New Year, New Ideas

This year, a clear vision, a personal plan and a strong intention, will give you a tremendous sense of confidence and empowerment…

What’s your new year’s resolution?…

O the pressure.

My sister-in-law posed this question to me over our new year’s eve dinner and I smiled, whilst silently berating myself for not having a better answer prepared. I haven’t actually decided yet, I meekly responded but deep down I wanted to shout out…

UMMM…WHEN AM I SUPPOSED TO THINK ABOUT THE NEW YEAR AND MY PLANS WHEN I AM CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT THE HERE AND NOW AND EVERYONE ELSE?

So,  that there was my moment of clarity. If I can’t give myself time to think about my goals and where I want to be, then something is amiss and I’m not being me. I’m someone who likes to have a vision, a reason and often a plan. That’s who I am. I know things don’t always go the way you want (something I am trying to teach my toddler) and circumstances change through no fault of your own and you have to be flexible and make changes but it’s not an excuse to not have something to focus on.

Last year I made myself a vision board after an old friend and yoga teacher suggested it to me and I was amazed by how much it worked for me. I enjoyed creating something tangible that I could bring out and look at. This year I thought – yes and I gave myself a morning, whilst my tot napped, got my scissors, glue stick and magazines out on the table and let my creativity flow. I picked out images that spoke to me, that linked to the things I wanted to change in my life and do differently this year and this was the end result. I hope some of these resolutions resonate with you and you start this year with a spring in your step. Please feel free to get in touch @onemamaskingdom on Instagram I’d love to see yours!

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GO GREEN – I brought my husband the book “No. More. Plastic” by Martin Dorey for Christmas and as a family we are really trying hard to cut back on our plastic usage.

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We are now shopping more at Cariad in Blandford where you can fill up your own containers with staples such as rice, cereal, pasta without using any plastic.

cariad

We are cutting down our meat intake from the supermarket but splashing out on quality cuts from the butchers and taking our own bags with us to take our shopping home and we have already purchased a Cheeky Wipes  starter kit so we never to have to use a wet wipe again.

GET ORGANISED  – I stumbled across this amazing series on Netflix this week called “Tidying with Marie Kondo” and it has been an absolute game changer. Her philosophy is to “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

A while ago, a  friend had raved about her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising’ and said how great it was but my goodness the woman is a dream. I watched the whole series in about 3 days and was lapping up her tips like a cat drinking cream. If you can, watch it. I truly believe it will help you kick start the year with a pre-spring spring clean and not only order your house but give you the space to take ownership of your space and keep on top of the tidying without the stress. Seriously, her process is magic and my goodness I feel so much better for it. It feels like a weight I never knew was there has been lifted and to walk into the kitchen is a dream each morning! Let’s hope I can keep this up.

Here is the  trailer for you to watch.

BE YOU – For me this is so important. When I became a mother I truly thought I might lose my identity and not be able to keep doing the things I love. Infact, it was one of the catalysts that led me to start writing my blog. The art of writing made me see the importance of doing something that was solely for me, as Aimee not as Mama, wife, or teacher but for me and only me. Over Christmas my mother shared with me a Japanese concept called Ikigai that translates as a ‘reason for being’. A reason to enjoy life. One article I read suggested thinking about your perfect Saturday and what you would do if you could do whatever you wanted. This is being you.

ikigaiBeing me varies from month to month; sometimes it might just be a long hot bath with no interruptions, a trip to the supermarket with no company, a night at the movies or dinner with my girlfriends. I might choose to craft one day, write my blog or get my hair done. An hour to practice yoga, work on my blog or read.

This year I want to remember to take care of me.

What would you do on you perfect Saturday?

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and year full of love and light.

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C A M P B E S T I V A L

An insight into festival life this summer, with a baby in tow ….

It’s been a week back from the fun fest…..

Some thought us mad taking our 11 month old son with us to a festival, others thought us brave, some gave us an impressed nod and others thought we were totally crazy but my husband and I had never been to a festival… so when your mate says let’s meet at Camp Bestival 2018, I’m working and can sort you some tickets…. and then someone else says they have craft work for you and want you to help out with am exclusive private breakfast gathering, We were hardly going to say no to the hottest family festival around!!!

The theme this year at Camp Bestival was “Set Sail” and I couldn’t wait to get involved! Dress up is something I love to do, stemming from my love of theatre and I couldn’t wait to plan my outfits! I thought I’d down well with my look but my goodness were there some fabulous sights! People really went to town and I figured as long as you have something to give a little nod to the theme you’ll blend right in! I was of course anticipating lots of glitter and sparkle but I’ve never seen so many face gems and sparkly make up. It was like a glitter confetti gun exploded and everyone was like “shoot me, shoot me!”

Obviously being a festival organised by the very talented Rob Da Bank, I was expecting some great music but the line up was truly fantastic. There was such an eclectic mix of new/ fab music reverberating with crystal clarity around the Lulworth Estate as well as the awesome headliners, Rick Astly, Clean Bandit and some genuine favourites; The Cuban Brothers who bizarrely I remember gigged at Goldsmiths’ Club Sandwich! We picnicked on Friday afternoon right by the main stage and were treated to artists Dodi and Rae Morris. Both beautiful singer song writers with stunning voices, not out of place on your Spotify playlists and for a while we revelled in the joys of listening to live music al fresco and it was bliss. There was so much to see and do with such a variety of genres and activities you could never get through all of it in a weekend. But that’s the beauty… you’ll always leave wanting more.

The food options were also amazing and at times it was hard to decide which stall to go to. There was everything from Pad Thai, organic burgers, fresh oysters, burritos, vegan establishments, sushi, and Ghanaian cuisine to name only a few. A serious feast fest known as the Feast Collective and perfect when you all fancy different things for lunch/dinner. We enjoyed the thumping tunes from DJ BBQ and his 21 hour smoked pulled pork but perhaps not the place to head towards if you are vegan.

Camp Bestival really was a feast for the senses and the most exciting, enthralling, magical, enchanting, dazzling, intoxicating weekend ever that tired us out (in a good way) and meant we all slept for 10+ hours after we made a swift escape before the storm hit and the rest of the festival was cancelled.

It was also the first time we have ever camped with a baby and we definitely learnt a few things this weekend when it comes to packing and being festival virgins! Can you ever really be prepared for camping in 40mph winds with an 11 month old?

Here are our top 10 tips for camping at a festival with a babe in arms:

1️⃣ 🎒PACK LIGHT – you most definitely won’t need everything you have packed and I know this because I packed for every possible eventuality. I can’t help it now I am a mama – it’s like I’m in competition with myself to be ready for anything. However when your pitch is 4 fields away from your car and your poor husband is doing shuttle runs with 5 times his body weight and he says to you “I’ve only bought the essentials some things I’ve left”, you nod (pray he has bought the pillows) and realise that you can survive with the bare minimum.

2️⃣ BUT BE PREPARED – still make sure you have your rain mac, sunnies, suncream and boots to hand because you just never know when the weather will change.

3️⃣ 🏡HOME COMFORTS – dummies, familiar foods, toys, books, blankets it’s amazing how little ones relate to things they recognise especially if you are sleeping in a tent for the first time. We took our travel cot with the hope Freddie would sleep easy.

4️⃣ 💰CASH – sometimes it’s just good to have some on you especially when to rent a trolley you might need a large deposit.

5️⃣ 👶🏼🍼 BABY GEAR – you need to keep Baby warm at night so don’t forget the warm sleeping bag. Sleep suits and vests are great to layer up and it’s worth packing an extra blanket. Ear defenders are also a must for little ears to protect them from the loud sounds of a music festival! Don’t forget the dummy and ready made milk and I packed pouch food to make it simple.

6️⃣ 📆 PLANNING vs SPONTANEITY – we didn’t plan to see a particular artist, or event this year as we just wanted to get a feel for what a festival is like so we wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds. Next time though we think we might read through the programme in more detail and make a mini plan of the things we’d like to see/ do/ visit etc. We were lucky enough to see some great stuff though just by wandering aimlessly around and that, I guess, is the beauty of a festival!

7️⃣ 📝 ESSENTIAL ITEMS:

* Trolley – to cart everything including your child/ children (lots of families have them and decorate them too! Not sure how great they would be in mud though.

* Torch -you will need one. We took head torches as easy to carry and I like to be hands free but we also found our tent lantern really useful for those midnight nappy changes.

* Bin liners – for everything – keeps the tent organised, everything cleared away and when you leave you’ll feel good for having kept Britain tidy!

* Bucket – I hate to admit it but sometimes when you have to go you have got to go and the toilets are just too far away and when there are people all around……only a bucket and a bag will do!

* Toilet roll – for in the campsite but also during the day at the festival when the toilets have usually run out of toilet roll.

* Rucksack – to carry all essential items for the day without having to head back to the tent.

8️⃣ 🦄 FANCY DRESS – there is no hiding from it I’m afraid and anything goes, So my advice is embrace it and immersed yourself in the glitterati! Don’t forget a mirror so you can actually see where you are putting the gems and remember the face wipes if you like to sleep fresh – although part of the festi vibe is to rock that glitter for as long as possible! Each year there is a theme too so make sure you keep up to date and I like to do a few searches on the internet to get a little inspo!

9️⃣ 💧WATER – I’d suggest to take your own water bottle that you can fill up on site but also bring a couple of bottles of water to keep on the tent. You never know when you might have to wash or warm some milk. Plus remember to drink lots – festivals are very thirsty work as you do not want a dehydration head ache!

🔟 💤 NAP – key. We were not really there long enough but it would be my top tip. Give yourself and your little ones time to nap and recharge before heading back out into the craziness… we headed back to the tent for tea around 4/30ish to keep a little routine with babe but find what works for your family.

I hope this proves it can be done and gives you confidence. It was an adventure but one we won’t forget!

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

covering easter eggs with washi tape, colorful easter eggs, washi tape

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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Monkey Business

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

Logo - Charlie's Chimps

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.

IMG_5786 Freddie meeting mini Charlie

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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If you go down to the woods today….

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

BUSH BABIES

bush babies

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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Taming the Beast – Part 2

It was lovely to receive such positive feedback from yesterday’s post so I thought I would keep the ideas coming. As a Primary School Teacher I am always having to conjure up new ideas and so I have devised another list of 10 more ideas to do with the little people during these snow days indoors! Children love to be with their parents and so doing things together when you can, will keep them engaged for a little longer. Obviously this is not always possible but if they are getting a little restless just by doing something together may improve their mood…

  1. Try to make Origami – this site has tons of great ideas. maybe make paper airplanes and have a flying contest…(look out for the plane noses – no one wants pointy paper in their eye!)
  2. Have a ‘Living room workout’  – Get dressed into your sports kits, put one of your exercise videos on and get the kids working out with you too. Personally I would rather opt for the yoga and doing it as a family will at least guarantee time on your mat!
  3. Have a Mary Poppins style cleaning session –  Crank up the radio and have a dance party whilst cleaning the house! It’s a win win situation  – clean house and tired kids! Woop woop!
  4. Design your own Ice Kingdom – children love to use their imaginations so give them some pens and a large piece paper and watch their minds spring into life. Talk to them about what they know about cold places, what might they have in their Ice world and then let them loose with the pens. When they are done get them to explain their new world and talk about it – just listen.
  5. Colouring  – mindfulness for both you and them! A little quiet moment…. if you don’t have any colouring books to hand you can easily print off some things to colour in or even draw your own. Crayola have some here 
  6. Warm up from the inside and make your very own hot chocolate stirrers  
  7. Pom Pom indoor snowball fight – If you are crafty and happen to have a pom pom maker in the cupboard and some white wool (although you could use other colours) make some pom poms  – put them in a bowl/bucket and take it turns to throw them at one another – for the older ones you can add in a point scheme depending on where you hit the other person on the body. I think I’d have a no face policy and obviously clear the mantelpiece/sideboard/table etc. but I’ll leave that to your discretion!
  8. Feed the birds – if like me you worry about the birds during this type of weather then why not help the little birdies out and make them a cake?  This is a great guide from the RSPB and kid friendly 
  9. Make a fairy door to make sure those fairies can keep warm too – everyone knows fairies are not big fans of the cold so why not entice them inside with a beautiful hand crafted door…This lady keeps in simple and hopefully you will have what you need to hand. We do not need to leave the house in this weathe!
  10. Build a lego city – Get out all the LEGO, mini people, trains, cars and other play sets and make a massive indoor carpet city. They will LOVE it!

Have fun and I would love to hear what has worked for you and what you have been up to during these past days.

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