Saturday, 28 June 2014

School Summer fete 2014

Me. The only mother at the school summer fete today with a screaming 2YO under her arm. Oh how I love winning the public humiliation award. Again. And the tatty teddy tombola. Although Esme's choice this year looks to be reasonably clean. Well, flea free at least. 

26/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

I'm really not into phonics mum...

...I just want to draw

DAY 18 OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

DAY 18 OF FRAMED
CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY
The chrysalis has shown no external changes since my last FRAMED shot, eight days ago. But what about within? Inside its protective casing, the caterpillar is transforming - radically, and will eventually emerge. It takes approximately three weeks. But will it be as a butterfly or a moth? That's what I'm currently trying to identify.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Destination: Tylney Hall Hotel - A travel review


Home from home: Relaxing with the family at Tylney Hall


Set in stunning Hampshire countryside, the splendour of Tylney Hall is apparent from the moment you approach its grand redwood lined drive. Indeed, everything about this family friendly hotel is grand: accommodation, food, activities. No doubt that’s why it’s sitting pretty in the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World book.

A red bricked Victorian build, once used as a hospital, home, school, even donkey sanctuary, it’s now a Grade II listed mansion house hotel, steeped in history, about which the amiable staff are only to happy to share.


Monday, 23 June 2014

A wedding, #BritMumsLive & A+E - where else does one end up?

I figured that inside-out knickers were a better alternative to none at all - on this occasion at least. And as I sat there chatting to other bloggers and wearing my husband's roll on, I wondered if my breath smelt fuzzy from having had no tooth-brush.


Friday, 20 June 2014

25/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year
I'm posting the art one day earlier this week, as we are off to a wedding.
Here are the bride and groom to be, as sketched by Esme Grace


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tumble tot musings of a 5YO

Mummy, I've decided that when I grow up, I'm going to be in the circus...
And I'm practising right now.
Do you know what I'm going to be? (hanging off the wall somehow).
An acrobat. (Falls).
It obviously needs me to be barefoot.

FOOTNOTE:
Massive improvement on Esme's recent musing about when she grows up, which was...
When I grow up I'm going to live with you.

Parenting is...

…sometimes feeling like you have no control whatsoever - argh!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Peppa Pig World (Paulton's Park) - a review

A trip to Peppa Pig World will complete your Summer   

Yes, that's right... if you didn't already know, Peppa, a very pink and very bossy pig turned Hampshire Hog, has an attraction all of her own. And you should prepare to be as equally enthralled as your tot... But take a towel! 


DAY TEN OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

DAY 10 OF FRAMED
CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Romantic musings of a 5YO (and her 6YO friend).

I was inside out of sight, but not out of earshot.
Esme and her friend Axel were digging in the sand box, when Esme said:

E: Axel, do you know who I am going to marry?
A: Me?
E: No (giggling), Connor. In fact I think I'm already in love with him.

A: Do you know who I'm in love with?
E: Who?
A: Thomas.

Meanwhile, the very next day...
E: Mummy, Connor told me today he isn't in love with me.
M: Oh. Really. How does that make you feel Esme?
E: It's okay, I'll marry Max or Axel instead.

Priceless!

24/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year


Three ballerinas dance, but the spot light shines only on one - and it isn't Sofia!


Friday, 13 June 2014

Tesco Mum of the Year Awards, the RNIB, & a gig for a good cause...

When I started working on Tesco magazine as a writer/editorial assistant in 2004, little did I know that I would become heavily involved in the Mum of the Year Awards. Little did I know, that a couple of years later I would become a mum myself - yet hardly one in the same calibre of the many amazing women this competition manages to find. Ah, I managed to find. What a responsibility that was. When I say heavily involved, part of my role was to read all the letters and emails (thousands of them) and select the possible winning mums to put forward. Of course there were a few tears and tantrums along the way. It was emotional! And wonderful! And a reminder that mums - yes that's you - are quite remarkable.


I'm only human after all...

Did you know that the 26th of June is Forgiveness day?
Loving that... for the day before is my darling OH's birthday.
The perfect get out clause, should I forget. Ha!

DAY SIX OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY


DAY 6 OF FRAMED
CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY
This photo is taken from a slightly different angle and shows how the chrysalis is turning darker. It reminds me of a bat!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

And a new look for something else...


I found an old wood shelving unit on a neighbour's rubbish heap last week. I did knock on the door before helping myself, but as soon as I laid eyes on it, I knew it would be a great addition to Esme's somewhat over-cramped bedroom. Less the cobwebs of course.


A new look for LIFE AS IT IS

Good morning!

So what do you think of my brand new design for the GraceFaith blog LIFE AS IT IS?


I love it. Do you? 

I love that the talented Helen Braid, has captured the essence of my LIFE AS IT IS - right down to the subtle coffee cup stain and spill!


If you want Helen to design something for you, get in touch with her here:


Ellie Illustrates



Can't concentrate? I try an in-house experiment (4)

The news from Esme's teacher at the parent conference evening, that Esme (my 5YO) was now able to settle into class of a morning so much better, and remain focused for far longer periods of time, was great to hear.

Yet I was left wondering how much of that was down to the fact that as time had passed, my daughter had settled into her new school year, had settled with her new friends. Not forgetting too, that she had also developed in all areas generally.

I felt I could not be sure it was solely down to the omega oil, and I knew to prove that I'd have to carry out an experiment within an experiment. So I brought Esme off the Udo's Choice oil for six weeks. And guess what? Within four, all the old habits had returned. 


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Can't concentrate? I try an in-house experiment (3)

Yesterday, I posted about a probiotic, a windy baby and an in-house experiment. But it's not the first in-house experiment I've carried out. Here I revisit the omega oil trial...


A wee while ago, I set out trialling omega oil to see if it could help with my fidgety five-year-old's concentration levels. Her school day was particularly affected. You can read about that here. 

I had noticed after eight weeks that Esme Grace, having had Udo's choice (an oil which is a blend of plant omegas 3,6 and 9) was far more able to concentrate at home, and things were better in general as she was able to focus for longer periods of time. 

I last visited this experiment here, and was about to find out what Esme's parent evening was going to bring... Had the omega oil made a difference to Esme's school life? She had been finding it difficult to sit still, to listen and to focus on what her teacher was saying. I had seen the difference at home, surely there would be a difference in the classroom too?  I was intrigued to find out...

DAY FOUR OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

DAY 4 OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

There aren't any obvious changes that have appeared over the last 24 hours to the chrysalis. But inside the metamorphosis continues: 
"To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself. But certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures."
Ferris Jabr


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A probiotic suitable from birth? A review & in-house experiment (1)

After my Cows Milk Allergy Explained post, I've been sent details of a new product that hits the shelves from August, called Bio-Kult Infantis

I've found the information very interesting, and have given the product to a friend Andrea, for her three-month-old baby to try. Zak hasn't yet settled, and is very windy with potential allergy issues. It appears to have lots of good stuff in it for babies with problematic guts, which the press release blurb explains below. 

For me, the following par has shed some light as to why Esme Grace (now my vivacious 5YO), had such an unsettled gut as a baby, and was in and out of hospital within her first year. (She was flushed with antibiotics in my womb during labour, and then given ten days of intravenous antibiotics immediately after birth for suspected meningitis).
'As 70% of the immune system is located in the gut a balanced gut flora from birth is essential to stimulate the development of the infant’s immature immune system. A balanced gut flora could help to avoid conditions such as colic, diarrhoea and allergies including eczema, hay fever and food intolerances.'

DAY THREE OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY


DAY 3 OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY
Continuing its metamorphosis, changing colour.

Monday, 9 June 2014

DAY TWO OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

DAY 2 OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

My my, the caterpillar has been busy! 

He is going to sleep now. 

For approximately three weeks. 

I will watch and record any changes with my GraceFaith blog girls.

And you can share in this miracle of nature. 

That is right on our doorstep.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

DAY ONE OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY (Silent Sunday 14)

Yesterday we found a caterpillar crawling on the porch ceiling.

I didn't take a picture - we all had a good long look instead.

I never imagined the caterpillar would still be there in the morning.

Or that it would choose that spot to carry on with its life cycle.

But this is what we found today - and we are all very excited!


DAY 1 OF FRAMED - CATERPILLAR TO BUTTERFLY

Friday, 6 June 2014

COWS MILK ALLERGY EXPLAINED


So your baby is inconsolable and having trouble feeding. Maybe it’s colic? Or is there more to it? As a mother, sometimes it’s simply a matter of gut instinct…

COW'S MILK ALLERGY (CMA) - SOME COMMON QUESTIONS EXPLAINED 



A little more detail (10) Esme starts school & Fia's allergy issues plague us all

Thankfully, Esme began school at the end of the summer holidays. It was emotional. She was only just four... But on the whole, I didn't feel guilty about her missing out on time at home with me, due to Fia's constant shouts and demands. I figured she would probably enjoy the peace - I'm imagining her with her hands over her ears, begging me to stop the baby crying. Again.  

Sofia now one-year-old was walking. Running in fact. Cheeky. Naughty. Oh my. Everything went in her mouth. Everything. Even dishwasher Rinse Aid. (Miraculously, we didn't have to visit A+E that time, we took advice from the NHS Poison Line who assured us she would be fine). 


#Britmumslive ticket


Can't sell it, can't give it away.
I might as well accept it, it is clearly meant to be mine.
I might be mad, but I'm going to try and make it in for the keynote speeches on Saturday.
After all, they're saving the best til last right?!


'Kicking A Ball' by Allan Ahlberg - A book review

Considering the title, this book has hit the shelves at a rather opportune time - what with the World Cup just around the corner...

DETAILS:
TITLE: Kicking a ball
AUTHOR: Allan Ahlberg
ILLUSTRATED BY: Sebastien Braun
PUBLISHED BY:  Puffin
PUBLISHED: May 2014
AGE SUITABLE FOR: 2-5 years 
PRICE: £6.99
AVAILABLE FROM: Online and at all good book shops

When you first read Kicking a ball to your little one, you have no idea of the journey you are about to embark on. And I don't just mean the rhythm, language and drawings. But the journey from childhood to fatherhood. And with it, the bonds of love and friendship. 


Thursday, 5 June 2014

I'm NO LONGER going to Britmums Live 2014 - would you like my place?

...As for me this year, it's not happening. Even though as a consequence of missing out last year, I got in early for a 2014 ticket. You see, shortly after paying for it, I received this...

Parenting is...

...Realising that your 2 and 3/4 YO is still a long way off potty training.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Doughnut musings of a 5YO

In the bakery aisle at the supermarket...

Mummy: Shall we have doughnuts this week Esme???!!!! 
Esme: Ooh yes! 
Mummy: Iced, jam, ring or apple?
Esme: Apple please. Are they peeled?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Best foot forward - Crocs Stretch Sole Flats - A review



How very considerate of Crocs to put a spring in my step this summer season with their newly designed Stretch Sole Flats. I've bounced my way across London Underground to wear them in the office, and I've sauntered through airport lounges to wear them on the beach. Truth is, one shoe really does fit all!


DETAILS
CROCS 
STYLE: Stretch Sole Flats
COLOURS: vibrant violet/orange, espresso/electric blue, khaki/stucco and black/light grey
SIZES: 3-8  
PRICE: £64.99
AVAILABLE FROM: www.crocs.co.uk and selected retailers
IDEAL FOR: Work or play