My life

girl-with-book Summer is a distant dream, the rain has returned and I’ve even worn a pair of tights and boots which is the official sign that Autumn is well and truly round the corner isn’t it?

Littlelish has started in year 3 and I cannot believe she is 7 already! It only seems a minute ago that we were chatting away about blind people and their guides dogs on the drive to preschool.

School has become a very important part of both of our lives.

As a mum, I do both drop off and pick up, and on my blogging days, the exchanges in the playground can be the only real life conversations I get to have besides Buddy and Babylish. Although I always take comfort in the fact that it will only be a few hours before Littlelish is back to chatter at me till my ears bleed and I wish for silence again, haha.

Our school is a small school with a strong sense of community which I love. I know most of the mums, dads, grans and grandpas in the playground by name. I’ve even made some really good friends at the school gate and our friendship has evolved from making polite conversation in the playground to spa days, collaborative blogging and Friday night dinners.school-1

For me Littlelish’s education is massively important. With such a large amount of time spent at school it is important that she is happy and engaged. She’s an extremely capable child but is pretty lazy if disinterested and bored so it’s absolutely vital she is in the right environment for her to flourish.

Rewinding back 4 years to when we were first searching for a school. I remember trawling through all the relevant information on the ofsted website, trying to make some sense of it all. I knew I wanted a local school that was rated outstanding by Ofsted. I also wanted a school that was creative and outdoorsy and not too large as Littlelish was very sensitive and easily overwhelmed as a small child. A strong family feel with good ethics and principals were also high on the list, plus it just had to ‘feel’ right.

I’m happy to report that we did in fact find what we were looking for in the end and both Littlelish and I are happy with her current school. But I do remember well that these decisions, the ones that will affect your little one for the rest of their life (aaargh the pressure!) can feel really daunting..

This September has seen the launch of a new website called School Reviewer. A one stop shop for everything educational, from searching to find your nearest school, checking out the catchment area on the heat map to reading all the ofsted reports. If you really want to find out what the parents think of the school you can read reviews written by parents as well as finding second hand items for school, like uniform or books which are for sale.

There is also a chat forum for parents to talk about their school or a more general forum for all education talk. Children preparing for exams can watch walk throughs of exam papers, tutoring them in the art of answering tricky questions and where many go wrong. If you need extra tutorial support in the form of a local tutor you can search for this too. School reviewer also has a blog with interesting and current articles provides good, thought provoking reading.

In the video below you can listen to Baroness Karren Brady and her thoughts on the site but of course the best way to find out what it has to offer you is to check it out for yourself at http://www.schoolreviewer.co.uk.

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build-a-den-togetherAs you know I’ve been reviewing Just us box for a few months now. This month I thought I would do something different and get my other half to write his thoughts on our Pillows and Poetry date night! Maybe you are wondering if your partner would be up for such a romantic date? Now I’m sure he won’t mind me telling you that romance is not really his thing, he’s more into movies and a steak but we have really discovered a new side of each other by ‘dating’ in this way. Anyway I’ll hand you over to him… what does he really think of Pillows and Poetry?

For most men the idea of a date night involving poetry may be a bit of a turn off. But once I relaxed into this date night I really enjoyed it and I believe that anyone could have fun with it. Who knows it could even be the start of something more romantic in your relationship.

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On opening the box we found all the items we needed to make our very own pillow fort: a large high quality custom made blanket with a star constellation panel on the underside, along with rope, pegs and elastic bands to attach to our supporting corner sofa, playroom chairs and floor lamp. Due to our corner sofa being very low we needed to be extremely creative to make a fort we could actually fit inside but that’s half the fun, right?

Also included were a very cool set of fairy lights on a copper wire and some star bunting to help decorate the fort, a tealight, felt tip pens, poetry writing paper and a small hardback notebook. Once we added a duvet and some pillows inside, the aptly named ‘Fort Squish’ was complete. We turned off the lights and happily squeezed our way inside laughing at how snug and cosy it was. This was a great start to the date but I was still slightly apprehensive about the poetry, worried that I would suffer from a serious case of writer’s block. The last time I wrote a poem on my own was for a best man’s speech for my brother’s wedding which I had weeks and weeks to prepare for.

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To ease us into the poetry part of the date and break the ice we started talking about the places we’d love to visit, just the two of us. From Copenhagen and Italy to New Zealand and Japan we had so many places on our wish list. Our minds wandered to thoughts of an amazing trip away, some fantastic places we’d most likely want to choose for our honeymoon when we eventually tie the knot.

The next activity involved writing poetry together, starting with filling in the blanks of some famous poems. We separately tried to guess the right answers and when we didn’t have a clue just tried to make the poem sound funny instead. This didn’t make you think too hard and was just a bit of fun, we became a little bit competitive however and in a stroke of good fortune my knowledge of an Arctic Monkeys song helped me out on the final poem ‘I wanna be yours’.

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The moment had arrived that we had to actually start writing poetry but we were eased in gently with a joint effort. We took it in turns to blindly write alternate lines trying our best to make the last words rhyme with the previous line which gave us a chuckle or two at what we had produced. The poetry part of the date culminated for us in producing two poems, a limerick and a poem where we had to use a batch of suggested words, I’m proud(ish) to say these were our attempts to write a limerick about each other:

By Simon

My gorgeous baby bear

That thing only you can wear

A beautiful smile

That goes on for a mile

I cannot help but stare

 By Lucy

There was a fit man called Simon

With the body of a fireman

He lit my fire

And heart full of desire

Now I’m writing poetry ‘n’ a rhymin’

I would say that despite my apprehensions we actually had a really enjoyable and fun date and definitely did something we otherwise would not have considered, as they say variety is the spice of life. To anyone who thinks they would struggle with this date I would advise going into it with a purely open mind. Try to have some fun with it, use the plan as a guide not a task list and make sure you are supportive and encouraging of each other.

The beauty we always see in the Just Us box is how you can re-use the contents of the box, it’s pretty safe to say we got the full use of the fort materials when Littlelish decided to build a fort of her own in her bedroom to sleep in for the next few days. We also decided that we could use the small notebook to write little romantic love messages to each other every now and then and they would be saved forever. You never know there may be the odd poem thrown in for good measure!

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Babylish will be 9 months old this week.

It’s been nine glorious months of motherhood. I’ve made it this far unscathed all thanks to some really good mummy friends. You know the kind of friends you can message at any time of day to ask about green poo or to call when you are having an emotional melt down in asda car park (hey, it happens).

It’s friends like these that make you always feel at home, with a warm cup of tea and a hug. Caring for each other, we know nothing we say will be too weird and we don’t judge. It’s about raising each other up to be the best we can be.

Yes it’s been a great 9 months of friendship. Going through the trials and tribulations of motherhood knowing someone has your back, really, really helps.

Last week saw the end of maternity leave as we knew it, with two of the group returning back to work. To mark the end of a busy working week I decided to have the girls round for our first girly night without the babies.

I’d been sent a hamper of goodies from Moda in Pelle to celebrate the return of everyone’s best friend, Bridget Jones (and her baby!), to cinemas on 16th September.  Can you believe it’s been 12 years since she last made us cringe and hoot with laughter? (wow, I feel old!)

We had a lot to catch up on after a week of work, enjoying some treats from M&S and Patisserie Valerie as well as lots of edible and pampering goodies in the hamper. We particularly loved the Nip+Fab Bee Sting Serum which made our faces look and feel a.m.a.z.i.n.g the next day! There was also a very beautiful Moda in Pelle scarf which I know will become a firm favourite this Autumn / Winter.

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Moda in Pelle are also offering one lucky reader the chance to WIN a Girls Night In Hamper including lots of pamper products and a beautiful pair of Moda in Pelle shoes. All you have to do is follow the link and answer a simple question – Who played Mr Darcy in the Bridget Jones movies?

And of course decide which kind of a shoe girl are you? Do you love heels like Rachel, Brogues like Nicole and Sarah or are you a Boot girl like me?

bootsThis post was created in collaboration with Moda in Pelle but, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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