Treasure Basket – Balls

Little Miss loves balls so this was an easy hit!


For general details and more ideas see this post

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Happy Little Things

I’m trying to improve my photography. At the moment I’m focusing on looking at the whole shot and checking that there isn’t random stuff detracting from the main subject. Maybe I’ll also learn how to use some of the functions on the camera!

I’m also trying to remember to be grateful for the little things so I’m going to post daily photos of ‘happy little things’

Here’s the first one. It’s not bad, I think I could have got it straighter!


Mr B. taught me how to make poached eggs! I tried years ago and decided I couldn’t do it so I could only eat them if he made them for me.

*Obviously I was planning on starting this on the first of the month!!

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Let our Kids be Kids


This is my amazing boy, he is bright, funny and curious about everything – current favourite topics are The Romans and how babies are made (eeek). He is 7 years old and in year 2. You may be aware that this year there are new assessments for year 2 children that are significantly harder than they have been in the past.

The government wants you to think this is to raise standards but it’s a bit like saying, “We want all children to learn to ride a bike so we’ve entered them for the Tour de France.” It doesn’t make the children any more likely to learn to ride their bikes it just makes them stressed and feel like failures. It also it gives less time for actually teaching the children the basics of bike riding because they need to learn about the procedures for the bike race.

Raising the bar dramatically like this does not raise standards. Empowering teachers raises standards, reducing class sizes raises standards, listening to academic researchers raises standards. This is quite simply setting a whole cohort of children up to fail.

We moved house in December and so E is at a new school. It seems to be a good one (it’s actually really difficult to tell!) He still likes going and he comes home excited about the fun things they’ve been doing – at the moment they have caterpillars in class. So in theory I’ve got nothing to worry about. He isn’t stressed by the tests and generally feels successful. He isn’t going to ‘pass’ these tests but as long as he feels like he is I couldn’t care less about the results.

But in spite of this it still bothers me greatly. He left his amazing year 1 teacher with the skills he needed to really become literate. He’s reading fairly confidently now and has developed legible handwriting. What he needed to spend year 2 doing is to really develop as a writer; to write in proper sentences for extended periods in a way that vaguely reflects his spoken ability and his knowledge and understanding. He should be introduced to more and more books that he can read to himself so he develops a love of reading.


What he should not be doing is practising answering test booklets. One of the problems with formal tests is children need to be taught how to do them. Test technique just isn’t obvious to children so if you don’t teach them how to do the tests, you’re not going to get results that reflect their ability. When I was first teaching, a 9 year old drew a beautiful picture of herself at her desk in the box that said “Show your working”. It was funny at the time and it was so long ago that it didn’t really matter. But in these ‘high stakes’ tests that years 2 and 6 are doing it certainly would matter. Schools and teachers are judged on these results.

So, even though he isn’t stressed and even though the creative parts of the curriculum are still being held on to, it still matters. Every hour he has to spend learning how to answer test booklets is an hour he could be spending developing his writing skills (or being excited and enthused by something else entirely). And of course, what breaks my heart slightly is that every hour he spends practicing is another hour where he may realise he can’t answer all of the questions.

On Tuesday there is a ‘kids strike’ to support teachers and schools against this ridiculous waste of our children’s time. I fully intended on taking him out for the day in support of this but he doesn’t want to! He said to me today that tests help teachers know what he needs to learn (I think I told him that!)

So this is my small stand against the current system. I’m not prepared to explain in any more detail to my 7 year old exactly what is wrong with education and the moment and how people are using his only chance in year 2 as a political football because I want him to continue to love school and to trust his teachers. But it’s clear to me – and to everyone I know that knows about child development – that it is most definitely wrong and our children deserve so much better than this.



Let our kids be kids Facebook 

Let our kids be kids web 

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Treasure Basket – Metals


This is the second treasure basket I’ve done for little miss 10 months.

It’s mainly things I found in the kitchen so it was free!


For general details and more ideas see this post

As an added bonus since everything is food safe it’s all ok for her to put in her mouth!

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Just Breathe

I’ve been reading Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood by Hollie McNish. I totally love her poetry. If you’ve not heard any I can highly recommend you check out her youtube channel 


Anyway it turns out reading poetry when I fall asleep and during the endless night wakings  makes me think I can write my own 😉


Just Breathe



When the laundry pile is towering,

And the floors are never clean,

And the chaos is overwhelming.



When the nights are sleepless,

With grasping fists seeking flesh,

And flailing limbs in constant contact.



When days are a battle,

Of refused nap times,

And thrown dinner plates.


Sometimes I just stop,

And breathe in silky hair,

And squish chunky thighs,

Until her giggles take over.


I just stop,

And listen to her brother sing,


To make her laugh.


I just stop,

And look at these wonders I have created,

The roly-poly baby,

And the sharp angled boy.



I just stop,

And breathe .


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Treasure Basket

Woo it’s been ages! Excuses first – we’ve moved house, just before christmas, into our first ever owned by us house.   Also we have a baby who hasn’t slept in any consistent fashion for months. I thought her brother was bad but she’s something else – either that or I’m looking back with rose-coloured spectacles!

I could tell you that I’m going to be blogging regularly from now on. Because I actually like writing and it is a fairly mess free, easy way to get some kind of creative outlet – but lets face it, my record speaks for itself!!


Anyway, treasure baskets – sometimes referred to as Heuristic play. There’s a good article about them here


The boy really liked his at about 9 months. So I decided to put one together for baby girl. The basic theory, as I understand it, is that modern babies have a lot of bright plastic things with noisy buttons and not a lot of access to  natural materials.

You can just put a load of household things in a basket – that’s pretty much what I did with the boy and he loved it. This time round I’ve decided do themed ones (I say ones but this is my first so we’ll see – I’m pretty good at starting things!)

For this wooden theme I got a selection of her actual toys, blocks and things we’d put aside for later, and wooden household things. The only things I bought especially was the basket (because I like the shape of it – I’m sure we have something that would have worked) and a wooden spaghetti spoon  (because it cost 50p!)

So far it’s been a big hit. Just organising things she’s seen before in a different way makes it more interesting.DSC00157

If you’d like to see more themed ideas and you don’t want to wait for me to update – and let’s face it it may be a while – Counting Coconuts has some fab ones.

*Obviously I supervise more carefully than I do with her actual toys. I put the whole basket away and get it out at some point during the day. I also check for damage from chewing!


*I really need to look at clearing the background before I take photos!

Thanks for reading! :)


Treasure basket 2 – Metals

Treasure basket 3 – Balls

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Nine reasons being a first-time parent is like being a teenager.

Nine reasons being a first time parent is like being a teenager -

Now I’m back in the throes * of trying to keep a tiny human alive I’ve been looking back on my early days with Thing One a bit differently. It’s definitely totally different this time around. For me it’s been bit like the difference between me as a teenager and me as an adult.

  1. Every decision requires long  conversations and pro-con lists with your best friends .(Swap best friend for Husband and notes in class for messaging when he’s actually meant to be working and that’s pretty much what it was like!)
Nine reasons being a first time parent is like being a teenager -

“He won’t sleep, why won’t he sleep,argh – oh it’s ok he’s a asleep now.”

2. Your hormones are all over the place and you cant seem to control your moods.

3.Getting ready to go out takes hours – even if you’re just going to the park.

4. Everyone tells you this is the best time of your life – it often doesn’t feel like it but you’ll look back and realise they were right.

Nine reasons being a first time parent is like being a teenager -

Luckily there’s very little evidence!

5.You’re sure everyone else is having more fun than you are.

6. There are cool girls – and you’re not one of them.

7. Three day hangovers (although as a teenager that’s because you’ve drunk your body weight in cheep alcohol, as a first time mum it’s half a glass of wine).

Nine reasons being a first time parent is like being a teenager -


8. You definitely know better than your parents – but you secretly just want your mum.

9. Boobs!


*Yes I did have to google that – who knew that’s how you spell it?!

** The main picture is actually of Thing Two because there are no decent ones of me and Thing One as a newborn – take pictures people, you’ll want them. (There  are also no decent photos of me as a teenager but I’m ok with that!)

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A slummy-mummy’s guide to housework


It’s been a million years since I blogged but here I am! I’m going to totally change the website when I can remember how to do it so if you’re here for the hoodies I’m sorry!!

Thing 2 is now 3 months old so here I am again – in charge of a child and a house and not entirely sure if I can really be trusted with either.

I am intending to write a blog post about my complicated  easy new system for keeping the house clean – but let’s be honest I’ll probably have given up on it by then! So here’s my guide to housework! In no particular order because – lazy!

  1. Don’t get dressed so when you’re husband/wife/person who gets to escape to work during the day get’s home you can cry, “I didn’t even manage to get dressed today” and they will tidy-up for you.
  2. Bribe the older child into tidying up for you – this helps if it is after a few days of doing point one then your significant other will be so happy with the vague tidiness they won’t even think of complaining.
  3. Clear a small area of carpet and hoover it – make sure you leave the hoover in the centre of the room so it looks like you’ve been busy.
  4. Develop ‘no go areas’ in your house where you chuck all the stuff  – if you can’t remember the colour of your dining table you’re doing it right!
  5. If you really feel that you absolutely need to tidy invite someone round because  everyone knows that’s the only time you’re going to actually tidy up! 



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This is probably going to be a very random ramble about early learning  – if you’ve come for the sewing pop over to Facebook; I’ve been busy. For everyone else I’ll throw in a few cute photos in an attempt to stop you running away – as a side note I realised I’ve been uploading photos that are too large, sorry hopefully that’s fixed now!

(Dinosaur available to order – this one costs £30 plus £3.95 postage)

So Boo has finally started school. (For those of you who aren’t related to me and so don’t keep up with the goings on over here we moved house well after the deadline for applying hence the delayed start)

Up until this point in his life we, like many parents of preschool children, have pretty much let Boo guide his own learning. We tried to fill his life with interesting things and read to him, talked to him and sang a lot (totally out of tune!) He has a good imagination, he’s inquisitive and has a decent grasp of numbers but he’s never really been interested in drawing or writing and so those skills aren’t very well developed. This is perfectly fine with us. I know there is little correlation between the early writers and the good writers.

(Skeleton play dough – inspiration here)

Now there’s school. Because I’m a teacher and because one of my sisters home schools her children I think and talk a lot about early education. I really believe if left to his own devices he would learn to form letters as and when he feels inclined to and a big part of me wants to leave him to it.

But I also know that it’s hard for a child to be finding something difficult while other children are progressing and that because of  time constraints and an overloaded curriculum children are sometimes taken away from doing something they enjoy to practise doing something they find difficult.  So we have decided to bribe him into practicing his writing everyday for a little while – chocolate coins are perfect for a pirate loving child! I’ve printed off a load of lovely sheets from Twinkl and he’s generally prepared to do it – although the bribes are totally necessary.

I’m pretty sure in 5 years time I’ll look back to how conflicted I feel about the change from him and us being in charge of his learning and laugh at myself!

(Superhero – available to order from £30 plus postage) 

Thanks for stopping by – feel free to let me know how much worse it’s going to get as he gets older 😉

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You are the stars

I saw this quote this morning and I couldn’t resist!


Normal sewing related posts will resume soon I’m sure! :)

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