kind. Those lists depress me. A list of fun things to do this summer, though? That I can get excited about. Since we actually managed to do everything on our slightly insane Advent Calendar, I thought we’d try a summer list and see how we fare. So, here goes. Autumn officially begins on September 22nd so that gives us nine weeks of summer. Nine weeks, nine goals? Let’s round it up to ten. 1. Go on an open-top bus tour

Talitha turned three last month and, after flitting from Gruffalo to angel to dinosaur themes, she settled on a Winnie the Pooh birthday party. This was the first year she understood birthdays, so it was exciting all round. Our friend Helen, from Cat’s Whiskers Face Painting in Bristol, generously offered the main attraction. I’ve honestly never seen anything quite like it – she was so quick and accurate. She also made the amazing Eeyore balloon pictured above. I grabbed some printables off Disney and Disney Baby to make a colouring

Circus Queen’s husband here, reporting on what the toddler and I did at 10 days postpartum. Another hair-brained activity with the toddler. Find a bit of land, build a fire and cook something. Great idea in principle, but I learned a few things from this experience. ) • Maybe pick a better weather forecast. It was incredibly lucky that we actually found a dry window in what was quite a blustery and wet day. • Don’t do it alone with the toddler, unless you are Bear Grylls and can build

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