back to school 2014

First day of Year 2

Alice

What are you looking forward to? To do writing, seeing my friends and meeting my new teacher.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

What’s your favourite game? Puzzles

Favourite film? Aladdin

Favourite princess? Anastasia and Jasmin

Favourite book? Frozen

Favourite song? – ummmmmm?

Bessie

What are you looking forward to? My new classroom and finding which table I am sitting at. Seeing my friends.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

What’s your favourite game? Puzzles

What’s your favourite film? Beauty and the Beast

Who is your favourite princess? Aurora

What’s your favourite book? ummmmmmm

What’s your favourite song? Let it go!

 

Didn’t we have fun and yes there’s a huge part of me that is so sad it’s all over but there’s also another part of me that actually enjoys the first day back to school, I have always found it exciting. Seeing friends again after the long summer break, new bag, new pencil case and new teacher to get to know. There’s something scary and exciting about the whole September moment.

I recently wrote about my writing process in blog tour and it made me think lots. I feel as if I’m at a crossroad right now waiting for the ‘sign’ of where to turn next. But one thing I know for sure is I have been taking on way too much and need to step back a bit.

Looking back at my blogging journey I immediately recognised what used to be a weekly meet up for me, The Gallery on Sticky Fingers. Joining in this fun weekly photography prompt allowed me to meet and read lots of other blogs plus it encouraged me to get my camera out and have a go.

Some weeks my photos were simply just introductions to writing (and they were terrible) but the more blogs I visited the more I became inspired and the more I worked at my photography to try and get better.

The Gallery – first ever participation – Master of Good Ideas 2nd March 2010

Lots of writing and poor pictures of my beautiful chess set which incidentally is still in the loft.

chess set

But thumbing through all of my entries I smiled at this photo and it made me go awww. It’s not a good photo technically but it captured a moment that still makes me smile.

playing in mummy's shoes

 

And this one made me realise how grown up my girls are now, how time moves quickly and how I am so glad I kept a record of the important moments and the non-important ones like making snowballs when you’re 3.

twins playing in snow

 

Blossom I want to be

You may remember a while back we talked about the new inspiring magazine for girls, Blossom Magazine. The twins continue to enjoy their monthly copy and can often be found flicking through the pages, reading the stories or playing the games throughout the month.

I can honestly say they love it and I love it as it approaches all manner of subjects allowing them to broaden their minds and learn lots of new interesting information. For example in each edition of the magazine, Blossom features a different aspirational career to show girls they can be whoever they want to be – whether it’s an airline pilot, an author or a doctor.

blossom I want to be a pilot

This week Blossom magazine have launched a brilliant competition for their readers and I thought I’d let you know about it as the prize is a family VIP trip to London which includes:

    • one family ticket to ZSL London with a Meet the Meerkats experience;
    • one Rainforest Café voucher worth £100;
    • overnight accommodation in one family room at 3-star hotel, in Central London
    • and a visit to Blossom HQ plus a Blossom Goody Bag.

The #IWantToBe campaign is asking young readers to submit a video entry of what they want to be when they grow up.

I asked Alice and Bessie what they’d like to be when they grow up and here’s their answers

Alice: I want to be a teacher.

Bessie: I want to be a vet.

Then they asked me what I want to be when I grow up, my reply – A lady of leisure like the queen :D

Entrants have until 6th September to submit their video to the email address of hello@blossommagazine.co.uk and one winner will be selected to win a VIP London family trip 

Terms & conditions

T&Cs: Terms and conditions: Promoter: Immediate Media London Company Limited. You must make sure that we have your entries by 11.59pm, 6th September 2014. 1. You can enter if you live in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands, unless someone who lives in your house works for the Immediate Media Company. 2. By entering the competition, you promise to us that you have read these rules and that you will follow them. 3. We can’t include entries which arrive too late and we can’t accept responsibility if your entry is lost. By entering this competition, parents/guardians grant permission to Immediate Media Company (publishers of Blossom) to post the winner’s video and entrants’ first names in its publications, websites and on its social media sites. 4. Winners will be chosen at random. 5. One entry per household. We don’t allow bulk entries or entries made by other people on your behalf. We will disqualify all entries which break this rule. 6. If you win, you will receive the prize described. We won’t swap the prize for cash. No alternatives or substitutions for any unused elements of the prize. If there’s ever a reason why we can’t give you exactly the same prize, we’ll give you something just as good or better instead. Prize is one family ticket to ZSL London valid for 2 adults and 2 children aged 3-16. Children must be at least 5 years of age and be accompanied by an adult for the Meet the Meerkats experience. One Rainforest Café voucher worth £100, see voucher for expiry date and additional T&Cs – includes drinks. Overnight accommodation in one family room at 3-star hotel, in Central London selected by Immediate Media Company. Visit to Blossom HQ includes a Blossom Goody Bag. Travel and other personal expenses are not included. Prize must be redeemed before 31st December 2014. 7. Winners will be contacted within 28 days of a competition closing date, either by post, telephone or email. 8. If we contact you to tell you you’re a winner, but you don’t reply within a month, we may have to offer the prize to a runner-up or give it away in a future competition. Your details: We will use your name, address and any other details that you give us to run this competition. If you win, we will pass them to the person who’s providing the prize so that they can post it to you, and we may use your first name and county in the magazine or on our website but we won’t provide them to anyone else without your permission. You can find out the winner’s first name and county once the competition is over by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Competition Rules, ATTN: Marketing Assistant, Blossom Magazine, Immediate Media Limited, Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT. Remember to tell us which magazine, issue number and competition you’d like to know about.

Parragon Gold Stars Challenge

I am really pleased to see the twins have excelled themselves at school in Year One this year both getting a superb report and having over achieved their targets setting them well up for a great Year Two.

Having asked throughout the entire year at school pick up time, ‘What did you do today at school?’ and receiving a non comital, ‘Nothing.’ or ‘I don’t know.’ It’s been really lovely receiving their books home and being able to see what they’ve been up to. Apart from a wonderful memory of their early learning years it’s also a valuable insight into what they’ve been covering.

Many say that the six week summer holiday causes memory loss and that a child may struggle in the new class with a new teacher who has yet to know and understand them and with a new curriculum.

I want to help my girls keep ticking over but not in a scheduled and vigorous manner, just by ‘playing’ and when I saw the Parragon Gold Star books at BritMums Live this year I knew they’d be perfect for the job.

They have been developed by teachers and educational specialists and take into consideration parents tips and advice. Each activity is illustrated using bright fun colours and in engaging the child with simple instructions like ‘Draw curly hair on the clown.’ Each activity also supports the National curriculum, in our case KS1.

Parragon Gold Stars challenge

Each book has 50 gold star stickers that parents can use when finished an activity as a reward system, there is a practise pad with extra exercises and each page also has a note for parents like ‘This activity helps your child to recognise nouns, verbs and adjectives.’

You can find the Parragon Gold Stars books in Sainsbury’s, WHSmith, Morrisons and Wilkinson. I am taking part in the Summer With Gold Stars challenge where once the child has successfully completed their 30 day challenge, which is a lot of fun anyway, they will receive a congratulatory letter and a personalised certificate.

I had the opportunity to speak to a child psychologist this morning, Chireal Shallow. We were participating in a BritMums hangout with lots of other lovely bloggers and our chat was around how to inspire children’s creativity.

I was able to put a question to Chireal about the twins as they play the same princess game over and over, day in day out. I wondered if maybe I should encourage them to play a different game but Chireal’s answer surprised me and put my mind at rest as she explained this is a good thing and if I watch closely each day the ‘princess’s are actually playing different games. She asked me to ask questions like, Where have the princesses been today? Did they enjoy it? and so on.

Chireal gave out some other great tips like games to play in the car when travelling, I didn’t know about the Number Plate game, did you? Basically spot a plate and make a word with the letters, for the younger child use one letter, the older child use 2 or 3 letters to make the game more challenging.

Helen asked about keeping three different children of different ages amused and what to do when they argue instead of play together. Chireal said try asking Socratic questions like ‘How do you think we can solve this? And putting the answer in their hands so they have to come up with a solution. What a genius idea!

Another area touched on was about children’s worry, I’m sure we’ve all felt that at some point. Chireal was asking us to intervene and use role play. She said it was a good idea to expose the worry and by doing so turning the fear into anticipation and excitement.

I hope you find the discussion interesting, click and watch to find out more of Chireal’s tips

school uniform

What an amazing half term but didn’t it fly by quickly?

We had a brilliant time in Devon and I managed to relax completely as the internet signal was very intermittent, much to husband’s delight. I will admit to feeling a bit jittery at first at not being able to access Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the click of a button but then it wore off.

Luckily I had already prepared our back to school before we left home and just like last year, the girls have grown. They have outgrown their shoes and are a bit taller too which is a bit annoying with only 7 weeks to go before the summer holidays.

BUT it’s also the perfect excuse to indulge in a few new extra pieces of summer school uniform too. I love the pretty gingham summer dresses and there are plenty of styles to choose from too.

going to school

Our school colour is green, Irish nana Whooley would give a huge nod of approval at that as green was her favourite colour. I have added a couple of new green cardigans to our wardrobe too as the old ones were beginning to look quite faded.

I am really pleased with the shoes with velcro straps as it does help the girls become more independent in their dressing however they both need occasionally reminding which shoe goes on which foot.

I am still using white socks for them as I want to keep them young for as long as possible, I know only too well that sooner or later white socks will be a complete no-no.

Of course the increase in shoe size meant new plimsoles and trainers too but hopefully they’ll still fit in September too and we’ll get some more use out of them too.

So with only 7 weeks until the summer holidays, we’re kitted out and ready to tackle our last term in Year 1 before we move on to Year 2, why does that seem so scary right now?

Have you had to buy new uniform for the last term too?