Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag {Review}

Summer is coming! As I write this, the sun is shining brightly, though there’s still a chill in the air. Soon though, soon, the weather will be balmy – or as balmy as it gets here in the UK – and we’ll be heading out to sleep under canvas. Read on to find out why the Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag is a must-have for young campers this summer.

The Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag for kids comes in either a panda or dragon design. We received the panda free in exchange for our review, and if you watch this video, you’ll see just how much the children loved it.


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Have Fun Painting In The Rain

It’s been a rainy day here on the Isle of Wight, and we’ve been spoiled by some of the good weather we’ve had recently. With the children up from before 6 this morning, we’d already had a fairy tea party and watched a movie by 11am and I didn’t feel I had the strength to keep them indoors all day. Instead we pulled on the wellies and rain gear and went painting in the rain.

We took a variety of paints and materials: we took paper, watercolour paint, poster paint and chalks as well as paintbrushes and cotton wool.

It was a fun, if soggy experiment and the girls had a fantastic time:

Painting with watercolours

11249464_10155457822030234_1404164277_oWe fished the watercolour discs out of the box, and used them without brushes, just moving them around on the paper with our hands – then with brushes too.

Cheap watercolours like these are good for this project!*

Painting with poster paints

11032530_10155457821640234_1356770624_oBlobs of poster paints spread over the paper using cotton wool and brushes – it was a great lesson for the girls in being gentle, since the wet paper easily tears.  We also added blobs of paint, then stuck the pictures to the wall, letting the paint run down in a free-style of patterns.

Try these washable poster paints for yourself*

Painting with chalks

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The wet chalks didn’t transfer too well on to wet paper, so we decided to change the canvas to the floor, where I drew pictures for the girls to colour in.

And finally, playing in the rain, drawing on the floors? You have to include a bit of hopscotch.

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This is a great way for little ones to learn shapes too, as I had my 3 year old call out the names of the shapes she was standing in. Adjust the ‘tasks’ to their ages – so my 5 year old was counting jumps, how many sides each shape has and so on. And in the end, just let them have fun, jump, and play, burn off energy and enjoy the fact that the rain this time of year isn’t entirely freezing!

Try different paints and see how they react in the water!

PIN THIS:

Painting In The Rain

Catch A Falling Leaf

The end of the summer is coming, and pretending it’s not so doesn’t do anything to stop the impending doom winter. I think we may have some exciting plans up our sleeves for this winter, but I’ll have to see how it all pans out before I start sharing. In the meantime, we’re carrying on with our #50things and well on target to get through a lot, if not all of it, this year.

Earlier this year we went to the Whipsnade Zoo for a family day out. It was an early spring day, and the air was thick with cherry blossom scent. Yes, cherry blossoms aren’t leaves, I know, but hey ho, the skills are the same. Catch A Falling Leaf

There’s something about standing waiting in anticipation, spotting a leaf – blossom – jumping into action, grabbing, missing, catching that can’t but make you feel 5 years old. There’s nothing you can do but laugh, and giggle, and shout as you wait and act. The feeling of success as you finally clutch that foliage in your hand.

It’s a great way to burn energy, and to laugh together, play together.

It also costs nothing!

And while catching spring blossoms is imbued with the hope of warmer days, catching autumn leaves are indicative of chestnut roasting, mushroom foraging, and berry picking – there’s nothing not to love.

And while you’re having fun, the kids are learning hand-eye coordination, action and reaction and that mama can run and laugh and play too.

Get out there this autumn, and chase the leaves.

33a

We’re completing  the National Trust’s #50Things campaign because, well, it’s great. This was number 33: Catch a Falling Leaf on their list. You can see the full list here.

Autumn in England

There are many things about life and living in the UK that it seems, even after eight years, that I will just never get on board with. There are things that make me realise painfully, that this is not home. (Home isn’t home any more either, but at least it’s familiar.) But there is something I have in the UK that I do not have in South Africa, and that is an immense freedom.  I realised that again today as Ameli and I walked along a canal and we took in and loved our environment.

If money was no object for me, I would spend January, February, March and April in South Africa, and May, June and November and December each year in England, because Spring is the most beautiful in England, and Autumn is hard to compare to anywhere else I’ve been.

Today I remembered my love for Autumn in England and for the freedom to be without fear …

We went for a walk along the canal

We went for a stroll along the canal...

Watching the ducks

... where we stopped often...

ladybird

... to observe the wildlife...

examining a spider

...and get up close with the spiders and insects...

smelling the flowers

...and to really smell the flowers...

exploration

... and explore our world as we go...

...then stopping to share a well-earned hot chocolate....

…. before heading home for a two-hour nap.

These are the great moments. The ones I don’t want to take for granted.

 

Foraging For Food – Dandelion Pesto And Dandelion Jam

Foraging for Dandelions is probably the best place to start for a variety of reasons:

  • They are easy to identify and have no poisonous parts or poisonous lookalikes
  • They are plentiful
  • There are loads of different recipes you can use them in

I have two recipes for you today – one really easy and one just as easy but a little more time consuming.
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What We Do

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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With a baby just eight months old who has never seen a summer, and living in the United Kingdom where summer tends to only last a few days each year, ‘outdoor fun’ is often very limited for those who don’t like being cold and or wet.

This is something Martin, my husband, and I really struggle with as we both grew up in South Africa where life included hikes, camping, beaches and other outdoor pursuits nine months of the year. Leaving the house when the weather is by our definition miserable is a constant act of will.

Read more: What We Do