Disclaimer I was gifted for a review. I also have a giveaway on my Instagram which ends Sunday if anyone would like to try win some goodies. I will post link after the review.
We love learning through play and have seen all over Instagram the lovely Chalkola blackboards and and chalk pens filling Instagram with their beauty. But are they worth all the hype? In short, YES!
Now I love chalk boards we already had three in the house, my meal planner, Elijahs chalkboard in his room and we had a large one for learning which we since gave to his nanny and grandad to use at their house. So when chalkola offered me the chalk board I couldn’t say no. Our learning chalk board was too big so I was so glad to give it to the grandparents as this chalkboard was the same size but doesn’t have massive legs and collapses. Which is a plus. It stands up with three legs or can be layed out flat. The quality is lovely and I also love that there’s a space to leave your own pen infront.
The chalk. There’s so many colours to choose from and we have loved playing with them all. I’ve been able to teach Elijah the shades of colours so saying dark green or light green and he can now differentiate between dark and light. The pens are fantastic quality and glide on the board so quickly without pressure.
They rub of with a wet damp cloth and then I dry with a dry cloth after to keep it looking new. Easy to remove your masterpieces! The products also just wash of table if your toddler scribbles on it and also easily comes of your hands.
What do I use the chalk for? Writing on my meal planner, drawing in Elijahs room and having fun. We also use it for learning. Instead of wasting lots of paper we simply wipe out when we’re done. I try to teach Elijah a subject at a time or a few things at once. I’ve been teaching Elijah to trace letters and he can identify colours, some words, read the alphabet and numbers so we use the chalk board to work on these skills and adapt more. Elijah loves drawing and copying what I do. His masterpieces he draws may end up a squiggle a lot of the time but we love them none the less!
Chalkola products are a fantastic resource for learning and also exploring colours. It’s perfect for the artist and the organised individual too. It’s a little something for everyone and we love our chalk board. We can’t wait to use it to celebrate birthdays and thing such as Henry coming home!
Disclaimer: We where gifted this box in exchange for a review.
We recently have started gardening a little bit more now that it’s the summer and plants are growing a bit quicker. So when mud & bloom contacted us and wanted to send a box to review we where eager to try something new.
I think learning about how things grow and teaching your child the responsibility of looking after their plant is such a important life lesson. Elijah loves getting involved with crafts but then no longer wants to help. So this has been good to teach him things don’t last five minutes and we have to keep working hard to see anything grow.
So what we got inside: we got some seed packets, activity sheets, lolly pop sticks to label plants and we got some stickers for making elderflower cordial. We also got the dirt to grow the plants. They also kindly sent some chalk to draw outdoors.
Elijah enjoyed putting the dirt in the water to expand and then helping to plant and cover the seeds. Every day we got to water his plants and we’ve moved them to bigger pots. Soon we will be putting them into the ground. Elijah loves commenting on how big they are everyday too as we have breakfast looking at them!
Elijah has liked the responsibility and learning about looking after things and being gentle. I’m so thankful we got this box as it’s really shown me just how into gardening toddlers can be and it’ll be something we stick too! It’s given me more incentive to get him to help more in the garden too!
Disclaimer : I am writing this from a more comical side then serious side. I don’t hate my child by posting these facts. These are things I believe that everyone should know before planning a child. Why? Because having a child is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s poo and tantrums galore.
So to kick this of I am Charlie-Jane. I’m 25 we planned and tried for a baby at 22 and Elijah was born whilst I was 22. Elijah is now 2 and a half and sometimes I think he might be slightly possessed with his temper at times. Clearly doesn’t have my temper because I’m of course a angel. Ok perhaps not a angel but not someone who thinks rolling on the floor will in fact allow me to have cake for breakfast. Anyway these are some of the things I wish I new before I had a child. So I could of mentally prepared.
Number one: There is less we time and me time. Your days become worshipping little evil spawn. Instead of having a zen bath or going for a date with your loved one your life revolves around being a snack bitch or cleaning the path of destruction that your child’s created. You find conversations normally revert back to your child and your so drained from parenting you really can’t be bothered to do anything. Enjoying peace and quiet is a thing of the past and conversations always interrupted.
Number two: You will only ever hear children’s tv show songs in your head. Inside my head is a collection of blippi, andys adventures, waffle doggy and mr tumbles greatest. You will get really into kids tv. You find yourself sticking a episode of hey duggee on and having a laugh and then realising your child’s having a nap. You start conversations with talking about the latest kids tv series you watched not the latest show on Netflix. You find yourself wondering how does Justin have so much time to dress up as all these characters and I haven’t even washed my face this morning???
Number three:You will never have a relaxing meal or drink again. Infact you’ll make a cup of tea and your child will distract you so much that your tea is ice cold and your full of disappointment. Eating your dinner peacefully? Forget about it! Your child wants to throw food at you, eat your food or get down. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had a drink hurdled into my meal or my child ran of with my last sausage or smushed his food into the walls and across the floor. Eating at a restaurant becomes stressfull keeping you child entertained and on their best behaviour and sometimes you’d rather not eat out with them atal!
Number four: You will never have privacy. Your child comes everywhere with you. Staring, watching, planning their next attack! If you need a poo? Well child is coming too and going to throw a giant stegosaurus at your face. Trying to talk on the phone? Child decides all of the sudden they want to sing at the top of their voice! Just minding your own business shopping when your child decides nows the time to lift your top down and show everyone your boobies! Note to self, always wear a bra after the Morrison’s incident.
Number five: Kids are expensive. Always growing like some hyped up sunflower! One minuite they’re tiny and the next they’re twenty feet giants that weigh 77 tons. You go through clothes quicker then you can buy them and that expensive toy you brought well it’s been five minuites and it’s trash to them now. There’s always some new thing they’re into and new toys to buy. You’ll be really glad when you spend loads of money on something and they don’t care about it atall.
Number six: You’re always tired. Of course the sleep steeler cry’s all night or apparently like my child sings Elton johns can you feel the love tonight at 3 am like that’s the norm. Of course I want to be awoken to Elton John mate thanks! Your days start before the sun and yeah that coffees going cold so there is no help with the fatigue. Your running round all day playing and cleaning and your so stressed you don’t know how to function. Your mind is tired, your body is tired, you don’t know what day it is anymore. 9 months was not enough time to catch up on rest like they tell you!
Number seven: Your child will have a meltdown over ANYTHING. They picked up the wrong toy, you don’t have doughnuts in the house, you won’t let them lick a trolley while out shopping. ANYTHING. There is no reasoning with them either, everything is a complete battle at times. Want to get your child to put their shoes on? Cue half hour screaming meltdown on the floor wiggling around like a worm that’s been cut in half. Oh and yes they’ll be plenty in public and yes it’s humiliating!
Number eight: Say goodbye to your freedom. Want to go to the shops? Better pack a suitcase and load the car and pram and pack snacks and three changes of clothes and my life’s ambitions. Want to go on a romantic date? CHILDCARE!!! There’s no more dates without someone to watch your child. Want to go for a walk alone to calm down? Well you can’t! Want to wake up when you want and go to sleep when you want? You can’t! Want to go to a fancy restaurant? Well I’m sure there is no baby change or high chair facilities! Trip to the cinema forget about it! long walk? Lug a baby or buggy around or just bin it off and forget about it!
Number nine: Your body will change. You will put on weight everywhere, your face will change shape, your hips, arms, feet, hands and everywhere else! Your stomach may sag and you’ll have horrid squiggly lines scatted over your tummy. Your hair will fall out in clumps and you’ll block your hoover and drain almost daily. Your skin will get spotty or dry and itchy. Illnesses you never knew you had will come out of the pipework. You will get tired more often and if you need to sneeze or want to laugh?There is gonna be A lot of wee accidents. Wrinkles and bags under your eyes will be your latest accessories in your beauty quest.
Number 10: Your life will become filled with poo and sick. Yes you will have poo explosions where the watery poo reaches their hair. You will have the potty training poo in the pants. Your child will take their poo out their nappy and smear it all over their bedding, walls and cot because why not? It’s clearly scented paint! your child will throw up in your mouth at least once and my god a sickness bug makes you want to leave the city. So prepare for being covered, your child being covered, your house being covered and you’ll contemplate whether it’s easier to burn the house down sometimes then clean a smeared poo explosion.
Of course I love my child and I love my life now he’s in it but boy is a bit of a prick at times. Hope you had a laugh! Charlie x
As Elijah has gotten older we have tried to incorporate sensory play into our day to day lives. We have started using the outdoors as our play ground more and using natural supplies for both learning and fun. We enjoy going for walks and collecting plants and pebbles for arts and crafts or play.
We enjoy going to the beach and playing with the rocks. We like to build towers with the pebbles, we like to practise writing in the sand with our fingers or sticks. We like to build sandcastles and to dig holes. We like to throw rocks as far as we can in the water. This is Elijah’s favourite activity. We do this all year long even in the winter. We like to collect pebbles to take home with us to paint and then hide on future walks.
On walks we like to gather flowers, we like to gather sticks and leafs. We use the leafs and flowers for arts and craft activities such as sticking them to paper and painting. We often collect pine cones and conkers and use them for sensory play or counting. We also use the conkers to paint with as well sometimes. I like to fill a bowl or tray with flowers and natural things and incorporate Elijah’s toys to them. For example i have often put flowers in water in a tray and filled with some paint so its coloured and got Elijah to explore it. I like to use elijahs tuff tray and pick a theme and add natural items to compliment the play. I.e if i was choosing woodland animals id find all his toys that relate to that so id choose bears, squirrels and deer toys and add sticks, leaves and pine cones.
I like to use water in play. I like to set up a car wash or animal washing stations where i fill bowl with washing up liquid and water and Elijah sits there with a cloth cleaning his toys for ages! We also have a water table which he adores and a sandpit in the garden. He also uses his water and sand table which i often replace the filling to sensory items instead. We like to freeze toys in water and i love to watch Elijah’s mind working trying to get toys out with spoons or by smashing on the ground. You can also freeze flowers also!
We like using sand pits to hide toys or practice scooping or playing with his diggers in. We like using a brush and looking for bigger dinosaurs in the sand. We like hiding toys like a easter egg hunt around the house or in the garden and looking for them and collecting them all up.
You can also give your child a patch of dirt to garden in where they can dig, water and rake. Get them to help watering plants with a watering can. Get them to help plant their plants and seeds. Artificial plants are great for the child who loves to over watering and it teaches them to care for their planet at the same time.
I sometimes use flashcards and books to teach at the same time. I like hiding things in the trays to and instructing him to look for them. He likes digging for dinosaurs in his sandpit and fishing for fish in water with his net. We also hide flowers amongst leaves and fake insects to find.
I really want to get a mud kitchen for the garden for Elijah as i know he’d love it! But i think i’ll wait till hes bored of his kitchen being indoors. Until then we like to use plastic bowls to make mud cakes using dirt and water or we make potions with flowers and water and a little bit of glitter. When hes older i will make perfumes with him like i did with my nan. We used to pick flowers grind them up and place in water to make perfumes. We also look for bugs with our magnifying glass.
I hope you enjoyed my little using nature for sensory play blog post. Comment if you would like more! stay safe, Charlie x
I loved cooking with my grandparents and my great grandparents when I was younger it’s one of the few skills I’ve been able to bring to adulthood with me. As Elijahs grown older he’s enjoyed gaining more responsibility and learning about how food is prepared. He loves baking cakes but outside of just pushing a spoon around we’ve started doing a lot more.
I want my son to leave home and know how to take care of himself and his future family. Not to expect others to teach them. I’ve taught my husband how to cook now I am slowly teaching our son.
Start with little tasks. Obviously no sharp knifes and heat should be involved in their cooking. So here’s some small tasks I give my little man to help with cooking. He is two and a half!
First of all you can ask your child to pass you items. Elijah loves doing this. He really thinks he is helping. We also pass each other blunt knifes and forks.
He helps butter them bread. I’ll be it is a little holey but he enjoys using the blunt knife and helping. He likes spreading jam and spreading tomato purée on a wrap or pizza base to make pizzas.
Get them to chop with a blunt knife. Elijah likes chopping cheese, bread, sandwiches anything soft.
Help them pour food that is measures into a bowl and get them to help measure out food too.
Help mix cake mixes, salad, anything cold.
Get them to help pour drinks and cereal.
Get them to help place food on a plate ready for dinner and assemble their own packed lunches.
Help set the table. Your child can take their plate and cutlery to the table and then their drink.
As Elijah gets older he will have more responsibilities in the kitchen but for now he’s happy with his little step and his helping hands!
It’s also a great way to teach food hygiene from a young age too!
One thing I have really noticed since being a mother is how hard it can be. It’s not all sunshine’s and rainbows as people like to portray in their perfect little photos. Now more than ever I will scroll through my Facebook or Instagram and all I see is smiles and happiness when in fact I know full well behind the heavy filters and fake smiles is a kid who screams all day because he just feels like it and a parent at the end of her tether wondering what she ever did wrong to the kid.
I have always aimed to be an honest parent. Not only in my blog but on all social media platforms too. No matter if people judge me for my honesty i do it for the other mums. The mums who like me want to see the truth. Who want to see more photos of mums pouring them self a big glass of wine at the end of the day to try have some sort of happiness on those hard days. I want to see mums talking about their child’s tantrums, about how their child who drives them completely potty.
There is nothing more I hate then these parents who treat everything as a competition. Thinking their child is the best shiny trophy in their hall of fame and no other child will ever be as good. But have I got news for you. Your perfect child is perfect to you as my child is to me but I do not for a second believe my child is this angel because of my opinions or that I need to put my child above others. All children are equal and they all have tantrums at some point. If you’re lucky enough to have a mellow child look out because one day it will come. Until then don’t be an ass and only talk about how great your child is. Also don’t be that braggy and comparing mum.Nobody cares about your child reaching a milestone a day earlier then your friends child.
I want to hear about your sleepless nights, your child throwing their dinner against your white walls and carpet, I want to relate to you. I want to know that your just like me. Like I’m not alone in this world. I want to know that it’s normal to have a sob once a week because your child has relentlessly misbehaved because you perhaps didn’t let them have cake for breakfast or something equally as stupid as jump off a sofa face first.
I want you to know it’s okay to be honest. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to shout sometimes. It’s okay to feel stressed. You are not alone. Every other parent goes through this even if they don’t admit it. You’ve got this mama!
Hang in there because one day when they’ve moved out you might actually get to finish a hot drink or have a conversation that doesn’t relate back to your kids at some point!
Dms are always open for a moan about your kid I’m listening! I know you love your kid and accept that they’re little balls of anger. You are not a bad mum. What you see on the internet is not the whole picture. A second of the days does not compute someone’s whole day and what goes on behind that camera screen.
Reading is so important and with so little resources readily available at the moment such as bookshops and libraries it’s hard to think of new ways to both entertain and educate your child. Elijah has always been interested in learning through play. He’s always loved stories and learning activities and without access to shops to find more we have had to adapt. We where very lucky when the people at reading eggs asked us to collaborate with them gifting us a chance to trial their reading app.
This app enables your child to not only learn to read, but also to write and puzzle solve. There are so many varied activities for many different ages from two upwards. Elijah loves that the app is interactive. He likes to be able to touch the screen on an app and also to be able to hear an activities noise too. The apps are super colourful and age appropriate.Elijah is enjoying identifying the alphabet that bit more better and learning about words. We are currently trying the handwriting app and he seems to be getting the hang of it. He doesn’t get bored of it like most apps trying to close it and move on but stays engaged and completes each activity before wanting to move on to the next. This is something that i’ve really enjoyed about this app because anything that can keep a child’s focus is amazing in my eyes.
My favourite thing about this app is that it talks your child through the activity as well as praising their good work. The app is available on many platforms and app stores but we love using it on the chromebook because of the bigger screen and not having to hold the tablet. We will certainly be using this app for years to come and it is a app that he will grow with. The app is also perfect for homeschooling too!
Elijah is in a funny old stage again when he is obsessed with me. The stress of being locked in together has caused Elijah to go from this independent child to a child that needs to be around me all the time asking where I’m going if I stand up to leave the room. Although I’m flattered I do need my personal space at times just as he needs his. There is a point when it becomes a bit unhealthy.
Toddlers need to be taught boundaries. Obviously they need to learn about them or they will never understand. I make sure I spend time telling Elijah I need some personal space or I’m having five minutes to myself. I explain mummy doesn’t need to be brought toys or snacks to open while I’m on the toilet. I explain I don’t want to be climbed all over like a climbing frame all day either. I explain if I don’t like something too. Elijah has a new habit of using me as a slide I explain all the time I don’t like it and it must stop. He normally gets the memo and walks of but before when I didn’t tell him he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t turn into a happy little human slide.
Teach through reading:
We have brought a few books about personal space. My favourite his Harrison Spader personal space invader. The book talks about being overly close to people and setting boundaries. It explains that people can get upset by it and we understand why you do it as it’s showing your love!
Spend time sharing the love:
Spend time cuddling and watching films together and lots of time playing together and explain when you want a break so your child understands. Don’t just walk of when they’re playing but tell them mummy’s going to have a little break you continue to play nicely!
Spend some timeapart if you can:
If your self isolating with another adult spend some time away from your child and let the other adult take them for a walk or entertain them while you have some alone time. This way you maintain a bit more calm and your child understands you aren’t constantly at their beck and call and it’s ok to be around others. It’s good for the child to bond with that person too. There should be other relationships formed.
FaceTime other people:
FaceTime others so you can catch up and your child can talk to them too. This reminds them you’re not the only person in the world to them and puts them a bit at ease. They love a FaceTime session as they get to be silly too!
Take a breather:
You can get really stressed out having someone in your face all day and if it was a adult you’d tell them where to go but with a child you can’t do that. So instead if you feel stressed perhaps take a few minutes outside the room have a cup of tea and calm down. When you come back take a calming moment with your child too so they can calm down too. You will feel so much better for it.
Hope my advice sometimes helps, I’m no expert but just a mum. Stay safe, Charlie x
A few weeks ago I was sitting there thinking about how I can I use Elijahs tablet to enable him to learn while having fun. That’s when we where contacted by the people at osmo! We were very fortunate to be gifted a fantastic set from the lovely Osmo in exchange for a review. And what a treat it has been too recieve such amazing items.
First of all the packaging and design of their items is so sleek and also interesting for children at the same time. Elijah could somewhat tell what was inside and was thrilled to open it up! Inside the box sent to us was the stand to be able to use the osmo app, a Mickey Mouse super studio and our favourite the play mat with squiggle magic bits!
It was super easy to download all you do is follow the instructions and your ready to play. Elijah was very excited by something new and was to eager to help set up!
Elijah enjoyed playing with squiggle magic the most. This app teaches children to design with the use of the kit where it is reflected onto the screen where it picks up their designs and brings it to life. He enjoyed matching up the pieces (with a little bit of help) to the design on the pad. We also went rogue and he made his own designs to. He enjoyed the colours and loved listing them and talking about what was happening on the screen to. We also made numbers and letters with the squiggle pieces which is fantastic for learning! He may still be a little young to enjoy the full content of the games but he did absolutely love getting involved and just needed some help from mum. We also love how space saving it is and easy to clean away. It is so handy that the squiggle bits come in a nice little box for storage!
The next product we had to test was the Mickey Mouse super studio. This was a note pad which connects to the device again which gives you activity’s to do. You draw and it appears on the screen like magic. We worked together to complete some of the activities which he enjoyed. He is a little young for this one but he did enjoy all the characters as he’s obsessed with Mickey Mouse clubhouse now! we will be using this when he’s older a lot more and we love that it comes with its own branded items such as pen and wipe and it’s super easy to clean!
Overall we love this product and it’s something we keep getting out and playing. We will explore more and more the older he gets and it’s the perfect toy to grow up and learn with. We also have lots of friends and family with children of all ages which I know will love coming round to play with it! Thankyou osmo we love it!
As a mother you develop a sense of patience. A limit to how much you can handle and how long you can keep calm and a level head. As they get older your patience grows. However now more than ever my patience is being tested to its absolute limits. Elijah has become quite obsessed with pushing boundaries at the moment. I understand that yes this is part of his development but he almost seems in complete overdrive at the moment.
I mean I’m struggling because I can’t go anywhere without him. I go to the toilet he decided to shove something in my face while I beg for alone time. I cook dinner he’s at the stair gate screaming. Clearly he’s developed a attachment to me more now which is flattering but at the same time really annoying. Everything he seems to do is something to grab my attention. Normally something he does is quite negative such as I sit here right now in my little mind full corner he’s being told of by his dad for constantly jumping of sofa and throwing things. The sarcasm from that child is something else completely.
I know he’s in that development stage where he’s learning who’s the boss, what’s right and wrong and what he can get away with it. The terrible twos certainly are living up to their reputation and breaking me. It’s causing my depression to creep back in with the exhaustion that comes with it. I am struggling to have the energy to argue anymore and he’s worse behaved when I don’t argue to tell him to stop being bad.
Talking to other people about the stress I’m feeling at the moment keeps somewhat being put down. “Oh I remember when mine was 2! It wasn’t so bad!” Well yes I imagine it wasn’t. Why? The simple difference is that not only is my child 2 he has also not left the house other then for a walk for almost 3 months now (we started isolating at the beginning of March with Elijah) . I mean yes it must of been hard your child being two but imagine not being able to go out and let your hair down. Imagine not being able to go to your mums for a cuppa to unload or be able to have a night or day off it it all got to much. Instead it is 24 hours of the repeated arguements, tantrums and mood swings that leave you in a frazzled sleepy state of mind.
I’ve noticed I can’t concentrate much at the moment as I’m trying to keep my head above water and focus on keeping together. At times I zone out to try keep myself from failing. My head is a constant headache and sometimes I can’t concentrate on tasks I’m doing. I grow impatient very quickly now and I have become bored of the same thing everyday. I’m hopeful I’ll regain more patience as more things are lifted with the restrictions but for now I’m exhausted and tired of it all .