Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Learning at home with online classes from TLC Live {Review}

* AD - We have received the lesson service from TLC Live for this review*
           *All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.*              

Learning at home during lock down has been really hard for Dylan. Being the only child in our house of school age, his lesson time has been less structured than he normally would expect and he's missed the formality of school during this time. When TLC Live got in touch to see if we would like to try their online tutoring service I was really excited for Dylan. 

TLC Live is an online tutoring service that helps parents and schools to provide uniquely personalised online support for children who need or want extra help and lessons. The site pairs children up with a teacher for each lesson that is booked in. They offer lessons on several subjects including Maths, English and Science. Lessons are available right from the beginning of their lesson structured school journey (Primary Two/ Year one) all the way through to their GCSE years. TLC Live makes getting one-to-one based lessons more accessible for every child.


Getting started with TLC Live was much easier than I expected it to be. I went on to the site and followed the directions to book Dylan in for his first lesson, it is a really easy process with a form to fill in asking for basic details about you and you child. You will also need to tell them which year group your child is in. TLC Live use the English system of year groups while here in Northern Ireland our classes start with Primary one and progress up from there. Following the same principle year one in England is our Primary Two. I filled in all our details and decided on a lesson time that would suit us all. I got sent a log in for both myself and another for Dylan to use for his lesson sent through email. In the few days running up to lesson I also received two emails reminding me of the time and the lesson details, which is very handy since you can book several lessons at one time.


The day of our TLC Live lesson arrived and I was got everything set up for Dylan, it was a really easy process since to use the service you only need:
  • A headset with a mic (we used Simon's gaming headset) 
  • A laptop/ computer running windows Vista 7 or 8 or Apple IOS
  • Internet connection (they prefer and recommend a wired connection)
  • An online browser, we used Chrome but they support most browsers.
  • Up to date Flash and Java extensions

Once we set up Dylan logged on and joined the session ready for the teacher to join. At the very beginning we had a few hiccups, mainly finding the right buttons to begin the communication between him and his teacher. The volume needed adjusting and we hadn't turned the mic on which together meant neither side could hear the other! After I adjusted the settings and checked we could hear each other he was all set. 



They introduced themselves and got stuck in almost immediately. Dylan got directions on how to set up the initial screen sharing so his teacher could see what was happening on our screen and help with directions during the lesson. The first few minutes Dylan watched the slide show and listened to the teacher explain the TLC Live system and how their lesson was going to go. 


The lesson we went with was science and was based on mammals. Dylan watched a video about various different mammals and learnt some facts. After the video ended they moved onto a questionnaire that combined the facts from the video and a small comprehension sheet. Dylan needed to fill in the answers to each question on screen using they keyboard to type it out. 
 

The two worked together with the full use of the TLC Live online learning platform including the chat function which was used throughout the lesson. In the beginning it was used for sharing links which led to the lesson apps or videos Dylan was learning with. When it came to answering it was also used to help Dylan spell more difficult words without him going to and from different web pages.    


I stayed near by but other than taking some photos for sharing in this post, I was pretty useless since Dylan was getting instructions and direct communication with his teacher through the headset and the chat function. I felt safe leaving him to learn and just popping by to check on him every now and then. At the end of the lesson the teacher left feedback for me to read on how they thought the lesson went and what they covered. It also gave a basic plan of what would be covered in the next lesson. I really love that this is provided and gave me a good insight into the lesson and how it went since I could only hear Dylan's side of the communication unless it was written. 

Dylan really enjoyed using the system and having a lesson to learn something entirely new to him was really exciting.The science lesson that was challenging for him and a good way to reignite his love for learning. In fact he has already asked if we can book in for more lessons even though he is officially on his summer holidays from this week! Which I think says it all really. 

I highly recommend TLC Live, it has been a fantastic service, I think with everything happening in the world this is a service many families could really benefit from. The lesson prices are £36 per session and you can book several weeks of lessons at once. 

Monday, 22 June 2020

Mega Meltdowns and Magic Tricks {The Ordinary Moments}

I think we have definitely hit our wall for lock down, I am feeling no motivation to keep going and so is everyone else. School work is dragging by with concentration declining by the day. We are all looking forward to the beginning of summer, even if we have no idea how that will look or what we will be able to do. 

A blonde haired boy and girl are sat inside a large black tray surrounded by jugs, small pots, glasses, a tall round ceramic dish and other containers with small round colourful water beads inside. They are leaned over, playing with a white brick wall behind them.

It is very clear that lock down is taking it's toll on us now, I guess in a way we are lucky to have gotten this far. That doesn't make dealing with it easier. The children are all getting more restless, our days begin earlier and energy levels seem to be really high or really low, daily meltdowns are becoming normal for all our children and I know it is is because our daily life is so isolated. We miss our friends, we miss our family and they miss they ability to run free without worry. 

A glass with clear round orbs of water beads is held in someones hand to the camera. A blurred pink streak is visible through the beads. The background is blurred with a black ground base and a white wallA glass of clear looking liquid is held up with a pink mermaid visable surrounded by very faint clear round orb shapes. You can see a small girl playing in the background which is blurry and focused onto the glass.

In an attempt to branch away from the tantrums and stress we had a day in the yard with water bead play instead of school work. It helped a little, they enjoyed all the play and especially my magic trick to make the beads more transparent. It was wonderful, they were amazed and it was worth all preparation. It's shown me the need for fun, for days without a plan or routine and our real need to spend time doing anything else right now. 

We begin our usual summer holiday's from next week and I know for all our sanity we will be venturing out further and more often than we have. We need a day without this much worry and stress. We need a whole day outside our four walls and so far we just haven't had that. Hopefully this coming heatwave will see us outside in the world a bit more. 

How have you been coping with lock down?


I am linking up to The Ordinary Moments again this week, be sure to check out the other posts by clicking on the logo below.


The Ordinary Moments
Wednesday, 17 June 2020

7 easy changes you can make to be more Eco-Friendly

Over the last two years we have been making small changes in our lives to cut out waste where we can and to become a more Eco-Friendly house hold. Since we don't drive and rarely use any form of transport it was more at home and daily use products that we have needed to change. Our main aim has been to reduce any plastic waste we can while still keeping things easy to maintain with a house full of children.

I have wanted to put together a list of some simple changes we have made so far in our journey so far.  These 7 switches are small, simple and they can have so much more benefits than you might think.


Two canvas shopping bags laid one on top of the other at an angle, the front bag features a hand drawn Cinderella while the bag below features orange stars and the world Velveteen embroidered in orange thread, it also features tassels that tie the bag together, they are laid on a white wood backgound.


Reusable Shopping bags

 This one may seem quite obvious and many of us have reusable shopping bags around the house. However I know so many who simply forget to use them and I will admit it was like that for us in the beginning. Simply having the bags and not using them means your not actually cutting down on any waste since you still need more when you shop!

Change how you store your bags and make it easy to just grab them and go, you will find yourself reaching for them much more often! Try to keep all your reusable shopping bags together by storing them all folded up and stacked inside one thin bag which can fit into your drawers or I keep mine at the side of our fridge. Any time you are headed out of the house you can quickly grab one or two if you need them or the whole bag should you be going on a big shopping trip. It takes seconds and after a few times you get in the habit of quickly grabbing them.

Two silver metal straws with a bent top laid across a large slate rectange beside two stright clear glass straws. You can see white wood planks in the background.

Metal & Glass Straws

Last year the plastic straw ban came to the UK and they've been replaced with paper alternatives. You may remember there being lots of activity on social media over the straws and I found out that actually the paper straws didn't have any recycling system in place yet! The discovery prompted me to look into reusable alternatives while still avoiding plastic since I hate the thought of millions of straws going to landfill. 

It brought me to one of the favourite changes we have made through this journey and that is metal and glass straws. I highly recommend trying out metal straws, I purchased a small pack on Amazon that gave us the straws we needed along with a little cleaner brush. They are really easy to pop into your bag or pocket and just carry around with you as well as being really handy while at home. More recently I discovered that you can also get glass straws and I am now almost as obsessed with those! The glass straws are perfect for really cold or iced drinks. I currently use mine for cold coffee at home and bring the metal straws with us through summer when we are most likely to use them. 

You can purchase the set of metal straws I use from Amazon for £4.99 and my glass straws I actually found in Poundland.

You can see a lightly tanned hand holding a large, black bristled bamboo toothbrush and a small purple bristled bamboo toothbrush with a small mosaic style tile in the background.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

I bet you never considered that you actually produce quite a bit of waste with your toothbrush have you? I am 26 and before we made this change I used around 50 toothbrushes in my lifetime so far. All 50 of those are still in the world somewhere! 

By making the change to Bamboo toothbrushes I feel better that we can remove the bristles and are able to recycle the bamboo. There is still a small amount of work needed when you dispose of a bamboo toothbrush, You will need to remove the bristles which can usually be recycled (do check with the specific brand you use) and then dispose of the bamboo brush itself in your usual compost waste either for industrial composting or for home composting (this takes longer to break down). Everyone in our house has had a positive experience with Bamboo toothbrushes and as you can see above the children even use their own bamboo toothbrushes after we discovered they where available and shared them in our Christmas gift ideas last year. 
* The children's brushes had been gifted to us and we are purchasing more this month*

You can see 3 cups/ bottles lined up on a white surface with a grey brick wall background. On the Left you can see a large silver tumbler with a clear lid and a chilly shape engraved near the bottom. The middle is a glass bottle with a blue silicone cover that has a wave like design carved into it in stripes and the bottle has a blue lid. The final bottle on the right is a silver bottle with a small neck that leads to a round screw on lid with a handle to hold onto
A slightly tanned hand holds a cup at an angle on a white surface with a grey brick wall backgound beside it. You can see the full coffee cup style lid which is make of clear plastic and sits comfortably in the metal tumbler top.

Reusable drink cups and bottles.

We enjoy spending a lot of time outside our house (usually) which can mean a lot of drinks and we would frequently have coffee while being out running errands or just getting around. When you stop and think about how much waste your producing by quickly running into a shop and picking up a plastic bottle with a drink or a coffee cup that you'll only ever use once it adds up. You might actually be surprised and it can easily be changed with just one or two cups. 

 I find that having two each for Simon and I means we can keep one bottle for water/juice and have reusable cups with a lid that is similar to the ones on take away coffee containers. When we are heading out I can just grab our cups and bottles as well as the children's bottles and put them all in our bag. It also means we don't need to remember to go to shops or spend more money on a drink. We all have different cups we use but my favourite would be the Chilly's tumbler I use for drinking coffee. Their tumblers have now changed and are much more colourful so you can look at the whole Chilly's range of coffee cups. 


Reusable breast pads

Early into my breastfeeding journey the second time around with Scarlet I knew I wanted to try feeding for much longer and that the disposable kind wouldn't be good with that if I used over a full box every week! I did a bit of research and found reusable breast pads from various companies that I wanted to try. Although I have now used all the pads for almost three years they are still going strong. At this point I estimate that my 17 pairs of pads have replaced over 4,300 disposable pads. Astonishing isn't it?

Reusable breast pads are really easy to use, you pre-wash them inside their washing bag several times (I added mine to every wash I did for a few days), hang them to dry and they are ready to go. You just pop them into your bra and swap them out like you would with disposable pads and into a wet bag if your out or a wash bag if your at home. I would pop whatever was in the bag into the last wash I did every day and it meant I was able to keep up with daily use having 17 pairs. 

My personal favourite breast pads I've used have been from Little Lamb, you can get a pack of 5 for £14


Wooden Toys

I'm going to be straight on this one, I don't only buy wooden toys, we certainly have our share of plastic ones too. However I am trying to change where we can and get or use wooden toys instead. There are many benefits for children's play through natural materials and wooden toys can offer a better versatility too. 

Making the choice to buy wooden toys over plastic counterparts makes a more recyclable, degradable and all around better for the planet. You can make it even more Eco-Friendly by choosing to buy from sustainable and eco-friendly companies who make toys. There is a whole beautiful world of sustainable toys out there to find. 

We have a large mix of wooden toys we have built up over time and while not all are from sustainable brands they are better than the plastic we might have bought instead. The toys featured above include the Grimms Large Pastel Tunnel £67.15, Melissa & Doug Counting Shape Stacker, block pieces from Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter Cube £9.99, Lanka Kade Zebra £1.70 and Plan Toy Mini Bulldozer £11.95


Bars of  hand soap

I will admit this is a change that took us an embarrassing amount of time to change and actually we are only in the first several months of using solid bars for hand soap since I tend to have a decent stock of bathroom essentials in the house. It's an easy change to make and we have found we really prefer the feel of a real bar in our hands. We have removed the need for bottles on our sink tops and reduced our plastic use at the same time. 

Now that we have made the change I plan to get our soaps from small businesses both in our local area and online to make this change a bit more positive than just reducing the plastic.  I will also be purchasing more from Bean & Boy (prices start at £2.50) which have been a favourite to go back to since we reviewed their soaps.

(The soaps featured in the image, I don't know where these are from as they had been a gift with no branding on.)


Have you made any changes to be more Eco-friendly and find you love them more than what you had before? 
Let me know in the comments, I love to find new changes to try out ourselves.
Monday, 15 June 2020

A perfectly girly 3rd birthday {The Ordinary Moments}

This last week has been all about preparing, baking and enjoying Scarlet's 3rd Birthday. It hasn't been what we wanted for her since we are still in lock down, however we made it the best day we could. 

A blonde haired girl wearing a green floral patterned dress and yellow cardigan is holding two white fluffy paper balls in front of her face with two large pink paper ball decorations on a cream wall behind her. She is stood under a pink banner saying Happy Birthday.

It was pink, girly and full of fun activities. We had bright decorations, games and Face Time calls with friends and family. However if you ask her about the day Scarlet will tell you all about jumping in muddy puddles, saying hello to her friends, playing pass the parcel, being "rock and roll" on her blow up guitar and decorating cupcakes. Small moments but to her they are the best bits. 

A blonde haired, blue eyed girl wearing a green floral dress and yellow cardigan has her hands above her head and pulled back slightly holding two white fluffy paper flower balls under a Happy Birthday banner in pink with two pink honeycomb structure decoration balls on the cream wall behind her.A blonde haired, blue eyed girl wearing a green floral dress and yellow cardigan is stood in front of a cream wall with two white fluffy paper flower balls held one in front of the other beside her mouth. There is a small honeycomb structured decoration ball in pink just behind her right shoulder.


While she had fun throwing around her paper flower decorations and generally having lots of fun I took the photographs above. I think they capture the fun she's having and that is what your birthday is all about right?

Have you celebrated a birthday in the family during lockdown? 

I am joining in again today with The Ordinary Moments over on What The Redhead Said. Check it out below or come join in too. 


The Ordinary Moments
Monday, 1 June 2020

A wilder world during lockdown {The Ordinary Moments}

Living in lock down has taught us all more than a few life lessons, it's forced all our lives to change in many ways. There have been other changes too, you see without the intervention of humans our green spaces are changing, they are becoming wilder. 


This spring the world is truly in bloom, all around us we can see wild flowers popping up and growing in places they usually wouldn't and they are beautiful! Without people around landscaping to keep things 'perfect' we can see the real wilder world we live in. There are fields of buttercups showing up in parks and they can freely grow without the grass being cut and trimming them down. 




During our walks this week we have focused on exploring and seeing parts of places we visit often in different ways. We have visited the Botanical Gardens and local parks that are close enough to us where we have seen wild flowers that would often be seen as weeds and pulled out or cut. 



All three children have loved seeing all the flowers everywhere and watching as they grow each time we visit. Avery in particular has really found it enjoyable to explore this new world since this is the first time he is able to see any plants outside of peoples gardens and really explore them through touch, feel and smell up close. He wasn't keen on the grass feeling at the start but he quickly changed his mind and enjoyed exploring in the buttercups around him. 



Instead we have injections of colour everywhere. My question is, now that lock down is beginning to end will we see this wilder world start to disappear again?


The Ordinary Moments
Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Getting crafty with weekly home-schooling projects {The Ordinary Moments}

Since March I have been pretty impressed with Dylan's school and how well they have adjusted to being entirely remote based learning. Each day he gets sent several projects to complete on the school app. With that he will complete the activities and be asked to read or work on another activity. 

We had been adding in our own activities after this which would be more creative and round out the afternoon. However in more recent weeks we have been getting creative assignments from the school. Each Monday Dylan is sent one big project to make based on something he is or has been learning about. 


The first week he had a rocket and also a musical instrument assignment where he had to use materials around the house and make the two projects. He really enjoyed making them and those two had been easy enough to complete with Scarlet joining in too so we all did them together.


Things got a bit more complex as the weeks have gone on and the last two projects have been to create a boat that can float while holding coins. Dylan made his out of tin foil and added more as extra protection from the water when it started to sink.  


His final project that he made last week was to investigate, plan and make a suspension bridge. It involved a lot and over the first 3 days of the week he completed each piece to finish his project with one bridge that we have now adapted to be more stable so he can play with Scarlet a bit more using it! Having a creative project each week is really helping to keep Dylan excited and interested in learning now that the weeks are passing by. 

Have you been given any creative projects or ideas to do with your children from school?



The Ordinary Moments
Friday, 22 May 2020

A letter to my eldest son, 7 years in the blink of an eye


Dear Dylan,

I say this quite regularly but I just can't believe that you are 7! You've grown and changed every day, right in front of my eyes and as I sit here typing I wonder where the time has gone. In the days and hours it feels so long but the years just keep passing us by. Every time I blink you seem to jump through time. 

This last year has seen so many big changes for you, you can read independently with very little help, you find so much joy in books. It's wonderful to sneak in at night and find you laid down on whatever novel your reading chapters of at night time! A reminder of just how smart you are.

A blonde haired boy, wearing rectangle framed deep blue glasses is reading a ficton book call 'Then and Now' with an old plane and a modern plane on the dark blue cover. The back cover is a pale orange colour with writing on. The boy is sitting on a black sofa. The centre of the image is clear but it blurs as the image moves to the edges.


The biggest change I see regularly is how tall you are, I still remember the tiny little baby who fit inside daddies forearms comfortably but your far from that size now. In fact your very quickly gaining on me and I can just imagine that in a few short years you will towering above me. Which is slightly terrifying to think about if I'm honest. As you grow your also finding your own freedom and with it a real love to explore, you like to see everything around you and ask questions. When we head out for walks you love to look around and see the whole world in your own unique way.

A young blonde haired boy stands up on a raised concrete platform with his hand s in his pockets wearing blue jeans with a grey top. He is staring off to the right hand side surrounded by trees with a mountain off in the distance below a white cloud filled sky with small spots of blue peeping out.

Another big change that has happened this year involves your teeth, or lack there of since they seem to be falling out on a very regular basis now! you recently lost your fifth, yes your fifth tooth! Your first big tooth is starting to come through now and it's a reminder of how much your growing up.

A blonde boy with brown eyes wears rectangle framed dark blue glasses is smiling widely showing two missing front teeth on the top and one on the bottom of his mouth. He is wearing a light powder blue top with a green dinosaur head over the breast pocket. There is a white wall behind him.

While there are some very big changes in your personality and your appearance there are some traits I'm glad to see are sticking around. My favourite of which is your goal to make everyone around you laugh or smile. It used to be people on the bus but now it's your friends, family and teachers who you tell jokes to, say hello and generally find a way to make them happy. It brings you so much joy to know you've brightened someone's day which right now is a job the whole world is trying to fill. So keep being your wonderful happy self forever! 


You have a wonderful thirst for knowledge and even now as I type this in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic when schools are closed, your trying to learn. It's harder at home and your certainly missing school the longer we stay home but your still growing and learning. Today you worked on cursive writing which is big weak point for you and you did so well I've even included it so when you grow up you can remember how proud it made you! Well done! I love how you always search for more, your new favourite books to read are fact books. Last Christmas you specifically asked Santa to bring you a fact book about lizards and still read it daily. 

I know by this time next year you may well be a completely different person with many new interests but for now I will enjoy watching you grow more closely while we are at home. 

Love from

Mummy



 
Monday, 18 May 2020

My little explorer {The Ordinary Moments}

This last week involved a long walk which was very much needed for us all, however more so for Scarlet. We all enjoy getting outside and taking time to walk, play and enjoy time together. I feel that we all get different things from being outside but during lock down I have noticed more and more how time outside is used by Dylan and Scarlet. 

For Dylan getting outside is most certainly about play and running around, he's never really been one to want to explore a place unless it's a very low hanging tree or similar. Scarlet on the other hand is becoming quite the little explorer, when we have taken time to go for a walk during lock down she wants to explore everything she can. 

A small blonde haired girl wearing a navy knee length, long sleeved dress with colourful horse characters on it, navy tights and bright purple high top shoes is standing on grass in front of a wall of low hanging branches from a tree that covered in green leaves. She is holding several branches to the side with her left hand as if she is going to walk through them.

On our walk this week she wanted to explore and discover what was around us and honestly it's the first time we've had the space to be able to do it since this all began. She was really interested in all the textures and the nature around us as we took a walk around not using the paths to direct us for a change.

A small girl with blonde hair half tied up is running across a patchy area of grass surrounded by leaf covered trees. She is wearing a navy knee length, long sleeved dress with colourful horse characters on it and navy tights. She has bright purple high top trainers with a while sole on.

She also found great delight in running in any direction she wanted to see something new or interesting, which would probably be a great thing if I didn't have to run after her to make sure she stays away from anyone else using the space too. Hopefully when this is all over we will be able to go out and explore more freely and let her develop her inner explorer too. 

I am joining back in with The Ordinary Moments from What The Redhead Said, you can check it out by clicking the badge below.


The Ordinary Moments
Monday, 11 May 2020

A little outdoor play {The Ordinary Moments}

I started out joining in with The Ordinary moments last month and with everything going on I haven't join in since. I haven't written much or been in any kind of blogging pattern at all. I want to change that so what better way than starting a new week by looking back at the ordinary moments of last week? We have actually had a pretty good week, all things considered. There have been moments of every emotion and one incident where there was sheer panic but I am trying to remember to enjoy the good moments and to let the bad or harder moments fade away. 

With that in mind I decided to reflect on some of our outside play time and experimenting this week. Around the beginning of lock down I ordered a tuff tray since we have a small outside space and it means messy play is easier to clean as well as providing a clear place for certain types of play. I'm also guilty of seeing all the beautiful play scenes on Pinterest and wanting to create my own. 

This week we had various types of play and everyone got involved each time. Towards the beginning of the week I made moon sand using flour (3 cups) and baby oil (1 cup) which was a massive hit with all three children including Avery who got to have a play first without the older two. He loved the texture and it's got me so excited to take a beach day when this is all over! 

A toddler boy sits in a black tray wearing a green and white striped top and denim dungarees. He is surrounded by sand and bright coloured sand moulds with a sloth shaped sand piece in front of him as he hold a yellow parrot shaped mould.


It didn't take long at all for various toys to make an appearance and be included in the moon sand play with lots of stacking cups and play bowls being used to create sand castles that where stackable! They make for pretty impressive structures for sure, we also had a talk about why the smaller tubs wouldn't work under the bigger tubs as castles so there was even an extra bit of learning thrown in for Dylan and Scarlet. 


A stack of three tiered sand castles sits in a black tray with brightly coloured pots in the background with a child's hand.
A boy wearing green shorts and a blue top is sitting with his legs crossed and his right hand raised high above a three tiered sand castle



Later in the week (yesterday!) I used some shredded paper that came in a parcel a few weeks ago to hide some toys in the tray for Scarlet and Dylan to find. I think it lasted 5 minutes before they started to just play with the paper, Scarlet particularly loved playing this game as you see it was pure delight for her! 



A small girl is sat behind a pile of shredded paper strips while more float around her in the air. She is blonde haired with blue eyes smiling into the canera. She is wearing a long sleeved navy dress with rainbows and elephants printed all over it. There is a white brick wall in the background.


Have you been enjoying new ways to play  or new activities during lockdown?



The Ordinary Moments
Wednesday, 8 April 2020

DIY Felt board and cupcake making felt play set with Free PDF download

I'm not sure what it is about the magical sticking properties of felt that keep children occupied and amazed for an astonishing amount of time but my children love it! The biggest downside is that you have to get sets and they usually have one specific theme which is fun but after a while they bored. We have 2-3 sets now however recently two of the boards got ruined by water and the other was just snapped, I have no idea how, maybe one of the children turned into Hulk?

Anyway it now leaves one and if you have more than one child you probably know that's a massive no on the sharing front! I did a bit of searching and while I found some tutorials I didn't have everything it needed around, mainly wood, I mean the ones we had before certainly didn't have wood. After a while I gave up searching and just decided to try coming up with something myself and it has actually worked!



I thought since I searched quite a bit there is a chance others could be too. I actually started this post back in January but with everything going on in the world I wanted to share this tutorial for anyone who's children also enjoy felt boards but don't have any at the minute or would like a new felt set to play with while at home.

 So if you want to make yourself some felt boards you will need to arm yourself with:

  • A glue gun 
  • 2 x A4 felt (any colours, try to choose colours that will be good backgrounds if you can)
  • Cardboard (I used a cardboard box but stronger cardboard would work better)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler


Yes that is really all you need to get started. The first step I took was to take the cardboard along with my A4 felt sheets and draw the same sized rectangle with the ruler and pencil. Don't worry too much about getting the line exactly right. Do this once for each board you want to make. Once you have a shape for your board you need to cut it out but be sure to cut slightly inside the guide line, not by much but you want a little room to attach the felt to each other at the outer edges.

The next step is to attach your felt which I tried in two different ways;



You can attach one sheet and fold over the edges to glue down on the other side and attach the second A4 felt before trimming off the outer edge to the back. I did really like the first side this technique left but the back has a  small dip (the depth of your felt) in the middle which probably doesn't do anything in terms of it being there but it bugged me. Which was why I tried option two.

The second technique to make the board is to have one felt piece laid down with the cardboard on top and the other A4 felt will be glued down directly to the first piece around the edge of the cardboard which will mean the glue and felt pieces will be almost the same depth creating a seamless top and bottom board for placing the felt shapes on to play. When I go to redo this for another board I would use a small bit of glue around each edge of the cardboard before attaching the felt pieces to each other to help the board stay in place as ours is just kept in place with the outer glue edge.


That's pretty much it as far as the felt boards go, you will now need to create the pieces to use for making the scenes and pictures with. I have put together a template that I used to create a cupcake making felt set and I have made it a PDF that you can download and make your own set with.


It's really simple to create the cupcake making felt set, all you need is:




The first step is to cut the Cupcake making template out into the separate pieces. Once you have all the individual pieces together you need to decide what colour you want each piece to be. I went for a selection of colours for most of the pieces like the icing or cake tops to cover the flavours and colours you might find on cupcakes. I mostly used white for the cupcake cases with a few being different colours too.


Now that you have decided which colours to use you can place your template pieces on the felt and pin it down, now I did use pins with this project but I usually don't use sewing pins with felt. The number of pieces I needed to cut was the main factor. I cut two of every colour to ensure Dylan and Scarlet had one set each.

The final step is to cut everything out. That's it! You now have a felt board and a felt cupcake making set. It really is just that easy to do.


I have another couple ideas on other sets I want to make and I am working on getting the templates together for those so if you would like to see other templates keep a look out for more in the next weeks and months.


Monday, 9 March 2020

A little birthday adventure {The Ordinary Moments}

It's been a while since I joined in with a linky, well over a year now. I have been looking for one or two that I think I'd like to join in with and one of those is The Ordinary Moments with What the Redhead Said. Each week I hope to share some our own ordinary moments as a family. 

We starting off on a big week with it having been Dylan's birthday. We don't tend to do birthday parties to celebrate, instead we let them decide on a day out they'd like to enjoy together and this year Dylan wanted to go see Sonic The Hedgehog. We set off with the intention to see Sonic and have a browse in the toy shop for some birthday shopping. 


As we got to the cinema Dylan noticed a small play area that had been set up with a lovely spring theme inside Victoria Square. Immediately after the film ended both Dylan and Scarlet wanted to go explore the play area which featured this beautiful round door with it's own knocker. Both children enjoyed trying the knocker and guessing who might be hiding behind the door that doesn't open!



There was several areas for playing but the one they seemed to enjoy the most was a small track laid into the fake grass with ride on cars to play on. Dylan and Scarlet took turns driving around the track and Dylan even pushed Scarlet a little when she struggled to go faster. 


Dylan much preferred to run around the track, inspired by Sonic's ultra speed! 


When it came time to leave neither was happy about the idea but the unplanned element in of the day has been talked about much of the weekend now, espically that big mysterious door! 

The Ordinary Moments
Sunday, 1 March 2020

Learning with the Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise Eggs range from Character Options {Review}

*AD (not paid)- The products featured have been sent to us for review*
*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own*


We all know that YouTube is very popular, especially for children with so many great nursery rhymes and song channels like Chu Chu TV. Scarlet has always loved listening to the little songs and is regularly found dancing around to them which is why I was so excited to hear Chu Chu TV have brought out a range of surprise egg toys with Character Options to go along with their YouTube channel! A firm favourite in our house from Chu Chu TV is Johnny Johnny,Yes Papa song which gets sung at all hours of the day by one of the children. Even Simon walks around singing the catchy tune so it really is no wonder their videos have been seen over three billion times! Chu Chu TV are most definitely popular with children since they also have over 5 million subscribers on their channel. I really think their new Peek and Play Surprise Eggs range will be a big hit too.


We got sent two of the toys in the new Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise Eggs range. Firstly is the Chu Chu TV Train and we also recieved the ABC Starter Set of Peek and Play Surprise Eggs. They are perfect for Scarlet since they have no small parts and are designed to be played with by children as young as 18 months.
Scarlet was immediately interested in the eggs and ran to me shouting "eggs, eggs!" when she found the boxes sitting on the floor for her. As you can see she was very excited to open up the boxes and see just what the new Chu Chu TV Surprise Eggs range could do. 

Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise Eggs - Chu Chu TV Train - £14.99


It didn't take her long to notice the second box and everything was about the Chu Chu TV Train! We opened it up to explore it further,the train has three separate carriages with the first being the train front and conductor seat. This first front carriage has the trains spout which plays sounds and the Yes Johnny, Yes Papa song from Chu Chu TV when pressed. Scarlet was so impressed that it would sing her the song and was happy to join in with the singing! The Peek & Play Surprise Eggs Chu Chu TV Train also comes with a special egg character to be the conductor of the train. If you watch Chu Chu TV you'll easily recognise him as Mr. Harloo the mascot of the YouTube channel.

Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise Eggs - ABC Starter Set - £12.99

The biggest excitement for Scarlet was definitely the Peek & Play Surprise Eggs  ABC Starter Set. The set contains 5 eggs which are all individually wrapped to add a special unboxing experience for toddlers. 


Each Peek & Play Surprise Egg has a special character inside which will match the letter on the back of each egg. The ABC Starter Set contains the letters A through E with other Peek & Play Surprise Eggs available individually (£2.99) to add to the set over time. 


Scarlet's favourite animal from the Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise Eggs ABC Starter Set is the cute little dog who she always ensures has a seat on the Chu Chu TV Train! 


The who Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise range is bright, colourful and it's very engaging, Scarlet has been playing with the set several times every day for over half an hour each time. Which for her is a pretty long time! She loves playing with the characters and creating different places for the train to visit. I personally love that we can use the Chu Chu TV Peek & play Surprise Eggs to work on phonics, spelling, letter recognition and so much more as she prepares to start nursery next year. We already have some more Peek & Play Surprise Eggs on her birthday list for later this year.

You can purchase the Chu Chu TV Peek & Play Surprise Eggs range from Character Options or Amazon.

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