Cracking Crafts for Kids

Keep the little ones Eggcited with some arty activities this Easter

Be an EGG-stra good EGG and keep your little chicks EGG-stremly busy with these CRACKING crafts:

  1. Cute finger stamping card making   –  this is a relatively stress free choice of activity as it only involves fingers, thumbs,  a stamp pad ( ideally pink and yellow) and card. Check out Sarah’s how to guide for something EGG-specially good!
  2. Pom Pom Easter egg pictures – are a great way to keep painting less messy and are super for little hands who are just mastering their fine motor skills. Once it is completed you can hang them up and make your own Easter bunting. All you need is : a paper plate, pompoms, clothes pegs and paper. I would also recommend an Easter egg template you can prep for your children too. The older ones might like to use cotton buds instead to make a more intricate design.
  3. Baking Mini Egg cookies  – Why wouldn’t you?! I am most definitely going to be trying these over the Easter period. Clare’s mini tots page has a very easy and perfect recipe.

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4. Salt-dough ornaments– are a fantastic make that you can keep bringing out year after year to decorate your home. I personally like to have an Easter tree on display around this time of year and you can even bring them out at Christmas if your tree is looking a little bare!  Suitable for all ages so a win win! All instructions can be found here
Easter Salt Dough Eggs Easter Salt Dough Eggs

5. Washi Tape Easter Eggs  – MESS FREE! YIPPEE!  – Washi tape is THE best invention. A way to add colour to things with zero mess. You don’t even need scissors as the tape can be ripped with fingers! Get your little one to decorate to their hearts content and smile with glee knowing all is easy to clean up! All info can be found here

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I hope this gives you a little inspiration this Easter and I would love to see your makes so why not follow me and use the #onemamaskingdom on Instagram and share what you are up to!

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Happy Holidays

For a little less stress this Easter try my EGG-stra useful top tips for travelling…

Last year my husband and I (with 5 month old bump) flew to Texas to visit family and it was the last time we flew without having to think about anyone else. O how times have changed…

We are very lucky to have family in France and Spain and at 7 months old Freddie has already been on an aeroplane to France and Spain twice. On this occasion, just last week,  I even did the trip on my own. It was a little more tricky getting bags into the overhead lockers, carrying baby and bags onto the plane and putting on the baby seat-belt on without my man to help. Going to the toilet was also a challenge, as was getting toys/books etc out of my very organised rucksack, but it can be done. A little quirk you need to know about me is even when I travel on my own, I pack 3 times. The first time I pack is like I vomit up all my favourite holiday clothes on the bed. During the second packing session,  I sort through my clothes thinking about the weather forecast,  colours that blend well and shoes that will probably be inappropriate for a trip k, going on. The final packing stint sees me layout all my narrowed down outfits in concession, ensuring I have enough to wear and then add the toiletries. O how times have changed…now all I think about is the baby and I just hope I have enough knickers to see me through!

I hope this blog helps those families off on holiday with babes this Easter, who like me, like to plan for every eventuality, but hate the burden of carrying lots of bags and just want a zen experience when travelling with children.
My top travel tips

📁Be organised – this is essential if you want to remain smiley,  just at your own smugness if nothing else,  for not having to empty all the contents of your bag out for the dummy. My advice is get a rucksack. I have a Land Bag, which I bought on Amazon and for me it was perfect. The best bit is there are compartments in the bag perfect for baby things such as: nappies, bottles, toys and you can see everything. This is essential for that face to stay smiley!

🙌Go hands-free – when travelling on your own this is a must and also helps when you need to hold little hands. The bum bag is your freidns and you can find some cool ones out there so don’t be out off. You can access the main essentials: keys, money,  phone and passports, car park ticket with the pull of a zip and they will always be close by and accessible even if you have a baby on your hip. The bonus is you can use this on holiday too!

🎒Pack a bag- within a bag. I take a little foldable rucksack because trust me, you won’t want to carry a big nappy bag around on holiday with you. It also gives you permission to take only the bare necessities.

🚃📱📖✏️Take toys and books – when travelling with any children one should always provide entertainment, for some it could be the digital nanny (ipad) for others it might be a good old colouring book and crayons. For littlies I suggest small things to chew and a book to read. but what I found out recently is that my little man loves an old magazine page (quality thick paper) and an empty wet wipe packet – he is mesmerised by the noise. But whatever you decide make is accessible and age appropriate. You will thank me. O and take spares for the nights you might be out….new toys/ activities will give you, at the very least, 30 minutes of quite time.

🍼👶Find Substitutes abroad – I found an amazing website that helps you know what to buy for your babies when you arrive at your destination. It gives you the names of brands you might use at home and tells you the equivalent of what to buy on your hols. By buying abroad it will give you heaps more space in your bags and will stop mamas like me worrying about what to get in the super market when faced with a mix of foreign options. I bought nappies and milk. check out babies abroad

Smuggle your scent – babies like to smell you and smell things from home so make sure you pack his/hers favourite blanket, his cuddle toy and a few other familiar things like his dummy, toys books or anything you think might make him/ her feel secure. Sometimes even a piece of clothing that smells like you could work. It also helps to have an opaque blanket that you can use to block out the horrible strip lighting and subdue the other stimuli on the plane.

Ask for help – there are nice people out there and if you don’t ask sometimes people will assume you are OK. Also,  when travelling as a solo parent, when someones offers to help remember to say yes  – I nearly turned down help on this last trip as I had ,managed all by myself the whole trip from Spain to Bournemouth and could have easily got my bags on my own surely….. but when the lovely customs man came to ask if he could help …he was my hero – getting bags and pushchair off the bag carousel whilst holding a 7 month old is not easy. FACT. Be gracious.

You’ve got this mama!

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Monkey Business

Charlie’s Chimps is a highly energetic, fun and engaging class combining drama, dance and music.

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When you are new to an area, especially as a new mama, you are on the constant look out for things to do with your little ones to keep busy and to meet other people like you, but it is not always easy to find out exactly what’s on. This was one of the reasons I started my blog. Facebook can be really useful but it is not always the medium of choice for baby groups and as with most good set ups, word of mouth is the best form of advertising around. But if you don’t know anyone these recommendations are hard to come by. So, when I spotted a Charlie’s Chimps flyer, a bright sunshine of sunshine yellow displayed on a bulletin board, it was like a beacon!

I found the website and contacted Megan on Facebook. Megan was super quick to respond and gave me clear information for my taster session. So, the following week off Freddie and I went to our first Charlie’s Chimps session. It certainly did not disappoint.

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 Freddie liked his new friend Leo the Lion

Charlie’s Chimps is a highly energetic, fun and engaging class combining drama, dance and music. The star of the show has to be Charlie the Chimp himself. He is a larger than life puppet; cheeky but full of cheer. He loves cuddles, bubbles and a good ol’ dance in the jungle! The whole session is packed with songs, music and movement and little ones will not be bored! It is a wonderful sensory experience and children get to have hands on experience too by being invited to play instruments, games and even chance to use some very cool themed props as well as singing along to a jungle chorus.

 

Freddie went along when he just turned 6 months, and he wasn’t quite sitting up on his own so it was a little hard for him to appreciate some of the activities but he sat on my lap and enjoyed playing with the instruments (just not in the way they were intended!).

Megan offers a little break in half way through  – perfect for your little monkeys to can catch their breath and have a quick drink – as can mums and dads and then it is off again to meet more jungle characters.

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The classes last around 35 minutes to ensure maximum engagement and enjoyment and there is not a moment wasted! The class I went to was held at Blandford URC hall on Whitecliff Mill Street, so really central and an excuse for a coffee afterwards. Please check the website for current classes and times and there are also workshops available.

Megan is vivacious and with a performing and teaching background she is the perfect person to take you on this wonderful fusion journey of drama, dance and music with your little people. So, if you like high energy, music, games and having lots of fun with your little one  – get in touch with Megan and get ready for a jungle adventure and let your babes revel in the limelight.

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The day I became a Mother…

It frightened me. I mean truly scared me with such intensity that I could not put it into words. It was more than any fear I had felt before. Worse than the fear of jumping off rocks into the sea, worse than riding your bike with no hands down a hill, worse than singing in front of people, worse than starting a new school, worse than acting on stage to a theatre full of strangers and worse than swimming in the Devils pool at the top of Victorian Falls (Although I do believe it was a similar feeling to this). The day I became a mother was the day I realised what mothers really are and what women are capable of. The sudden responsibility that hits you like a freight train. There is no manual, no guidebook or mini pamphlet to get you going. It is wham, Bam and now you are a Mam! It is now over to you to protect this human from all that life throws at them. To know what to do to care for this little being. Yesterday you were ‘You’, an individual with a purpose and with your s*** together (Or so I thought) but in an instance it will never be the same again. Everything changed; my mind, body and soul and just like that I needed to be mothered, despite, in that moment I was now a mother myself.

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Alfred (Freddie) Strongman was born at 12:31 during a Perseid meteor shower, unexpectedly on the living room floor with the crew of two ambulances, as witnesses and a midwife who arrived 10 minutes before he arrived. My labour lasted 4 hours and 5 minutes, from start to finish, and it was so speedy that we went to hospital to get checked over and when we came home my mom was waiting. There are no words that I can write to explain how she helped me in those first few weeks, I’m not sure we even talked much at all she was just there, helping me, showing me, teaching me, caring for me, mothering me. She was an angel and my husband was my hero and there is no way I can ever thank her enough.

So for this mother’s day I wanted to share what my mother did for me when I became a mother for the first time:

  • she cleaned the kitchen cupboards
  • she made me egg sandwiches even when I wasn’t hungry
  • she helped me breastfeed
  • she washed and bathed me and helped me to get dressed
  • she cooked for us all
  • she cleaned and tidied
  • she drove to France and dropped off my step-dad and then drove all the way back in the same day because she just knew I needed her.
  • she made me sleep in the afternoon – even for just 20 minutes
  • she slept on the nursery floor and woke me every-time Freddie woke up for feeding so I could get maximum sleep  (I was so worried that he was in his own room because we just didn’t have the space for him to sleep in with us but ‘they say’ the baby must sleep in your room for the first 6 months). She also slept on the sofa whenever she visited as we did not have a spare room.
  • she made me so many drinks to keep me hydrated
  • she reassured me constantly
  • she told me how amazing I was doing – ALL the time!
  • she made me go for walks and get out of the house
  • she burped Freddie in her special way (we just didn’t/don’t have her bosom!)

And these were just a handful of deeds she did. She did so much more.

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I can honestly say I have never felt so much love for her. I can barely remember if we talked or spoke to one another. My hormones were raging, I was still in shock and my brain was trying to catch up with my body about that fact we had just given birth to a baby on the wooden living room floor. But, I do know that without her love it would have been so much harder. I can appreciate it now, the thread that is so strong between mother and child, an invisible force, intangible but palpable. It will be there for forever.  To make a human, grow and nurture it inside your body and then love that small person; the journey is full of alchemy and the love is like nothing I have ever felt before and at the age of 32 I can honestly say I felt it move from my mom to me , like both ends of a ribbon had been tied together. It feels like an exhale of breath signifying a true understanding – we are now part of the same club. It is still frightening but nearly 7 months in and I absolutely LOVE being Freddie’s mama. I feel so much stronger and confident and have learnt so much. I am certain there will always be an element of fear and slight self-doubt but in the same way I repeated my affirmations before birth, I am repeating some now:

‘I am enough’

‘You got this Mama’

‘Breathe and be calm’

To all the mums, watching over us, in heaven, on earth, near or far, new or old, step-mums, mother figures, grandmothers, mums- to- be….. you are, have been and will always be the most amazing people. Today is your day.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

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A mother’s love lasts forever and its bond can not be broken.

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If you go down to the woods today….

You’ll find the most amazing mum, baby and toddler group called…

BUSH BABIES

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Before we even moved to Dorset I was trying to find out as much as I could about the area from our home in Kent. I googled, and trawled through Facebook hoping to find some mum and baby groups we could go to so I could make friends and get out the house with Freddie and explore our new home turf.  The first Facebook page I found was Bush Babies and I am so glad I did. Not only do we have fun twice a week in the woods (if we can get ourselves out and ready in time) but I have also made some lovely new friends! Yay!

Bush Babies is a truly brilliant mum, baby and toddler group set up by Rosie and her band of merry helpers. Nestled in the heart of the Dorset’s magical woodland, just outside the village of Durweston, (near Blandford) it takes place every week on Tuesday and Friday mornings, whatever the weather! The session runs from 9:30am – 12:00pm.

The founder, Rosie has a huge passion for outdoor learning, wildlife, plants and adventures and having just completed her Forest School Course, she is perfectly placed to play, explore and educate our Bush Babies in Mother Nature’s own playground.

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The morning begins at The Living Classroom, an area which has approximately 30 acres of mixed, broad-leaved woodland known as Bonsley Wood. At the classroom base there are toilets, water and power so this is where everyone gathers for a morning cuppa and chitchat around the fire. There is usually an activity for the kids to get stuck into to keep mayhem at bay;  today it was Mother’s Day card making and last time I visited the children were having fun with shaving foam on the table for a sensational sensory experience. I am usually a late arrival to the morning meet up so I have to say I usually miss this party… I’m getting a reputation! Then, coats are fetched, wellingtons put on over the top of waterproof all in one overalls, mothers gather their offspring; some plonked into rucksacks or baby carriers and some brave mothers bring their off road pushchairs. Then once everyone is decked out in their outdoor gear, the Bush Babies then take to the forest path for an adventure into the wildwood. It is good to know for those with little legs and the sleep deprived parents, that the walk is a perfect distance, so there are rarely any melt downs or ‘walk refusers.’ Plus, it is a  looped walk so you can’t get lost and you can easily find your way back to base!

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During the woodland wander the children are set mini tasks to fill their buckets with discovered woodland treasures, depending on the season, such as leaves,  flowers, moss twigs, bugs etc. The children stop to explore, watch, see and hear all the nature around them and are encouraged to keep their eyes open for new discoveries. They build dens, hunt for bugs and plants and bird-watch, socialising and roaming with freedom in a safe woodland environment with the supervision of multiple adults.

Then it’s back to HQ for a rest. Rosie and Co. provide a drink and snacks for the little ones (you can bring your own if you prefer) and another hot beverage for the adults with the occasional cake and biscuits as standard. The session then comes to a close with either a story or a cacophony of nursery rhymes and songs are sung in a circle whilst playing a range of musical instruments sat on tree stumps. It really is glorious!

Depending on who turns up each session activities are tailored to suit all ages. Everyone is welcome 3 weeks – 3 years and there is even Bush Buddies which happens during the school holidays for the older children too.

Honestly, being a new mama to the area has been made so much easier by these ladies and with no commitment needed it is great to know you’ll meet lots of new and interesting people each time you visit.

 

3 reasons why I love Bush Babies

  1. You can turn up as and when you please  – meaning you don’t have to sign a termly contract and pay upfront
  2. The people are amazing and instantly make you feel welcome and apart of something great.
  3. As a new mama, I have found being outdoors in the fresh air totally invaluable and a great source of therapy in the first few months of motherhood. A walk and a talk is the best medicine.

Hope to see you up at the woods soon  – you never know the bears might be having a picnic too!

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Dippy in Dorchester

I just couldn’t resist. Having been lucky enough to see the 3D print cast of his skull at Blandford Library, my interest was piqued and I was determined to see the whole thing. So, last Sunday, off we headed en famille to Dorchester and the Dorset County Museum was our first stop!

The Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus skeleton cast, known as Dippy is touring the length and breadth of the UK from early 2018 to late 2020. The British icon is on a mission to inspire families to explore nature on their doorstep. I certainly didn’t need much encouragement having just watched Jurassic Park last weekend  and loved the film Land Before Time when I was little.

The whole town of Dorchester seemed to be reveling in its newest member and you could not miss the green banners blowing in the wind signifying his presence. Despite the queue outside (always a sign of something worthwhile) we were ushered into the museum with barely a minute of queuing in the cold, our bags were quickly checked and then we were shown where we could leave our pushchair by extremely helpful staff. (Note: there are stairs so little ones will need to be carried.) I was so impressed. Everyone seemed super excited by Dippy’s temporary accommodation and despite it being a tight squeeze in the Victorian Gallery,  the 150 million year old dinosaur replica manged to fit perfectly with just a couple of centimeters spare at each end. There was a designated spot for photos which is a must for the insta mad among us and lots of facts, pictures and fossils to see on your way around.
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There is also a fantastic space with large tables, just before you exit the museum, for young enthusiasts to colour in pictures, draw their own sauropod or whatever takes their fancy, with the opportunity to display their artwork in the gallery space.
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There are also other artworks on display by local artists which are positioned on the walls around.

And to top it all off there is the shop full of everything Dippy (posters, mugs, key rings, badges) as well as other goodies associated with the Jurassic Coast. A perfect treasure trove for shopping lovers of all ages and with the “just a card” movement in mind there are lots of little things to purchase as a memento before you go at around £2.50.

For those of us who are slightly more adventurous or just fancy a slightly different experience, Dorset County Museum is opening its doors after hours so you are able to see Dippy at night! Think Night at the Museum! You will need to book your ticket though for this special occasions and there is an admission fee.

All in all we thought it was a fantastic exhibition and even though Freddie was too young to remember it, the photograph we took with Dippy will remain in our collection to talk about in years to come. Both my husband and I took away some interesting facts and were really impressed at how slick the whole exhibition was curated. So if you want something FREE to do with the kiddies at the weekend, then head on down to this  great educational, fun and interesting thing to do! There are also some great local child friendly cafes around to round off the day! Everyone’s a winner!

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INFORMATION

You can still find Dippy’s Skull on tour  – next stop Swanage library (10th – 15th March) and Dippy will be at Dorset County Museum on display until 7th May 2018.

Dippy can be found at the  following venues throughout the UK so if you have family/friends to visit, why not plan a day out – just remember to make sure you book to avoid disappointment.

I’d love to hear from you, so if you do manage to meet Dippy please send us a note! #onemamaskingdom #DippyOnTour!

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