DIY Bonfire Night Hair Clips #BostikBloggers

This year is spinning by at an insane velocity! Here we are, still enjoying warm-ish days on – or at least near – the beach, and already thinking of bonfire night, which is less than a month away! This month our #BostikBloggers project theme was just that: Bonfire Night. I didn’t want to make something fireworks related this time, but thought we’d focus on the “fire” aspect of it.

I wanted to make something a little more step-by-step, too, so here’s our instructional on how to make bonfire hair clips.

bonfire-night-clipsRead more: DIY Bonfire Night Hair Clips #BostikBloggers

Parenting In Tough Times

We all go through tough things sometimes – from a  prolonged period of unemployment to death of someone close to us, bad things happen. For parents, that can be especially hard.

parenting-in-tough-times-cover-jpegAnyone paying attention will know that the last few years have been incredibly hard for me. A bad pregnancy, tough things happened in my marriage, terminal illness, death, isolation – it’s been a tough few years. I don’t often talk about it, but when I do, people always ask me how I’ve made it through, and when I tell them, they all say the same thing:

You should write a book!

Well, I have. It’s a short book – only 51 pages, because I know that when you’re going through hard things, and you barely feel able to breathe, the last thing you need is a book that that’s heavier than the feeling in your chest. What you need is practical, simple, step-by-step hand holding. And Parenting in Tough Times is that – I see it as a guide to setting out buoys in a stormy sea. Buoys are invaluable when you’re trying to keep afloat.

This book – currently only available as an eBook – is available for Kindle from Amazon or as a printable PDF from Gumroad

If you’d like to be notified when the paper version is ready for sale, pop your email in here – don’t worry I won’t use it for anything else!

5 Ways Busy Parents Forget to Take Care of Themselves

We take care of our little ones and in doing so we forget about ourselves. Sound familiar? It’s true. And it manifests itself in some funny and not so funny ways. Half of UK parents polled said they often forget to apply sunscreen on themselves, even while they remember to apply it on their children.

But parents neglect ourselves all the time, not just when it comes to sunscreen application. The following are five ways that parents frequently put ourselves on the backburner, and the harm that can come about as they do so.

Put personal friendships on hold

You used to hang out every week, but now times with friends seem more like a distant memory. Some extent of this is natural and can be expected as a new parent, but be careful that this doesn’t turn into a habit. Friendships provide you with emotional support to weather difficult life events. In all the busyness of being a parent, hold on to those friendships that matter to you. Even if you need to take it down a notch for a while, don’t shut that door entirely. Explain your current situation to your friends. Don’t let them guess at why you aren’t hanging out anymore.

Forget to go to the dentistdentist-1025338_960_720

Read more: 5 Ways Busy Parents Forget to Take Care of Themselves

Six Family Friendly Winter Activities In Tenerife

If you’re anything like me, the idea of snug snowy winters is a lot more appealing than the reality of grey days and rain. There’s so much hope in knowing that come the worst of January, you have a little mini escape planned, and with a little foresight and planning you won’t even need to fork out too much for it after Christmas, since you can book and pay for it well before!

But where to go? Well, there are many choices, obviously, but a good one for families is a sunny break in Tenerife. With January temperatures around 18C or 19C, it’s pleasantly warm and an ideal destination that’s not too far away.




Read more: Six Family Friendly Winter Activities In Tenerife

5 Ways To Include Exercise In Your Daily Life

As busy parents it can be really hard to add a fitness routine into the day – I know when I have a few minutes to myself I’d rather sit and sip coffee than sweat on an exercise bike! However, every bit of exercise helps, if only because by some cruel twist of fate, the more energy you expend in the right way, the more energy you have for the fun things. Or so they tell me!

I read an article recently with great tips for including exercise into your daily life which made me think of ways mums can include exercise into the things we already do.

The reality as parents we are very active a lot of the time anyway, but sometimes it just takes a little creative thinking to make the most of the time and energy you have, while at the same time making it fun for the kids and showing them a healthier way of life.

1) Walking


I often take the kids to the park and sit in a shady spot while they play. Instead – with the motivation of Fitbit challenges! – walking around the outskirts of the park I can keep an eye on them, and get the step count up along with the heart rate.Read more: 5 Ways To Include Exercise In Your Daily Life

Indoor ‘Sports’ Activity Cube {Bostik Bloggers}

I think to myself, “Summer holidays are coming”  – duh duh duhm – then I remember they’re not in school so summer holidays are pretty much like every day, except there are loads of festivals and activities on the Island I live on, and more traffic, and (hopefully) a little more sunshine, so there’s really nothing to panic about. And yet, I like to have things prepared for the summer so that I can actually have some down time too.

Unfortunately we no longer have a garden, and being in Britain, there’s every chance of rain pretty much every day, yet the kids still need to be active and burn off their energy. I decided to make activity cubes for this months’ Bostik Blogger sporting theme. Activity Cubes

For these cubes you’ll either need fantastic free hand skills, or to print off four copies of this template.Read more: Indoor ‘Sports’ Activity Cube {Bostik Bloggers}

The Feel Brave Series – Helping Children Cope With Big Emotions {Book Reviews}

We’ve recently been reading The Feel Brave Series, a series of books by Avril McDonald that deals with the big emotions and experiences of childhood in a friendly, kind, but honest way.

There are a few things in this series of books that I would just repeat if I said them about each book, so let me first say this about the series as a whole:

The books are beautifully illustrated. I’m new to the work of Tatiana Minina, but I do hope we see her in more stories. The bright, bold images really bring the story to life – scary characters aren’t frightful, and little touches like a wolf surround by hearts as he runs up the hill feeling loved gives it a game-like feeling of movement through the images. Absolutely lovely.IMG_20160705_133949

The Feel Brave series by Avril McDonald is a collection of five picture books for children aged 4-7 but I’d wager there’s movement around that and that even older and younger children will be drawn to the images, the hypnotic rhyming langauge and the themes covered in the stories. The books are designed to help children explore positive psychology and emotional intelligence in a safe and non-threatening way and all the while reading them I kept thinking about this quote:

Fairy tales do not tell children that monsters exist.
Children already know that monsters exist.
Fairy tales tell children that monsters can be killed.

The Wolf is Not Invited

In the first book, The Wolf is Not Invited, we are introduced to the characters Wolfgang and Catreen who are best friends. A new friends comes along and Catreen is lured away, leaving Wolfgang broken-hearted – a moment every parent has experienced their own heart break! Catreen soon realises that her new friend isn’t all she thought she was, and comes back to find Wolfgang, but he, in the meantime, has met another friend. Tears fall, forgiveness comes, and soon all three are playing together, before Wolfgang’s new friend leaves, and Catreen and Wolfgang are back together again.

It’s a sweet story with a hopeful ending, though not always how things work out in real life, so it does lend itself to further discussion on how we can handle it if our friends don’t come back!Read more: The Feel Brave Series – Helping Children Cope With Big Emotions {Book Reviews}

Jungle Art #BostikBloggers

This month’s Bostik Bloggers box arrived full to the brim with Jungle themed stickers, animal print tape, foam sheets, feathers, buttons, and a few other bits and pieces, including a small square canvas.

Matisse pictures

We immediately set to work using the canvas to create an animal themed picture for the girls’ room. While the theme is ‘jungle’, some of the stickers included pigs and a horse, but we left those out as they didn’t fit our theme. When we were in France recently we wanted to go to the Henri Matisse exhibition, but unfortunately we were too far away. We received a book with his paintings a while ago, so we’d been talking about him. Known as a sculpture and a painter, he was diagnosed with cancer and bedridden, so he began doing cut-outs. He called this ‘painting with scissors’ and we learned that he used to arrange his cut-outs on his canvas, sticking them down lightly till he was happy with their arrangement, before gluing them down permanently. Read more: Jungle Art #BostikBloggers

A Letter To My Children After The Orlando Shootings

Dear Girls,

Sometimes really bad things happen in the world. Things that can hardly be explained among grownups, never mind being explained to  young children.This weekend one of those bad things happened. A bunch of people were in a nightclub in Orlando, dancing and having fun, when a man walked in and started shooting. He killed 49 people that night, simply because he didn’t agree with some of their choices. It wasn’t any of his business, really, but he felt they deserved to die. And ended up dying himself, leaving behind his own wife and child.

The whole situation is terrible, but there’s one story I want to tell you about. One person who really touched me. It was a young man by the name of Eddie Justice. He was 30 years old, and while he was pinned down in a bathroom, held hostage by the gunman, he was sending texts to his mother. When I read that, I cried. Read more: A Letter To My Children After The Orlando Shootings

Mothers Need To Become Selfish

Mothers need to become selfish. No, I’m not talking about those people who are already selfish, and also happen to be mothers. The world has enough selfish people. But good mothers – mothers who prioritise their children always, mothers who put their families first, those mothers, they need to become more selfish.

This kind of selfish isn’t a bad thing. It’s the kind of selfish that they ask you to be on an airplane. You know? “In case of a loss of air pressure,  please put your own oxygen mask on before you help others with theirs”. It’s a life-preserving selfish and I know many, many women who could do with adapting that philosophy into their – our – own lives.

Mothers Need To Become SelfishRead more: Mothers Need To Become Selfish