Sunday, FUNDAY!!!!

Ahhh, welcome Sunday, Funday…. best day of the week.

What will you do today?

The Forestry Commission has plenty planned for today in your local woodlands, or

You can Bake for your lunchbox

Maybe crack open some paint, or take a hairdryer to your crayons

Turn a cardboard box into a spaceship

Go blackberry picking

Take the dog for a walk

Invent something

paint everyone’s  toenails

bake some bread

learn (or teach) how to tie your shoelaces

Read a lovely long book and relish the pictures

play hopscotch

let the juniors loose with the chalk on the patio

Build an indoor tent with a sheet

play “will it float, will it sink?” with a sink/ bowl of water

Let Junior wash the (toy) dishes

Wash the doll’s clothes and put up a washing line for your Junior to peg out the clothes

Have a toy car wash. or a bike-wash. Or wash the family car…… whatever!

Have a Funday, Sunday whatever you do… I’d love to hear what you get up to!


Loving melted wax crayon art!

Loving melted wax crayon art!.

ooooooohhhhhhh! There’s something rather cathartic about taking a hairdrier to some wax crayons. The next time some-one is feeling a bit frustrated or angry this is the project for us. All that crushing and melting- how brilliant to release all that upset and create something beautiful in the process.


How I love the trip to the library….. The initial game of “Hunt the book” as the children scramble round the house to find last week’s books. The hurry, hurry to get feet in shoes and arms in jumpers at the same time. The tumble into and then out of the car. Today’s Library trip involved the added jeopardy of negotiating around  spray from the charity car wash, a wasp’s nest and a rather large dog that could eyeball my smallest from it’s lying position. To be fair, the dog is just lovely and he’s there every week!

In a small town like ours we are so grateful to have one that we make sure we use it regularly. We love our Library, but especially on a Saturday morning. Saturday morning sees the local Scrabble club play within its walls. Tea and coffee in proper mugs for the regulars and all kinds of conversations take place. And the dog lying in the sunshine, waiting patiently for his owner.

We are also  have the nicest Librarian, called Bill. So helpful and friendly and just brilliant with the children that visit. He lets them stamp their books and I am sure he must remember every visitor by name. The man deserves some recognition for his attitude towards his community and I intend to nominate him when the right award comes up.

After the bookshelves have been looted and the newest books have been stamped and brought home, there’s a hush that descends for a time in my house. The only sound is the rustle of a page turning. I sit down with a drink and just enjoy the silence whilst it lasts…….

Building a campsite

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“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” Unknown

With the turning of the seasons comes the change on the dining room window sill; slowly going are the shells and flowers of summer, making way for the pine-cones and pebbles heralding Autumn. Pretty soon, it will be groaning under the weight of conkers and acorns.

Our window sill is a place for putting precious things. A special stone, a piece of seaweed, a feather. It changes throughout the year: a sort of nature table of treasures, important bits and bobs too special in a child’s eyes to be left where they were found. But not so precious as to be admired from afar.

The dining room window sill (and everything on it) is theirs. Free to be got down and played with, re-arranged and fiddled with to their heart’s content. Natures treasures… somehow they create games that just wouldn’t be the same with “proper” toys, I think because they require a child’s imagination to bring them to life.

Saturday’s Who Dunnit?????? The case of the Biscuit Burglar….

A who dunnit for your little detectives.

You will need:

Some shoes of varying sizes

A corresponding number of cuddly animals  and/or dolls

Some paper and a pen

a small amount of mud (or paint/ ink stamps)

A magnifying glass and other detective-y apparatus (optional)

A  packet of chocolate biscuits (or other favourite)

Your biscuit tin.


Pick one pair of shoes to be the “guilty” shoes .Using the mud/ paint on the soles of the shoes make foot prints on the paper. Allow to dry and cut out.

Purchase your chocolate biscuits and resist the urge to eat them.

Allocate toys to shoes.

Write the clue(s) to the stolen biscuits and the note for the biscuit tin.


On Saturday morning, big up the biscuit tin

“There’s some biscuits in the tin, we’ll have one in a minute with a drink.”

When you’re ready, get the tin down and open it up to find the note left by the biscuit burglar.

“I have your biscuits!! You wait and see, try as you might, you will never catch me!!!”

Using your detective equipment set the children searching for “clues” to catch you biscuit burglar. Hopefully they will eventually find your foot prints.

Now lead the children to the  toys. They now need to work out which toy it is that stole their biscuits. They should be able to rule out some of the shoes based on size etc. If you have been cunning you will have made a few of them more difficult to decide between. Using only one of the pair of each remaining shoes (make sure it’s not the shoe with the clue in, that would give it away!!!), repeat the shoe printing process you did the night before and get the children to try to spot which is the match.

Once they have worked this out get them to search in the shoes for the biscuits. At this point they should find the clue in the other shoe of the pair left by the biscuit burglar as to the location of the biscuits. This clue could lead you directly to the biscuits, or to a map, or another clue. How long they hunt for the treasure and how many clues you leave is up to you. Once they find them, you can all sit down and have a biscuit, safe in the knowledge that the streets are a safer place.




Re-conditioning dolls hair

Dolls are very important in my house.  They provide constant companionship and an enduring level of affection. In fact, they are loved so much they start to look, well, frazzled. Same can be said of any number of toys with that nylon-style hair (ponies etc) and my little girl has a sort of “rescue and retirement home”  going for these sorts of things. If it’s looking a little sad and tatty and it’s generally being overlooked by everyone else, she’ll want to bring it home and make it feel special.  For this reason, it is unlikely that we will be taking her to an animal shelter anytime soon.

As a result of her desire to rescue toys destined to see out their days at the bottom of a bucket in the charity shop, we’ve had to do some research into re-conditioning the matted frizz that is usually the poor excuse for hair. The solution is quick and simple (the actual doing-time is less than 5 mins) and the results are really good. I can see why she likes to do it, it makes you feel good to give something a new lease of life. I am sure that their smiles are ever-so slightly wider at the end of the process…

Simply give the hair a wash in baby shampoo, and then a gentle brush (using some de-tangling spray if you have some). Don’t go mad, just enough to get it to lie mostly in the same direction. Then pour clothes fabric softener into a bowl  (deep enough to cover the hair) and place all the hair into the bowl, ensuring that it is completely submerged. Leave for 4-6 hours,  then comb through, rinse and dry. Once dry brush gently and then she’s ready to play!

Hi-ho, hi-ho, a watering we will go!!

If yours are anything like mine they enjoy watering the garden, even though it may not really need it at the moment. The endless trips to the tap with the teeny-tiny watering can. The hop skip and jump from said tap that always follows with the inevitable spillage of at least half the water in transit; followed by the remaining water being dumped in a benevolent deluge on a poor, unsuspecting plant.

“Mummy, I need more water!!!!”

And repeat…..

We started filling a bucket under the tap, but I was still bound to the tap. Then I saw this rather splendid idea. The Milk bottle watering can. No unintended spills and a fairly gentle flow that makes the water last longer. Available in a range of sizes all offering a good child-sized handle. You can either heat up a nail and melt a few holes into the lid, or use a hammer to whack some holes in.

Now everyone is happy, happy, happy. The grown-ups can venture a little further away from the tap; the children can water for longer and the plants are no longer subject to water torture.   Happy Watering!!!

Writing our Autumn wish list



With the rain lashing the windows, a stew and dumplings in the slow cooker and a poorly girl on the sofa today really felt like Autumn had got its feet well and truly under my table. After mid-morning my little girl just didn’t want to entertain anything that required sitting up or getting off the sofa, so we read some books (we do love Shirley Hughes books, the stories are so beautifully written and illustrated) and with her own  “Bonting” in hand the talk turned to our Autumn’s wish list: things we hope to do before Winter comes.  We started this in the summer- creating a list of things we’d like to do during the season. Summer’s things spanned all weather (jump in puddles) and ranged from free (visit 3 new parks) to odd expensive day out (a trip to the zoo). We all enjoyed striking each off as we achieved it and it certainly helped with that “What are we going to do now?” that the holidays can bring.

Our list is not intended to put pressure on us to “achieve” everything we come up with for the season, but to act as inspiration for things to do when we’re simply stuck for ideas. So far, we have some 20 things on our list and I’ll share the first ten to give you the idea:

1. Plant an acorn

2.Carve a pumpkin

3. Bake an Apple pie

4. Play some games in the dark

5. Enjoy some sparklers

6. Plant some wall flowers

7. Collect pine cones ready for Christmas

8. Make Stone Soup

9. Play in the woods

10. Go conker hunting

We tried to get a photo of us doing each activity in the summer with the grand plan we would  take advantage of those on-line photo shop offers of photo books nearer to Christmas and create a book about our year and the things we had been up to: a kind of photographic Almanac.