Friday, 29 December 2017

Tell me why...

I’m often asked three things about blogging. Why do I blog? Do I make money from it? How do I fit it in?

Why did I start?

I set up my blog while I was pregnant with Honey. At that point, I’d never used Instagram so didn’t follow anyone else’s blog religiously but saw a few posts from big bloggers pop up on Facebook occasionally, so was well aware of the Mum blog concept.

When Honey was born, I used the blog as a way to share photos of the people Honey had met without totally boring all my Facebook friends and I began to write about all the fun activities we started joining in with. I envisaged my blog as a diary for Honey and I to look back on and to use as a stimulus for conversations about ‘when I was a baby’. I was also generously given a LOT of clothes for Honey while I was pregnant and I also bought a fair few, so I thought the blog would be a fun way to record the fun we had putting outfits together for her!

After a few posts, I began to get messages asking which changing bag or buggy I had chosen and wondering if I was pleased with my choice, so I created a new page called Mummy Likes... and wrote mini reviews of my favourite baby equipment. Similarly, when I featured past season clothing and referred to it as preloved or wrote about the second hand bargains we were loving, a few people messaged to ask where I’d got hold of the items so I added Honey shares... to the site.

Since then, I’ve written about lots of our adventures, from days out and holidays to courses and classes we have attended. I generally have a pretty positive outlook on life and strive to maintain that on my blog, there isn’t much I have to rant or moan about and the very few times we’ve had a bad day out or class experience, I’ve felt no motivation to write about it!

Motivation is crucial to me, I never want to feel like I have to blog. I’ve enjoyed the learning curve so far and still have A LOT to learn (I really need to master the mobile view of my blog as unless you click ‘desktop view’ it can get a bit jumbled on a mobile) but that’s part of the fun!

I’ve met some amazing people through blogging. In the early days, it was rare but wonderful to meet people who had read my blog and now thanks to Instagram, it’s not as rare, but still just as wonderful! I love it when people tell me they’ve tried a class or purchased something they’ve seen on my blog and also when people suggest new things for us to try!

Do I make money from it?

In terms of money, I have never been paid for a post but I have been lucky enough to receive some great products which I get to keep in exchange for an honest review. This first happened completely by accident, when a local Mum boss gifted me some of her amazing Nom Nom Kids reusable pouches as a thank you for showing support as she started her business. I’d bought some from a local stockist and had found them really useful so I mentioned them on Twitter (which was brand new to me back then, as i'd only really ever been on Facebook) and shared some of her Facebook posts, as well as purchasing more pouches for pregnant friends! 

Slowly but surely, I discovered more about how to promote my posts so that people (other than my poor family who I emailed all my early posts to) would see them and with that, came an offer to join a review panel. Once I’d completed my first review and had a positive response, I actively sought to join other panels and have had some super opportunities from them. Highlights include being gifted all the paint and equipment to redecorate our stairway, by Valspar, being treated to a take away from Deliveroo and most recently, having a complimentary salon experience at the very swanky Stuart Holmes Salon.

As well as writing for my own blog, over the last year or so, I have also been invited to write posts for other people like the Cotswold Baby and Toddler Show and Cheltenham Maman. This is always an honour and a responsibility as it means someone else rates my ‘voice’ enough to share on their social media channels! 

These days, my Instagram account is as important to me as my blog as it’s a great way to share posts and link up with the brands I review. It has also led us to become brand ambassadors for some wonderful companies, which often involves being gifted products or services in exchange for regular posts in support of the company. I am careful only to apply for ambassador opportunities where we have had positive experiences with the brand and where I can see how I can incorporate them into my blog and Instagram feed.

I was recently approached by an international company asking whether I’d like to collaborate with them on an Instagram post which felt amazing (after I’d worked out that it wasn’t a scam). Getting to choose a beautiful item of clothing for Ace, as a gift from them, was so exciting, but the pressure to get the photo they asked for right was real (hats off to all photographers, I think I’d definitely develop the stress gene if I had your job)!

So while I’m not counting the cash, I have been incredibly fortunate and have been able to try things and provide things for my family that we would not have had if it weren’t for my blog. Having said all that, you definitely can make money from blogging, but just like any other job, it's hard work! If you want to make blogging your job, make sure you're following Pink Pear Bear and Emma and 3, both of whom are super successful, local bloggers who share their advice and experiences regularly and willingly. Emma has even co-written a book called 'Blogging Your Way To Riches' which you should definitely get hold of if you want some tips!

How do I fit it in?

I fit blogging in around everything else. Unless I have a deadline, I rarely blog or use social media on my work days (unless it’s a scheduled post) but on other days, I blog, check out stats, use social media or cull photographs during nap time or after the kids are in bed. Ace is a much earlier riser than Honey so I often prepare posts on my phone while we wait for Honey to get up (CBeebies babysits, in fact right now, Ace is lying in bed next to me watching Bing as I type). 

Will I keep blogging as the children get older? I don’t know! I’ll blog for as long as I enjoy it and have somethings to say! Maybe one day, I’ll take the leap into getting paid but for now I’m having fun and learning lots and that’s all I wished for.

Honey and Mummy wear... Biker jackets by Primark (Mummy) and Zara (Honey)

Monday, 18 December 2017

I'm pretty sure I've finished Christmas shopping now. I have this evening earmarked to finish wrapping everything, apart from the kids presents as my husband and I always do that together on Christmas Eve. Having said that, I do need to check whether I've got enough stocking fillers to, well, fill the stockings! If you still have a few presents to buy, here are my top, last minute picks!

Last minute toy...

Last Christmas, the Fisher Price Beat Bo was a huge hit in this house! It appealed to me because at that point, Ace was crawling, cruising and pushing a walker along and I'd heard that the Beat Bo was great for encouraging independent standing and subsequently walking. Although it was on Ace's Christmas list, at first, it was Honey who loved it most. The brightly coloured robot has dozens of games, songs and tunes to sing and dance along to and you can even record your own song or message for Beat Bo to play back to you. If I'm ever asked to recommend a toy, I usually say this one as it appeals to a wide age range and is really good fun! As I write this, Smyths in Cheltenham have 5 left in stock!

Last minute stocking filler...

Children (and adults) of all ages will appreciate finding some Nom Nom Kids reusable pouches or snack bags in their stocking! Honey and Ace love having yoghurt, smoothies and porridge in their pouches, amongst other things and the possibilities for the snacks bags are endless too. As well as snacks, they're also great for storing leftovers and pre prepared garnishes. Tomorrow is the last day to order to make sure your items arrive before Christmas!

Last minute voucher...

Have you seen the gorgeous handprints gifted to us earlier this year by Babyprints Cheltenham? The print taking process is quick and non invasive for little ones, then the intricate work begins once your print is dry. Victoria turns your print into a work of art and frames it ready for you to collect. Drop Victoria an email or message her via social media and she can arrange a voucher for your loved one so they can pop along for the full Babyprints experience in the new year! It's too late to collect your voucher now, but what a fabulous IOU to be given!

The Camomile Rooms also offer gorgeous gift voucher bundles, we can highly recommend the Indian Head massage, full body massage and reflexology (we totally credit the latter for Ace's prompt arrival) so pop in and see them if you're in town!

Last minute cash in a card...

Why not suggest that your loved one treats themselves in 2018? If you're treating a grown up, we can highly recommend suggesting they spend it on a massage or facial at home with Tasha from The Hideout (read a review I wrote for The Cotswold Baby and Toddler Show earlier this year). If the money is for a little one, perhaps they might like to put it towards a term of their favourite class! We love Miniature Music (you'll be reading more about them on the blog next year) and Tatty Bumpkin (who have a swanky new premises). If you're gifting some money to a new or expectant Mum, send them over to Kito Baby and Vija Design UK so they can put it towards their favourite teething necklace or skin to skin top when these fabulous businesses reopen in the new year!

Good luck and happy shopping! We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an incredibly Happy New Year!

Honey and Ace wear... Matching Christmas Jumpers by Florence and Fred @ Tesco

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

There's no place like Holmes...

As part of their Black Friday blogging week, I was invited to go along to Stuart Holmes Hair and Beauty Salon on Imperial Square in Cheltenham. I love having long hair and the times I have felt brave enough to have it chopped, I've instantly regretted it and missed it until it grew back! When I was given my appointment, I felt a mix of nervousness and excitement and immediately headed to the Stuart Holmes Pinterest page for inspiration. Initially, I felt like I should ask for a major restyle, then I thought about requesting a colour change but in the end I put the before and after photos and blog post to the back of my mind and realised that I'm pretty happy with my hair but wished it was in better condition and that it had more of a 'shape' to it.

Booking is simple, you can call or book online and you can even have a free, online consultation before you book! On entering the salon, you are greeted by a team of super friendly, helpful receptionists and once you've checked in with them, you are invited to relax in the lounge with a drink while you wait for your stylist. The decor is modern, stylish and has a luxurious feel to it, it's a truly relaxing place to flick through magazines, make use of the free wifi or munch on sweets from the giant fishbowl (well played, Team Holmes, well played)! 

So, let's talk about the location. Just two minutes walk from The Prom, the salon sits directly opposite Cheltenham Town Hall. As I sat down in the chair at eye level with the Town Hall balcony, I was struck by what an amazing view that was and it was all the prettier framed by the salon's festive decorations! The salon is so convenient if you're shopping or eating in town and there are plenty of car parks nearby if you're making a special trip. 

When I have my hair cut, I usually just ask for a trim and have dabbled with different types of fringe over the years. It's so important to me that a stylist sees my hair dry, my hair is naturally curly and I like to go along to a new stylist with it freshly washed and naturally dried so they can see how much 'ping' it has and cut accordingly. I was lucky enough to have been booked in with Rob, who spent loads of time chatting to me about my hair and asking me what I had in mind in terms of cut and finish, he was also great at helping me make my mind up about what would suit me, which I really appreciated. For some reason, he seemed to understand what I was saying as I babbled on about mermaid hair and he explained his vision for my hair in language I could get along with (we may have discussed electrocution and rainbows at this point...)

What can I say about the hair wash, a hair wash is hair wash isn't it? Well no! Given that i'd only washed my hair the day before, after just the shampoo, it felt cleaner and lighter and after the conditioning treatment I was ready to remortgage my house to fund the products if that's what it took! The products were Shu Uemera, which are developed in Japan and are only very lightly fragranced, so not overpowering at all. These are available to buy in the reception area, along with an array of other products to suit a range of hair types and budgets. I love a scalp massage but sometimes feel like it's a bit of an aside whereas today, it was very much part of the experience and I felt so relaxed, I was in danger of dropping off! Luckily for everyone, that didn't happen and I was delivered safely back to Rob so he could get started.

I often find the actual haircut a bit nerve wracking with a new stylist, I once abstained from having my hair cut for over a year because the stylist I loved and trusted left my chosen salon and I didn't know where she'd moved to! Things run through my head, what if they cut off more than we have agreed or what if I don't like the result but I can honestly say that I felt calm and relaxed and I really trusted Rob to get it right.  The atmosphere in the salon was busy but calm and Rob worked precisely and methodically on my hair, the time flew by.

The moment of truth, the blow dry... Again, it felt like this part was as important as the rest of the experience and Rob took time to talk through the different ways he could style my hair before taking plenty of time to style it to perfection! Once he was finished, he made the final cuts, spritzed my hair and had made my hair dreams come true! Better condition, check! Hair has a shape, check! Happy Steph, check!

Throughout the experience, I never felt rushed and felt that all the staff couldn't do enough for their customers. Everyone was offered drinks and these were regularly refreshed, there were magazines available in each room and on meeting some regular customers of the salon, I could tell that they all felt valued and were keen to book in future appointments before they left.

With a comprehensive website, an active Instagram account and Facebook page, a Pinterest page and a YouTube channel you can easily keep up to date with everything going on at Stuart Holmes and if you sign up to their newsletter, you can even bag yourself a £10 gift voucher! So next time you're in town, why not pop in and book a treat for yourself or buy some gift vouchers to give this Christmas? 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Box of delights...

I love a hamper. A selection of hand picked items, put together with a given occasion in mind. New baby? Hamper. Birthday? Hamper. Christmas? You get the idea! A hamper feels luxurious, it's ten gifts given as one and it's the excitement of wondering what else is inside.

We were sent the Fabulous Christmas hamper from the luxury range by Prestige Hampers and if you saw our Instagram story, you'll know that the levels of excitement on opening this were high! Honey and Ace absolutely loved delving into the basket, discovering what was inside and providing ideas with regards to who might enjoy the different items (wine = Mummy, yessss).

Obviously, the proof of the hamper is in the tasting. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the wine, I am super fussy when it comes to Rose and while a white zinfandel is my favourite, it has to have just the right level of sweetness, which I'm pleased to say 
this bottle did! Honey and Ace were more than happy to help me sample the jam and devoured it on toast while I thoroughly enjoyed the marmalade on mine. Honey is still at the age where she's happy to have a satsuma after tea, so she was over the moon when I brought out the box of chocolate thins to have as a shared pudding. We ate them all in double quick time and that's as good a review as you can get!

Browsing the Prestige website, you can buy hampers ranging from just £10 up to a super generous, entire Christmas in a hamper for £750! There are sweet hampers (I love sweets, just saying Santa), wine hampers, cheese hampers and even hampers for pets. Something for everyone, I'll think you agree!

It was lovely to have such delicious treats to share and to try things I may not ordinarily have purchased but one thing I wasn't willing to share was the chocolate. Belgian Fancy Truffles to be exact! Well, a Mum has to have something of her own sometimes, doesn't she!

*Although we were kindly sent a hamper to review, all thoughts and opinions in this blog are my own.

Honey wears... School uniform

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

May the forest be with you...

Our latest family day out was a trip to Worcester Woods Country Park to meet some friends who live nearby. I’d seen Instagram posts from people who’d been there and many of them cited it as one of their favourite outdoor days out, which is quite an accolade given where we live and how much beautiful scenery we are surrounded by!

As we pulled into the car park, I immediately began to see why. The car park is large and there is no charge for parking. The first thing you come to is a lovely, wooden playground with an enclosed area designed for smaller children and a more open space for bigger kids (or little ones with Danger for a middle name). Honey made friends with some bigger girls and had a great time chatting and playing with them, while Ace was happy being pushed in the swing then pottering off to explore.

After a turn on the play equipment, we headed into the woods for a stroll along the trails. Almost immediately, you feel like you’re in the middle of a faraway forest and the only thing that shakes that feeling is when the path takes you to the edge of the woodland and you suddenly see a housing estate or a hospital! It’s so peaceful in there and the Autumn colours are in full force so there are plenty of leaves to stomp through and sticks to collect!

Honey loved helping to build a ‘logpile house’ we found set back from the path, as well as showing off her new reading skills whenever we came to a sign. Ace had fun balancing on logs, paddling in the stream and collecting many, many, many, many sticks.

When little legs started to get tired, attention turned to what we were going to choose from the cafe. Honey had spotted the ice cream truck as soon as we arrived, so she was sorted and the rest of us opted for hot drinks and cake from the Orchard Cafe. All reviews were positive judging by the empty cups and crumb free plates! 

Sitting outside the cafe, a quick scan of the park revealed a series of bbq’s, a crazy golf compound, a small train ride and a huge field, perfect for picnics or football. You can also download a free activity pack which has a mixture of things you can do before, during or after your trip. So whether you're meeting friends, lunching with family or just heading out on your own adventure, Worcester Woods Country Park probably has something for you.

Honey wears... Batman sweatshirt by Daphne and Margot
Ace wears... Dinosaur hoody by Blade and Rose

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Spiky hair, don't care...

Ace has needed a haircut for a while, for the last few weeks he has had permanent bed head. Yesterday evening, I announced with absolute certainty that I was going to get Ace's haircut while Honey was at school the following day and I'm pleased to say that the mission has been accomplished.

Way back when Ace was a few months old, a new Barber's shop opened on our walk into town. I know this because someone handed me a leaflet as I walked past 'for when the little man had a bit more hair'. I'm pretty sure the leaflet ended up in the recycling box as I was expecting Ace to be a little Phil Mitchell like Honey was and not grow much hair until he was 2. Wrong! He turned 18 months today, this was his second haircut and the barber took off more hair today than Honey had on her whole head at this age!

Barber n Bar is a vintage style Barber's shop on Winchcombe Street in CheltenhamIts sleek black and red decor, comfy sofas and upbeat music give the place a cool yet relaxed vibe and they offer haircuts, colours and grooming treatments for men and boys. What's more, they also have a fully stocked bar! 

Ace was a really good boy, after repeatedly taking off the gown and initially wanting to get down from the chair, he settled down to watch some Peppa Pig on Daddy's phone while the barber worked his magic. Our barber's attention to detail was phenomenal and it looked as if he cut each hair individually, he even used clippers to shape Ace's hair round his ears and styled his hair with some luxurious pomade!

The name doesn't make it sound like the most child friendly place on Earth, but we honestly couldn't have been more impressed with how they accommodated Ace, especially at such short notice. 

Here's a quick roundup of what we loved:

- Super talented barber!
- Bar stools at the perfect height to pop your backpack down on and chuck your sling over.
- Plenty of room inside the shop to put your buggy if needs be.
- Child sized gowns.
- Booster cushions.
- PS3 (although Ace was more interested in Peppa ;-).
- Loyalty card scheme (collect 8 stamps for a free haircut).
- 30% off a child's haircut Monday to Thursday.
- FREE kids drink.
- FREE haircut for a child under 10 with a paying adult (Mon-Thurs).

Find Barber n Bar on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow to stay up to date with all their offers!

Ace wears... The Adventures of Ace t-shirt by Sophia and the Fox

Just Hannah Jane

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Keeping it clean...

This is a little bit different for me, a lady called Nicole got in touch via the blog and asked if I'd consider publishing a guest post. As you know, I'm a huge fan of fostering independence and a sense of responsibility in children so when I read her article, the obvious answer was yes! Nicole just loves cleaning. She loves it so much that she turned her passion into a business  and now runs N3 EOT cleaning team. She is a firm believer that kids should be taught about cleaning chores and what better way to do that than by turning the cleaning into a game? 

Kids Can Help You With The Cleaning 
Tips and Tricks to Turn Cleaning into A Game

- A guest post by Nicole Gardiner - 

Let's be honest, have you tried to involve your kids in doing some chores around your home? Often, this attempt can lead you down a blind alley, which is no surprise at all, since most people do not find cleaning enjoyable. However, there is still hope! In order to  encourage your kids to help you more with household duties, you may need to attract their attention by turn everything into a game.

I strongly believe that kids should be taught to clean up after themselves. From an early age, they need to know that everybody at home has duties and these duties have to be carried out. Of course, the younger the child is, the easier the chores will need to be, but y
ou may be surprised by how much kids are capable of doing to help when it comes to cleaning!

As we all know, every child is unique and feels motivated and encouraged by different strategies. Some kids prefer to follow a task list when cleaning and others prefer the cleaning to be turned into a fun game. Some kids need silence to perform at their best and others cannot be productive without listening to music. As I said, every child is unique and you know your child best. 

I am here to make everything a little bit easier for you and for your kids as well and will share some ideas to help children get more willingly involved in the cleaning process. Hopefully you will find these strategies helpful and you will be pleased with the results.

Let's try this. Grab a laundry hamper and walk around your home. Everything which is not where it should be, you put it inside. You may ask what kind of trick this is? Pay attention. When the children come back home from school, ask them to separate their own belongings from the hamper and put them back where they belong before they can watch TV, for example. Some may call it bribery, but it really does work. Try it!

Here we are for another trick, this one's called the colour game. Can you guess what it's all about?
Tell your kids to look for everything black in their room. As they locate a black item, they have to put it in the place where it is usually kept. Continue the game by telling them to look for everything yellow, pick it up and again put it where it belongs. See? This can be very funny for little ones and it will also help them learn about colours. 

Every time your children are about to clean their rooms, set a time limit. If they are done before the timer goes off, you can give a reward to your little champions. They love to be appreciated and feel helpful. This will also motivate them to work more efficiently and quickly, without wasting precious time or getting distracted.

You do not expect your kids to be born taught, do you? You have to explain them what their duties are and how they are supposed to get them done. You know that they cannot clean a room in the same way as you so a good idea is to clean with them in the beginning so that they can get used to it and will know how you expect something to be done. 

Following these simple tricks and ideas will help your children learn about responsibility and you will have a cleaner home. There's no need for tears or screaming, cleaning can be fun!

Thursday, 31 August 2017


This week on our tour de Gloucester, Honey and I ended up at the inflatable theme park at Over Farm. For £7, your child (aged 2-14) gets a wristband that gives them all day access to most of the activities within the park (bumper cars and zorbs are extra as they're run by an outside company).

Within the site, there are some basic but well stocked portaloos, as well as a small food stand for emergency drinks and snacks! The theme park is cash only but if you're like me and never remember to carry cash, the lovely farm shop offers cashback when you spend over £5.

Lots of families had come prepared for the long haul, armed with picnics and sun shades. We only had a couple of hours, while Ace was at a nursery settling in session, but still felt that it was good value based on the usual price of around £1 for a 5 minute bounce elsewhere!

Honey felt very grown up when the young man who served us came round, popped a wristband on her wished her a great day and she absolutely loved racing round the field visiting the different attractions. I don't think she could believe that she was allowed to keep going back on her favourite bouncy castles. Typically, her favourite one was the tallest, fastest slide in the field which she climbed up and whizzed down at least 10 times!

The inflatables are there until 4th September, so you've still got time to go along if you like the sound of it. Check out Over Farm's Facebook page for information about their other seasonal events and activities.

Honey wears... Dinosaur top by Mini Boden

Saturday, 26 August 2017

All about that space...

I can't believe Pitville Park reopened over a year ago, we guest blogged all about it for Cheltenham Maman and we have pretty much lived there ever since! Yesterday, we were on the blog again, this time giving you a whistle stop tour of our home and letting you know how we organise ourselves!

Ace wears... Shark shorts by F&F @ Tesco

Thursday, 24 August 2017

All that glitters...

Treaure Seekers' Make and Take sessions came to my attention on Facebook (what would we do without Facebook?) and it looked right up Honey's street! A cavern of buttons, sparkles, glitter and sequins where children and adults alike can create to their hearts content, using anything they fancy, what's not to love? We've been spending some time in Gloucester over the summer holidays while Ace is settling in at nursery, so thought we'd give it a try. 

For only £4 (including a drink), you have an hour to cut, stick, paint and sprinkle a picture frame, bag or just about anything else you can think of! After a short explanation, Honey and her friend chose pictures to embellish and set about filling their pots with all manner of twinkly treasure ready to arrange on their pages. Nothing was off limits and the staff were so kind and helpful when Honey wanted to cut pieces of beautiful ribbon off a reel.

If you're thinking of going along, it would be a good idea to have a look at the website or Instagram page with your child before going along so they have an idea of what they want to make during their session, this will help with time management and will stop little ones feeling totally overwhelmed with choice! Honey had a great time and is already talking about her next project!

Treasure Seekers is a social enterprise that has been set up on Westgate Street in Gloucester. Its aim is to 'support vulnerable and disadvantaged adults to help equip them to be the beat version of themselves.' Visit their website to book your session or follow them on Instagram to have a look at whats going on in store.

Honey wears... T-shirt by Frugi

Friday, 18 August 2017

Ready or not...

There's often a focus on the academic side of what your child 'should' be able to do before they start school, but the chances are, these won't be the things that worry your child. If they're anything like Honey, they will want to know where to go, what to do and who can help them. They will be interested in what their daily routine will be, who and what will they get to play with and what they'll be wearing (or maybe that part is just Honey)... 

I thought I'd share some of the things we have been working into our days over the summer in order to give Honey the best chance of making a smooth transition in September. These things don't take up much time but, as a teacher myself, I can assure you that your child's teacher will be grateful! 

- Practise opening packets and boxes independently. Even if your child will have school dinners, there will be occasions when they need to open boxes and packets for themselves. For example, if the fruit snack is raisins or if they take a packed lunch on a school trip. 

- Drink from the 'school' water bottle. Honey's school suggested a specific bottle with a lid in her house colour. Honey liked this idea so we bought one but the lid is unlike any of the bottles she has used before, so she's been drinking from it over the holidays to get used to the unfamiliar opening and closing mechanism.

- Try on school uniform and talk about when and why each item will be worn. Amongst her uniform stash, Honey has a striped dress which she thinks is just about the coolest item of clothing ever, so I have had to explain that it's a dress specifically for summer and she won't be able to wear it year round. Honey had no idea what PE was but as soon as I started to explain the type of activity she would be doing, she understood why she would need to get changed and why certain items of clothing were more suitable than others. We have gone for trousers and shorts for her day to day uniform which she questioned at first so I took her to the park wearing a dress the other day and it really got in her way! Now, she's really excited about being able to clamber freely all over the trim trail and play area on our walks home from school and can't wait to hide stones in the pockets of her cargo shorts! 

- Make sure your child can dress and undress themselves independently, this includes shoes! Honey really wanted some shiny, black lace ups but she didn't fancy putting in the time it takes to learn to tie them at this point so we have gone for super quick velcro instead! Make sure they can pull their tops and bottoms on and off without too much drama and if you're planning for your child to wear tights, give them a pair to practise with (perhaps consider trousers or long socks instead on PE days).

Help them recognise their belongings. You could add a sticker or coloured piece of paper in the name window of their book bag or sew on a patch on to their PE bag. Honey designed her own book bag charm alongside the wonderful Rachel from Kito baby UK so she will hopefully be able to pick hers out in a sea of identical bags!

- Chat positively about school and walk past occasionally if it's close by. Honey loves heading to the park via our school walking route. She likes peeking through the fence to see what the children at holiday club are doing and chats about what her teachers might be up to that day (ok, that makes her sound like a stalker, she's not). 

- If possible, get hold of a school dinner menu and chat about what different options are available. If there are things on there that your child has never tried, consider cooking them for tea over the holidays and if there are things that your child 'doesn't like' (i.e. has never tried but has irrationally taken against) try getting them involved in cooking it with you. Honey swore she hated chicken pie for such a long time and wouldn't eat it at pre-school, so we shopped for ingredients together, cooked our own and now it's one of her favourites! 

Addressing these things now might help your child feel happier about heading off to school and give them an easier time while they're there, or it might not, but I reckon it's worth a try! Good luck to all the little ones starting school in September, enjoy the rest of your summer and I'll see you all over on Instagram for updates about how it's all going when the time comes!

Honey wears... School uniform (eek!)

What a waste...

It was Anne-Marie Bonneau (aka Zero Waste Chef ) who wrote "we don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need ...