Archives for category: To be a Parent….

We have two days left until school starts and we have managed all but one (sort of) of our 10 things to do with mummy/daddy before school starts.

Since the last time we have…

…Face Painting DIY style.

This can only be described as ‘interesting’.  My son loved it, but my face painting skills are somewhat lacking – quite a lot.  When I showed friends the pictures and asked what our son was meant to be, I got a range of answers from ‘I have no idea – what is that?’ to random guesses ‘Spiderman?’ ‘Tortoise?’

They are meant to be dragon and snake! You can see it now right? Maybe not.  Either way our son loved this and I can only get better surely.

face painting

…Climbed a tree.

Well we couldn’t find a climbable tree so we opted for the climbing wall and ropes in the park!  But it just wasn’t quite the same as being able to find a tree so we have made a pact to look for a climbable tree wherever we go and climb it!


…Play in the park like children, Like REALLY play like children.

Ooo this was fun – some things made me feel slightly ill (why is that as you get older any spinning or swinging feels awful!?) and we got a lot of smiles our way.  Either people were thinking ‘ah that’s nice’ or ‘wow that is one childish crazy mum!’  I’m now going to play in the park like this every time and if our son has to wait his turn until I’ve finished then so be it J


We didn’t manage to camp in the garden.  BUT we do have the tent.  Something was stopping me – I wasn’t quite comfortable with sleeping somewhere that wasn’t necessarily secure.  Yes we have a lockable gate on our garden but it can be jumped over. I also got a slight possibly irrational fear that the foxes that always seem to be in our garden would come and maul our son.  I can’t decide if I am right to have this security fear or not.  What would you do in this situation?  Have you camped in your garden before?  And so that leads me to think ‘why am I OK with camping in campsite but not in our own garden?’ Thoughts on a postcard please.

So we managed all but 2 really – but I think we can say we ticked 8.5 out of 10 of the list if we half count the climbing a tree?  And now school starts!  That’s a whole other blog post.

  1. Grow some butterflies (sons idea)
  2. Camp in the garden (my idea)
  3. Cook a meal – main and dessert ( a mixture – I say cook he says bake)
  4. Build a den using things we already have at home
  5. Go to the theatre
  6. Grow something we can eat
  7. Climb a tree
  8. Create something from cardboard boxes
  9. All play in the park like children, like REALLY play like children all of us
  10. Face painting DIY style

Hope you have had a good summer and your kids, whether their first day or starting back to school after the summer, are all happy and settling in well.



Little girl playing with mothers makeup

I’m not sure if it’s just me but does anyone else find pamper parties for children that are 4 years old just plain wrong?  Even up to the age of 8 I wouldn’t feel comfortable – maybe age 12 would be OK, when they start senior school? Although I know I’m being a bit naive there when I think about what makeup I used to wear when I was 12 and what some of my friends were getting up to.

I have to admit I have a little boy but if I had a little girl and she or my son were invited to a pamper party where he could get his nails and makeup done, that would be one party he wouldn’t be going to.   Take the fact that applying makeup so young is surely not good for such young skin out of the equation, what about the message they are getting about their appearance at that age.  Shouldn’t 4 year olds be outside playing or playing on the cbeebies app rather than thinking about how they look?  Are we not breeding a generation of kids hung up on looks?  Should we not be talking to them about what they see in the media and all around them so they feel confident in themselves and have self-esteem as they naturally are rather than encouraging them to use makeup and cosmetics to make them look different?

Pamper parties are all around now though.  Within my family and circle of friends, parents are having pamper parties for their 4 and 5 year olds. While at the hairdressers the other day having my locks cut off they were preparing for a birthday pamper party. It looked great! Cocktail glasses full of mocktails, nail bar set up with an array of nail varnish colours to choose from and a range of hair styles to pick from that I couldn’t get my head around how they would possible pull the styles off. Plaits and braids that looked out of this world! But the kids were a group of 6 year olds.  For a business I understand that its big money and so it’s at the parent’s discretion, but for parents is it about pester power or peer pressure?  If I had a little girl would I end up letting her have a pamper party giving into peer pressure and pester power?

Let me know your thoughts.  Have you had a pamper party for your little one?  What was your thinking behind it? I’m interested to know if I’m alone in my thoughts or if you think little ones should be getting their hair, makeup and nails done.

We have two weeks left until school starts (I feel school is starting quite late for us) but we have managed to only cross off 3 more items from our ‘Ten things to do with Mummy and/or Daddy before I start school’ list, leaving 4 more items to complete!  Camping is starting to look unlikely, as is climbing a tree as we can’t find a tree that is possible to climb – there is time though! (Does being lifted onto the lowest branch count? maybe not)

Over the last few weeks we have…

…Gone to the theatre – twice!

Hopefully you’ve seen the Dinosaur Zoo review.  If not check it out here! And today we went to see Gruffalo (review for this coming soon) which was fantastic.  There is something magical about taking a 4 year old to the theatre.  For a while before we first went to the theatre our 4 year old didn’t understand that it wasn’t the cinema – he was in awe when he saw what happened.  The hour long performances for kids theatre is just about enough depending on what the performance is and it’s such a great trip out and something different, but I always end up giving in to the merchandise!


…Grown something we can eat.

This wasn’t quite as we wanted it to be.  We had visions of potatoes and carrots and maybe even tomatoes but alas I had left it too late to do any of those things so we opted for a fast growing herb.  Cress! What we learnt from this – don’t leave things to the last minute and our 4 year old doesn’t like egg & cress sandwiches.


…Created something from cardboard boxes. (actually just one big box!)

We could have played at this for days! Opted for a train created out of a big ole box we recently had a delivery in and a few things from around the house (stools, electricians tape, cushions…). It has taken on many guises over the last few weeks, even having its own canopy at one point and is now a storage box for a few toys. We were going to paint it and as the box was big needed to do this outside but the rain stopped us 😦  We’re planning a full set of carriages next time – better get ordering some large items that will come in boxes big enough for us to use!

cardboard boxes

This leaves 4 items on the list.  We are determined to cross everything off!

Here is what we have left.

  1. Grow some butterflies (sons idea)
  2. Camp in the garden (my idea)
  3. Cook a meal – main and dessert ( a mixture – I say cook he says bake)
  4. Build a den using things we already have at home
  5. Go to the theatre
  6. Grow something we can eat
  7. Climb a tree
  8. Create something from cardboard boxes
  9. All play in the park like children, like REALLY play like children all of us
  10. Face painting DIY style

Last 2 weeks are going to be busy!  Look out for the next blog to see if we managed it.

Until then, toodlepip  x

3 weeks into our 10 things challenge and we have crossed a few items off the list.

So far we have….

…Grown some butterflies.

caterpillars! butterflies

After waiting patiently for the package to arrive from Insect Lore we got very excited when it appeared and we could set the caterpillars off on their growth adventure.  They grow a lot quicker than you think – it seems slow for the first two days but then oh my – they are like super growing caterpillars (made me feel a little itchy to be honest)

It wasn’t long and they became cocoons – just 5 days later – and then before we knew it we were sat watching them hatch out of their cocoons, unfolding their wings and fluttering around their temporary enclosure (which is in essentially a small pop up laundry basket!)

Our 4 year old loved this and so did we – releasing them was a bit of an anti-climax as it is so quick (and they don’t land on you like they do in the advert – which upset my son a little) but a really good item to have on your 10 things challenge.  Take a look here and order up your kit.

See how fast they grow! From start to finish just two weeks.

…Cooked a meal.

cookies pizza

We opted for Pizza and banana oat cookies.  YUMMY! Made on separate days, I have to admit, but nothing like cooking with your child and seeing how proud they are of themselves when they eat what they have made.

….Built a den.

densLove building dens! I remember as a child hogging the dining room and making the whole room a den, having all sorts of things in there (including my mums record player which had a tape recorder and microphone – I used to record my own radio show!) for a wonderfully self-contained home for me and little brother for hours
on end.  My sons den was no different although maybe a little more modern.  iPad for the TV, CD player, bed and space for everything he needed – toys, drink, relaxing…

Since the first den we have had two more – each getting a bit better and bit bigger each time. Love it! Probably only time your child will ever be happy with you taking a snooze while playing  as the bed area is the only place you can fit – so you have to snooze, it’s the rules!

So we have the following 7 items left on our list to complete before school starts;

  1. Grow some butterflies (sons idea)
  2. Camp in the garden (my idea)
  3. Cook a meal – main and dessert ( a mixture – I say cook he says bake)
  4. Build a den using things we already have at home
  5. Go to the theatre
  6. Grow something we can eat
  7. Climb a tree
  8. Create something from cardboard boxes
  9. All play in the park like children, like REALLY play like children all of us
  10. Face painting DIY style

We have two trips to the theater booked in – can’t really not when it’s Kids week at London theaters, and we have bought a tent for camping in the garden and have face paints ready to go.

Let us know how you are getting on with your 10 things.  I hope you’re enjoying your challenge as much as we are – roll on camping in the garden!

Toodlepip until next time


lego man headstand

I’m feeling a mix of emotion right now. Happiness, worry, sadness and excitement.  Our little boy is starting school in September and although I’m excited for him, as he is very excited himself, I’m also sad that my little one is growing up and worried about him being OK.  He will of course be just fine as children are a lot more robust and resilient than we sometimes give them credit for, but before all that there are the holidays to contend with which is new territory for us as parents, juggling time off work and childcare. I also want to make sure we spend the quality time together which the school holidays offer and with that in mind we have set ourselves a bit of a challenge ticking off all ten things from our list of ‘Ten things to do with Mummy and/or Daddy before I start school’ *high five*   (it doesn’t involve standing on our heads like our friend Lego man, we just liked the photo, in case you were wondering.)

Our list of ten things, a mixture of what we as parents think would be pretty cool (we will see if our son thinks the same when we come to it) and what our son thinks  would be wicked (his word, I can’t even begin to think what word will mean ‘good’ when grandchildren arrive – cool, wicked….I digress)

Our ten things are…

  • ‘Grow’ some butterflies (sons idea)
  • Camp in the garden (my idea)
  • Cook a meal – main and dessert ( a mixture – I say cook he says bake)
  • Build a den using things we already have at home (a mixture – he wants to build a den and I’m already thinking about what we can use in the house that we can put back again afterwards)
  • Go to the theater (my idea. It’s Kids Week – it is actually a month but it’s called Kids Week – in August at London theaters- take a look!)
  • Grow something we can eat (a mixture – he wants to grow things and eating them would be pretty cool and maybe a way to get him to eat more veg?)
  • Climb a tree (sons idea with help from daddy)
  • Create something from cardboard boxes
  • All play in the park like children, like REALLY play like children, all of us (daddy’s idea – he tends to do this anyway!)
  • Face painting DIY style (a mixture – sons wants his face painting and I think well I’m going to have to have a go at that then)

With our list in hand we start our challenge. First up, ‘grow’ some butterflies. We are all excited about this one, although I’m feeling slightly itchy at the thought of little caterpillars in the house. We order the pack and wait for the post…..

Follow my blog to see how we got on and we challenge you to set your own 10 things and let us know how it’s going!!

I’m off to sit by the front door with our son waiting for the post to arrive and I look forward to hearing from you.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been planning for a couple of parties, one for a 4 year old and one for a 5 year old.   A dinosaur party for my son and the games for a 5 year olds t-shirt painting party.  The dinosaur party went well – we had it at home and everyone had fun (or so they tell me) The t-shirt painting party also went well but what has struck me (literally between the eyes) chatting to parents about kids parties is that there is a general feeling, almost a rule, that parents have to have the whole class at the party.  We don’t want to upset anyone, parents or child and don’t then want our own kids to miss out being invited to a party in their class.

In some cases this can be up to 50 kids, 50 children!? That then means 100 adults and more if both parents come with their child and then take into account family too.  No wonder the cost of parties is soaring – just party bags alone could cost anything up to £500 and that’s even before the food, venue (which is going to have to be pretty big), entertainment and decorations.  That is as many guests as some weddings – it’s crazy to imagine.  If we carry on at this rate we’ll be looking at up to £1500 and more for 1 child’s birthday party – WOW!

Why do we feel we need to keep up with what everyone else is doing and invite so many kids – surely a party with just our child’s close friends is enough – 20 kid’s tops?  They can’t possibly know all those children apart from maybe their names. Can’t we talk to our children and ask them who they want to invite to their party?  Yes I know that they change their friends every two minutes, especially their best friend but when you hit 20 kids names they are able to understand that that’s enough, even from 3 years old.

Apart from the cost and inviting a load of kids our child doesn’t really know, what other reasons are needed in order to put kid’s parties into perspective and realise that this size of party might not be a good idea?  Our stress levels?  Finding space for 50 extra toys and games that are brought as presents?  The knock on effect of probably having a party every weekend that you feel your child must attend in return as well as the 50 birthday presents and cards you’ll need to buy when attending those parties.  Before you know it the knock on effect is huge and the cost, including your own child’s party could be anywhere up to £2500 and more depending on your taste in presents and where they are held. That’s a lot of cash and considering a lot of parents spend on their child regardless of having the money or not that’s a lot of money when you may not have that amount to spend! OK, this may be the worst case scenario but it’s certainly something to think about when planning your child’s next birthday party.

What are your thoughts?  Am I being too hard, not thinking of feelings?  What is the highest number of children you’ve ever had at your child’s party?  When the costs are getting into crazy figures and especially if you can’t afford it, why do we carry on regardless?!  Please enlighten me as maybe I’m missing something? Answers on a postcard, or just leave a comment below. I shall wait to be educated…

Charli x

A new ‘almost’ war has started in our house. I want to watch Curious George and our 3 year old son wants to watch Ben 10.
I love Curious George and so did our 3 year old until earlier this week. A brilliant programme. What could be better than a cute monkey (who makes the most adorable noises) exploring the world and coming up with ingenious solutions to problems. It shows kids not to give up if you fail, to keep trying, think ‘outside the box’ and that friends can always be a helping hand, all you have to do is ask, after all it’s not always possible to do everything on your own. A lesson in there for many new businesses and some adults I can think of too!

But our 3 year old has been asking to watch Ben 10. Something he has never seen but kids at nursery are talking about so obviously he wants to know what the fuss is about and be able to join in with the Ben 10 play. I understand that, but it doesn’t sit comfortably with me. Have you seen Ben 10? It’s all changing into horrible looking creatures and blowing each other up, fighting with crazy weapons and alien stuff. Is that too much for a 3 year old or am I being too protective? Well obviously I’m not being too protective as our son has watched Ben 10 a couple of times now. I get the same feeling when he wants to watch Road Runner and Wile e Coyote bashing the crap out of each other. But then I watched all those what we would now think of as violent cartoons as a kid ( although at 3, I’m not so sure) and I turned out ok. I think. (Best ask the husband!)

The question is do our kids have more free access to programmes verging on the violent side earlier than we did? We hear our parents talk about how it was so much safer on the streets when they were kids and they could walk through a park at night age 10 and it was perfectly safe, but was it? Is it just that we now know more about violence and attacks than they did and we are just more aware because of the programmes and issues we are introduced to earlier in our lives?

Back to the current semi war in hand – Curious George vs Ben 10 – I’ll always encourage our son to watch the ‘nicer’ programmes but I can’t bring myself to think that if I stopped him watching Ben 10 not only may I become one of those cencoring, over protective parents but more importantly that he will miss out playing games with his friends and be excluded. What do you think?

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