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Outdoor Days

Make the most of the nice weather because we all know winter days drive us crazy.
I love just getting in my car and discovering new places. If you’re lucky enough like me to live in South Wales then here are a few of my favourite places to go for a nice walk:

Penllergaer Forest
Right on my doorstep Penllergaer Forest is full of surprises. Originally the home of John Dillwyn, the forest was the grounds of a huge manor house. The gardens were landscaped to have lots of different features. In recent receipt of a grant there is work going on now to restore the gardens but you can still see so many beautiful sights. Walk across the top path and look down on the lake or walk on the lower path across the recently restored Llewellyn Bridge. See caterpillars, birds and beautiful water features. You can walk all around and end up in a lovely cafe. Nothing nicer than ending a nice walk with a coffee in the open air. Water for dogs available.

Forest Map

Cadle Mill

Part of Penllergaer Forest, the area of the forest in Cadle is a hidden gem. Lots of different paths to take which lead to a small waterfall and to the most beautiful lake I’ve seen. The paths are flat so ideal for little ones and it’s just quiet and beautiful.

Loughor Estuary

Another hidden gem just hidden behind the Reverend James Public House in Loughor is the beautiful Loughor Estuary. You can eat a picnic on the surrounding parkland or walk along near the water collecting sea shells. It’s such a peaceful spot where you can really appreciate nature.

Lliw Reservoir

When you drive in to Lliw Reservoir you are immediately struck by its tranquility. Great expanses of water covering two different reservoirs are bordered with different paths- some suitable for wheelchairs, prams and those who like a flat walk. Across the reservoir are more difficult walks which are ideal for rambling. There are hidden benches where you can enjoy a picnic, an old flour mill and a lovely cafe. It’s a favourite place of mine to walk.

Cwmdonkin Park

A favourite haunt of Dylan Thomas, Cwmdonkin Park is a great expanse of green with many hidden treasures- a giant slide, a pavilion cafe, sculptures, a play park and peace and tranquility. Simple but you’ll stay for hours

Margam Park

For about Ā£20 you can visit Margam Park as many times in a year as you like (Excludes Bank Holidays). You could not find better value. Margam Park is a magical place where you discover something new every time you visit. There is a land train, a farm, wooden sculptures, a cafe, a shop, a castle, a lake, a play park, a discovery centre, a fairy tale village, abbey ruins, a church, a greenhouse, an orangery and probably more than I’ve mentioned. It’s an amazingly beautiful place that changes with the seasons.

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All a Toys Are Rubbish

Real life is better.

How many times I have you heard a parent say that their child played with the cardboard boxes for longer than the toy?

Most toys don’t do enough to keep children occupied yet we fill our homes with them. Ok I know some toys are great šŸ™‚

As a working mum with traditional values I find you can’t go wrong with these ideas:

HOMEMADE PIZZAS

Making the dough and putting all the toppings on is great fun and keeps children occupied for ages. Let them help wash up too. Not only is cooking fun but it’s also educational.

SHOPPING

Keep lots of kitchen items to use for shopping games- empty cereal boxes, sweet tubes, jars and tubs. Nothing sharp. When finished everything can go in the recycling bins.

GARDENING

Give your little one a trowel and something to kneel on and they’ll play for hours. Let them help pull up weeds, sweep,play with empty plant pots and watering cans.

CRAFT

I love making things. We’ve just bought a big bag of loom bands and are happy creating things together. I love crafts using leftover household items like toilet roll binoculars, pen holders from Pringles pots and landscapes using all manner if leftover items.

COMPETITIONS

Egg and spoon races, dancing competitions, who can make the best potato face, hide and seek. Anything can be made in to a competition to create fun for hours.

COLOURING

My little one is a whizz on the ipad but she will spend longer with good old fashioned colouring lens and colouring book. I love those great big felt pictures you can colour in. Colouring books are great for dexterity, colour recognition, colour use and concentration. Tracing paper over a colouring book is also good. Pavement chalks for outdoors. Bath crayons for bath time and paint for old wallpaper. Simple fun costing very little.

I don’t think you have to spend a fortune to have fun.

Children who can a use themselves will be less demanding of attention. And will be less likely to get bored as quickly.

Sometimes movie time with a hot chocolate is a great way for the whole family to relax.

Remember your little one wants to be just like mum or dad so role play games or helping out games will be just up their street.

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Too Much Of Everything

I don’t think I used to be a hoarder and I don’t really think I am now but I can’t explain how every corner is full of stuff!

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Stuff in the cupboards, stuff in every drawer, stuff under tables and stuff over-taking every room.

I keep quite a tidy home on the exterior but look in an cupboard and you’ll find them brimming with stuff.

Obviously the fact that one of me became three has added to the situation but it’s one lovely little girl that has really changed things.

Like most MumsĀ I want her have the best I can afford but as she approaches four years old I am of the opinion that I may have gone a little over the top in my generosity. I haven’t substituted material things for time either-we spend lots of time together and we enjoy good old fashioned fun.

These are the ‘stuff’ lists I need to do something about-I wonder if you are reading this and thinking the same:

BOOKS

I am a complete sucker for books and must buy a book or two at least every few weeks. We read together almost every night so I like books we can both enjoy. Trouble is that there are so many books we can’t see them all. I need to find a really good storage solution-oh and stop buying more books.

TEDDIES

They are breeding in my house-every night I go in to my little girls room and she has gone to sleep with five or so different ones. Why do teddies have to be so huge these days too? They are under the bed, in baskets, in her bed, in my car, in the conservatory, on the table. Everywhere. Biggest trouble is now Mum is mean because I will not buy anymore soft toys-poor Ty Beanie Bert and Ernie were dumped in the toy shop today. I had to put my foot down.

CRAFT STUFF

I love making things and keep lots of bits n bobs for craft making. I can see a project with everything so always cut up old cards, keep bits of card and am always bring home the free pencils you get at restaurants. Its all stuffed in a craft chest-we love rooting about in it but is has made me a bit of ‘collector’

CLOTHES

Um of course like any other woman I don’t have enough clothes and I never have the right outfit for an occasion but I am slightly embarrassed to admit I have two double wardrobes full of clothes split In to three sections-work, casual and going out. And I have similar for my daughter-two rails of clothes and a whole storage system full of tops and skirts. I know it’s too much and I need to get rid of items. I just hate throwing away things when there’s nothing wrong with them.

Today I’ve made a pact to myself to start de-cluttering.

It’s stressful having so much stuff around the house.

I really find it hard not to buy my little girl nice things but I must stop doing it or she wont value things.

Where do I start though? One room at a time? With the books, teddies and clothes? With a bonfire?

Stick with me-I can do this. Can you?

Just seen a lovely new dress though šŸ™‚

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Rubbish Mums

RUBBISH MUM

A pack of scented wet wipes on a white background

When your family grows by one or more you become increasingly aware of the amount of household waste that is thrown away every day-particularly when you are in the nappy phase.

I took my daughter to a science museum this weekend where one of the exhibitors were appealing to the public not to throw waste down the toilets. I’ve always disposed of nappies safely but I do sometimes throw a wet wipe down the toilet. I didn’t realise the effect this has on our water supply:

  • The wet wipe market is growing at more than 15% a year according to research
    company Nielsen.
  • They don’t break up like tissue
  • Fat sticks to them and hardens to cause what the industry call ‘Fatbergs’
  • Wet wipes will block the system as they aren’t designed to decompose

With this in mind I am going to ditch the wet wipes and go back to good old fashioned soap and water. On cue my little girl has just come running in after washing her hands-so there is life after wet wipes. Are you an eco-mum?

FEED THE BIRDS-TUPPENCE A CAKE

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Another idea I stumbled upon is bird cakes using left over cooking oil.

I bought a cheap little kit to do this but you can make the so easily.

It services two purposes-feeding the birds and creating a use for cooking oil which is hard to dispose of.

Instructions:

Get a silicone muffin case

Drape in a piece of string folded in half (So it forms a handing loop at the top)

Fill the case with birdseed

Pour in left over cooking oil

Put in the fridge to set

Another idea for old cooking oil is to put it in a vessel-leave to set and then scoop in to the food waste bin.

HEART OF GLASS

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Another lovely idea for re-using glass jars-cover with crystals, tie ribbon round the centre, fill with pebbles or add a tealight. The uses are endless-it’s really easy to create shabby chic jars by using pinking shears to cut hearts out of fabric and glue to the glass-tie a ribbon around the top and glue a button in the centre and you can use the jars for holding cotton buds, make up brushes, toothbrushes-what ever you like.

If you search the internet for homemade gifts you will find lots of ideas for glass jars.

It’s really satisfying making something pretty and a lovely project to do with children.

Hope you enjoyed this blog.

Next time I write I might just be wearing a kaftan

 

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Crafts For Christmas

All of a sudden Christmas seems to be everywhere. For me it’s a great time to have some fun with my little girl making Christmas Crafts.

Here are my TopĀ Five Christmas Crafts to make this year:

ONE: DRIED ORANGE SLICE FESTIVE GARLANDS

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TWO: JAM JAR CHRISTMAS SNOW GLOBES

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THREE: HOLLY WREATHS MADE FROM CHILDRENS HANDPPRINT

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FOUR: COTTON WOOL SNOWMAN

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FIVE: MAGAZINE CHRISTMAS TREE

Paper-Christmas-Trees

Thank you to all the bloggers that make it so easy to find inspiration on the interest.

Pinterest is an amazing site for creative ideas- I also like E-how.

Hope you like these ideas- I’m really excited to get crafting for Christmas-please share your ideas with me-I’d love to hear them

More ideasĀ to follow soon

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Weird Science-Fun Stuff for kids

I was no scientist at school- all I can remember is the whole science class quietly humming at the same time so that the teacher didn’t know who was doing it. I think Grange Hill was responsible for that one!

So the great thing about having a child is being able to learn with them all the things that you didn’t learn when you were young. Of course under the pretence that you already know it.

I took my little girl to an event at The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea called ‘Weird Science’ and we picked up a few fun tricks I thought I’d share with you.

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SLIME

Put a few spoons of corn flour in to a plastic cup. Add some food colouring for effect and mix with warm water. Add more water or more flour until the mixture is a paste that still is thick but still moves around like liquid (Hope that make sense)

When mixed tip a blob of the paste on to a plastic tablecloth, place mat or similar.

Now for the amazing part-when you pat the blob it feels hard-not like liquid at all.

If you slowly trace your finger through it, it moves like liquid.

If you scoop it up quickly and roll it around it turns in to a putty like ball.

Scrape it all up and put it back in a cup-liquid form again.

This was a really fun experiment-the reason for these changes is that the paste is neither solid nor liquid. Something about it’s molecular structure. Ok so I’ll now add a scientific reason in case you’re interested:

‘Corn flour and water, when combined, become a non-Newtonian fluid, which has a shear rate that increases independent of velocity. Adding food coloring to this simple physics demonstration tints the corn flour and water mixture, which better expresses its properties visually’ (Source; E-how)

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_8287633_mix-corn-flour-water.html#ixzz2jbzUlgB6

GLOW STICKS

Get a glow stick and crack it along its length to make it look neon.

On stand by have a glass of hot water and a glass of cold water.

Put your glow stick in the cold water and you’ll see its neon qualities fade as it reverts back to its original state.

Put your glow stick in to the glass of hot water and you’ll see it begin to turn neon again but even brighter than it was when you first cracked the stick.

Easy bit of science but very interesting.

Just before I started writing my blog I saw a post from Mashable on Twitter which gives some great ideas for science tricks:

14 YouTube Tutorials for Science Experiments

You never know-with my new found knowledge my daughter could one day be a scientist…………………….

Thanks for reading

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Learning shouldn’t cost money

My three year old daughter is getting very inquisitive now and I’m really keen on playing games which help her learn numbers, letters, shapes and colours.

IĀ saw this easy idea for a counting game which costs nothing to make. For more numbers jut use a bigger egg box. You can use stones, pasta or money to help them learn that one item goes in the section numbered one and so forth.

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Ive shared this before but thought it was good to be reminded of this simple game my friend Louise created for her little boy. I’m always inspired by the fun things she does.

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Alphabet stones costĀ nothing and when you’ve finished with them they can go back outside.

The next game is one my friend bought from Amazon. An amazing game that helps all areas of learning-colours, shapes, sorting, numbers, fine motor skills and much more. Sadly the price tag is way out of my reach but I hope with my creativity I can create a similar set under ten pounds. So that will be my next project.

The ‘real thing’ is below and the link to buy it is below. If I could afford it I would buy it in a shotimage

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Learning-Resources-Super-Sorting-Set/dp/B003AEBXZE/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1379243098&sr=1-1&keywords=sorting+set

Just a short blog this week-I’m knee deep in toddler toys!

Have a good week

Amanda