Half term seriously disappeared, I genuinely lost a day somewhere but we have been fairly busy. Both boys have been suffering with coughs so we've used that as an excuse to take it easy but still managed two shopping trips, two breakfast dates, a visit to London and a play-date plus puzzles/games galore. This next week is going to suck though, back into our usual routines and back to uni. I have another assignment due in two weeks which will probably take up most of my evenings, but I have taken the last week off completely so I can't really complain.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, which is out of my comfort zone and is taking me a while to get through, but she's fascinating! After You
 (after reading Me Before You) which made me laugh and cry, though is was a little slow to start. We Were Liars which was beautiful and mysterious, not what I was expecting at all.

A roast dinner, a dinosaur sensory tray, several Lego figures and so many cups of coffee I've lost count. It's been surprisingly uncreative for half term. 

Various Spotify Jazz playlists (Daniel's current favourite), Carrie Underwood (after seeing her Carpool Karaoke with James Corden), The Lumineers (as requested by Joshua, he calls it "da music we listened to when I was a baby") and Foxes, because obviously.
and lastly
Played... Monopoly (introduced Daniel after finding a box in the cupboard at my Nan's), Top Trumps, Guess Who and Phonics Flashcards (like these, which Joshua is doing amazingly with!). Daniel's still a sore loser though, despite me explaining over and over that it doesn't matter who wins, we're still having fun!



The Natural History Museum. Take Two.

Another trip to London to the Natural History Muesum, this time with the boys' Nana. Second time lucky, we got to see the dinosaur exhibition (though, Joshua spent the entire time clinging on me, terrified of the skeletons.) I think the trick is to go early, we just walked in but a couple of hours later the queue was enormous again!! My other top tips would be to take a picnic (the food options aren't very child friendly and the prices are pretty extreme) and any opportunity to sit down on a bench and eat (there were people sitting EVERYWHERE) Lastly, I took the sling for Joshua and I was so glad I did. He's three now and though he's small for his age we haven't used it for months, but the last couple of times we've been to London he's wanted carrying a lot - especially in the streets and as we had to walk to another tube station after finding out South Kensington was closed, I don't know what we would have done without it. He clung to me the whole time, grinning and telling me how much he loved his sling so he could hold me! The dinosaurs were really cool, and the giant whale was even more awesome without the scaffolding surrounding it. The boys' favourite part of the day, however, was getting their tacky toys in the gift shop. Kids will be kids! I took a lot of video so hopefully a vlog is in the near future, plus Daniel took a bunch of photos too which I think will be cute to share. 

I think we've exhausted the History Museum now, at least until the boys are a little older and can understand the information there, any other suggestions? We're about an hour from London, but don't mind an adventure! 



Dinosaur Sensory Tray.

Joshua's nursery have a letter of the week, and I have had grand plans all year to coordinate our 'home learning' so we're working on the same sounds. Last week was the second time I have actually been successful, (the first time we did the letter S and I wrote a super quick post about it here) we made a curly C caterpillar and I filled a roasting tray with dried corn, cows, cars, a cat and various letters (foam bath letters & magnetic letters). Considering it was my last week of my teaching placement and I was feeling under the weather (probably stress related) I was pretty proud of myself. This week is half term, so I thought we'd back-track to one of the letters we'd missed. Seeing Daniel on the floor surrounded by dinosaurs, I decided to try the letter D. A quick Pinterest search and rummage through the cupboards later, I filled our tray with blue stones and a couple of plastic plant cast offs from the fish tank, bird seed (the other options were sand or mud, the latter seemed like a disaster waiting to happen and it's absolutely freezing outside so bird seed seemed like a sensible alternative) and a few stones that we had from Daniel's latest collection. We have a whole assortment of dinosaurs, including Tober Wild World Dinosaurs Toy and we also ended up cutting up a green egg box as caves for the dinosaurs. The boys spent a good hour playing with it yesterday morning and I'm sure they'll revisit it throughout the week too. 



This season of motherhood.


Daniel Kyle, age five years and ten months.

  • Dragon and superhero obsessed, he has imaginary dragons that get up to all sorts of mischief!
  • Has an incredible memory and is constantly spouting off facts he has learnt from school. 
  • Is so incredibly sweet and helpful, yesterday he tided up the whole living room and stacked the dishwasher without being asked. 
  • Has taken a sudden interest in Christianity, and decided we should give up cake for lent, after brainstorming "unhealthy" things all evening. 
  • Super logical and independent, he can spend hours building things with Lego. Following detailed instructions is his jam.

Joshua Reg, age three years and eight months.

  • Constantly over-accessorized, often with that Sully hat and matching gloves.
  • Has a fairly recent fascination with toilet words, which he obviously thinks are absolutely hilarious. 
  • Yesterday I told him he was three and a half now, and all afternoon he would start to tell someone, then look at me with his eyes squinted and ask "What was dat you sed?"
  • Loves helping me in the kitchen, chopping vegetables with his little knife and basketball-shooting them into the pan. 
  • Daydreams like his Mama, starting into space. His explanations are often completely ridiculous. 

It's these little things that I want to remember forever. I imagine myself, old and grey, sitting and reading through all these posts like a memory box.

This entire post is inspired by the beautiful Amanda from Homesong.



January Reads.

Curling up on the sofa, next to my husband (while he blares out Facebook videos/football matches/the latest episode of whatever action series he's currently in to) with a mug of fruit tea and a cosy blanket is fast becoming my favourite way to spend the evenings. I set myself a reading challenge of 100 books this year and am currently on book 19 mid-February. I thought it would be fun to share my musings here, as this blog is often a true reflection of our time. I've added a goodreads blurb for each book, as this makes it easier for me! Hopefully next month's pile will be sightly larger, as I didn't photograph the books I borrowed from the library for this post. 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

I absolute adored this book, it made me feel all the feels. I laughed (books about teenage boys are always the funniest), I cried, I felt true hope and totally hopeless. The characters are relateable despite suffering from depression, and the young love that blossoms is completely believable. Mental illness and suicide need to be discussed, it should not be a taboo subject and many YA authors are doing a brilliant job of it.  

Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.

Another boy meets girl tale, which I must admit I am a sucker for. Quirky characters with their fair of problems which only makes them more endearing. There are a lot of negative reviews on goodreads, it isn't an incredible story but I still enjoyed it. John Green creates suspense, letting us find out out about the characters little by little, which kept me reading. 
Am I Normal Yet? (The Normal Series) by Holly Bourne.

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Holly Bourne is fast becoming one of my favourite writers of the moment. Her take on YA subjects is hilarious, interesting and raw. I cried multiple times reading this book, from laughing so hard and from utter heartbreak. I am only slightly over-dramatic. Evie's spiralling decline is hard to read about but again, I am glad mental illness is being addressed in our society. Some of my favourite characters trying to juggle teenage life, a must read. 
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.
There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.
There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.
The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.
The Shock of the Fall
 is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.
There seems to be a running theme of mental illness in my favourites this month, which honestly I did not do on purpose, but it makes sense that these books would have such a profound affect on me, on anyone who reads them. Nathan Filer is an incredible writer, he managed to tear me from me spot on the sofa and imagine I was right next to Matthew, watching like a fly on the wall as he deals with the death of his disabled brother and his own mental decline. Another heartbreaking read, but an absolutely brilliant one.

Also read, but not pictured:

  • The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant - book 3) by Derek Landy. I am so glad there are more books to read in this series. A skeleton detective, magic, mysteries and crazy bad guys?! What's not to like!
  • The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. A quick read about the loveable yet disastrous Mildred Hubble, I remember reading this when I was younger too!
  • The Girl Who Walked On Air by Emma Carroll. A mysterious story of a young girl, Louie, who was abandoned at a travelling circus as a baby. A fantastic read, full of surprises.
  • David Almond - A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond. I wasn't sure about this one, I loved Skellig but this book didn't have as much presence for me. 
What have you been reading this month? I'm going to try to branch out a little more this month, I have a couple of biographies in my little library so hopefully February's post won't be another YA-bookathon. This post contains affiliate links, just so you know.