Lockdown Parenting Fails by Nathan Joyce.
A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson
The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland
Will she have the strength to confront her own past, along with the present lives of the people in her life including her Scott, her husband and find out the truth about who is lying and why?
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
We are truly in mid winter, at the beginning of February which as usual marks National Storytelling Week here in the UK. As the seasons cycle through we always make sure to keep at least one seasonal themed book in our bookcase. It's not often that a book focused on a particular season has been the favourite for the month. In fact I am pretty sure this is the first time.
Our favourite book of January was A Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies, it's a follow up book that comes after A Storm Whale in Winter. This is a story about a boy named Noi who lives beside the sea. He spends his days walking along the beach hoping to catch sight of his whale friend, who he saved back in spring after it beached on the sand. The story is set as winter creeps in and the sea begins to freeze. A winter storm rolls in that will bring the two back together for another adventure but who will save the other this time?
I can honestly say that The Storm Whale in Winter is a story we all enjoyed this last month. It is perfect for all ages, it's a good length with just enough words on each page to keep Scarlet interested while not being too short for Dylan. The story itself follows a friendship and bond built on care and kindness but it's not always smooth sailing. However that doesn't stop Noi and the whale from helping each other in tough times.
Benji Davies isn't only the writer for A Storm Whale in Winter but he also Illustrated the entire book. I have found that nobody can illustrate a book quite like the author, there is a very unique quality that brings the book to life just as he saw it while writing. It is a quality that really shows through in the illustrations. The Storm Whale in Winter is full of beautiful images created in a nice soft and muted tone produced by the whiteness of a winter storm but it has also kept such beautiful bright colours too. It mixes with nice softened edges to the work and shows plenty of details in each page.
I think this is a great book on friendship, a winter storm on the sea, belief in the people around us and creating lasting bonds. As I said the story is one that we have all loved and I can imagine it will be loved for a long time yet. It is a nice story to enjoy particularly at bedtime when we all sit together to look and read.
You can purchase A Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies at Amazon for £5.34
Life during a pandemic seems like a never ending cycle of doing the same thing every day and expecting different results, they call that the definition of madness right? There are some points where it really feels like madness.
Another thing you'll stop noticing is the little changes, usually your surrounded by people cooing and ahhing over babies, toddlers and children in general getting comment on just how big they are getting or how they've changed. These comments happen often enough that you see the changes in little stages, although it still feels like they are growing up too fast. With the complete absence of other people around us I haven't noticed many changes this last few months, longer hair, outgrowing clothes and that's about where it stops.
This week however I think we hit a wall when suddenly all my children look an entire year older in just a few days. Their faces have changed, grown, started to look more grown up, their hands are bigger, arms longer, they seem taller and so much more. It feels like it's just jumped out of nowhere and hit me in the face! They are all growing up too fast. The biggest change of course being seen in Avery who seems to truly have advanced from baby to toddler at a speedy rate. I seem to have been in denial about it now for almost an entire year!
During this month he's been walking freely, without any help around our area, in the snow and over uneven ground. He's climbing stairs without need for any help, he's opening up doors by using the handles and he's even sure of what he wants, despite not communicating any of it with us in words. It seems like he's quite suddenly grown up so much and I just missed it despite being here for almost every second of the last year.
I took the photos featured in this weeks post when Avery was desperately trying to play and join in during our morning school work session at the table. He'd pushed Simon's gaming chair over and was sat with the cool dude hat each child has taken their turn at nicking on Simon through their lives. He sat laughing, chilling and having fun. All while I tried to flail through the work needing completed when it hit me, he's almost two and he looks like he is a proper toddler. No more babies in this house. At which point I snuck to our bathroom and cried.
Have you had any sudden moments when you notice huge changes in the people around you during the last year?
Last year I wanted to start sharing a fun DIY felt set every month, it didn't quite work out since I only managed to share a cupcake, space and pumpkin faces for the whole year. I had another planned to share in December that had some Christmas elements but I just didn't get the time to actually make the set before Christmas arrived. I still loved the idea I originally had and wanted to share it this month instead since it actually snowed and winter is still around.
The felt sets are really quite easy to make and don't require a lot of work to execute, I have also shared how to create your own felt board with felt, a glue gun and some cardboard if you don't have one.
The tools you will need for the felt set are:
- Felt in various colours
- a printer
- PDF template
- Glue gun and glue (or a good strong glue)
In a world with an ocean full of plastic we must do better! We've spent years using and abusing our planet and nobody is free from the issue, we are all at fault from our consumption through to living in the fast paced world we do. In recent years we have really seen the world start to stand up and take action to be kinder and more aware of the things that are causing issues in nature from global warming to drowning our oceans in plastic. A lot of that comes from the surge of Eco Warriors, like Greta Thunberg who are inspiring the world to be better and do better for our planet because it's the only one we have!
Growing up in the age of global warming and the discovery that our consumption is choking the earth has had a deep impact on me. I was towards the end of my teenage years in 2009 when it had officially been 100 years since mass plastic production began. I grew up in the era of plastic realisation, as the world saw the beginning of the true impact. I know that we all have a responsibility to make changes that impact our lives in positive ways and to do so all the time. I have spent years slowly changing little things in our daily lives to be more eco friendly and to ditch the plastic. Through this journey I have been really surprised by some of the every day items that are full of plastic, it's honestly shocking! It's these products that I try to change most because a small thing we use thousands of times can be replaced by one product used over and over to ditch more than you might think.
With each passing year our efforts to ditch the plastic plaguing us has been more successful and now I'm challenging myself to ditch even more. I want to make one change for every month of 2021, there are many reasons I want to strive for just one change, the biggest being that I also want to challenge you to join me in my year of swaps. If everyone makes small changes we can really have a huge impact on the plastic being used and disposed of.
Another reason is that making the change to a more eco-friendly product can at first be more expensive since it can require a new product that will be reused over and over or it needs an additional item for storing the swap product in, which again will be reused many times.
I have already shared some ideas on 7 really easy swaps to make to be more Eco-Friendly which includes products that we have switched to over our journey and they are ones which are both easy to implement and easy to keep up, so if your new to making swaps they could give you an idea on where to start.
We have now made our big January eco-friendly switch which is one that I have been wanting to do for a while, ditching our plastic cleaning products! I've realised since being home more that we use an enormous amount of cleaning bottles, I am okay with the cleaning product usage itself since there are five of us they are actually needed for upkeep. However add the 2 bottles a month of multipurpose spray, bathroom cleaner along with the various other products we use from plastic bottles and over a six month period we are recycling about 15- 18 plastic bottles, spray tops and inner tubes, it's shocking isn't it? That is just counting the cleaning products for our kitchen, bathroom, floor, oven and window cleaners!
To help me ditch the plastic I decided I am switching to the Ocean Saver Ecodrops which I actually first tried in the SaveMoneyCutCarbon sustainable swaps box that was gifted for including in our Eco- Friendly gift ideas at Christmas. I then purchased a large pack with several cleaning product types we use regularly.
The Ocean Saver Ecodrops can be used along with an old spray bottle that you own to save on plastic but I wanted to completely cut the plastic as much as I could so I purchased glass spray bottles from Poundland (£2) and the pods fit perfectly inside the top. Each ecodrop comes with it's own stick on labels for your bottles so I added those, put the ecodrop inside and added the water before leaving to burst. Once the ecodrop is dissolved you simply shake and use. It takes a few minutes and your ready to go, very convenient and easy to get ready for use.
What I really like with the Ecodrops is that not only am I able to ditch the plastic but all the Ocean Saver Ecodrops are plant based, non toxic and aren't tested on animals so they are even vegan friendly! They make for a great swap compared to the many products usually found in my cleaning cupboard, most of which bare a toxic label of some kind or another.
I purchased a 5 pack of Ocean Saver Ecodrops for £6.99 on Amazon
I will be sharing an update on how we are getting on with the Ocean Saver products in my quarterly update post. It will also include all the swaps I have made during the start of the year and how each has worked out for us in that time. I have a list of swaps I want to try to make this year however some have a bigger first outlay to start so I will be doing the swaps as I feel we will be able to budget them into our daily lives throughout the year. I suggest that anyone who is wanting to take part in the challenge do the same as finances can change regularly throughout the year, especially at the minute. Do be mindful and realistic about what swaps might need to wait and ones which can be made without too much additional costs on the products you purchase now.
I am so excited to see how many swaps we can make and what impact it will have on our daily lives.
What Eco-Friendly swaps have you made and loved most?
If you haven't made any yet what swaps would you most like to make?
We're starting another new week of homeschooling and I am starting to struggle with finding fun things to do that break up our day after home schooling! Last week we tried playing various games and getting out different toys each day. However after spending the whole morning and early afternoon trying to teach or get two children with different stages and different help offered to them to work at the same time can be frustrating. We're all a bit fed up when the teaching ends and that can carry over into their playing time.
The one big hit for us was getting out a big small world scene that they could both play with together or alone. I had managed to do dinner while they played. It will be one we use this week but that still leaves 4 days of 'afterschool' activities we need to fill in. I'm thinking we'll maybe bake something and get outside as much as we can. I'm still working on ideas to do and play though.
One big positive I have found with being at home so much is that our toy selection is being used daily and toys that usually get looked over are being discovered again. A lot of them are being used for learning through play with Scarlet which does mean they are less interesting by the time Dylan is finished for the day. It's one big juggling act isn't it?
How is the balance working in your house?
I used to join in with The Ordinary Moments over on What The Red Head, however the link up has finished and I loved Sharing little bits of our lives so I'm going to keep posting and share them as Our Ordinary Moments instead.
The last three years I have shared my All about my year 2017 All about my year 2018 and All about my year 2019. I quite enjoy writing these posts and it's a really nice way to reflect back on the year even when 2020 has become a year we'd all like to forget for the most part. However we had some good times and we spent more time together than we probably thought we would back in January. So I am still taking a look back on the last year with the same 10 questions from previous years.
- ▼ February (3)
- ► 2020 (39)
- ► 2019 (57)
- ► 2018 (137)
- ► 2017 (68)
- ► 2016 (57)
- ► 2015 (113)
- A Trip To...
- All about my year
- Avery at..
- Book round-up
- Camera Ready
- Competition Wins
- DIY Felt Play Set
- Dylan at..
- Everything Else
- Five Things..
- Free PDF download
- Gift Guides
- Handmade with Love
- Let's Get Baking
- Let's Get Cooking..
- Letters to Dylan
- Letters to Scarlet
- Me and Mine
- Mummy and Me
- Our Adventures This Week
- Our favourite books
- Our Ordinary Moments
- Our Wonderful City
- Photo of the week
- Pregnancy - Baby #2
- Pregnancy - Baby #3
- Project 365
- Scarlet at..
- The Ordinary Moments
- The Siblings Project
- What We're Reading
At the start of the year I shared that one of my hopes was to read more books . I set myself the challenge of reading 30 books in 2021. Now ...