23 August 2019

Lottie is Four!

To Lottie
You are finally FOUR! You’ve been desperately awaiting this day, as being an August baby you have watched all your friends turn four this year and have been very keen to join them. You are also extremely excited to be off to school in a week and a half, which just seems like madness to me. I think it’s the draw of the possibility of having a jacket potato for lunch most days, something you and I had on our day together on Fridays this past year which then became an accidental tradition!
I have absolutely nothing to worry about with you going to school -  you are happy, confident and have endless energy. After several years of school runs you’ll finally get to take your place beside your big sisters and will love every minute of it. I’m going to miss you and our days together ever such a lot as you are just so sweet and great company. You have the best laugh, it’s a real chuckle and never fails to make others laugh too. You’re really decisive and know your own mind and what you like, which I really admire. If I ever ask you to choose something, or give you the opportunity to pick something in a gift shop you do so without faltering. You never doubt the choice you have made and are always so pleased with it; even if it is totally and utterly random -  which it nearly always is! 
You love being outside -  making potions, playing in the playhouse, going to the park and playing imaginary games with your sisters. You are such a little team and it’s lovely to watch the different relationships you have with Ellie and Phoebe. We’re having a bit of a bedroom move around at the moment and you’re going to be sharing a room with Phoebe which you’re really excited about. You told me that you don’t like sleeping on your own the other day, which I already knew as you’ve been getting in with us for the last 4 years! For the last six months you have slept most nights in your own bed, with just the odd sneak in to us with the promise of a morning snuggle.
You love Julia Donaldson books, particularly Tabby McTat and The Highway Rat which has been a welcome change from Nibbles the Book Monster which we read every night for what felt like 100 consecutive days! You also currently love wearing shorts and recently begged me for some denim ones with a little butterfly on from John Lewis (which I then had to buy two further pairs of for your sisters as they got ‘short envy’).
You have the sweetest tooth I’ve ever known, in fact we’re yet to come across something that you don’t like. You’ve asked me for a big chocolate cake for your birthday this year with lots of chocolates on top – I’ve done my very best and hope you like it. We’re off to CBeebies Land for the day as you’ve been asking to go to ‘Bing World’ for a while now and you’re at the perfect age to enjoy it! Then we have your cousins coming over a play and cake at the weekend which is one of your favourite ways to spend a day.
We love you so much Lottie Lou and hope that being four is all you hope it will be and more.
Happy birthday
Love Mummy x

21 August 2019

Sun Smart Sustainable Swimwear with M&S

Our little water babies have become so water confident lately and just love to swim - whether that's in the paddling pool, swimming pool or even the sea! Marks and Spencer kindly sent us some items from their fantastic sustainable children's summer swimwear collection and the girls have been thoroughly enjoying putting them to the test. We opted for a UK Staycation in the Newforest this year and Phoebe and Lottie wore theirs for a morning dip in the the English Channel! 

Swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles, sun smart technology and chlorine resistant

There are lots of different styles available from swimsuits to bikini's, but our favourites have to be the rash vests which come in several designs for boys and girls and offer great protection from the sun. As well as providing coverage the fabric offers Sun Smart UPF 50+ which is endorsed by the British Skin Foundation. 

The Sustainable swimwear collection is partially made from recycled plastic bottles which is a huge plus for us as a family who are doing our best to recycle whatever we can and reduce our single use plastic waste. The Lycra Xtra LifeTM fabric feels like any other swimsuit and is soft and comfortable to wear, as well as being chlorine resistant. After lots of wear and being put though their paces by the girls they haven't bobbled or faded at all and have maintained their integrity in the washing machine and even an accidental tumble dry or two. 

Swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles, sun smart technology and chlorine resistant

As well as the Coral Print Rash Vests, we have the Coral Print swimsuits too that have all the same features, in the same super cute print with adorable ruffle detail. Ellie has been feeling very grown up in the Ombre Ocean Vibes swimsuit and Flamingo Bikini set and the the girls have loved wearing these to their swimming lessons and the pool.

I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again -  M&S clothing is such good quality that I'm able to hand it down the girls and then even pass it on to friends which when thinking about sustainability is really important. The children really like the designs too which with three little ladies who already have quite a view on what they want to wear is brilliant too. You can take a look at the whole range on the Marks and Spencer website.

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
We were kindly gifted some items from the M&S sustainable children's swimwear collection. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

5 August 2019

Summer Play with the GLTC Seaside Fish and Chip Shop

Lottie is off to School in September and the long summer holidays are the perfect time to practice some of the skills she'll need. I'm really pleased that her reception year will see her continuing to learn through play, a concept our friends at Great Little Trading Co design all their toys around. GLTC kindly sent us their Seaside Fish & Chip Shop to get Lottie ready for the 'Big Wide World' this summer and develop her social, creative, imaginative and motor skills -  all through play!

The Seaside Fish & Chip Shop has so much play value and was a hit as soon as it came out of the box. It's beautifully made from high quality painted wood with a small footprint making it nice and portable and sits perfectly on any flat surface enabling children to set up their shop with ease. We love wooden toys, not only do they look lovely in your home they are environmentally friendly and are built to last - particularly when the come from GLTC! 

The shop comes with lots of accessories including plenty of chips, two pieces of fish, mushy peas, lemon slices, vinegar, tomato sauce, a salt pot (which makes a shaking sound!), tongs and four cones. The children's imaginations have been well and truly ignited and they have been getting really creative with how they play with it. 

The Seaside Fish & Chip Shop works really well alongside our existing toys and the girls have added in extra food to it from our play kitchen, popped it on top of the play shop, and set it up with a chair behind it and their till beside it. It seems to have found a home for now on top of their GLTC Tea Trolley allowing them to wheel it from room to room and out into the garden.

It's been so interesting watching the girls play together and independently with the shop, as well as playing with them. The Seaside Fish & Chip Shop provides so many opportunities through imaginative play and role play to develop language and social skills. It has encouraged Lottie to ask questions and chat confidently; something that will be really important when she goes to school as well as out in the 'Big Wide World'. We've also practiced our manners with pleases and thank you's and encouraged numeracy skills by asking her to count out chips. 

One of the aspects all three girls have enjoyed is the challenge of picking the food up with the tongs. This is great for developing and tuning their fine motor skills as well as making their play feel really real. Adding in our till has been great for teaching the children about money and practicing maths skills. 

Writing out a little blackboard menu with prices and then asking for different combinations for Ellie and Phoebe to add up has been great for including a little bit of numeracy into their play. Giving the older girls a pencil and a little notepad to jot down an order extends their play and learning even further and they really enjoy mimicking what they see when we go out to a restaurant.

The Seaside Fish & Chip Shop has been a great addition to our playroom and something that the girls play with so well with together, whether they are setting it all up, taking it in turns to be the customer and shop keeper and even resetting it. Having tested it with children aged three through to seven it's definitely a toy that continues to grow with your child and is perfect for little imaginations -  we think it's fab!

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
We were kindly gifted the GLTC Seaside Fish and Chip Shop as part of our GLTC Testing Team role.
 All thoughts and opinions are my own.*