This little beauty has been a game changer…

Do you always struggle to print things off for the kids homework?

Have piles of photos that lie in a cloud of digital space somewhere?

Desperate to find things to keep the kids occupied?

I have the answer! I was very lucky to receive a beautiful new Epson printer this summer and I didn’t want to write another normal blog until I realised how much this lovely little piece of tech has helped me in my daily life…

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For those of you that don’t know my little boy has just gone into Year 1 this September and the homework has ramped up big time and it involves picking a task to complete each week out of 10 tasks included in their homework book. Most of these involve things like, put a picture of your favorite place in your book and tell us why its your favorite place or put in a picture of you now and when you were a baby and tell us 5 differences. Just a few examples… Well! This little beautiful bit of kit means I can pull it out the cupboard and pop it on the dining table. Within two seconds it is on and ready for action having been set linked into my wifi previously. I purchased some photo paper from the pound shop, downloaded the Epson app on my phone and iPad and away I went. It’s so simple even a technophobe like me can manage it! I select the photo button in the app, select which one I want and press print and voila its done! And the quality that it prints out is fab.!

The difference between this printer and others is that I don’t have to worry about ink. This is because it doesn’t use the traditional cartridges that cost £50-£100 a pop. It uses squeezy bottles of ink that you squeeze into the relevant pots and is said to last approximately 2 years! So even though it is more expensive on the initial outlay the ink replacement means its a no brainer as far as cost is concerned.

Not only have we managed to complete homework, it also means I can print off colouring in pics for my 3 year old and other highly coloured arts and crafts for her to do like the Finding Dory crafts we completed over the summer holidays which included ‘Dorygami’ and fun props on sticks like you use for selfies.

Additionally it scans and copies and then puts away neatly wherever you want it until next time. I honestly can say its been a game changer in our house. Check it out : Epson EcoTank ET-2550

 

Crafting with Epson & Disney

So the summer holidays are officially upon us and like many parents I’m keen to make sure we have lots to do. Yesterday whilst big bro was at gym club me and my mini me did baking for the first time with our gorgeous personalised baking set, you can check out some pics of that on my instagram, it all went surprisingly well!

As Florence is turning 3 in October I thought it was time we went to our first blogger event together so a couple of weeks ago we trotted off to the Disney Store in London for a meet up with Epson in conjunction with the new film out this summer Finding Dory. We were met by Elsa and her a lovely crew who had put on a lovely breakfast and then spoken to by Bobbie from Disney who explained they were always keen to make sure parents had a great new film to look forward to. Disney had hooked up with Epson for this to offer even more great ideas for things to do with the kids over the summer period. (Did you know most parents run out of ideas after 3 weeks and on average spent £1500 during the summer holidays?!?) Neil from Epson then took the stand to explain how the world of print had declined in recent years but Epson had come up with an innovative package to ensure users didn’t have to worry about how much they printed, how colourful the subject was or how often they printed. Introducing the Ecotank printer….

 

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The best thing about this printer is it comes supplied with ink to run it for 2 years and when one bottle needs replacing they are only £8… In comparison a normal printer would consume 70 cartridges over this period!

The lovely Alice from More than Toast then stepped up to demonstrate how to make some ‘dorygami’ 🙂 and explain that with the new printer safely installed at her home it was a great tool for the kids to find pictures to print and colour in and how she didn’t have to worry about printing pages that were full colours or other such worries that we all had with our old printers. She also found that whilst sitting and doing these crafting things with her little ones that they tended to just chat and reveal lots more about their lives than if asked specifically about one thing. This resonated a lot for me especially trying to tap into Zachys feelings about mine and his dad’s separation so this is definitely on the agenda…

Once Alice (and Neil from Epson) had created their wonderful origami whales the rest of us bloggers were set to work on making some great crafts. There really was some truly fab creations (most bloggers had no kids with them btw..) Flo and I on the other hand set to work on the 0-3yr market and she did a fab job of making some great pictures that she was super proud of 🙂

We had such a fab day and I can’t wait to try out this fab new printer and go to watch Finding Dory so keep your eyes peeled for all that exciting stuff to come 🙂

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Linking to :

A Cornish Mum

That Friday Blog Hop

Fancy a trip to the shed?

Like most mums (and dads) I’m always on the look out to do something different and exciting with the kids to keep them occupied, have fun and if possible give them some educational value so I was delighted when I learnt about the opening of a new shed in West Wickham, Kent.

A shed?! I hear you cry!

It’s not any old shed though…. Set up by Regan Anderton, author of whatiatelastnight.com and food editor for Kent Life Magazine, The Cooking Shed is an adult only or adult and child cookery school right here on my back door step.

Launched on 7th May this year, Regans idea was to set up a relaxed and homely environment where you can spend time one on one with your little one (3 years plus) or in an adult only class to learn how to cook healthy, home cooked food. She had realised that the age old premise of passing down knowledge generation to generation had skipped quite a few of us in our manic day to day lives and wanted to help people to get back in the kitchen and cooking from scratch with quality ingredients (that she sources from quality locally businesses).

I was fortunate to attend an adult and child class with my eldest Zachy (5 1/2 yrs), to learn how to make chinese steamed buns. I didn’t have a clue where to start! Upon arrival you immediately feel like you’re at the seaside entering in to a fresh, well laid out and prepared classroom. Along with 3 other mum/child pupils we all popped on our super cute Cooking Shed aprons and  were given some background into asian flavours and chinese cuisine before Regan demonstrated the first part of making our buns. Knives suitable for small people were provided so everyone could get involved with chopping and scraping and the children got really stuck in, anything with a knife is going to be a winner for my boy!  Once Regan had finished her part of the demo we continued to work hard making our dough, getting our hands all sticky and gooey whilst hers cook so you can try a bit at the end. No you don’t cook yours there and then – its even better! Once you’ve finished making your buns or whatever else you go to the shed to learn about, you get to take them home and have them for dinner! PLUS there is enough for a family of four! WIN WIN!

So not only have you had a great time with your little one doing something different, fun and educational you don’t even have to make dinner later on!

I can’t recommend the experience high enough. Regan is thoughtful, educational and fun and more importantly you know she’s passionate about food and sharing her wisdom.

So if you want to learn to cook anything from asian to italian, from shellfish to chicken find out more and get booking at www.thecookingshed.com !

 

Give me a break at Xmas

Happy new Year!

So I’ve been on the missing list and taking a break from my blog, hope you all had as fab a xmas as I did. At the age of 5 and 2 Xmas is turning into a very exciting time in my house and for the forseeable I can only hope that will get even better.

One of the main reasons for me taking a break in December was the amount of pressure put on us parent/blog writers to do arts, crafts, magic elves, xmas eve boxes, santa visits etc etc and as much as admire you all for all your hard work I felt the need not to be judged over the holiday period with how much (or little!) I actually did.!

I’m not saying we didn’t do anything festive but as you may of read in my earlier post I just can’t abide the elf on the shelf. Now I get it if it’s fun etc but all these people picturing their elf drinking wine, making a mess etc well I won’t go on…

So whilst I put my grinch mask down…

We had an elf door for the first time this year. Z loved the fact that their letters to Santa were whizzed off with his ‘lease’ agreement.

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We went to our local Xmas lights turn on and supported the local scouts, schools etc with all their stalls.

We visited our schools xmas fair and meet Santa and went snow boarding. Luckily we saw the big man there as we got chicken pox on the day of our official visit 😦

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We were very proud of Zachary being the kind InnKeeper in his Xmas play.

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We enjoyed dressing up and being silly with lots of Xmassy props.

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We left our stockings and treats for Santa out.

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Mummy even had some fun at her Xmas party and with friends.

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Then Xmas day was the best!

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Lets see what 2016 can bring!

Miffy is back!!!

Did you know Miffy’s back?? I know I tweeted and facebooked about my excitement but it really is back!!!

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Now my little angel received a miffy and two books through the post from Miffy’s parents and I have to say thank you and no thank you!

The only reason I say no thank you is that she is  know totally obsessed with Miffy! LOL

As a child I looooved Miffy, sweet innocent Miffy with her sweet little cross for her mouth just reminds me of childhood and I’m happy for her to be a part of my little girls journey too 🙂

Flo was immediately taken with the little bunny we know as Miffy and loved holding her whilst we read the books.

That was as far as it went UNTIL Miffy popped up on TINY POP! Well the excitement that broke out was uncontrollable! Haha. It was so cute!

If I can give anyone a tip – don’t wait for them to be obsessed with Peppa etc (not that there is anything wrong with that as she is too!) but get them in to something. The fact she met Miffy as a teddy, then she met Miffy in her book adventures then to top it all off she was beside herself to see Miffy on screen it was amazing!

The original stories and tv adventures mirror the innocence of our childhood which I love. A story about Miffy arriving being blessed by an angel for one is great. I love the innocence and naivety of them. It should be that way! They are two! Lots of people, including members of my family couldn’t believe an angel arrives to bless miffys parents with miffy in the end but why does it need to be any different for a two year old?? The answer is it doesn’t!IMG_3919

I’ve now ordered a bag of Miffy books for xmas that I know Flo will love!

These little lovelies accept it all, enjoying stories doesn’t last for long. Enjoy Miffy and her adventures whilst you can 🙂

What we did at Halloween with Dylon

This year we decided to make our own Halloween costumes with the help of Dylon!

Now I know I’ve been a bit crafty but I must admit to being a little scared, as I’m sure some of you are, of dye!

Well I’m happy to say it’s much easier than you think! We started off with white outfits for me, Zachy and Flo :

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Dylon kindly provided me with two different types of dyes in the fact that the sachets are for putting in a bowl with salt and water and leaving the garment in there, stirring intermittently. The bigger boxes you tip directly in the washing machine and just simply run a cycle!

Now I had to decide what to do!

Thanks to the Dylon colour palette that gave me creative ideas, I decided on a  red bride for myself, a violet witch for Flo and a black Frankenstein suit for Zachary. I tipped in the black dye, popped in the suit and switched the machine on…

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Scary!!

Next I did the same with my white dress and the red dye. It was so easy and the colour was perfectly distributed with no colour patches on the garments.

Finally I dyed Flo’s witch outfit in the more traditional manner in a bowl. Hers came out equally good.

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I was so impressed with the process, the simplicity and the outcomes!

 

Next year and for any other outfits required in the future, I’ll be turning to Dylon for help and inspiration!

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The kids (and me!) had a great time Trick or Treating and they’re still enjoying their treats :0

Thanks Dylon 🙂

Find out more about Dylon and get some inspiration for your outfits!

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School Transition

So most of our little ones are all now safely deposited in school and are on their full time hours and weeks. What an emotional rollercoaster that’s been!?! I don’t know about you but I had a few tears leading up to the big day and then on the day was super proud of myself for keeping it together and just having tears in my eyes!

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I’ve seen several posts on Twitter already ‘Do we have to go back tomorrow?’ from Helen @CasaCostello  ‘What are we doing today Mummy?’ from Katie @mummydaddyme and today I had the first ‘But I don’t waaaant to go to school today Mummy’ I get the feeling the emotions are quiet finished with yet…

So what can we do to help our children transition in to school better?

A report from the British Psychological Society gives us this advice:

Positive child outcomes depend upon a combination of parental qualities. That is, children require both warmth and high-quality instruction from caregivers and teachers (Mashburn & Pianta, 2006). High-quality instruction (also known as ‘scaffolding’) includes at least three dimensions (Hughes et al., 2014):
I    Cognitive support: This involves making the task simpler – for example, by breaking it down into manageable stages (e.g. for a jigsaw, finding the corner pieces, then connecting all the edge pieces, etc.).
I    Emotional support (e.g. praise, encouragement, playful interactions): This motivates the child to persist even when the task is challenging.
I    Autonomy support: This involves a process of ‘contingent shifting’ – providing extra help if the child is struggling or demoralised and then reducing this support when the child begins to master the task.

So basically, love, support and encouragement. This chapter in our little ones and our lives is a huge change and great news – we have to do it all again with the next one! Phew Im exhausted!.

What gems have you had from your little pickles so far?

Read the full report here: (https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/september-2015/transition-school)

 

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