I’m a Planner

This is what the side of our fridge looks like now. I also have a number of notebooks on the go…

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With my husband able to work from home this has already been very useful for us.  He has an idea of how I see mine and Aidan’s day going and he can plan little breaks into his working day to come and play with us. For example I’m not really able to run around the garden with Aidan at the moment ( I’m 28 weeks pregnant and feeling it!) so Daddy can take a break, run around a little bit and then we can all go out for a walk.

The daily break downs are a memory jog for me, I put some cars in the freezer for an activity and completely forgot, but when I saw ‘frozen cars’ on the note for yesterdays PM activity I knew what I was planning to do! (And that precious freezer space could be freed back up should we need it)!

It’s also helpful to have all this there so that if I got sick Daddy would have some inspiration for things to do.  I wouldn’t expect him to “do it my way”, he’s creative and perfectly capable of thinking up activities for the themes, but anything I can do to help ease the stress of a situation like that puts my mind at ease too.

I have planned which themes we’ll do each week all the way up to the end of June, this just helps me focus on the themes for the closest weeks when I’m scrolling Pinterest for inspiration.

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I’m particularly looking forward to the At Home theme, I can’t wait to teach Aidan how to do all the chores I hate… ;D

Follow me over on Instagram to see what we’re doing day to day and check back here for more of my planning posts soon!

 

Charity Shop “Haul”

So in my last post I said I’d been to our local charity shop to try and get a hold of a few bit to help me with our upcoming themes and activities. I thought I’d show you what I got and give you an idea of what I’m going to do with them.

I’ve also done a few Amazon orders and so I’ll do a post about those items soon.

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I was pretty pleased with what I found, I’ll be keeping these things hidden away until they are needed so that they are new and interesting to Aidan when they come out. I’ll break it down into themes.

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I got a farmer and tractor, these will probably end up nice and muddy. A book of various stories and rhymes about Old McDonald and Farmyard bingo.  I’m not expecting Aidan to be able to play this, but we can use the tiles as flash cards so he can learn the animals names and sounds.  I’m also just noticing that there’s a storybook included in that, I’ve not actually opened it yet so we’ll have to see if it’s in there.

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The zoo was a topic I was planning to do very soon, in the hope that we might still be able to get out to the zoo, with the ever changing guidelines and recommendations for high risk groups (I have asthma and am pregnant so currently fall into two of the three groups) I thought it best to put it off until later in the year, even if I can’t get out maybe Daddy can take Aidan out to see the animals.

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This one was a little more for me than Aidan really, I wanted something with some dino facts and nice pictures to inspire me.  It does have flaps though so Aidan will be happy to sit down with me and have a look through. I also managed to grab a few plastic dinosaurs on a more recent trip out. I’ll be doing some messy play with those.

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A few of these things will be usable over multiple topics, these will all get used for our Animal theme.  The puppies at the back will be covered in sticky back plastic and made into puzzles.

These three are just a few extras that caught my eye.  I thought they could be extra visual aids to support themes.  Nice pictures and even though I’m not, for example, expecting Aidan to lean the alphabet from the large flashcards, they can be out and we can still talk about the letters and pictures.

A lot of these things will probably act as more of a prompt for me and help me think about what things fall into certain themes and topics.  In the end I want Aidan to have fun and enjoy playing and I can tell that he enjoys playing more when there’s not hundreds of toys all over the floor and mummy is say on the sofa watching.  Having the themes helps me focus what tops and activities I provide for him and the displacement activity of planning and organising our week around the themes is giving me the mental peace to continue to enjoy playing with him.  I feel like I’ve been productive and have helped make the world a little better for Aidan by planning thing for him to do and so I can allow myself the time to play with him, instead of worrying about things I cannot effect.

Follow me over on Instagram to see what we’re doing day to day and check back here for more of my planning posts soon!

On the Road – Day One

If you’re not sure what this post is about head to my previous post and have a read of that first, then come back here.

I will try and get into the habit of loosely planning out the whole weeks worth of activities, so I have plenty of time to prepare, but organising each activity the evening before or during the day.

Our theme for this week is ‘On the Road’, Aidan loves vehicles and so this was a fairly easy theme to get started with.  I started by writing down a few activity ideas that I can use throughout the week. I wrote down anything that came to mind, from messy ‘Tractors in the mud’ to really simple ‘Pointing out cars on the way to the shop’.  This helped me to see that even the simplest, most every day activities could be a source of entertainment.

Today was off to a bit of a funny start because Aidan woke up early and so he needed a nap by 9am… So we got the day started properly at 10am with some outdoor play.

I put his ball pool out with some cars in and his bike. Mostly he just wanted to be chased but we did spend a little bit of time using the cars to push balls around and rolling cars as far as we could with one push.  He also had his snack outside which isn’t usual so i think he enjoyed that.

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Then we went for a walk to the charity shops in the village, I wanted to try and pick up a few things that would help me with future activities and on the way we talked about what cars we could see.  I’d asked Aidan before we left what he thought we might see and he wanted to see a tractor, I told him I didn’t think we’d see a tractor but I was wrong! He spotted it way out on the main road and was very excited to point it out to me.

When we got back it was time for lunch, while daddy and I put a few bits together Aidan played by himself. After lunch we put him down for his nap.   The morning nap was 100% required but totally screwed us up for his afternoon nap.  He ended up chatting and singing to himself in his cot for 30 mins or so, long enough for me to clear away all the mornings toys and set out a few new things for him to play with (and put my feet up for 10 minutes with a cuppa).

We spent the afternoon building towers and running cars down tracks, two toys he rarely gets out on his own.  We read a couple of books and talked about what we could see in them.  At about 3 we went back out into the garden to play with a ball and some larger push along toys.  I had hoped he would entertain himself a little so I could wash the dishes but he wanted to play together so we kicked the ball around and he had his afternoon snack.  Getting him back inside was challenging, he wanted to play on his bike and be chased some more but it was getting cold and I was starting to get a bit stiff so I tempted him back inside telling him he could race his bike around while I started tea. Daddy to the rescue at this point, we have a running stroller and Aidan loves going out for a run with daddy so they went out while I made tea.

We played quietly with bricks once we were done and then it was time for his bedtime routine. The day flowed quite naturally, I had quick and simple activities up my sleeve in case we ran out of steam on something so it’s nice to have those in the bag for another day!

Tuesdays and Wednesdays he goes to a childminder and all being well he will be able to do that as normal this week. I will plan another couple of days of activities on our theme and hopefully that will see us through the week. I guess we’re going to be taking each day as it comes for now, trying to keep as much normality as we can until things change. It’s nice to feel prepared though and getting into good habits early will help us later.

Our Day – Roughly…

Chances are at some point in the next few weeks we’re going to be told we have to stay inside. One of my big anxieties is around keeping Aidan, who’s nearly 2, well entertained and myself sane. I took a look at Five Minute Mum’s website and Instagram for a few ideas and her latest blog post was a big help. I definitely find that I need structure and routine to help keep me calm. Not rigid hour by hour type stuff, but I like to have a plan for the day and if I can extend that to a loose week plan it’s even better. I had a look at FMM’s example of how she would structure her day if she had to keep her kids home and used that as a base to create something for us too. Today was day one, I thought I might as well start straight away to get into the habit. It was brilliant! Here’s how I’m doing things.

Our day normally starts around 6 and we try to have a fairly relaxed morning getting ready.

6am – 8am – Free play, Breakfast, Wash and Dress

Aidan isn’t at school so we wont need to keep up with his education, but I do like to encourage his development through activities and play.

8am – 10am – Books, Communication based games, Drawing/colouring. – These are activities that support development of speech, reading, writing etc. obviously I do not expect him to read or write, but drawing helps with fine motor control which supports writing. Being read too supports his reading and doing activities that involve him following instructions are good for his understanding of language.

10am- 1130 – Snack, Outdoor play (clean/dry), Physical play, The World. – at the moment we can still go outside to parks or the shops, these activities would be included in this slot.

1130 – 1300 – Free play, Lunch.

1300 – 1500 – Nap/ Quiet time, Snack. – The length of his nap can vary day to day and some days he wont sleep at all, but I do try to leave him in his cot as long as he is happy. This gives me a bit of a break and I think is good for him. Even if he doesn’t sleep he seems more refreshed after a bit of time in a dark and quiet room.

1500 – 1600 – Outside play (Dirty/ Wet), Messy play, “Science”/baking, Water. – We are lucky to have a nice garden that we (we assume?!) can continue to use so we’ll be out there as much as possible for messy play.

1600 – 1700 – Free play, TV time – This is my opportunity to tidy and cook.  Aidan is not particularly interested in TV unless it’s Peppa Pig in which case he would watch it all day. Most days we don’t have the TV on, but it can be very a useful tool to get a bit of quiet time.

1700 – Tea Time

Aidan goes to bed around 630 so any time after tea is spent playing with daddy and getting ready for bed.

Each “slot” it very rough, they are acting as more of a prompt for me to mix the day up and keep things interesting for him.  If he is enjoying being outside I’m not going to drag him kicking and screaming back into the house because the timetable says he should be playing inside. Likewise if he’s not interested in an activity then he’s free to go away and do something else.

I’ve picked a theme for the week and so the toys and books I get out and the activities that I organise will be related to the theme in some way. Again this is just as much for me as it is for him, for example today I found it much easier to engage in his play because I had had little ideas of how this toy or activity could reflect the theme. I encouraged him to play with me as I did things and he seemed more engaged because we were playing together. Aidan is very good at playing on his own and so I must admit that I often find it very easy to disengage from his playtime and scroll Instagram, but today I loved that for the vast majority of the day I was on the floor or in the garden and my phone lay mostly untouched on the counter top.

For my own benefit entirely I’ve written down what we did today and things I noticed him doing that I thought were interesting for example he was able to stack a tower of bricks much higher than I’d seen him do before. I’m doing this to keep me motivated, I can look back and see how he engaged with what we were doing.

I’m going to share some of our days here and if I find any other good resources I’ll try and leave links in case they can be helpful.

Five Minute Mum

What to Expect, When? – We bought a copy of this after having it recommended by a family member that’s a childminder.  It’s great for getting an idea of how children develop from birth to 5 years.  It has some suggestions for things you can do to support development areas.

 

Summer Bucket List – 2018

Last year I did a bucket list for Autumn. Unfortunately I spent most of Autumn suffering from morning sickness and really didn’t fancy doing anything or eating anything. So that one might have to role over to this Autumn… This year, I’ve decided to do a summer bucket list, because I’m sure that having a new born will be really easy and in no way prevent me from flitting off to the beach for a sunbathe…

This summer is going to be really exciting for us, our little one is due anytime now (full discloser I’m writing this in May so he could totally be here by the time you’re reading this…). Having a new born is definitely going to impact what’s practical to do, but, on the other hand, having a list of things to get me out of the house after those first few weeks might be a really good motivator. Plus we’ll have lots of visits from grandparents and the things on my list are perfect day out with Granny and Grandad material.

1. Picnic by the River. Something my parents suggest we should do every year and we never get round to. The thought of finding a nice shaded spot, laying down the babe and letting him have a good old wriggle about while we sip elderflower drinks (or wine, who am I kidding) and eat little sandwiches. Ah Bliss.

2. Beach Day! There is ample coast here in Norfolk and in theory, there should be plenty of time before the summer hols start when a mid week trip to the beach is possible. Hubby is very very lucky with the amount of paternity leave he gets so hopefully before he returns to work we’ll all be feeling up to a little day trip to the seaside.

3. Boat Day. This one might be the most optimistic. We’ve had a few days out on the Broads since moving to Norwich and we love it. We rent a boat from somewhere around Wroxham and cruise about for a few hours enjoying the sun and the scenery. Adding a baby into this might not lead to a massively relaxing day, and I don’t want to think about being stuck on a boat with no clean clothes or nappies… Maybe just a half day?

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4. Do up the Garden. We’ve already made a bit of a start on this one by planting some flowers in pots. But I’d like to get some nice garden furniture, maybe lay some temporary decking, and just spend time sitting outside. Our garden is far from picturesque, but with a bit of TLC we might be able to pretty it up a bit. And again perfect for those early weeks with baby, if I don’t feel like going far, I can just sit in the garden for a few hours and soak up some vitamin D.

Bonus Wish! I’d really like to try wild swimming… I don’t know of anywhere in Norfolk that’s safe but I think I know of one or two places up north, so maybe on a visit to family we could swing by a good deep river and have a splash about… Any tips for wild swimming in Norfolk let me know!

 

A scarf would bring this together…

I kicked myself when I got into the city and realised I’d forgotten to wear my new favourite scarf. I think the outfit works without it but the scarf added something… I’m not sure what… oh wait. I know. Warmth!! I was so freaking cold taking these pictures!

This is my first real “put together” maternity outfit. I’ve been unconvinced by maternity wear, not sure if it’s a waste of money. I bought myself this shirt from H&M and I’m so glad I did. Putting on a well fitting item of clothing can really help you feel good. I’ve not wanted to post outfit pics because I’ve not really been happy with what I’m wearing, but on this day I felt like myself again and loved it. I’m not going over the top with maternity wear because I still think it can be a bit of a waste of money (except the jeans, they are so comfortable I just want to live in them forever). But having a few nice items in my wardrobe is going to be important for me I think.

Jeans – Jojo Maman Bebe | Boots (similar)- Clarks | Shirt – H&M | Coat (similar) – H&M | Hat -Accessorise

Casually Hanging out in a Multi Story Car-park

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Is this not the most natural place to take photos? No?…  I wondered why we were getting some odd looks. Hey look its those jeans again!  And these boots show up fairly often too…

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It’s officially autumn and that brings with it the joy of coats.  This year I knew what I was looking for when I went out shopping, I couldn’t spend too much but obviously wanted a coat that would last.  This one is perfect, cozy, pockets, a nice collar and a good length. It has it all!

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Here are a few other nice coats that have caught my eye.

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Autumn Bucket List

I’ve seen a lot of people doing a kind of seasonal bucket list and I really like the idea.  It can be really easy to miss out on the changing seasons, what with work and life taking up so much time.  Having a small list of things you’d really like to do and planning time to do them is a great way to ensure you really appreciate your time.  It can be so easy to make no plans and waste a weekend or day off.  Here’s my Autumn to-do list!

  1. Have a snuggle picnic.  I totally made up the name of this. I wanted to go for a picnic during the summer and never did.  So I’d like to pack up loads of blankets and cushions and snuggle up in a park with an autumnal picnic!
  2. Bake Parkin and/or Gingerbread. Parkin is a traditionally northern English cake or biscuit.  Like gingerbread but made with black treacle.  Perfect for nibbling around a bonfire.
  3. Go fruit picking. Any Norwich based folks with tips on where to pick fruit hit me up!
  4. Have a dinner Party. For me, Autumn feels like the perfect time to fill your house with friends and delicious food.
  5. Carve a Pumpkin. Ok so it’s cliche but I do love carving pumpkins and it lends itself perfectly to my last one…
  6. Make pumpkin pie (and make mum try it). I love pumpkin pie and it shocks me that my mother has never had it. (although that would explain why I never had any until my 20s).  This year I’ll be sure to get mum to try some.  This is my favourite recipe


It’s taken me to the end of this list to see that I obviously like food in Autumn…. All food based!

What’s on your Autumn bucket list?

Favourites September Edition – Summer Memories

This summer brought with it a lot of change and a lot of excitement. Of course my birthday should be the highlight of summer for everyone around me, but this year we had other things to celebrate.

Since I’ve been married I have been sharing my husband with another being.  I think it’s fair to call it a being because it’s taken up so much of his time and energy, has caused us excitements, stresses and disappointments. This summer my husband finished his PhD and is now officially Dr Mundy.  We attended his graduation in Manchester and it felt like some kind of birth/funeral hybrid. 


This trip also brought with it another excitement, driving. Earlier in the year I passed my driving test (second try, all the best drivers pass second time).  We bought an old car from a work friend and the 5 hour drive from Norwich to Derbyshire was the first long drive I made.  I had to do all the driving, it was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. 

We moved house (again. We have lived in a different house for every year we have been married). Moving brought us closer to our allotment from which we got our first (and last) harvest! We’ll still be eating the potatoes at Christmas.  We also abandoned the idea of an allotment in favour of a container garden.

Plus there was A LOT of great coffees and brunches with Laura from Rose and Weston. More of that in Autumn please!

Always the Same Jeans

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I’ve noticed that I always wear the same pair of jeans…  At least in my blog posts!  I do have other jeans I promise.  My next outfit post will mostly likely also feature these jeans, but after that I’ll try and mix it up!  No guarantees though, I do love this pair.

The best thing about these jeans is that they are pretty easy to dress up or down.  This outfit was my second of the day, the first being a simple t-shirt and jeans job.  But with a switch of top and the addition of a jacket it went from casual to smart.  This has pretty much been my go to evening outfit the past few weeks because it’s so easy and comfortable.

These shoes are a bit of a killer though.  The first time I wore them they cut my heels so badly I was a little worried I’d bleed out… They are now stained with my blood and that shows up really obviously in some lights so I got very few close ups of the pretty gold heels…

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Shoes New Look Similar Here (I wish it were these…) | Jeans Next Similar here | Blazer H&M Similar here | Watch Elie Beaumont | Shirt New Look. I could find nothing similar but this would look nice