If I had a garden…

A couple of weeks ago we went to a children’s garden party at the Birthday Boys grandparents house and it made my desire for a garden even stronger (we live in a first floor flat, we have a lovely piece of manicured garden that we can use but it is not ours!) This desire might be to do with the Bouncy castle in part if I’m honest. Then the next weekend we stayed with Sam’s mum and spent some time strolling round the garden there too (pictured above and below) and it got me thinking about what sort of garden I’d like when we eventually move into our ‘forever home’

For me there are three main things that I’d like, easy to mow grass (astro turf isn’t taking it too far is it?) because the thought of having to mow it so that we’re not wading through knee-high grass is a horrible one (although perhaps Sam will enjoy doing it?) and some pretty flowers that won’t die if I don’t forget to water them. I guess some decking would be nice too, with a picnic table and chairs, and obviously place for a BBQ!
A nice garden pond, with plenty of fish and maybe a few stepping stones for when Athena is a bit older. A little water feature would be nice too, and maybe some frogs! We’d probably need some safety netting across it for a few years yet though (to avoid Athena falling in and cats getting the fish!)
  
Lastly, a tree house! How seriously amazing are these from my pinterest board of amazing things. Now I am under no illusion that we could manage anything this grand, but it’s good to dream right? I would just love to have the option to go and have a nice afternoon chill out on a bean bag with a good book in one of these!
How far away is your garden from being your dream garden?
Written in collaboration with All Pond Solutions.

Recent reads: July & August

 

Book reviews of some of the books I read in July & August! Click for other book related posts.

Firstly I read three John Green novels in the space of ten days. I regret this course of action now because I have discovered a more than vague similarity in plot line in the three that I read, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherine’s:

Geeky boy has nobody but a couple of other geeky boy friends. Geeky boy meets cool unattainable girl who is cooler than you can ever imagine. They get friendly and have a magical experience. She disappears. He yearns for her and goes on an emotional and sometimes physical journey to find her (admittedly with varying outcomes).

Okay, please don’t get me wrong here, I did actually enjoy them and found them to be page turners (Well, button pushers as I read them on my kindle) and I think if I had spaced them out more I wouldn’t be so dismissive. Or maybe at 30 I’m too old for youthful teen yearnings and overly egotistical characters. Who knows. I’d read The fault in our stars a long time ago and didn’t find it as corny, but I will read his other books but not for a few months now!

Richard C.Morais – The Hundred-Foot Journey  (review copy)

A novel that takes you from the heart of India to Paris, with a few stops in between. We follow the story of Hassan and his family and his journey to become a successful chef in Paris. Packed full of descriptions that delight the senses I felt hungry on more than one occasion! Alongside the food descriptions Morais also has a way with words when it comes to describing surroundings, especially the French countryside. Hassan is taken under the wing of Madam Mallory who realises he has real talent with food, however she also happens to be his fathers arch-enemy! Although I am glad I read the book first, I am desperate to see the film adaptation, starting Helen Mirren and produced by Steven Spielberg. It will be interesting to see if anything major changes in the storyline, but you can view the trailer here

Rosie Blake – How to get a (love) Life

I think I downloaded this on a free or 99p kindle offer, and although I finished it, I found it a struggle. I thought the concept was good (but a bit cheesy) but the book itself just didn’t do it for me, and I can’t even put my finger on why.  There were also 2 continuity issues (drove to the cinema but got the bus home… and something else that I know can’t remember) which always irritates me. The author has won some short story awards so I expected more really, hopefully her next book will be better!

A Mother Dimension_low-01 Mink Elliot - A Mother Dimension (via the Bahlsen Book Club, and enjoyed with some delicious biscuits)

A brilliantly amusing read! After reading the blurb I was a little dubious that this would be a bit of a daft book but I actually really enjoyed it! Mink Elliot was inspired by the pre-baby lives of her friends, and lets face it, I imagine most mamas occasionally think about the ‘good old days’.  A Mother Dimension is a time travelling comedy novel (I know, I know, but really, it was GOOD!) full of nods to the 90′s, which I appreciated although I was a tad younger than Kate was in 96! Kate finds herself back in her pre baby body and pre baby lifestyle after an electrical storm wreaks havoc. Implausible yes, but actually written in a way that somehow makes it completely believable! There are love-to-hate characters, and times when you are willing the thing that is about to happen to not happen! I know need to read the other books by Mink Elliot, mainly because one is called The pis**d off Parents Club!

 

 What have you been reading recently? please do leave any links to reviews below for me to check out, I’m off on holiday in a month or so and need some suggestions! And if you read the John Green books, do you agree with me?

 

 

#DiscoverYourWay with Fisher-Price

Two weeks ago Athena and I were invited up to London to Prima Baby magazine HQ for a talk on the importance of play by Fisher-Price to launch the new #DiscoverYourWay campaign. We had an intro from Susie Boone from MadeforMums to explain why the research had been undertaken and then Dr David Whitebread from the University of Cambridge went into more depth about how children play, including types of play (Physical, objects, symbolic, pretence, games with rules) and why child initiated play is so vital to a happy and healthy child! I know I certainly used to feel guilty about not doing enough ‘organised activity’ with Athena when she was smaller, although I am a lot more relaxed about things these days as I quickly realised she does things at her own pace whatever I try to do! Plus if you’ve ever tried to make a strong willed toddler do anything then you’re a better person than I! Here are some of the findings from the research, do you agree?


Whilst we mamas were learning that we shouldn’t feel as guilty as we do about time spent on organised play activities (hurrah!) Our offspring were happily occupied with a huge array of lovely Fisher-Price toys, and a real life fairy in a secure area full of bean bags and soft flooring!  A couple of children peeked through the curtain and came through to see their mamas (and play with the display toys – illustrating Dr Whiteheads points perfectly) but I didn’t see a peep out of Athena so clearly there was lots to keep her busy whilst she discovered and played!

  

We were also very kindly sent the Love to Play Fisher-Price Puppy to play with, it is the perfect accompaniment to us recently teaching Athena where her ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ are! As soon as she saw it she went to squeeze its paw, so clearly remembered it from the event! The Puppy (or “og” as Athena calls him) has several different buttons to press in different body parts.

There are 40 sing-along songs and phrases and by pressing the Puppy’s left foot changes you can change the mode, switching between songs & letters/numbers/body parts. Athena loves to bounce or dance along to the tunes, with old favourites included like Pat-a-cake and Itsy-Bitsy spider that she recognises from rhyme time and her nursery. From a mummy point of view the Love to Play Puppy was easy to get out of the box with a flap to open at the back and a twist tie to undo, which is a godsend because some toys come in such hard-to-open packaging your child is having a hissy fit because they want it and it’s still in the box! The batteries are fully enclosed in a plastic pack at the back of the toy, and came included, another bonus, plus it isn’t horrifically loud either!

You can view the new Fisher-Price #DiscoverYourWay advert online here, it’s very cute indeed, and the Puppy gets a cameo along with lots of other awesome toys! So a huge thanks to Fisher-Price for letting me feel less guilty as a mama, inviting us up to meet them (and lots of other lovely bloggers and their babies) and for the ‘Og’ who will give us years of enjoyment!