HOME EDUCATING HER | OUR STORY

by @homeeducating_you

Hi I’m Mother to L, taker of photographs, driver and keeper of the diary. I’m raising a sparky, vibrant individual who does not go to school.

She has never been and I doubt she ever will, however as with most of her life decisions they are hers. If she wanted to give school a shot, I’d support her in any which way I can.

Back to the point of this post, Lauren wanted to hear from other people’s perspectives of home ed. We are all different, we all chose Home Ed for different reasons, found ourselves on this path at different times. Ultimately the end goal is often the same, to raise children who are passionate, independent and critical thinkers. Most of all they had a childhood that was unhurried and without being a tick box on someone else’s list.

I am her parent, I have been married (not to her bio parent) and a solo parent whilst we have been on this journey. I really wanted to cover the solo parenting part. I have seen many parents in a similar position to myself that have said they wish they could. I understand this way of life isn’t for all, it is a huge commitment. Not one to be taken lightly. There is always a way. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. Noone else finances anything in our life. It’s a juggle and sometimes the enormity of it all can feel too much. In those instances, I put some balls down. I cannot do it all, all of the time.

I chose to educate her out of school quite late in the game. It wasn’t the original plan. I knew no different. I met friends who were teachers that were not sending their own children to school. I was curious. The rest is history. We are fortunate enough to live in a city with a huge, diverse home ed community. I’m privileged in that way.

Our home ed life has changed over the years, she learned through play until she was eight, with no structured work except for reading. I don’t like to categorise myself but others would say we are semi structured in our method now. She’s 11. A year ago she finally become interested in topic work, we rolled with it. She covered many subjects in the space of 12 months. We do not test as a rule but we do have tutors that tell me she’s on track with her maths, and advanced in English.

How our days are planned varies. She attends forest school, swimming and theatre lessons weekly. We tend to do structured work in the morning and meet friends/attend events in the afternoon. Everything else is worked around our commitments as a family. I don’t get much me time, unless you count the few hours between us going to bed. I genuinely love spending time with her and don’t feel I’m missing out on anything by doing so. The only limitations I have met have been my own expectations. At times I have booked many activities and as it’s only me I have had burn out. It’s not often that I feel I’m raising her single handedly, this is my superpower. Maybe this is why I can book our diary so full, I can often forget myself in the excitement of all the adventures.

When I embarked on this journey, I knew people. Although I hadn’t found my tribe, I knew I had a number of people I could ask for advice. Knowing the fortunate position I was in, I have since volunteered locally within the community to support ‘new to home ed’ families. I can only imagine if you started this journey not knowing anyone it could feel quite isolating.

I share some of the resources we use and snapshots of our life over on Instagram (@homeeducating_you).

My inbox is always open and should anyone need any advice or support I’m more than happy to help. We all started somewhere.

I hope by sharing a snapshot of our life without school it can give another family the confidence to make the change in their life if they were previously sitting on the fence. Change is scary, indecisiveness is more daunting than the next step.

You can find the author of this piece over on instagram at @homeeducating_you



LIFE LEARNING: SETTING THE SCENE

by Nicola Dellard-Lyle


Photo of Nicola by Ann Owen Photography

“Mummy, what happened when there was nothing on the earth, no people or anything?
How did the first person come onto the earth? How did everything arrive here?”
6am – the youngest person in our family bed stirs and instantly the most inquisitive mind in the
household is switched on.
“Good morning” I say, bleary-eyed and blearier-minded.
“Hmm before any people, or the things we see here now? How might creatures or things have been made? I wonder, what
else might there have been?”


This is a frequent routine in our house at the moment with a wild and wilful, totally engaged
and inquisitive 4 year old in our midst. Questions and ponderings, desires to know and
discover. Daily, not always at the crack of dawn, we are met with interest, intrigue and
inquiries – whether it be about the beginning of the universe, or the ingredients of today’s
pasta sauce, no stone goes unturned in the eyes of an inquisitive child. What a magical place
to be! Within a safe surround that invites all questions, big or small and responds with
integrity, inspiring more creativity and thought where passion is due.
And to think, if we were on another path, this adventurous fun-loving kid would be in a
Reception class at a local primary school as I’m writing this.


We always knew the mainstream education system was not going to fit in with our values,
our journey or our lifestyle. Thankfully so far our 4 year old son Caleb is quite naturally in
line with that path and over the last few years we have focused strongly (worked hard on so
many levels!) to create and nurture a space to facilitate such a person. As Caleb developed
through babyhood and early childhood we began to more consciously approach
parenthood as a role of nurturing curiosity and providing him with the space and love he
needed to be. To grow on all levels, at his own pace, in his own time.
Space and freedom to be incorporates being heard and seen – in other words being
respected.
For us, that meant giving as much autonomy as possible from birth. Choices at
Caleb’s fingertips from day one included holding and feeding on his cues, and we soon
learnt more about the multiple levels of importance verbal communication has for an infant.
We put no emphasis on speaking mother-ease, but focused on connecting at a human level
which, although more commonplace these days, doesn’t seem to be widely practiced. We
learnt to talk about the steps of nappy changes/ baths/ car journeys ahead of time and
always asked Caleb before actions or interferences – just as we would when speaking with
another adult. The knock-on effects on language development, social comfort and
emotional awareness quickly became apparent and still continue to be prominent as we
follow this consciously respectful approach to parenting.

A space to live autonomously on all levels is:

Safe
Welcoming
Free of blame and shame

Building on all this we provided plenty of space for independent movement and tactile
discovery – specifically with nature, music and books. The youngest of children can be
content and flourish when given beautiful slots of time in their days to be independent.
Believe me, I do not refer to leaving any child of any age alone to ‘learn to play by
themselves’ all the time – the biggest joy is watching our children make a new discovery,
right?! Besides, playing with a trusted adult and other children are vitally important to
development on many levels too. Still, from early on we have relished watching Caleb
approach obstacles and challenges, truly needing no input from any adoring onlooker. With
reassurance that we are by his side to encourage, remind, or catch the foot that slips on a
wet log, he now displays perseverance, precision, creativity and inventiveness like never
before – and what a sense of achievement he feels! Whether his goals are met or not.


If it isn’t a philosophical question about humanity’s elusive past, it’s the desire to put into
action something that has been observed for days, weeks or even months. As parents we
oversee the cog-turning – trusting that our child is just waiting for the right time to have the
alignment of: desire – confidence – support. A classic example was the early morning
decision: “I want to put the pedals on my bike”, which moved swiftly towards a 10am
independent cycle around the local park with a big grin (and a proud mamma sprinting on
behind, desperately trying to keep up).
We find all of this is reflected in the way Caleb plays and interacts with his friends, especially
with families who are on a similar path to us. When with young friends, they are all able to
meet each other with a wonderful level of gentle respect, honesty, openness, fun and
adventure that is quite remarkable to observe. Not to mention the strong relationships
Caleb forms with people of all ages – we think due to his open and questioning nature as
well as his comfort in speaking about all things in detail and at great length; from how a hot
air balloon functions, to the ins and outs of natural childbirth.
We like to call this life learning. We hold space to allow education to take place naturally.
We encourage decisions when they are made. We offer support and guidance. We respect
the process however long or short. We enjoy the beauty of success and we honour the
lessons of failing, without shame, blame or any essence of lack.

Life learning means encouraging:
The search for resources
Independent thought
A questioning nature
An inquisitive nature
Trusting in a child’s path of discovery

As we continue to discover our own path of self-directed learning as a family, there’s a lot to
be said for de-schooling ourselves as adults too. When we became parents this journey
went to another level! Resisting the urge to jump in and interrupt the perfect moment of
play to explain how a toy works or how to hold a crayon. Relearning for ourselves that there is no ‘correct’ way to build a train track, draw a kangaroo, choose a poking stick, make mud
porridge, etc! I’m now realising more and more that assessing those habits, the urges to
step in, allowed the freedom for our child to jump in! We play together, of course, and we
guide when needed through discussion and questions. We also hold a high level of trust in
Caleb – some would say the most important factor when it comes to self-directed learning.
Letting them lead their adventures, their discoveries, their decisions about play choices,
creativity and their body – it opens the doors from the very beginning for independent and
conscious thought.
That is life learning for us. That is child-led learning. That is setting the scene.



Nicola lives with her partner and son in Bristol, UK. Their holistic lifestyle encompasses conscious parenting, intentional living and healthy balance within family dynamics. Nicola writes poetry and prose on the wilds of motherhood and womanhood, focusing on presence and awareness. Her passions are set deep in nature and the cycles on earth and beyond.

You can find Nicola over on instagram @threadpressed

Look Up by Nathan Bryon | Book Review

In this wonderful book, Look Up, we meet little Rocket, who has a great passion for everything space related!

She spends her time ‘looking up’, and when a meteor shower is due to appear, Rocket is absolutely BUZZING with excitement!

So much so that she just can’t stop talking about it to any and everyone!

This book is such a great read for any child who loves space, or just has big dreams they have their mind set to achieve!

I absolutely loved the connection between Rocket and her phone loving brother, Jamal. There’s a very sweet sibling moment at the end of the story, which will touch the heart of any parent!

The book is brimming with meteor facts too, which is a lovely bonus.

I always love books where there’s a child fully chasing their interests, even when everyone else seems uninterested! And boy is Rocket SO proud of her interests.

I love that she’s proud and confident that she’s going to achieve things. A GREAT main character for children.

A heartwarming tale, which me and the kids absolutely loved!

We bought our copy from Round Table Books, and if you click on their website you’ll find an amazing collection of inclusive stories!

Lauren x


A Family Holday in Cornwall | Family Travel

So, after a flying, family holiday in Cornwall for 5 days, with our Home Education friends (old and new), we loved it so much I wanted to pop up a quick recap of what we did each day!


5 Days in Cornwall


Day 1

The drive down, National Marine Aquarium (Plymouth) & check in.

On route to Cornwall, we stopped by the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. It was nice to give the kids a little stretch of the legs before we hit the road again!

We stayed at the Hendra holiday park, just outside of Newquay, which we booked for SUPER cheap. Obviously, as a large family this is always helpful!

There are 6 of us, and I’m happy to report the caravan we stayed in was clean, modern and had 3 bedrooms (1 double, 2 twins), which meant everyone had space!!

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know that we lived in a static caravan, while attempting a barn conversion, for 3 years before we moved into our current house! Even so, this caravan didn’t dampen our spirits at all! It was a lovely one!

The Hendra site was set up well with Covid measures in place, including as minimal contact during check in as possible (you text reception when you arrive. They let you know when your keys are ready to collect. Only one person can collect etc.), mask requirements in indoor spaces, hand sanitizer dotted around, and early checkout on your final day to allow for extra cleaning time.

After we had checked in and had a cuppa, we met up with friends at the outdoor play park at Hendra, which I wish I’d taken photos of because it’s a lovely park!!

We grabbed Fish & Chips from the on-site chippy, and went back to our van for the night!

Day 2

The Eden Project & Carlyon Beach

As an avid plant/nature lover, I was extremely excited for a visit to The Eden Project!

It used to be a bit of waste land, completely barren! Now it has been restored with the power of nature, and oh my goodness, it surely is Eden!

As far as ideas go, this one is just magnificent. Creating a world that restores life to wasteland, and brings different climates into fruition here in England… it’s just incredible!

The sheer size of the Biomes that contain the Tropical and Mediterranean climates are just breathtaking! But as you walk inside it’s even more so!

As a home educator, being able to walk my children directly into the climates of other places, and being able to show them first hand bananas growing, cocoa, coffee, sugar and more! It’s so much fun! Especially while our travel to the real source is so limited.

Sadly, due to Covid, the playground was closed, or I’m sure we could have spent an entire day there without a problem.

I’m also happy to report that they had a vegan icecream (that wasn’t mango sorbet 😂😉), which meant Martin (dairy intolerance) was a very happy boy!

Carlyon Beach

After our morning in Eden, we headed to the closest beach we could find on Google Maps, which happened to be Carlyon.

It was really quiet, and the sea was blissfully clear, and rather cold haha!

As a family we ALL love a wild swim, so you can bet your butt that we all headed straight for the water! Kids in pants, parents fully clothed, Scout in her TotsBots nappy! Haha!

It was a glorious afternoon of sand, sea and September sunshine.

After this, we headed back for showers, and despite me and Martin trying our hardest to get the kids to not want to leave the caravan again that evening, we were BEGGED into going to the holiday park arcades and restaurant haha! Who doesn’t love a 2p slot machine?!

Day 3

Swimming Pool & Newquay

So, by the morning of day 3 we needed a lay in and to not need to be anywhere too early!

We woke up and rolled into life in our own time, and then booked a slot (must be Pre-Booked) for the on site swimming pool, which was really great!

There are water slides, a big pool, toddler pool, baby pool…

Due to covid regs, the changing rooms are out of bounds, so you have to go with costumes ready underneath, and then figure out how you’re comfortable changing or getting back to your caravan afterwards, but this really wasn’t too stressful. You’re allowed bags on the pool side, so we just took a couple of towels, and threw clothes over our wet swimsuits after, to run back to the van,

It’s the first swimming pool we’ve been to since lockdown, and the kids had an absolute ball!!

After our morning swimming, we ventured into Newquay for the bigger arcades (which were hell on Earth with masks and 4 kids 😳😳), left the arcades swiftly, and headed down onto the beach…

Here, we accidentally bumped into a lot of our fellow Home Edders who were doing surf school!

We had a wonderful afternoon chatting, rock-pooling and playing on the beach, and enjoying some of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had in my life! (Not quite as good as Godiva, but still AMAZING!)

Of course, despite the weather, Ridley decided to lay in the rock pools, fully clothed (including her THICK, frugi fleece!)…

That girl LOVES water.

After heading back, showering and eating, we headed for a late park play with home ed friends, and were there until it went dark!

Day 4

Lost Gardens of Heligan

If you enjoy The Eden Project, then I implore you to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Again, for a nature/plant lover like me, it’s absolute BLISS.

Heligan has obviously had years and years to grow, develop and change into the magical world it is now.

Each twist and turn is different, and I particularly loved the jungle area, with the rope bridge, and Fern Gully!

There were so many spots where I thought, wow… I could sit here all day, with a coffee and a sketch pad…

There’s also a really great play park that was open!! The kids really loved this!

Along with the magical and wild areas of the gardens, the hidden giants and woodland play, was also a more ‘groomed’ kitchen and flower garden, which were beautiful!

Oh, and animals!! There were farm animals too!

Definitely a wonderful, family day out!

Day 5

Home

We had plans to visit Padstow on our way home, but the girls all said they wanted to head straight back!

It took 9 hours due to multiple accidents!! But the kids did absolutely amazing!


The only thing I would have done differently is to stay for at least 2 weeks!! There’s a million beaches I wanted to visit that we didn’t get the chance to!

I think Cornwall is an amazing holiday destination for active, nature loving families! There’s just so much of everything!

I’d definitely recommend!

Lauren x


Seasonal Bookshelf | Autumn Books

I am an absolute LOVER of a seasonal book rotation! Actually, I’m an absolute LOVER of a seasonal EVERYTHING rotation, as I just feel like it really gives you that strong celebratory feeling of welcoming the new season, on par with Christmas and Birthdays…

And of all of the seasons, in all of the years, Autumn (or fall for my American counterparts), is without doubt my absolute favourite!

The utter divineness of second hand, chunky knit jumpers, hot chocolates in chunky mugs, the golden light through the golden leaves… The crunch underfoot. The rain on the windows, while you’re cosy inside. Candles. Apple picking in the orchards, followed by baking everything apple. Pumpkin picking followed by grazed knuckles from carving, and baking everything pumpkin. Toffee apples, parkin, ginger and cinnamon in absolutely everything! Hot porridge. Books. Blankets. Puddle splashing and hot, bubbly baths…

EVERYTHING.

With that in mind, here is a list I’ve compiled of old and newer, Autumnal/Fall reads for children…


Autumn Books for your Seasonal Bookshelf

by Lauren


1. Autumn

by Gerda Muller

This very simple board book is one of a full, seasonal collection by the talented Gerda Muller, who is famed in the ‘Waldorf’ world for her whimsical, seasonal’esque children’s books.

The Autumn instalment of Muller’s seasonal collection, like the others, is wordless. But the pictures are enough to hit those nostalgic, Autumnal feelings.

2. Woody, Hazel and Little Pip

by Elsa Beskow

A wonderful story about how some cheeky, acorn children get blown away by the wind, and the mission to find them!

3. The Apple Cake

by Nienke van Hichtum

Here is another Waldorf world favourite, about trading and sharing in order to all find what we need!

In this story an older lady wants to bake an apple cake, but has no apples!

4. Leaf Man

by Lois Ehlert

Of course, you instantly understand through the amazing pictures that this book is very autumnal, and although the story is itself interesting, what I absolutely LOVE about this book is the creativity with natural materials to make pictures.

This is a great book for getting your children’s imaginations in gear for a really fun, outdoor, creativity session!! What can you make from leaves?!

5. Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

by Kenard Pak

A simple, but magical book about following the changes of the setons from summer to autumn! Beautiful!

6. Flower Fairies of the Autumn

by Cicely Mary Barker

We actually own the full treasury of Flower Fairy Poems, and I recommend the entire, seasonal spectrum as they’re so sweet and wonderful!

In the Autumn section, you can find fairies such as the Horse Chestnut Fairy, the Elderberry Fairy, The Blackberry Fairy and more!

Each fairy has their very own poem, that really captures the magic of each season. Classic. Wonderful.

7. Pippa and Pelle in the Autumn Wind

by Daniela Drescher

The Pippa and Pelle book series are all so beautifully illustrated, and sweet!

This autumn wind story is no exception! It’s full of the magical fun you’ll find on those autumnal days!

8. Children of the Forest

by Elsa Beskow

Another classic by Beskow.

In this sweet tale you’ll follow the children of the forest, who play with the forest animals, and start to prepare for winter!

9. A Seed is Sleepy

by Dianna Aston

If you’re a fan of the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum, you’re probably already a fan of this lovely set of books!

In a seed is sleepy, you follow the various ways that seeds travel, and lots of other seed facts, but in a very child friendly way!

10. The Roll Away Pumpkin

by Junia Wonders

A beautifully illustrated story of a girl who’s pumpkin rolls away from here! Oh no!!

A really fun story for the kids to get involved with, as they think it’s funny to see who is going to try and help, and whether they’ll manage to stop the pumpkin!

11. How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?

by Wendell Minor

In this book by Wendell, illustrations are used to discuss different sizes!

A clever way to include a little bit of Autumn in your mathematics!

12. Pumpkin Soup

by Helen Cooper

‘Cat, Duck and Squirrel live in an old white cabin, with a pumpkin patch in the garden. Every day Cat slices up some pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in some water and Duck tips in some salt to make perfect pumpkin soup… until the day Duck wants to do the stirring…

A funny, rhythmical story about friendship and sharing, with fabulous animal characters, illustrated in glowing autumnal colours.’

13. Autumn is Here!

by Heidi Pross Gray

A sweet look at how things start to change as autumn arrives!

14. The Very Helpful Hedgehog

by Rosie Wellesley

The story of a hedgehog discovering that sometimes, having a friend and sharing the load can make things much better!

15. Wild Child

by Lynn Plourde

In this (relevant for most parents!) book, Autumn is the ‘wild child’ who will do anything in order to avoid going to bed!

If you know, you know! Haha!

16. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

by Julia Rawlinson

This is definitely for the younger children!

In this story Fletcher worries about the leaves falling off of his favourite tree! What’s happening?!

A sweet story to explain autumnal changes to little ones.

17. Fall Leaves

by Loretta Holland

So, although presented as a story book, this book is a stunningly presented non fiction type book about the science behind the seasonal changes!

18. The Story of the Wind Children

by Sibylle von Olfers

The wind child makes life so exciting! She blows boats and dandelions, and even the apples from the trees!

Follow along for a magical, windy adventure!

19. Because of an Acorn

by Lola M. Schaefer

Oh this is such a simple but lovely book about how one, small seed (acorn), can have a knock on effect…

Because of an acorn, a tree grows! Because there’s a tree… a bird has a home! Follow the cycle.

20. Thanking the Moon

by Grace Lin

So the author of Ridley’s favourite book ‘a big mooncake for little Star’, wrote this lovely story about the celebration of the Mid-Autumn moon festival, which is a very special festival to Chinese people.

It includes many of the traditions.

21. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

by Lois Ehlert

Another book full of bright, autumnal colour, by Ehlert.

This story is all about the life cycle of a tree!

22. Hello, Harvest Moon

by Ralph Fletcher

‘While tired farmers and their families are in bed, the harvest moon silently climbs into the sky and starts working its magic. For some, it is the nightly signal to rise and shine. It is time to hunt, to work, or to play in the shadows.
For a little girl and her cat, it is an invitation to enjoy the wonders of the night and a last flood of light before the short days of winter set in.’

23. Apples and Pumpkins

by Anne Rockwell

The story of a girl spending a lovely, autumn day picking apples and pumpkins!

‘A young girl spends a glorious fall day picking apples and searching for the perfect pumpkin in this refreshed classic. 

“When red and yellow leaves are on the trees,” a little girl goes with her parents to a farm where they pick apples and choose “the best pumpkin of them all.” Back home, she helps to carve a grinning jack-o’-lantern face on the big orange pumpkin, which guards their doorstep on halloween night while her mother hands out shiny red apples and she and her father go trick-or-treating with the neighborhood ghosts and goblins. 

Bold, autumn-colored paintings and a simple but lively story capture a little girl’s joy and satisfaction as she shares in the excitement of the fall season.’

24. Fall Mixed Up

by Bob Raczka

This book is a really funny, mixed up story, and as you move through your kids are going to be shouting ‘WAIT! THAT’S NOT RIGHT!!’.

We love books in this house that really get everyone involved, and this is definitely one of them!

25. The Little Yellow Leaf

by Carin Berger

The Little Yellow Leaf is a really child friendly way of discussing that feeling of not being ready, even when other people are, and also the fear of the unknown.

26. Leaf Jumpers

by Carole Gerber

‘This vibrant poem celebrates the beauty of autumn while inviting us all to go ahead and jump in that big, colorful, pile of fall leaves.’

27. Too Many Pumpkins

by Linda White

‘Rebecca Estelle has hated pumpkins ever since she was a girl when pumpkins were often the only food her family had. When an enormous pumpkin falls off a truck and smashes in her yard, she shovels dirt over the pieces and forgets about them. But those slimy pumpkin smithereens sprout up in autumn, and Rebecca Estelle finds a sea of pumpkins in her garden. 

A heartwarming classic for more than twenty years, this story shows what happens when one thrifty gardener figures out how to make other people happy with the squash she can’t stomach.’

28. Out and About Poems

by Shirley Hughes

Not necessarily just an Autumn book, more all seasons, but this ‘first poems’ style book by Hughes is such a lovely one to keep on your seasonal book rotation.

29. Brambly Hedge | Autumn Story

by Jill Barklem

I can’t believe I almost forgot this one!

The Brambly Hedge stories are some of our all time favourites, as they always celebrate the seasonal changes within the stories!

30. Autumn (Thinking About the Seasons)

by Clare Collinson

‘Explore all the different things that make us think about Autumn – from the weather to tastes and sounds. The friendly text, suitable for children aged 5+, includes seasonal poems and is illustrated with beautiful large photographs and works of art. It is perfect for a seasonal topic in an early years, or key stage 1 setting. Question panels encourage readers to relate the ideas in the book to their own experiences of Autumn. Teacher’s notes and activities help you make the most of the book.

Is is part of a series ‘Thinking about the seasons’.’


We love to pop up a seasonal, nature table (or shelf), and generally pop our seasonal reads on there too!

It’s a really sweet way to celebrate the change of the season, and it becomes something your children become excited to look for, when they know that they can collect seasonal treasures to display at home!


I hope you enjoy our list!!

Thanks for reading.

Lauren x


Robo-Babies by Laura Gallagher | Book Review

Wow, as a person who has struggled with infertility, this wonderful, children’s book about how babies arrive via different methods (IVF, sperm/egg donation, adoption), really hit me in the feels!

If you’re someone who has similarly experienced any of the above, or if you haven’t, but you want to make sure you’re giving your children a rounded education about fertility and baby making, then I strongly urge you to buy a copy of this!

Continue reading for our full review!



This young child friendly story about the journey it sometimes takes to meet our babies, is so incredibly touching.
As someone who has been through an array of infertility problems, and IVF, this book is so meaningful to me.

I think that Laura has done an incredible job of writing a young child-level explanation of how different families take different journeys to parenthood, and she even includes the topic of premature babies too, and how special machines help to keep them safe.

These are such vital topics for life, and many of us (myself included!), grew up not knowing that fertility issues are so common. Not understanding that it can sometimes take a completely different journey to achieve the meeting of our babies.

Massive applause to Laura, for covering such hard, and often heart wrenching conversations, in such a sweet and child friendly way.

A particular favourite part of mine was using ‘nuts and bolts’ as a reference to sperm and egg donation! Ha! I loved it!

The girls loved all of the babies in the multiples robots’ bellies! Haha!

I fully recommend adding this one to your children’s bookshelves, for both parents who have been through infertility/adoption, but also for parents who haven’t and want to be really inclusive with how they’re educating their children about baby making! It’s a wonderful one!

We have a few copies available.

As our web store isn’t up and running yet, you can either contact me, or you can DM me on instagram/Facebook to purchase!

Enjoy!

Lauren x


Family Game Bundle

Toucan Box Review

Hi Folks,

We have been LOVING our Toucan Box subscription, and wanted to share our Toucan Box Review with you all! Take a watch of our video below!

We have the subscription arrive in Ridley’s name, but Maya absolutely LOVES it and always gets in on the fun!

They’re such a fantastic, little idea for little ones. How often do kids get the chance to receive something for them through the letterbox?!

It becomes something SO exciting for them to look forward to each month!

This box contained kits for both a mini greenhouse, and a bee and bamboo hive, and as always had a lovely magazine with stickers too!

They really do add so much excitement to our day, and with 2 craft kits in there PLUS the magazine and stickers, it can keep the little ones busy for a while!

If you like the sound of them, you can click here to go through to sign up and will receive 50% off of your first box!

(if you sign up through our link, we will receive a small commission, but it won’t affect you at all.)

Do you guys use Toucan Box already?! What do you think?!

Lauren x


Growth Mindset Books for Children

One of what I consider THE most important things to teach our children, is the power of the growth mindset. Here is a list of our favourite growth mindset books for children.

If you’re new to the term ‘growth mindset’, I would describe it as the ability to accept ALL of yourself as a positive.

Failures, mistakes, successes, gratitude, being content, being frustrated… it’s about learning to appreciate it all as vital to our development.

We learn and grow through trying and failing.

So of course, it’s so unbelievably important to us to teach our children this way of thinking. It’s something I definitely learned later in life, and it’s the thing that I would say has brought me the most inner peace…

Positive coping mechanisms are like ice cream for your soul… or pizza. Or chocolate.

(Post contains aff links.)


Growth Mindset Books for Children

by Lauren


1. The Big Life Journal

The Big Life Journal website is a treasure trove of educational resources for growth mindset, for all ages!

There are of course the actual journals, which we have and LOVE. They’re full of eye-catching, doodle style images, and lots of wonderful prompts for children to really snap into that positive way of thinking about themselves and their minds.

Also, it’s definitely worth a mention that they have a freebie section on their website, and also a whole range of downloadable resources, for if you’re not ready to commit to the journals!

WE LOVE THIS ENTIRE COMPANY.


2. You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed


Part story, part affirmations, part history lesson, part kick up the butt! I absolutely LOVE You are Awesome by Matthew Syed, about how you don’t need to discovery a secret, hidden, extraordinary talent in order to achieve what you want to in life! Start where you are!


3. Maybe by Kobi Yamada


This stunning book by Yamada, is a story about how each and everyone one of us has our own potential! Such a lovely addition to your bookshelf for younger children to start to consider what unique gifts they can bring to the world.
We actually reviewed this book here.


4. Happy, Confident Me Journal

This here is another, fabulous journal type book, with bright, colourful features to really draw your child in and catch their interest.

There are prompts, and weekly themes to work through. Your children will really learn to recognise and listen to all of their feelings!

There are prompts, and weekly themes to work through. Your children will really learn to recognise and listen to all of their feelings!


5. After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

This is THE most incredible book for approaching trauma and recovery with children. It’s about the post fall era for Humpty Dumpty, and about how parts of him couldn’t be put back together again so quickly! Incredible book!


6. Beautiful OOPS by Barney Salzburg

A book full of how mistakes can be turned into something BEAUTIFUL!! Accidental spills, tears and so on… What can become of them?!

This is a great one for the perfectionists in the family!


7. Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

A sweet story about persevering at something you want to achieve, for little ones.


8. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak

A great children’s book about growth mindset, and how stretching your brain helps it to grow.
Side note: There’s talk about your brain making you see/hear etc, which is only relevant for able bodied children.


9. Salt in his Shoes by Deloris Jordan

The story of how Michael Jordan almost gave up on his dreams of being a basketball player because he was scared he wouldn’t be tall enough! This book is written by his mother, Deloris Jordan, and is about how Michael persevered and worked hard to achieve his dreams, even through his fears.


10. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett & Gary Rubinstein

Another great children’s book for the perfectionist in your life! Beatrice NEVER makes mistakes… until she does!! A great book to teach you that everything has value, even your mistakes!


11. What do you do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

Another incredible book about growth mindset by Kobi Yamada! This one is about how to tackle a problem, and the positives that come from that.


12. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

A story about how a child, frustrated during an art class, can only splodge a dot on her paper! Her teacher then asks her to sign her name under her ‘dot’, and from that moment magic happens!


13. Hey There! What’s Your Superpower? by Jayneen Sanders

In this book you are following Becky as she embarks on a journey to discover what her superpowers may be! The book has simple tasks to help your child develop resilience and the growth mindset!


14. Ruby’s Wish by Shirim Yin Bridges

In this story, main character Ruby, unlike most little ladies in China at the time, wants to go to university like her brothers!


15. Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Thomspon

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born in Ghana with one deformed leg. He never let this stop him, and he would hop to and from school miles away, play football and eventually became a cyclist!

He rode over 400 miles across Ghana to make the point that disability is not the end! AMAZING, true story!

You can donate to the Emmanuel’s Dream Foundation, which is helping to ‘Change the society of Ghana by empowering people with disabilities.’


16. The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

A sweet tale about a girl who wanted to do something her friends were doing, but was scared… She made excuses, and told herself that maybe she didn’t want to!

Eventually she tries! Definitely worth a read to see what happens.

A fantastic, children’s book about growth mindset.


17. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

A book about walking into rooms where no one is like you, and being brave when it’s scary to be yourself when no one is like you.


18. I Think, I Am! by Louise L. Hay

A book that is aimed at children, but very much teaches the power of the growth mindset. Turning negative thoughts into positive thinking.


19. Listening With My Heart by Gabi Garcia

A book about a girl who loves to spread love to everyone else, but has to learn to show herself the same kindness.


20. I Can Do Hard Things by Gabi Garcia

Another GREAT book to help remind children that they CAN do hard things, but also affirmations that they can do many other things too!





I hope you go on to read/use these in your children’s lives, as they are so, so wonderful! It brings me so much joy that these fantastic resources are being created for generations to come, as these lessons are vital! VITAL!

I think schools, home educators, parents, carers, guardians, grandparents… everyone should be sharing these with each other.

The family that fails together, forgives together and gets back up together… stays together.

Lauren x

PS – I do plan to stock a few of these soon, but for now they are all linked!



Learn to read (Ages 2-13)

Outdoor Fun For Kids | How to Keep Kids Enjoying the Great Outdoors for HOURS.

I post VERY frequently about our time enjoyed outdoors, as a family. Of course, this involves various methods of outdoor fun for kids, in order to keep our littles thoroughly enjoying their time outside, and not always feeling ‘dragged along’ for the ride!
I wanted to pop up a quick blog post about our favourite ways to keep the kids entertained while out and about, in the hopes that you too can include some of these, if you don’t already!
I know that outdoor watercoloring is always popular when we post on the gram, and of course that’s going to feature here too!

Enjoy!


Our Favourite Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained Outdoors


  1. Conversation/Communication.
    Really Lauren?! Does this need to be here?
    YES! One of the most sure ways to keep your children’s interest, attention and imagination while you’re out on walks, is to TALK TO THEM.
    If you can talk to them about what they’re seeing, what you can see, the seasonal changes, the butterfly fluttering past, the bees collecting pollen, the hogweed towering overhead and the birds singing… If you can take their focus to what is occurring around them and make it a thing to be beholden, THIS is one of the biggest ways to keep a child interested while you’re out!
    The natural world is jam packed with constantly changing, magical processes, waiting for new generations to notice and learn.





  2. Plant/Tree/Leaf/Insect/Flower/Berry ID’ing
    Getting your children an easy check list (seasonally appropriate) with a pen/pencil to take out with you on your walk, is a quick, easy and educational way to get them excited, and very much present when you’re outdoors.
    There are so many FREE resources to help with ID’ing bits and bobs out in nature. Our favourite place to go for free printables for ID’ing is The Woodland Trust Website, though they have recently taken away their nature detectives pages, which were amazing! I’ll link the ID pages I can find.

    Woodland Trust Tree Identification Sheets (Leaf, Twig, Blossom & Catkin, Fruit, Nuts & Seeds)





  3. Outdoor Drawing/ Watercolouring
    It’s not something that most people think of as possible (I used to be one of them before the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum set us on the path of nature journalling), but popping a sketch book, pencils and a watercolour pallet in your rucksack is SO easy, and it up there as one of the best ways to keep your children excited while they’re out!
    Not only does this entertain them, it also can really help them to focus on their surroundings!
    And what’s even better? If you’re watercoloring, a rainy day is even MORE FUN!

    The products we use and love are (contains aff links):
Black A4 Sketch Book
£2.95 for 2
Baker Ross


4. Outdoor Clay Creations
So, this links back to a post we did last autumn, and really, autumn is a WONDERFUL time to do clay creations, due to all of the natural debris you can find to add to your creations!
Though, of course you can take clay out with you at ANY time of year!
If your children love to play play dough indoors, the chances are you will get tons of play with the clay outdoors!

Your children can make characters, patterns, tree wardens, candle holders and SO much more. The sky is the limit.

We buy a giant bag of air dry clay, and package it in something to keep it damp while we walk, so that it doesn’t dry out too much before you get to play!


5. Mindfulness Card Games
We were gifted a fantastic pack of cards from friends called ‘Go Find It’, and they are SO good for getting kids excited to find things when out and about. ‘Something smooth’ and ‘Something green’ are amongst the prompts included in this little pack of tricks!


6. Playing Card Games
Take your bog standard, playing cards out with you on a picnic, for an impromptu game of ‘go fish’.



7. Pond/River Dipping
Ahhh yes, that old one.
Do you remember the pure joy of sweeping a net in a figure 8 in the local pond/river, only to upturn it into your tray of water, and see the vast amount of water creatures wiggling around?!
I think for me, this is one of those hugely nostalgic activities to do with my children.
Of course, you want to make sure to teach them to be gentle and kind, and to always release them sharpish.
To add another level to this, get them to take photos to sketch and paint in their sketch books!


8. Getting WET AND MUDDY
Trust me when I say, if you can relax enough to allow your children to fully enjoy puddles, rivers, streams and mud, you will get HOURS of fun with them outdoors. The rainier the better!
You can find so many second hand waterproofs on eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Make sure you’re prepared, get the waterproofs handy if it’s cold, bring a change of clothes and maybe a flask or 2 of hot chocolate and hot tea, and then relax and let them dive in!
Mud pies, splashing, sploshing, building dams, stone sploshing… The possibilities are endless when you prepare yourself!
The kids just won’t believe what they’re allowed to do!!
Then you get them home, throw them in a hot, bubbly bath, and are rewarded with content, sleepy babies! A perfick day for any time of year.

Side note: Pack a wet bag for the wet clothes if you’re a drive away from home.



9. Making Patterns & Pictures out of Natural Resources
Have you ever tried to make a mandala out of leaves and twigs? Or a reindeer out of beech seed pods and acorns?! If you haven’t then you’re missing out!
It’s another one of those ‘I can’t believe I’ve never thought to do that’ things, but collecting natural resources and then trying to make them into pictures is both simple and really enjoyable!
It can also be challenging for parents haha!

I love that this can be done year round too, with the different resources abundant at the time.



10. Pooh Sticks
An oldie but a goodie…
I’m not sure if this originates from Winnie the Pooh or not, but finding a couple of twigs laying on the floor, to drop into a running river, to see which wins, is one of the oldest tricks in the book! It’s forever a family favourite!
Try it with your children, and let me know who wins!


11. Cloud Identification
Is it Cirrus, Cumulus?! Don’t have a clue, then find an easy pointer photo via google!

Above is one I found from the Cloud Appreciation Society.



12. Outdoor Cooking
Cooking on a campfire instantly makes the outdoors more fun!
First things first, you want to make sure you’re adhering to all of the safety regulations, because what we don’t want to do is endanger our beautiful, natural spaces!
But a stew cooked in a dutch oven, on a campfire, followed by toasted marshmallows… wow… Autumn splendour.



13. Ice Play (Winter)
Following on from the water play, here is one for winter…
Let your children pick up the ice from a puddle! It’s fun to inspect, hold, drop, stamp on, melt… And there’s always the chance for a scientific explanation of solid, liquid, gas too!




14. Wax Rubbing
Collect some leaves or bark, and put them under a sheet of paper. Grab your wax crayons and rub them over the top, to see the beautiful patterns appear on your paper.



15. Natural Paintbrushes
Use flowers, twigs and leaves to paint with! Make sure to check they aren’t toxic beforehand. But then this is a wonderful activity for little ones! See what prints you can make!


I hope you find this post really useful, as there’s nothing quite like a lovely, long walk as a family! It’s one of our favourite activities!

Lauren x

My Kids Bedroom Tour | Vlog & Links



Please enjoy my kids bedroom tour vlog above!

After many requests, enjoy having a nosey around our children’s bedroom, and a little more in depth view of the quad bunk, which I know always peaks people’s interests!

This room really was a passion project, so we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we thoroughly enjoyed doing it!!

Links to the room details below!!

Detail Info & Links

Paint for Bed | F&B School House White (Modern Eggshell!)
Trust me when I say that not only do you want to choose the interior wood and metal on the dropdown, but also the Modern Eggshell! Modern Eggshell is made for areas with high usage, so the kids bed definitely qualifies!

Paint for End Walls | F&B Skimming Stone
We chose different colour whites for the end walls, and the main wall too! If you’re doing a fully white room, you have to add textures and various dimensions of white to keep it interesting!

Paint for Long Wall | F&B Ammonite
Another wall, another white! This is the wall with the Polka stickers.


Duvet Covers | La Redoute
These ‘Lison’, spotty, duvet covers (and matching pillow cases) finished the room off perfectly.
£21 per single duvet cover.

Pillow Cases | La Redoute
To match the duvet covers.
£5.40 per Standard Pillow Case.


Olli Ella Luggy Basket | Conscious Craft
Definitely a luxury item, but one that is both adored as a toy, toy carrier AND decor.
Medium Size £69

Papoose Toys Summer Trees | Conscious Craft
We’ve had these beautiful, felted trees for a while now, and the girls love them as both toys and decor!
£33.99.

Grimms Mini Rainbow | Conscious Craft
The smallest of the Grimms rainbow. We’ve had this for 5 years and the kids still love it!
£13.99.

Grimms 12 Piece Pastel Rainbow | Conscious Craft
Again, this is one we have had for a while, that gets TONS of use!
£64.99

Fabelab Buddy Bear | Conscious Craft
One of our bookshelf dwellers.
£26.95.


Bookshelves | Ikea Picture Ledges
These ‘picture ledges’ from Ikea work PERFECTLY for displaying your favourite, beautiful, children’s books (and teddies!). We have the 115cm length ones.
Only £9 each!

Ikea Trofast Light Pine/White Toy Storage
We have 2 of these fantastic, cheap and cheerful units for the girls’ toys.
£50.


Alocasia Felt Plant | KIDLY UK
The ‘no mess’ plant for a white kids room! Haha!
£26

Hedera Hanging Felt Plant | KIDLY UK
Our hanging ‘no mess’ plant.
£22.


Ferm Living SMALL Pear & Apple Baskets | Alex and Alexa
These sweet baskets won my heart! The pear is currently not on the site in small, but this is the link for the apple!
£35 per apple.

Safari Horse Cushion | Alex and Alexa
Another of our shelf dwellers!
£49.


Nobodinoz Savanna Velvet Garland | The Modern Nursery
I LOVE the combination or really rich colours in this bunting!
£14.

Nobodinoz Amour Canopy (Toffee) | The Modern Nursery
Stunning, rust coloured canopy!
£98.

Nobodinoz Star Cushions | The Modern Nursery
We have 4 of these sweet, little cushions, 2 in Yellow and 2 in Rust.
£22 per cushion.


Wooden Log House | Myriad Toys
We’ve had this magic, woodland toy house a while now, and it is loved by all.
£74.99


Ferm Living Jute Rug | Amazon
We originally got ours from Alex and Alexa too, but it’s not on the site anymore!!
£71.49.


I hope you enjoy taking a nosey around! The doors upstairs haven’t been replaced for new ones yet, due to lockdown, so once they are finished I can show you those too!

Any further questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a message!

Lauren x



The Roads Recovery Takes.

The roads recovery (from anything!), and life, take are never straight forward, and the ‘recovered’ aren’t forever healed from failure and relapse moments. Here is what I’ve learned through my decades of recovery and discovery.

What let’s us down…

There seems to be this idea, before you’ve made the decision to try to build, or perhaps, even after you’ve taken the leap and you’re trying and ‘failing’ to recover, that recovery is absolute. Perfect. No fails. No repeats. No falls.

This is absolute BULL.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my decades of recovery from one thing or another, it’s that, quite simply put, it’s a constant, lifelong process of ebbs and flows. Tries and failures. Hits and dodges.

If it’s perfect, it isn’t real…

Look, here’s one of the biggest truths in life… If it seems perfect, it isn’t.
Do you see someone recovered from the thing that is crucifying you, and think ‘I’m just not capable of that. I couldn’t ever imagine this not consuming my life.’?
That person hasn’t had a perfect experience. You don’t suddenly remove every problem that kept you there.
You work through, and slowly challenge yourself more and more.

Then you fail, and it sucks. But it’s necessary, and NOT permanent.

But failing is failing…

Failing is the most imperative part of growth.
If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.
Failing means you are trying, and growing through the process.

What I want to say is this…

The moment you decide to work towards recovery/growth, is the moment you are in recovery…

Recovery is not a goal post. It does not have an end point.
Recovery is the journey.

You don’t have to sit in your lowest moment and sob into yourself because recovery seems SO big, SO much, SO far from anything you could ever see your way out of. Recovery doesn’t require us to be overwhelmed, and it certainly doesn’t require perfect absolution.

The path of recovery is starting exactly where you are, and just being willing to face those demons.

Every person in your life, who supports your road to recovery should understand that it will not be absolute. You are going to want to fight it some days with every inch of your being…

But that in itself is recovery.

You will have days where you feel like you’ve smashed it, you’ve done it, you got ‘there’… and then in moments of relapse, you’ll feel like you ruined everything you worked for. You didn’t. This is a journey, not a goal post.

And every time you start to feel like you’ve messed up in the process of recovery, repeat that to yourself…

Recovery is a journey, NOT a goalpost.

The idea that everyone we see, who is proud, happy, smiling, picture ready, house proud, life proud has no problems, or is who we need to be, or on the flip side is who we dislike purely because they’re proud, is exactly the same as the impression of recovery that we have, and we need to change that…

It’s not that we need more of the nitty gritty. It’s not that we need more people being ‘real’ about falling apart…

WE DON’T NEED TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE’S MESS AND GRIEF FOR OUR OWN REASSURANCE.

What we need to learn to understand is that EVERYONE has their own unique, messy, exhausting, rough, beautiful, destructive, constructive, horrific, wonderful, bitter, terrifying, excruciating, exhilarating journey, behind closed doors.

Once we understand that, we start not needing to seek reassurance for our own experiences, our failures or our recoveries, and we start to just take them as they come, for what they are. That’s when we start to heal.

Don’t get me wrong, when people WANT to share their rough moments, open their doors, share the deep and the raw, that’s great! It’s amazing! And yes it’s helpful to feel like you’re not alone, absolutely! But I think it’s so important to learn that you don’t need to seek out other people’s ‘bad parts’ in order to reassure yourself of your own.



Acceptance, not judgement…

You’ll hear this about your behaviour towards others, but how about to yourself?

Accept yourself and your journey instead of judging yourself, and consequently, judging others.

When you mess up, own it. Feel it. Feel the awkwardness. Feel the disappointment. Acknowledge that it’s necessary and that you tried, and then learn and move forward.

By judging your lows, or comparing yourself, you get stuck in that negative thinking cycle. You fail, you beat yourself up for failing, you focus on everyone else being frustrating/fake/annoying for posting their wins, you feel bad, you stay feeling bad… (I’ve been this person.)

Next time you fail, feel it! Accept it. Think of it as a sign of winning, since the only way you fail is by having the balls to try at anything anyway!

By turning our fails into part of the plan, we put a more productive spin on it, and it helps us to move through it quicker, and to not let it keep us in that hole!

Accept seeing others win, instead of judging either them or yourself for you feeling like you’re not winning. Accept that EVERYONE is failing, and their wins are not your losses.

Other people’s wins are not your losses…

One of the most important messages in both recovery and life…

Other people winning does NOT mean you are losing.

If you’re in a relapse, or a tough moment, and you talk to someone who isn’t, this does not mean you’re losing… You are still on this journey of trying, so you ARE winning…

You are winning in your own journey.

The longer you hold on to your fails, and the longer you stay focused on how much you’ve lost by failing, is the longer you’re spending stuck down there feeling like there’s no way out.

Take the time, and ask yourself what you know? What you’ve learned? Tell yourself you’ve been here before and gotten yourself out…

Ask yourself what it was that happened to get you back here?

Ask yourself what you see for yourself? Where do you want to be?

_________________________________________________________

Recovery and growth…

NEVER absolute. NEVER clean. NEVER tidy. NEVER perfect.

Always remember…


Recovery is a journey, NOT a goalpost.

Self acceptance over Self judgement.

Forgive yourself. Often.





Lauren xxx

Alo

To my ‘failing’ humans, the ones with the feelings…

I want you to know that there’s no one better than you. There’s no one that IS you.

I want you to know that we are all busy falling and failing, no matter how beautiful the ‘store front’ may be.

I want you to know that the only way anyone appears to ‘have it all together’ is by accepting and making peace with the regular falling apart.

I want you to know that the people you think are ‘doing it all’ are only achieving bits and pieces of their wants too, and when they drop the ball, they’re making peace with it…

We fall apart. We feel down. We feel low. We achieve big things and then we suddenly feel like the big thing is too heavy, and the weight squashes us.

We feel the heaviness, we acknowledge its presence. We ask what our mind and body needs from us, and we take the time to respect that need.

Is it completing a challenging task? Is it a face mask? Is it having a difficult conversation? is it a bath? Is it re-microwaving your coffee for the 50th time?

Or, is it highly more likely that the thing your body and mind needs from you, is for you to see your ‘failings’ and your ‘mistakes’. To really see them, feel them, and then let them go? For you to accept that these moments and these feelings of being less than are human, normal, natural?

Have you ever told yourself that you’ve failed? That you’re rubbish? That you messed up? That you’re not good enough?

Now, after that, did you get mad at yourself for any of the above? Are you mad because you failed? Are you mad at your mistakes? Do they sit and rot, and eat away at your soul?

What if, the next time you tried something and you failed, or you tried to be calm and you were snappy, or you tried to do something and you felt you couldn’t… what if instead of the vicious circle of self deprecation, you stopped it right there?

What if you looked at the mistake, or the failure, you sat with it, and you made peace with it, because you’re human.

Humans mess up. They fail sometimes. They have a plethora of emotions and cannot always keep calm in moments of stress, even if they want to. Humans make the most awful mistakes sometimes… it’s what makes us whole.

What if you tried acceptance, and apologised?

What if that apology was to yourself, for ever thinking that it wasn’t okay to make a mistake or feel bad?

It is SO easy to get stuck in a cycle of ‘try, fail, beat self up, feel worse, feel stuck’.

When you’re feeling like you’re failing, or you’re feeling like you’re not doing enough, being enough, being gentle enough, being busy enough, being motivated enough, being small enough, being big enough, being healthy enough, being open enough, being motherly enough etc…

Say – it’s okay. What’s the worst that can happen from this? Can I say sorry if I’ve snapped at someone? Did I have a lot on? Am I just too tired? How’s my cup doing, have I tired myself out too much? I’m human and it’s okay to be in this moment. I’m human. I can have my bad moments. I can feel these bad feelings too. I’m allowed. These feelings are as valid and important as the good ones. This is how I grow.

Give yourself the permission to feel the bad feelings.

By continuing with feeling bad about feeling bad, we start a cycle… we cycle the bad. The negative. We focus on only the bad, and begin the self deprecation. This doesn’t serve anyone, even if you hurt someone.

If your mistake was hurting someone, the absolute last thing they want to hear is how awful YOU feel. So grab yourself by the balls, say SORRY if it’s something that requires it, because we’ve all been absolute shit heads at times, but we don’t have to live there forever.

We have to keep moving.

This post is for the amazing, strong, kind, caring, supportive, badass, incredible, tired, world changing, sleepy, human, women that I am BLESSED to have in my life, either in real life or virtually…

Every, single one of you. Yes. Even you.

I’m grateful for every single one of you.

Keeping falling, keep failing, keep questioning, keep FEELING. You’ve GOT THIS.

Lauren xxx



Art with Mart: Cute & Creepy Surprise Pictures

Grab the family, and join Mart and Maya in our first episode of ‘Art with Mart’!

Our new Family art tutorials, that are easy enough to include all the family!

In our first episode, we will teach you how to make these super cute (but surprisingly creepy) pictures!! They aren’t just enjoyable to make, but are fun to surprise your friends and family with!!


Materials Needed:

  • A4 Paper or Thin Card
  • Felt-tip Pens or Crayons




That’s it! Grab your family or friends, and join in the fun!

The Heaton Fam x


Follow us on Instagram: https://instagram.com/theheatonfam

For collaboration/business enquiries : adventuresatashtree@gmail.com

________________________

Music Featured

Stumbling Down the Boulevard by The Fly Guy Five via Epidemic Sound



Our Favourite Home Education Resources (w.links) and Q&A

After many requests, here is a video full of our favourite resources we have used through our almost 6 years of home educating/ homeschooling.

Some of the resources are specific, and some are left more open. At the end of the video, I have done a Q&A answering all of the questions I received via our instagram question box!

I really hope this video helps, but please remember you have numerous resources available to you that are FREE. (Look out for a FREE home ed resources Vlog coming soon!)

For a list of some of the resources mentioned in the video, with links, please scroll to below the video!

01


CGP Workbooks

For more structured Maths, English and Science that follows the National Curriculum.

02


Reading Chest

A banded book rental service.

03


Twinkl

The most incredible hub of unending resources for ANY topic you want to learn!

04


Exploring Nature With Children Curriculum

The most perfect, nature focused, year long curriculum to really give your children an in-depth understanding of nature and its many wonders.

05


Reading Eggs & Maths Seeds

Great computer game/ iPad app that teaches little ones to read and do maths through a game as bright and eye-catching as any other iPad game!

06


Black British History Workbook

A new resource we’ve added to teach the children British history beyond the white washed version!

07


Oaka Workbooks

Workbooks designed to help visual learners/dyslexic learners.

08


Orchard Toys Games

Family games aimed at younger learners, to teach basic skills without them even realising they’re learning.

09


Inclusive Sex Ed Books

There’s more than just these, but we LOVE Sex is a Funny Word, and What Makes a Baby, both by Cory Silverberg. They’re both super inclusive in their wording and imagery. Another good one is It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H Harris.

10


Diverse Literature

It really should go without saying that including authors and characters of all races, cultures, genders, identities and experiences is perhaps one of the most important educational resources around. For parents also.

11


Baker Ross Craft SUpplies

We get a lot of our craft supplies and clay from here!
(commissionable link)



12


Toucan Box Crafts

Subscription craft kits for younger children.
(commissionable link)



13


Artventure

Art tutorial videos for primary aged children.

14


Art Eye Dear

Art tutorial videos for secondary aged children.

15


Maths Factor

Another online maths games platform. (commissionable link)

16


Nat Geo Kids Mag

A fantastic magazine for nature loving kids!!
(commissionable link)

17


Eco Kids Planet Mag

Another firm favourite for our nature loving oldest!! 4 years of this one, and still excited for every magazine!

18


The Big Life Journal

An AMAZING growth mindset journal for children. They also have some downloadable content too!



Bee & Me by Alison Jay | Book Review

Bee and Me is a visually delightful, picture book by renowned illustrator Alison Jay.

We’ve been huge fans of Jay for years now, since I discovered her through being a Barefoot Books seller ‘back in the day’ before they stopped using booksellers in the UK…

Unlike most of the other books Jay is involved with, this one is completely wordless.

The entire book is made up of beautiful pictures, and this allows for the reader(s) to make up the story themselves, which I find as a parent, always makes for a really interactive, involved story time!

The ‘story’ happening throughout the book, is bringing to the forefront the struggles of the honeybee, and what can be done to help, if only we pay attention.

As always, Jay’s illustrations are a feast for the viewer, and I think, eye catching for child and adult alike.

This book is a really beautiful one to share with children. You can create a slightly different story each time. As home educators you can get your children to perhaps write the story separately.

It’s a lovely way to start or continue to educate your children on the issues around the decline of the honeybee population, and how we can help our little, buzzy friends!

This one is a wonderful one, and I also recommend searching for a lot of Jay’s other work, because honestly, it’s nourishing just to look at it all!

L xxx



Bake with Maya | Squishy Cookies

Forget your boring baking shows!

Watch Maya take you through her bake-along Squishy, Cookie Butter Filled Cookies!!

FULL INGREDIENTS

  • 200g plain Flour (Plus an extra Cup haha!)
  • 150g Butter
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • Lotus Spread or other Cookie Butter

Make sure you watch all the way through this time for lots of giggles, way too much finger licking and lots of singing!

Please leave a comment, like and subscribe to our channel for more!

Follow us on Instagram: https://instagram.com/theheatonfam
Our Blog: https://theheatonfam.com

For Business Enquiries/Collabs: adventuresatshtree@gmail.com


Original Music (copyright 2020) Tarkan J Alp
For music enquiries: alp.tarkan@gmail.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/Thringorr https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyW… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suPj9…



The Kiss by Linda Sunderland | Book Review

Another children’s book review incoming!

This is one that Maya felt very passionately about reviewing! 🤣

She’s very sweet, and when she loves something, she LOVES it.

‘The Kiss’ is a heartwarming treasure of a book, that tells the story of a kiss that is blown from a grandson to his grandmother, and then shared with the community to make everyone happier…

But then someone tries to capture the kiss for themselves. They want to keep it and not share it with anyone! Oh no!

The story really is so sweet, and the girls get really involved in it!

The illustrations by Jessica Courtney-Tickle are just bright, eye catching and utterly delightful.

This is a great book to teach that kindness and love can only work when shared with others, and that all the money in the world won’t keep you from being lonely.

Apparently Maya says it’s a 10/10 and ‘the best book ever!’ (watch the video lol!)

L xxx

Lauren’s Favourite Skincare Products (With Links)

Hi folks.

As it’s currently Plastic Free July as I write this, and the days theme is ‘Skincare’, I figured this was a perfect time to do a blog post about my favourite skincare items, and where I get them from.

Now, let me begin by saying that these are NOT ALL plastic free. It’s damn near impossible to live completely plastic free.

The best thing, undoubtedly, that you can do in a position of privilege, to reduce plastic waste in your skincare regime, is to make your products at home.

My recommendation for further information on this wonderful topic, is the ever so lovely Becky O’Cole, who is a fountain of knowledge on the topic! Becky also has a beautiful instagram page and a fantastically calming Podcast. They’re definitely worth checking out.

Another note I want to add on making your own skincare products at home, is that this being a privilege means, you need to be checking the ingredients that you’re adding are ethically based….
If someone is being neglected/abused/made unsafe/underpaid in order to harvest and fetch these products into your hands, you need to be considering whether extra packaging from a more ethical company is better…

___________________________

Now, I don’t currently have the time to make my own products, so I wanted to share with you a selection of my FAVE, natural, ethical products and the websites I purchase from…

Some of my FAVOURITE places to purchase more ethical, natural, less waste products from are:

  • Tropic Skincare – Great ethics. Natural, cruelty free products, made in the UK. Will accept certain packaging back, and some returns can earn refills (there’s a great make-up pallet that’s refillable!)
  • LoveLula – A fantastic site that is jam packed with natural, ethical, less waste, natural, cruelty free and vegan products made by various businesses, many of which are small!
  • Lush – Are you even into your ethical, less waste skincare/bath bombs if you don’t LOVE Lush?! If I want a treat, I go here to splurge on bath bombs!! If you’re using solid shampoo and conditioner, then Lush always have a fab range!
  • Ethical Superstore – I love ethical superstore for more than just skincare, but they do have a great selection, and you know you’re getting products from companies with good ethics!!

(Full disclosure, SOME are affiliate links, but some are not. I use EVERYTHING I recommend here. Therefore, this isn’t a long list, but it’s an honest one!)

My FAVOURITE, regularly used Ethical Skincare Products

  1. Tropic Smoothing Cleanser

So here’s a funny story… I didn’t really believe that I needed a cleanser. I’ve very much always been a water minus anything else for washing my face (if it was bare), and for make-up removing oil cleansing… Honestly, bare minimum…
But then this AMAZING product came into my life through me joining Tropic because of my love for Supergreens (which I’ll talk more about later), and oh my goodness! Apparently I DID need a cleanser!!
Tropic are an ethical, low waste, British made company, who only use natural ingredients. I let m 1- year old use this!
My skin has never been clearer! And the gorgeous scent makes you feel like you’ve been to the spa.

2. Tropic Vitamin Toner

Again, I found this product through my welcome to Tropic set, and I now wouldn’t be with out it!

3.Tropic Skin Dream Moisturiser

This is dreamy (HAHA). It smells incredible, and it has worked pure wonders for my skin!

4. Tropic Supergreens Nutrient Boost Oil

Ahhhh, the product SO good it made me join the Tropic family…
This product cleared up my postnatal eczema, and every other blemish on my face! It’s got magical powers, I swear! If you only buy one skincare product, I’d say, make it this one!!

4. Tropic Pure Lagoon Blemish Preventing Serum

SO good at removing redness of spots already on your skin, but also great for prevention too! Again, my 10 year old, who has sensitive skin and has recently hit the hormones, uses this without an issue and LOVES it.

5. Weleda Nourishing Hair Oil

I know this is sort of in the range of hair care, but I actually use this for when my scalp is feeling sensitive and sore. Massaging it into my scalp while bathing helps to soothe a LOT.

6. Crazy Rumors Au Naturale 100% Natural Lip Balm

Simple. Natural… Effective!

Favourite Sun Creams

  1. The Entire Tropic Sun Care Range

So the range is all natural with no nasties and fantastic for sensitive skin, but also, very importantly… If you return the packaging you earn FREE refills… less waste!!

2. Green People Organic Children’s Suncream

I did say to myself that I wasn’t going to mix the products I use for the kids solely into here, but I kind of class sun cream together, and this is the one we use for the littles! SO good for the super sensitive skin!

________________________________

So there you have it….

A SUPER short and simple list of products that keep me happy and feeling pampered (when I get enough time to use them!).

I always LOVE a small business recommendation too, so feel free to leave me a comment on any of my social media channels if you are a small, ethical, natural skincare product business, and I will check you out….

L xxx

____________________

Look beautiful naturally with LoveLula, the world's natural beauty shop. Free delivery over £15. Shop now!

Bake with Maya | Banana Breakfast Muffins Vlog

Here’s one not to miss!

Forget your boring baking shows! Watch Maya take you through her bake-along banana muffin tutorial!
Grab some ingredients (I mean, you’ll possibly want to watch the entire way through to be super certain of amounts, hahaha! There’s a LOT of Maya going with the flow…), grab your muffin tin, and bake along with Maya!

FULL INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 tsp of Cinnamon
  • 3 Bananas
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Eggs

Make sure you watch all the way through for some pure sweetness, humour, a million questions (remember to leave your answers in the comments so she isn’t disappointed! haha!), some random tales, a song and a good, old egg smash…

The most interesting bake-along this year?! LOL!!

She even gives a shout out to her favourite YouTubers, Rebecca Zamolo and ‘Ro’. Haha!

Let Maya know whether you’d like her to do more bake-alongs?! Her mum (cough cough) promises not to have her head out of shot for a lot of the video next time!

Please leave a comment (or 25 if you’re answering her MANY questions haha!), like and subscribe to our channel for more!


Follow us on Instagram: http://www.instagram/wildandfree.at.ashtree

For Business Enquiries/Collabs: adventuresatshtree@gmail.com


Original Music (copyright 2020) Tarkan J Alp
For music enquiries: alp.tarkan@gmail.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/Thringorr
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyW8876L10crBfckNim8lA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suPj9ruBhY4

A Day in the Life: In Lockdown

After so many requests for a ‘Day in the Life’ Vlog, I decided to go for it…

It’s hard for me to show a day in the life currently, because it all seems pretty boring and mundane in comparison to our usually adventurous, jam packed days of regular home education!

I will happily film another DITL once we are back to ‘normality’, but for now… enjoy!

L xxx

Rainbow Pancakes

I decided I want to start a ‘Weekend Breakfast’ series of recipes to post here and on Our YouTube Channel.

So, to kick it off is a recipe I wouldn’t make super often with the kids, purely because I’m not a HUGE fan of food colouring 🤣.

However, as a treat (and my goodness do my kids love everything rainbow?!), they are FAB!

We already have gel food colouring hanging around, because it’s great for using in our 2 Ingredient Playdough, and although other food colouring will work, it’s usually quite runny, so you have to be careful not to make the mixture too thin!

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Rainbow Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 x Cups Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 2 x Eggs
  • 2 x Cups Sunflower Oil (can sub for melted butter, but DON’T use olive oil, it affects the taste.)
  • 1 x Cup Milk (we use Oatly)
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream/Buttermilk (we use Oatly Creme Fraiche)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Gel Food Colouring*

* You can use other food colouring BUT, it tends to be more watery, which affects the consistency of your mixture. Add colour very sparingly if using liquid food colouring.

——

Method

  1. Add all ingredients (except food colouring) to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk well, until smooth.
  3. Get multiple, separate bowls. You’ll need as many as colours you’re wanting to use.
  4. Spoon mixture evenly between all bowls.
  5. Add a drop of colouring to each bowl, and mix until the colour is evenly distributed.
  6. Pre-Heat a large, VERY GOOD non stick pan on LOW.
  7. Make sure you have enough spoons to keep each colour separate while scooping.
  8. Keeping the pan on LOW heat (so each spoon of mixture doesn’t cook before you add the next colour), spoon a blob of one colour mixture into your pan (small spoon).
  9. Add another spoon of each colour mixture directly on top of the first, until you’ve added all colours to your pancake.
  10. Use the end of a knife, or a cocktail stick to swirl the colours around into patterns.
  11. When you’ve scooped a few pancakes into your pan, then the heat up ever so slightly, and let them cook for a few minutes. (It’s really important you never turn your pan up high. The idea is a lower temp for a longer time, so you don’t burn the pancakes.)
  12. Once you start to see consistent bubbles on the top of your pancake, it’s time to flip!
  13. Allow the opposite side to cook for a couple of minutes.
  14. Serve!

We like ours with lots of brightly coloured fruit, nut butters, maple syrup, butter, eggs… anything! Haha!

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As a side note, this recipe will work perfectly without the food colouring too, incase you’re not a fan, or you find it a bit strange eating rainbow food (I’m the same!)…

They’re just buttermilk pancake type pancakes!

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Enjoy! And if you make them and love them, please leave me a like, comment or drop me a message!

I also love seeing your photos!

L xxx



Cloth Nappy Vlog

Hi folks.

I finally got up a ‘short’ (hahaha) video on our YouTube Channel about which nappies we’ve found useful so far in our cloth nappying journey.

This video covers-

Types

  • Pocket
  • All in one
  • Wraps

Sizes

  • Newborn
  • Size 1
  • Birth to Potty
  • One Size
  • Size 2

Brands

  • Baba & Boo
  • TotsBots
  • Close Pop-Ins
  • Thirsties
  • Little Lamb

Velcro vs Poppers

It also has a Fit Tutorial, and plenty of Lauren saying ‘erm’ and ‘so’ a little too much!


If you have any questions, leave a comment!

If you find it useful, please like and subscribe.

Thank you!


Brands We LOVE Include:

Baba & Boo
TotsBots
Close Pop-In
Little Lamb

And our reusable wipes are always:

Cheeky wipes

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I have a separate video filming soon on our wash and dry routine, and if there’s any questions I didn’t answer in the first video, then please drop me a message and I’m more than happy to cover that in the next!

Thanks

L xxx

Super Easy, 2 Ingredient Playdough

Hi Folks,

For the recipe, either enjoy our YouTube video below, or scroll down for a quick read. I promise that neither take long at all!

This is one of our easiest, go to crafts to keep the kids busy…

It also saves on a whole load of plastic, shop bought, playdoh tubs too! Added bonus!

Our Playdough made into a rose bush (with added, real rose petals) by Maya.

2 Ingredient Playdough

Ingredients

  • 80ml Hair Conditioner (we used Faith in Nature)
  • 120g Cornflour
  • Gel Food Colouring (optional)

Method

1. Add conditioner and cornflour to a bowl and stir to combine. Then use your hands to bring the mixture together.

2. Knead for a while until a smooth, perfect Playdough consistency!

Note: All conditioners are different thicknesses. Add more or less of either ingredient to get the right consistency. It’s not a perfect science, just take each addition slowly, and knead before deciding whether to add more of something.

3. If using the gel food colouring, flatten out your newly made ball of dough, pop a small dot of colour in the middle, fold it up and keep folding until the colour is evenly distributed.

You’re now ready to play!

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We love adding flower petals to our homemade Playdough, as well as other natural finds!

It can be really exciting for the children to know they’re searching for treasures from the garden/days out, to use in their Playdough creations.

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Enjoy!

L xxx

Our Vlog has Lift Off!

After a rough month of battling with technology, and a mind that was very new to the in depth world of video editing, we have FINALLY made it to our first Vlog post on our YouTube channel!!!

Please go like and hit subscribe to keep up to date with any future posts from us!

We are hoping to post twice a week, and content will include:

  • Arts & Crafts Ideas
  • Parenthood
  • Home Ed Ideas
  • Recipes
  • Circus Skill Lessons
  • More sustainable kids’ toy/play dough type videos (upcycled/second hand toys and homemade play dough etc).
  • Our Interior Decorating Journey
  • Cloth Nappying
  • Weaning
  • Nature! Always nature!
  • Seasonal Fun
  • Videos from our kids to yours!
  • Q&A’s
  • Children’s Book Reviews
  • My Book Reviews!
  • Where we purchase our clothes from (but NOT hauls). I very specifically want to combat fast fashion, and want to show how much is available second hand or if needs be, ethically!
  • There MAY be the occasional product review/ad/gifted type thing, but this will only ever be for something we already use or need. I LOVE to support small business, and I also LOVE to support recycling/up cycling.
  • Our Food Shops/Meal Plans/ Watching that all go to hell and ordering too many snacks and not enough real food…

… and so much more!

So here it is! Our first Vlog!

Remember to like, subscribe and leave us a comment!

Lauren xx

Camomile & Lilac Shortbread

A floral, seasonal take on a classic, buttery shortbread!


(Makes Approx 20)

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 100g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 2 x Camomile Tea Bags (empty out the contents)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 2Tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Lilac Flowers (all green stems removed)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add butter, golden caster sugar, camomile tea bag contents, lemon zest and vanilla and whisk until light and creamy.
  2. Coat the lilac flowers in the icing sugar, in a separate bowl, gently.
  3. Add the flour and the sugar covered, lilac flowers into the butter mixture, and gently bring together with your hands until everything seems evenly distributed. It’s really important NOT to overwork this. You don’t want to overwork the flour and make the shortbread too crunchy, and you don’t want to completely mush up the lilac flowers either.
  4. Take a piece of beeswax wrap/foil/baking paper and place the ball of dough you’ve brought together onto it.
  5. Gently push the dough into a long, cylindrical (sausage) shape, around 10cm diameter, and then wrap the cover around it, and roll backwards and forwards to get a neater cylindrical shape.
  6. Tuck each end of the wrap/foil in and place dough in the refrigerator for an hour minimum.
  7. Once your dough has chilled for long enough, pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 4/180°c/356°f.
  8. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
  9. Remove your chilled dough from the fridge. Keeping the dough in the cylindrical shape, use a sharp knife/dough scraper/cotton to slice 1/2cm slices, and pop them onto your baking tray. (I found my dough kept squishing into semi circle shapes while slicing, but I went with it and loved it!)
  10. Try to interfere as little as possible with your dough. It helps keep the shortbread crumbly and soft, rather than a crunchy biscuit. If your slices start to fall apart slightly, gently push them together. No need to firmly squash anything!
  11. Bake for 10-15 minutes. They’re ready when they have a very slight golden colour. Don’t be tempted to over bake!
  12. Allow to cool for 10 mins before you move them, they’ll firm up as they cool.

Enjoy!

L xxx

Sourdough Blueberry Rye Pancakes

Here’s a recipe I threw together in a rush this morning.

After using light rye for a brownie recipe recently, it struck me just how lovely a flavour it added to sweet treats.

After making them, everyone agreed they were my best EVER pancakes, and judging by how many pancakes I’ve made over the years (TONS!) that is a very bold statement.

So definitely worth a share.

Nowhere near as simple and easy on the pennies as the simple banana ones I posted a while back, but I beg you make these! SO good.


Sourdough Blueberry Rye Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Sourdough Starter Discard (unfed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Oat Milk (I’m sure you could sub for any!)
  • 3 Tbsp Butter (melted)
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Light Rye Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Soft Sugar
  • Blueberries (I used frozen)

Method

– Put a large, non stick, frying pan on to a low heat to pre-heat while you make the batter.

– Mix together you’re starter, eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter.

– Mix your Flour, Sugar and Baking powder together separately.

– Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and whisk together really well until smooth and thick.

– If your frying pan is really good non stick, continue on to the next step. If it isn’t, brush your pan with melted butter or oil and then proceed to the next step.

– Scoop the mixture into your frying pan in whatever sizes you fancy. They cook like American pancakes, so small works well.

– Gently push your blueberries into the top of the pancakes once you’ve scooped the mixture into the pan.

Bubbles on the top of your pancakes mean they’re ready to be flipped.

– Once bubbles start to appear on the top of your pancake, they’re ready to flip.

Note: Low heat for longer is better than turning the heat up too high! They’re very likely to burn that way!

– Cook for a few mins on the other side and then serve!


We served ours with almond butter, butter and jam! But usually we would have opted for honey or maple syrup too!

These would definitely have worked with bacon and eggs too! SO good!

Let me know if you give them a go!

L xxx



Fun at Home. Activities for the Whole Family.

I thought now, amongst the chaos was a good of a time as any to get another blog post up.

Despite the rap we get, home educators aren’t actually used to being stuck in the house at all! We are usually out here, there and everywhere, but I guess I have developed a lot of activities to keep the kids busy at home over the years of having the kids at home.

Here’s a compilation of things we love doing, that you may find useful during a lockdown. We are currently making use of this list ourselves!

One thing I think is important to mention, is to try not to replicate a school environment at home… Recognise the value in activities that aren’t academic. Cooking together, baking together. Reading together. Singing together. Laughing together.
Why not try allowing your child to lead the learning? What is interesting them at the moment? How could you tie that in to various subjects? Maybe try some fun, messy, physical activity as a way of helping the learning stick in their head.

I hope you all find something of use!

L xxx

PS – After a couple of requests for structured learning resources, I’ve popped a few right at the bottom of the post! 🖤


1. Twinkl Resources

This is by far one of our most utilised resources as home edders! Whatever the topic, whatever the occasion, even if you just need a colouring page… they have it all! And, if you’re reading this during the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak, they have free access for people affected.


2. Cooking & Baking

There’s one thing better than cakes and biscuits baked by your nan, and that’s cakes and biscuits baked by your children. Messy, over iced, almost taking a tooth out on excess sprinkles… perfection!

I want to very specifically add cooking full meals to the list, because for a lot of people it seems like a completely overwhelming task to allow young children to help with a full meal, but honestly, allowing them to space to try, and to make mistakes is such a good learning opportunity, and is teaching important life skills…

Though please take it from me that if you struggle with letting go, mentally prepare yourself that that meal is for your child to prepare. If you start off thinking you’re going to do it, you’ll get worked up about mess and things a LOT faster.


3. Start a Garden

And I’m not saying ‘tackle your entire garden’ or ‘become totally self sufficient’… I’m saying, grab some dirt, grab some seeds, throw in a little water and watch the magic happen.

I haven’t found a child yet who didn’t find the cycle from seed, to plant, to flower, to fruit completely mind blowing.

Start simple. Sunflowers are always great as they grow fast! If you want fast growing edibles then radish, salad leaves and possibly peas/beans are a good bet.


4. Mindful Conversation

Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted by the possibilities of what could be, and the worries of the world. Something we find useful as a family is coming back down to earth and to the here and now by using mindful conversation prompts. Trying to drive our focus from everything else to the place we are in right at that moment, and the feelings we are feeling right at the moment.

For older children, discussing emotions and feelings in depth can help, but sometimes for the little ones simple conversations such as ‘can you find something that feels soft?’ or ‘what sounds can you hear?’ can really help to focus their minds away from worries or boredom.

Resources we Love

We thoroughly love our Mindfulness Prompt Cards from Mindful Kin, a card game called Go Find It , and also the incredible resources over at The Big Life Journal .


5. Gloop/Oobleck

Whatever you call it, the easy peasy, lemon squeezy, cornflour and water mixture can make for hours or sensory fun for both children and adults alike!

Why is this fun?

It looks like a liquid, but as you start to try and grab it or move it around, it turns to a solid… then as you stop moving it turns back to liquid! The mind blowing behaviour of oobleck is what will keep you squelching for hours, haha!

Gloop/Oobleck Recipe

  • 2 Cups Cornflour (Cornstarch if you’re in the US)
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Food Colouring (optional)

Mix ingredients together and then have FUN! Although this appears messy, it cleans up so easily. Our children love to add easy clean toys into it, and it’s a great one to put on a tuff tray!


6. Family Board Games

Time to break out that stash of board games! Classics like Monopoly and Cluedo are great, but we also really love Orchard Toys games here too for our younger children, so they can feel included, and also learn at the same time.

We like to find other, less common games that teach the girls about nature and working together too, one of our favourite places to find these is a fantastic, treasure trove of a website called Conscious Craft. My goodness is that website full of natural goodness!


7. Exploding (very tamely), Foaming Volcano! (Or Pumpkin if it’s October haha!)

Another very easy, but always fun for the kids experiment!

Washing up liquid, vinegar and baking soda is what you need! Food colouring optional.

Here is a link to some instructions for the experiment, but we never actually used a set amount!

‘How to Make a Volcano’ Experiment.

You can do the experiment in whatever contain is going to be the most fun for your child!


8. Make Clay Creations.

We love to take clay out with us on walks to find natural bits and bobs to decorate with, but we also LOVE to make clay creations at home too!

If you have enough variety in your garden, let the children pick bits to decorate their creations with from there. If you don’t, then done worry! Either let them shape them without, or use dry pasta, lentils, or anything else you can think of! You’d be amazed what you can make from nothing!

Here’s our Clay Creations post from a while back.


9. Cosmic Kids Yoga

If you’ve never heard of or tried putting this AMAZING channel on YouTube for your kids then you’re missing a trick.

Don’t worry about this being too boring, with a huge selection of choice for all ages, and with so many themes (Harry Potter, Pokemon, Moana etc) these videos will really get your child into the story, so much they’ll be yoga’ing without knowing!


10. Joe Wicks 5 Minute Move

Another on the keeping active topic…

Joe Wicks released child friendly (shorter) versions of his very popular HIIT workouts, on YouTube. Again, FREE.

Our kids love a mental 5 minute blowout! A great one to get the blood pumping.


11. Outdoor Painting.

I know this is coming before indoor painting, simply because it’s GREAT thing to do to excite the children, simply because it’s novel. It’s new.

Also, this is another activity where it’s fun to add in natural materials. We’ve used daffodils to paint with before! We’ve used grass. We’ve painted pictures then used grass as hair! Feathers are always treasured additions too.


12. Nature Journalling

Nature journalling is simply recording what you see happening in the natural world around you, throughout the year…

It’s a wonderful way to pay attention to the seasons, but is also another fantastic, mindful activity.

You can find prompts if you need them, my forever favourite is the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum, but simply finding things outside to sketch and record (weather, animals, leaves, plants, pond life etc) is as good as anything!


13. Let them get involved in household chores.

Spoil sport? Me? Not at all! Have you ever asked a young child whether they’d like to help wash pots? Or do you assume they will make a mess and don’t let them?

It’s not a judgement on my part, I’ve been there! But I also allow them to get involved now, and I see the value of it.

It’s both a valuable life skill, and gradually helpful to get them involved in the regular household chores. They only learn to do things neater, cleaner and to your standard if they’ve been allowed to try, and make mistakes without being told off.

And young children LOVE helping. Believe me! My 10 year old… not so much haha! But she still has to, because when you’re all at home for a lot of the day, there are chores that need doing.


14. Set up a Garden Treasure Hunt.

Create some sort of treasure hunt around your house and garden!

Before we moved we were nowhere near other houses around Halloween, so we used to create treat hunts around our caravan for the girls.

No matter how many times we set these up, they ALWAYS went down well.

As the kids get older, start adding clues too for extra fun!


15. ‘Build your Own’ Food Bars.

Decorate your own pancake bar… Build your own Taco bar… Decorate your own Hot Chocolate Bar…

The possibilities with this are endless, but I haven’t found a ‘build your own’ food choice yet that my kids didn’t think was the best thing ever!

If there’s one thing children love, it’s feeling like they are free to choose what they want. There’s not many things in modern life that are set up for children to have the freedom to make their own decisions! By offering up a table of goodies and saying ‘knock yourself out’ and standing back while they choose what they want, you’re giving them freedom to be and choose what they want.

Seems like it‘s too simple to mean anything because the freedom is food related? It’s not at all!


16. Candle Dipping.

This isn’t quite as simple as the other activities on the list, as you need a double boiler of some sort to melt the wax, and you’ll need beeswax or soya wax and wick… but it’s still a lovely activity to keep you busy!

Here’s a link to a tutorial for candle dipping.

There’s the lovely moment your children see their candles light and work, and you see the pride on their faces…


17. Let them get MESSY.

It’s hard sometimes, I get it. I can be obsessive myself, but this is one of the most important parts of childhood!

LET THEM GET MESSY.

Let them get out in the garden, turn the hose on (yes, even when it’s cold out! Or raining! Even better!), and get DRENCHED. Let them pull the dirt up, make a mud pie, and serve it up in your plant pots… let them smother themselves in paint…

They’ll stay occupied for so long. They’ll be amazed that they’re able to let loose, and their brains need to let loose!

And after it’s all ended, they’ll have a bath or they’ll have a shower… Their clothes will wash.


18. Painting.

Good, old painting! Never fails! And make sure to get involved yourself! When was the last time you let loose with a paintbrush?!

We find ideas from Pinterest, Artventure, Art Eye Deer and second hand ‘Things to Make & Do’ Books!


19. Reading.

Reading to the girls is really important and meaningful to me. My passion for books was always something I wanted to share with my children, and I definitely do!

If it’s not something you do regularly, or at all, maybe start by just thinking of one book that you enjoyed as a child… If there isn’t one that you recall, perhaps have a search on google for book lists. I still search for book lists myself!

As you’re sharing a story with your children, let them ask questions… Let them look at the pictures. I also use my finger to point at the words as I’m reading, as this can help them to pick up reading. Most importantly, just allow them to be ‘in’ the story with you.

It can get tricky sometimes after the hundredth interruption, but I promise, they’re just being involved!


20. Wet Felting.

An activity more suited to your older children, wet felting is a nice mid ground between the simple gluing, and the more challenging needle felting…

It’s part simple, in the form of layering up the felt into the image you want, and then part challenging as you have to sew a piece of fabric over your image (relatively neatly) before giving it a good wash with soap!

You can find a link to a basic wet felt tutorial here


21. Bug Investigating.

There is always a critter to be found, whatever time of year it is! And these helpful, little guys can keep little ones intrigued for a while, if you’re brave enough to let them!

Be mindful of your language when you’re teaching your children about insects. Insects are extremely helpful in our ecosystems, and teaching children to fear and kill them isn’t good for the Earth…

If you’re a little scared of them yourself, try to keep that held back a little, and, if you’re uncomfortable with insect handling, what about getting one (gently) onto a piece of paper or card so that your children can get a closer look?

What if I don’t know what these insects are? Or what they do?’ PERFECT! This is my favourite part of home ed! When we have to investigate something new TOGETHER!


22. Sidewalk Chalk.

Easy peasy, garden fun! Simply hose down the patio when you’re done.


22. Child Led Learning.

If you’re stuck in the house and it’s unplanned, you may struggle with trying to get your kids to do what you think is enough work… School work..

Try this instead… Wait for your child to mention a subject that interests them (yes, yes that includes Minecraft 🤣🤣), and try running with it…

Minecraft in itself can be educational, but also pulling other topics into Minecraft as things that could be built, is perfect! (More on screen time soon!)

But also, if they suddenly show a keen interest in dinosaurs, this is your moment! Pull out all of the stops! Books (World of Books is an AMAZING second hand books website), Twinkl resources, YouTube! You can teach science, evolution, extinction, maths, English… everything in between! All through a passion for dinosaurs!

And it works the same for the majority of interests. You can tie so much into one interest point.


23. Ice Painting.

Great for little littles. Put a tub of water in the freezer to make a block of ice… Tip it out and let your little ones go to town painting it! Another really simple activity.


24. Music & Dancing.

Get your favourite music blasting out and get dancing like a wild one with your small, wild things!

Your children will love these moments with you.

Also, as we are talking about music, try sticking on different genres of music to give them a wider, musical knowledge.

You don’t even have to make a thing about it, just simply have different pieces playing as background music.


25. Podcasts & Audiobooks

If you have a phone or a tablet, then you have access to tons of wonderful content in the form of podcasts (free) and audiobooks.

There are plenty of podcasts aimed at children!

Here is a list of Child Friendly Podcasts!


26. Homemade Playdough.

There are a million different recipes for playdough, and I’m not here to give you a specific one, and the reason for this is that different children have different ‘skin friendly’ requirements.

One of my favourite textured doughs, is the one that is hair conditioner and flour, but again, this can flag up skin sensitivity issues for some, so I really do suggest finding one that will work for you.

It’s also far better to do your own research because you’ll know what ingredients you have handy, and in my experience if you type ‘playdough recipe no cream of tartar’ or whatever it is you’re without, then SOMETHING will come up, haha!

Once you have your base playdough recipe, you can colour it, you can add smells… You can print off playdough mats from Twinkl, you can get out your washable toys and include them in the fun, and you can include dried pasta, or garden finds!


27. Homemade Kinetic Sand.

Another great sensory play idea! If you have sand, cornflour and oil, you’re set!

Homemade Kinetic Sand Recipe.


28. Online Learning Games.

When I say ‘online learning’, I don’t want to induce panic.

I was just thinking to myself what our most useful resources are, and there were a few that popped into my head.

  • Reading Eggs & Maths Seeds
    This is a great website (with an app for tablets!) for ages 3-8 mainly. It uses game to teach reading and maths for the EYFS to around Year 3, but as I’m not mad keen on ‘your child needs to be doing THIS at THIS age’, let’s just say it’s great for primary kids!
  • Teach Your Monster to Read
    Another great website and app for helping little ones learn to read. This one is FREE.
  • Doodle Maths & Doodle English
    An app that focuses on giving your child just a few questions a day! VERY popular in Home Ed world!

29. Screen Time.

Yes, you read that right.

Screen time is not the devil folks.

In fact, screen time can be heaven sent when you need to recoup, and is also invaluable for access to learning materials.

Our children come off of their iPads asking to bake certain things, make certain things, or telling us random facts we never knew!

And no, our children don’t spend the majority of their iPad time searching facts, they absolutely, 100%, play Roblox and Minecraft, or Nola’s new favourite Gatcha Life?! No idea if that’s spelled correctly!

Children need down time too, and they have their time and they appreciate it. It’s also important to remember that the world we live in runs on technology, and it’s an extremely useful skill to acquire.

And when our children become screen monsters on certain days (which they really, really DO!), then the screen time gets cut down or completely removed for a while…


30. Water Play.

Chuck ’em in the bath, or grab pots and pans out of the cupboard and fill ’em with water for your kids to have fun with! Throw them out in the garden with the hose, no matter the weather!

There’s so much fun that can be had simply by letting your kids use water in their play.


31. Documentaries.

Random documentaries on Sky, Netflix, YouTube, Prime etc are the lovely, little gift you never knew you needed.

Historical, Ecological, Scientific, Veterinary… the list is unending!

Try popping one on some time!


32. Apologise.

How is this an activity?

Believe me, when you spend all day every day with your children, you (and them) WILL lose it.
Someone will just push you that little bit too much, and you may snap. You may shout, you may cry. You may say something awful…
Please don’t be under the impression that we don’t ALL do this, because even with the most gentle approach to parenting, you’re a human being and you WILL get stretched.

What matters? That you, yes, YOU, apologise to your children when you overstepped.

Now I’m not saying you should apologise for boundary setting, or disciplinary stern-ness in your voice, I’m talking about when you yell, scream or say things you shouldn’t have said. We as adults have to show children that everyone should apologise when they’ve been mean… even us!

I took my kids aside a couple of days ago because I was being grouchy. I apologised, and explained that I was tired, and had a lot to do, and Scout needed me, so I shouldn’t have been so grouchy with them.

You WILL mess up. You will lose it. Just remember to suck it up and apologise. Apologise apologise apologise.

You’re human.


Resources for Structured Home Learning

I wanted to add in links to the products and sites we use for our more structured learning at home, though I don’t want anyone to feel that they HAVE to do this while Isolated, as it may end up adding more pressure to the situation.

  1. Twinkl (Again… Always. Covers ALL ages) – Has all of the curriculum links on the site!
  2. CGP Workbooks – GREAT for easy, straightforward, sit down and follow the curriculum stuff. The website has them all organised by year groups to make it easy to find what you need.
  3. Oaka Books – I’m quite new to these, but they are fantastic workbooks for dyslexic/visual learners!

Our Journey to Home Educating

I’ve been asked the hows, whats and whys of home education since the very beginning, and I’ve never thought to write about it until I was contacted by the lovely Laura at the Learning Through Living Journal, and asked to write something alongside some of my photos…

Anyhow, it got me thinking that I should perhaps open up here about it too. A lot of people wonder, and a lot of people have questions about how it all works, whether the children socialise (or are shut in the house all day 😂😜), whether it’s legal in the UK (it is!) and so on, so maybe this blog will be of use to you, if you’re reading…


How it all came about…

It started as a joke… no, really!

I had read the most wonderful blog, belonging to an American, home educating mother, who, looking back now, I assume was very Montessori/Charlotte Mason led… I wish I could remember which blog it was, but sadly 4 children and a failed barn renovation have fried my brain! Ha!

This lady wrote so warmly of her days with her daughter. Slow mornings. Her daughter helping with the house chores on her own level. Growing their own food. Feeding their chickens. Afternoons of painting, reading, baking. Soaking in these wonderful moments together each and every day…

I specifically remember the reference to education happening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and not being confined to a classroom.

It’s something that has stuck with me so deeply. And when I read back what I just wrote, I literally read what our days now look like, and it makes me a little teary eyed.