Life Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}

Foraging with kids is always fun, and as far as I see it, always educational.

Today we went foraging for 20 Elderflower heads so that I can try to make some Elderflower champagne. I’ve meant to for years, even bought all the kit a few years ago, but I had to dig it out of the attic and give it a good wash today, as it’s never been used before. We’ll see how it goes!

But this post is about foraging, and why I take my children foraging when I know grownups who still won’t venture beyond blackberries, maybe, out of fear of picking something wrong and poisoning themselves and others.

There are two things that I believe foraging teaches children, beyond the obvious point of plant identification and learning what’s edible or not.

The first is risk management and the second is attention to detailRead more: Life Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}

Going On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}

Today is the first day of the 30 Days Wild challenge, and while I’m not 100% sure what we’ll be doing every day, we are going to try to do something outdoors every day. This isn’t normally too hard for us as we’re out fairly frequently anyway, but I’m going to try to be focused with it, and throw out short little posts about it each day.

Today we visited the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight with friends who’ve come over for a little half term break. One of the things I love about going to the woods with the children is that there’s something freeing there for them. It’s why Aviya’s Trolls party was in the woods – they didn’t need any formal entertainers! It was the girls climbing trees at the Garlic Farm that inspired the post about Girls Who Climb Trees and also that led me to thinking about the value in climbing treesGoing on an adventureRead more: Going On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}

A Trolls Party On A Budget

Ameli turned five a little while back and wanted a Trolls party. There’s so much you can do with a big budget, but when you only have a tiny budget and a small party, you have to be a little creative!  Here’s a few of my favourite bits from our Trolls Party on a budget. Host a Trolls Party on a budget!Read more: A Trolls Party On A Budget

How To Make A Princess Poppy Necklace

When it comes to ideas, I think I do okay, but when it comes to the actual creativity, I have to look to others and build on or adapt their ideas!  I don’t know who the originator of this Trolls bunting is as I can’t find it on the Dreamworks site, yet it’s labelled as Dreamworks, so we’ll go with that till I learn otherwise. I didn’t want it as bunting though, but as necklaces, dotted around the forest for the children to find it during a treasure hunt, so we created our own Princess Poppy Necklaces.Read more: How To Make A Princess Poppy Necklace

Make Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

My girls are all about the fairies, so we have a very random collection of different fairies around the house, but when we wanted some for our fairy gardens in the allotment, I didn’t want to use any of the beautiful fairy statues in case they go walkabout fly off in the middle of the night.

Fortunately the theme for April’s Bostik Bloggers was “wings” or “flying”, so a bag of fun coloured feathers seemed a perfect way to bring some fairies into our garden.Garden Fairies PinIt

For this project, each fairy will require:

  • A lollipop stick
  • A mini cupcake case
  • A pompop
  • Two feathers
  • Scissors
  • GlueMake your Own Garden Fairies

You can be as decorative with these garden fairies as you like, and could incorporate pipe cleaners for arms, but we didn’t find that necessary this time round.

Make your Own Garden Fairies

To start, glue the feathers half way down the lollipop stick.  Turn the stick around and add a dollop of glue where the head would go and pop a pompom in place. Make your Own Garden Fairies

Make a small cut in top of the cupcake case. Slide the lollipop stick through the case to two thirds down.  (You can use a glue dot to fix it in place if it is too big or loose.)

Make your Own Garden Fairies

Leave it all to dry, then find a spot in the garden!

Introduce your fairies to their new home, and enjoy how pretty it – and simple – it is.

Why I Don’t Wish My Children Happiness

I had a fairly tumultuous early adulthood with a lot of heartache, many tears, and the extreme desolation that comes when you lose something you believed in your whole life. Sounds dramatic? It was.

Now with the insight of parenthood, I can see how hard that period of my life must have been for my parents. I remember one particular night when my dad came to the far side of the house, two floors down to wake and sit by me, and rock me back to sleep as I was bawling so loudly, in my sleep, that it woke him. I had no thought at the time for how much my pain must have hurt them.

Years later, I was going through a difficult time in a relationship, when my mom said to me, “I just want you to be happy.” I looked over at her, with the wisdom of maybe 25 years of age, and said to her “Mom, I don’t want to be happy. Happy is fleeting, happiness fades, happiness is dependent. I want to be joyful.”

My mom’s not around anymore, so I can’t ask her now what she thought of that, but she did many times after that, end our conversations with ‘I wish you joy’.

And that is what I wish for my children: joyRead more: Why I Don’t Wish My Children Happiness

Party Ideas For The Fantastic New Beauty And The Beast Movie

I, along with much of the rest of the world, went to see the new Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson on the weekend and I absolutely loved it. I found myself smiling through most of the movie – right up to the mass of villagers and their pitchforks descended on the castle, anyway.

While I think Luke Evans plays dangerous vapid vanity with frighting acuity, Emma Watson absolutely stole the show, as I’m sure she was supposed to, being the lead actress and all. I could honestly not imagine a better actor for the role of Belle, a headstrong, before her time, literate girl from a French village (with an exquisite peasant wardrobe! I’d dress like that all the time, if I could!)

If an actress brings something of herself into a role, Emma Watson is the perfect person for this. Alone up there (if I recall) among the Disney films that look at love as more than a physical attraction based on a your place in society – a beautiful maiden in one or another form of distress, and a prince – and it’s one of the few that place the female lead in the heroine role, so there are many reasons to love this story, original or new.

Something I thoroughly appreciated in the new film, however, was how reminiscent, but better, it was of the original, with similar dream like sequences and choreographies. It harked back to the original so much, yet was so enhanced and just beautiful. Everything about it was beautiful. I walked out of the cinema thoroughly inspired.

I did also walk out thinking that this new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was going to spark many a Beauty and the Beast birthday party with the crowd that may have outgrown the cartoon version some years before. I know if I was planning a party around now, I’d probably be planning Beauty and the Beast!

So here are some of the best party ideas I’ve found, but I expect there’ll be many new, fresh ideas coming out as the new Beauty and the Beast fanbase grows!

Top 10 Food Ideas

There are some incredible Beauty and the Beast Party Food ideas around, but I don’t know many mamas who have the time, skill or resource to go to the lengths some of the Pinterest mamas do, so here are some of my favourite, I-could-probably-do-that, Beauty and the Beast party food ideas.

Top Party Game & Decor Ideas

Easter Decorations #BostikBloggers

You may remember how I turned our bean plant from last year’s allotment into a festive twig decoration back in December? Well, when I was thinking of how to bring a bit of Easter and a bit of spring into the house and thought of my twigs nestled away for next Christmas and decided to bring them out again. Read more: Easter Decorations #BostikBloggers

DIY Easter Bonnet #BostikBloggers

It’s that time of year where daffodils and dandelions abound, which means spring has sprung and summer is coming! But before blissful days on the beach – I’m an optimist – there are a few things to do first – like enjoy Easter!  The Bostik Blogger box this month was a fairly simple one, with bold and beautiful colours, beads, ready made felt stickers and a few other springy and Easterish bits and bobs.  It happens to also have been this week that Aviya popped dug out her sun hat, so it seemed fated, really, that we should be decorating Easter Bonnets this week. Read more: DIY Easter Bonnet #BostikBloggers

Dear Home Ed Mama Who’s Decided To Send Your Child To School

My children have been educated at home since pretty much the day they were born, and as such, we’ve always mingled with people who intend, or do, home educate their children. As a result, we’ve come across pretty much every ‘type’ of home educator known to man, I’m sure. From those who do it for religious reasons to those that do it for anti-establishment reasons, from those who do it purely while they wait for schools to come available, to those who do not intend to send their children to school, ever.

We’ve met and engaged with all the styles too, from the extreme unschoolers who don’t even like ‘themed’ activity days at the home ed groups, to those who follow a strict curriculum, from those who teach nothing at all formally, to those who have flashcards for their two year olds. We have met them all.

The biggest shock for me in the home learning networks has been the difference in parenting styles. Our first home educating network consisted mostly of the style of parenting known as attachment parenting or gentle parenting. Subsequent groups introduced us to much stricter, more regimented parenting styles.Read more: Dear Home Ed Mama Who’s Decided To Send Your Child To School